Sephora Weather Email Hero

This Email is HOT

From: Sephora Beauty Insider
Date: 7/01/16
Subject Line: Happy Fourth! The forecast is in…


I liked this email’s clever use of location targeting. Sephora pulled the upcoming weather for my area and then suggested products based on that information: “This scorcher calls for frizz-fighting hair serums, refreshing face mists, and lots of SPF.” Scorcher might be a strong word for a high of 75, but in WA state that’s shorts weather… and they’re right about the humidity. The way they display the information is eye-catching and quickly digestible with weather graphics and bold, simple headlines. They continue with the theme and offer more opportunities for click-through by listing products that meet the criteria (Living Proof No Frizz Humidity Shield and NARS Broad Spectrum SPF 30, for example). Although, many of the products seem to miss the target for relevancy; it might have been better to list the more applicable products first. All in all, very clever and well done!

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Countdown hero

♫ Because your list (your list) is on my list …

…because your list (your list) I can’t resist!

Lists can be a great way to call out your most popular products. There are many ways you can tackle designing such a list. Here are 5 drastically different approaches and a few pointers to keep in mind.


From: Pottery Barn
Date: 11/18/15
Subject Line: Celebrate the Season of Giving with Our Top 10 Holiday Gifts

Pottery Barn  Pottery Barn zoom

The last thing you want is for your numbers to get lost or to feel like an afterthought. Think of them as a graphic rather than text. I love how Pottery Barn made their numbers large so that they feel like a conscious part of the design. They toned-down the color to keep them from becoming overwhelming. Another great addition is the horizontal lines. They help to unify the sections and also add dimension & interest by intersecting the numbers.


From: Sephora Beauty Insider
Date: 11/23/15
Subject Line: Take your pick: free fragrance mini

Sephora  Sephora zoom

Don’t let your design fall flat. Sephora’s email has layers upon layers of dimension by 1) overlapping product cut-outs over square cut images, 2) including drop shadows, and 3) sprinkling in confetti ground cover. In this design, the numbers all run along the right side. The flow is made possible with the help of ornaments, gold fans, and carefully placed confetti stars.


From: Pottery Barn Kids
Date: 11/13/15
Subject Line: Top 10 gifts we L♥VE

Pottery Barn Kids  Pottery Barn Kids zoom

By using both product cut-outs and square-cut images, you are getting the best of both worlds. The square-cuts will help to set the scene and show off your products in the best way possible. But when you get too many environment shots, your design will become hard to scan and overwhelming to look at. This email has the perfect mix. I also like how the environment images are all full-width with the number and text written on top of them.


From: OshKosh B’gosh
Date: 11/19/15
Subject Line: Extra 30% OFF COUPON ends tonight!

OshKosh  OshKosh zoom

A countdown is a great way to get your subscribers to scroll in order to reveal the big #1 item. In OshKosh’s design, even though the numbers are aligned down the center, they are able to create flow by staggering the corresponding text and products. I also like the mix of fonts, clever wording, and scannable titles.


From: Williams-Sonoma
Date: 11/21/15
Subject Line: Last Chance to Save on Thanksgiving Essentials + FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS

Williams-Sonoma  Williams-Sonoma zoom

Don’t let your design get too cluttered. Sometimes simplicity and predictability is the best solution to a scannable email. Here is a classic example of a staggered design. Everything is cut into a perfect grid with the images zigzaging down the page. The copy appears on the opposite side of each image. The copy is kept concise for easy scanning.

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November Design Inspiration Hero

Design Inspiration of the Month

The holiday season is here! Are you in need of some fresh design ideas? Break out of that template and make your emails stand out. Here are some cool designs that hit my inbox this month.

I just love this image layout! Cutting images into diamonds and triangles and forming them into a geometric shapes… Just so much yes. Creative. Stunning. More of this please!

From: American Eagle Outfitters
Date: 11/22/15
Subject Line: BOGO 50% off the sweaters (& everything else) you need now.
See the email

American Eagle Outfitters

Date: 11/23/15
Subject Line: Online Now: Up to 50% Off + Free Shipping
See the email


Neiman Marcus first sent an email with animated little people painting the border around the email. So clever and cute — as if they were setting the scene for the beginning of the holiday season. Then, a couple weeks later, I received another email with the return of some tiny people. This time they were sort of photobombing the scene (as was the product). It gives the image a little something special to grab your attention.

From: Neiman Marcus
Date: 11/05/15
Subject Line: The Love to Give Collection is here!
See the email

Neiman MarcusNeiman Marcus

From: Neiman Marcus
Date: 11/18/15
Subject Line: Triple Point Event + Our exclusive gifts!
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Neiman Marcus

Sephora sent an email using red ribbon for a little holiday accent and a pop of color. It’s a classy (and holiday neutral) graphic choice that I love. It’s reminiscent of another email they sent back in September with gold ribbon weaving throughout the products and design. The ribbon adds flow, dimension and a little fun to the email.

From: Sephora Beauty Insider
Date: 11/21/15
Subject Line: 12 party-perfect samples, 1 festive bag
See the email


From: Sephora Beauty Insider
Date: 9/15/15
Subject Line: They’re here
See the email


I really like how Michaels added bows and tags onto their products. It’s a great way to make an ordinary item feel more in the spirit of the holiday season. It also takes less imagination to consider the products as being gift worthy.

From: Michaels
Date: 11/18/15
Subject Line: The Latest Creative Tech Tools – Now on Sale!
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Video gif hero

Get Your Video Moving

Do you have a video to share? As email retailers are painfully aware, videos can’t be embedded into emails. But don’t let that stop you from getting the next best thing. Converting part of your video into an animated gif has multiple clear advantages. Right off the bat, the motion is sure to grab your subscribers’ attention. Furthermore, showing part of the video will give them a better idea about what to expect by clicking. Not to mention that the teaser is a great way to leave them wanting more.

When going this route there are a few things to keep in mind.
1) Animated gifs don’t support audio, so choose a part of the video that works best without sound.
2) Select the section of the video that is most interesting. You can only show a few seconds, so make them count.
3) If your gif is playing on a loop, make sure there isn’t an awkward transition from the end of the video to when it replays.
4) Don’t forget your call to action. Make sure people know the video is clickable by adding a play button to the video itself or a button nearby.
5) File size. Try to keep your video around or under 1-megabyte if possible for quicker loading time.

From: LOFT
Date: 9/28/15
Subject Line: LOFT loves Busy Philipps
See it in motion


Here is one example from LOFT. They chose a section of the video that contained the most humor and least amount of talking. They also added the play button to the center of the video throughout the gif. Both good calls. My only suggestion — I personally wish this video played on a loop. While reading or scrolling through the email, it’s easy to miss the beginning of the gif. Having it replay will ensure it gets viewed in it’s entirety.

From: Sephora Beauty Insider
Date: 9/23/15
Subject Line: The #1 beauty secret?
See it in motion


Sephora also chose a section of video that was most interesting. They doubled up on their call-to-actions by having a “Watch the Video” link as well as a play button in the corner of the video. The more the better, I say. I also wish the videos looped in this email.

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