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5 emails you’ll want to steal ideas from

Sometimes, you can’t help but find yourself in an email marketing rut. It’s ok – happens to all of us.

With so much on their plates, it’s easy for marketers to fall into the routine of sending the same type of mailings over and over again. After all, if what you’re doing works, it will continue to work… right? Maybe not. In failing to diversify your content, you risk boring your subscribers, causing them to lose interest in your brand, and – worst of all – inspiring them to hit that dreaded “unsubscribe” link.

One of the best ways to change things up and keep your audience engaged? Get some inspiration from brands already doing it best. Here are 5 emails that stood out in my inbox; use some of their ideas to spice up your emails and get out of your rut for good.

1. Birchbox

Have a big announcement coming up? Whether it's a whole new product offering or simply a weekend sale, build some anticipation with an email like this one from Birchbox.

By the time you’re ready to pull back the curtain, your subscribers will be itching to know what’s going on – and your response rates will be sky-high as a result!

2. Magnolia Market

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Don't be afraid to embrace the scroll. In this email, Magnolia Market (the online store run by the couple from HGTV’s "Fixer Upper") wanted to feature quite a few baking-themed items. But instead of cramming them all into a confined space, they beautifully allowed each piece to speak for itself.

We’d expect no less from Chip and Joanna, but it’s something that works for more than just home goods: Use a long, tile-heavy design to showcase several products, pieces of content, or events without cluttering your message.

3. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

This email from Jo-Ann is absolutely brilliant: Yeah, I understand this is just a GIF that clicks through to a landing page, and my deal will be the same regardless of which spool I choose. But that doesn’t mean I can keep myself from playing along. (What if I DO win big? Stop ruining my fun, guys.)

Gamifying the email experience can do wonders for amping up your engagement, and it’s super easy to pull off – just include a GIF like this one and use a little creative framing to build interest.

4. Discover

The most successful marketing comes from putting your audience, not your brand, at the center of the story. So take a note from this mailing from Discover, where they celebrate their accomplishment not by bragging about themselves, but instead by thanking the people who support them.

It’s a smart move: The Trivialization Effect says that rewarding purchases with financial gifts (like an extra discount or cash back) makes the relationship feel more…well, trivial. Instead, try a good, old-fashioned, heartfelt "thank you" like this one from Discover to make subscribers feel truly appreciated and encourage long-term loyalty.

(For more useful email + brain science facts, check out our latest guide – Your Brain on Email Vol. 2: 11 Designs People Can’t Resist.)

5. Dot & Bo

People relish the slow build-up to a new season (think of how many times you've already heard the term “PSL,” and it isn’t even October yet). So play to that excitement by including seasonal elements in your design. Here, Dot & Bo incorporates falling leaves in their campaign to build on that sense of anticipation and tie it to their product offerings.

If you want to do this yourself, it doesn’t have to revolve around fall: Brainstorm quickly approaching events your audience cares about – college football season, the premiere of "The Bachelor," the release of the new iPhone, whatever – and incorporate them in your email campaign to produce big results.

Have any other brands helped inspire your email marketing recently? We’d love to hear about it! Share away in the comments.