5 Invitations Subscribers Can’t Resist

subscriber invitationsTraffic on your site. Customers in your store. Comments on your blog.

Those are a few possible purposes of your email marketing campaigns. And there are are many ways for your emails to accomplish that.

You can build relationships. You can share testimonials. You can explain innovative uses for your products.

And you can take inspiration from these five examples to develop a totally new, creative invitation that your readers won’t be able to resist.

Make Them The Experts

sherwin williams sale

Who doesn’t love to give their opinion? Sherwin Williams takes forward-to-a-friend to a whole new level by encouraging subscribers to share their color suggestions.

Not only do these dabbling designers end up on SW’s site, but a printable coupon and “find your store” link encourages the advisees to shop as well.

Two for the price of one, and all within the boundaries of permission marketing!

Keep Your Promises

Anthropologie outfits

Anthropologie‘s emails consistently answer that age-old dilemma, “But what will I wear!?” As if the clothes aren’t enough to get subscribers to click though, they’ll occasionally use the half now, half later technique.

Here, they promise four outfit ideas and only deliver two – readers have to click through to “see them all”.

Party Invitations

moose munch sale

Harry & David‘s Tasting Party is compelling in so many ways:

  • who can resist free snacks?
  • the date and time is set, so there’s no putting it off until later (there’s even a way to set a calendar reminder!)
  • they’re giving samples of something small, at low cost to the store
  • people who take samples may feel obligated to buy something, especially with that B2G1 offer!

Prizes For Purchasing

dunking donuts perks

Dunkin’ Donuts is ready to reward their fans, but first, they want a little proof of their allegiance.

The item is low-cost and something most people use anyway, so a small reward should be enough of a nudge. And since photo-texting is usually reserved for friends and family, participants have just welcomed Dunkin’s to their inner circles.

As effective as this method is, it’s also easy to pull off. Just select a low-cost, high-interest item to feature. Then prepare to pay up! Choose a prize you can email (coupon, anyone?)

play dress up

French connection winter collection

How do women decide to buy an outfit?

By trying it on, of course! So fashion retailer French Connection designed a virtual dressing room with an avatar to model outfits for shoppers.

Then they sent an email announcing its opening. With the new clothes it featured and its playful feel, who could resist?

Writing Your Invitation

Is your creative spark fired up yet?

It’s true – some of these ideas require extensive resources to pull off. But most of them can be tweaked to work at any level. Even something as simple as a straightforward request can be effective.

So – which ones can you use for your own campaign?

And do you have your own brilliant invitations that you send out? If you do, we want to hear about them!


  1. Gidon

    12/28/2010 10:39 am

    First of all, I see that living in the Middle East (GMT+2) gives me a headstart at being the first commenter:-)

    These are all nice and creative, and it’s good to learn from the big boys, but some of us don’t have a Dunkin Donuts budget…:-)

    Can we see some mom and pop successes?

    I am just starting out on my current project, so I have nothing to show… yet. But in a few weeks I’ll be back!

  2. Amanda Gagnon

    12/28/2010 10:56 am

    Gidon ~ Certainly. Here are some examples from smaller companies: how three businesses do welcome emails, a builder’s tip for more sales and a chocolatier’s follow-up series.

  3. Paul B. Taubman II

    12/28/2010 11:04 am

    Currently, I send out a Gratitude Burst – a Quote of the Day themed around being Grateful.

    I notice that all the examples use HTML, pictures, and look appealing.

    My emails go out both as HTML and Text. THe kicker is that both contain the same content, i.e., I am not using nay colors, graphics, or images. My HTML is text. It does afford me to check the links clicked etc., but other than that, the message may as well go out as text.

    With that long preamble, I always heard that HTML emails are still not getting read as much as text emails. Are there any stats I can read up on this?


  4. Michael Webb

    12/28/2010 12:35 pm

    The initial offer is crucial but so are the follow-ups.

    If you provide valuable content/offers then you’ll have customers for a long time.

    I have some subscribers who have been with me for 12 years.

  5. Ivan Walsh

    12/28/2010 1:01 pm

    Hey Amada,

    These are all image rich, which is fine for their audience, do you have any examples of campaigns that used more text and less graphics.

    I’ve stopped using images in most campaigns as the click-thrus were falling and my readers seem to prefer plain text.

  6. Ivan Walsh

    12/28/2010 1:01 pm

    sigh… apologies for the typo with your name…Amanda

  7. Amanda Gagnon

    12/28/2010 1:28 pm

    Paul ~ By now, almost all email programs display HTML emails. If you have alt text, your message will be clear even with images turned off. Here is a comparison that can help you decide which is right for you.

    Ivan ~ Some of these could work just as well as plain text. For invites to food & clothing sites, the images are almost necessary (the word chocolate is tempting, but I’m much more likely to click on a picture of it). I’ll try to find some examples. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. adam

    12/28/2010 1:48 pm

    Aloha! Thanks for posting these. How did these companies get the facebook share button and email a friend buttons inside their emails. I can’t find a function in AWeber to do that?

    I do see where i can have my emails post to twitter an facebook, but not a button to add to emails that say email a friend or share buttons like facebook and twitter.

    Any info will help. Aweber Rocks.
    Thanks so much

  9. Teena

    12/28/2010 9:11 pm

    This really got my brain kicking into overdrive, thanks Amanda ๐Ÿ™‚

    One of my sites is a fashion site, so the 4th option above grabbed my attention: the idea of getting customers to send in a photo of them wearing their purchase to get a discount on their NEXT purchase (handpainted silk scarf, make-up purse or piece of clothing etc) is an excellent one.

    Yes! I’m going to use this for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hey Adam!

    Do you already have a Facebook or Twitter icon on your website? All I do is highlight them on a live page, then paste straight into my html aWeber message – easy peasy! Double check to make sure the hyperlinks were copied over, and you’re all set.

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you all!!

  10. Yasser Khan

    12/29/2010 11:40 am

    Just the right ideas I need for taking my marketing to the next level. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Jeramiah Townsend

    12/30/2010 1:18 pm

    Adam – Teena gave a good solution. But to create some of those fantastic layouts that the larger companies use is create en entire html page of content and then paste the html code into the html section in Aweber.

    If you don’t know html (or have a prgram to handle it) a simple solution is to create the content in a WordPress text editor and then use the WordPress html output. That and a little graphic design skills will get you a long way.

  12. Gareth Mailer

    1/3/2011 8:03 pm

    Agreed, these are all quite graphic intensive so it’snice to see them balanced up with some “Mom and Pop” solutions.

    I love the points in the post, I often focus so much on providing information without the actual incentive to return to the site. The hardest sell is obviously with new subscribers, it becomes as much a matter of building trust as anything else, hence why I’m always reluctant to kick into “sales” mode too early.

    Great tips though, as always ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Barbara Yzendoorn

    1/4/2011 5:09 pm

    Excellent ideas &presentation. As a real estate agent in New Zealand I’m always looking for new innovative ways to get ahead of the competition, you guys certainly provide plenty of ideas. Thanks for the tips.

  14. Angela Maynard

    1/4/2011 9:53 pm

    These are great points. I like Teena and Jeramiah’s solution. I will try it. Hope it works.

  15. Rhonda

    1/4/2011 11:04 pm

    Opens are one thing and click throughs are another. What can be done to increase the percentages in these areas?

  16. Mo Mastafa

    1/5/2011 5:32 pm

    Really love the “snap it and send it” concept. It really prompts users to get involved, whilst purchasing the product at the same time!

    Encouraging folks to be creative with their photos is a fun, and fun stuff always tends to have a more viral impact.

    Love it!

  17. Vadim Smilansky

    1/6/2011 9:25 am

    Most mail programs block external links and any message from autoresponders looks broken, there is should be option to send images along with a message. It increase message size, but it sure increase a CTR

  18. Marilou

    1/7/2011 2:08 pm

    Thank you for this very important tip. I will start using it begin today! I just want to give my thumbs up to the Author…

  19. Lee

    1/7/2011 11:31 pm

    Thanks Amanda… this got my creative juices flowing.

    Like a few other comments related to smaller businesses your link to the 3 Good Welcome Email Examples post was truly appreciated. In addition to a few new invitation ideas I’m as well going back to re-write those all important welcome emails that haven’t been touched since 2008!

  20. Jack Fisher

    1/8/2011 2:43 pm

    Good tips in general , valuable comments
    Thanks for sharing all

  21. TIm F

    1/10/2011 2:38 am

    Nice inspiring post. I visit Aweber often for ideas on email marketing. Sometimes I get amazed at some your quality of the posts. Must admit that I steal a few tidbits here and there to make it my own.

  22. Yee Shun-Jian

    1/19/2011 6:25 am

    I like the half-now half-later technique… Confident that interested prospects will definitely click through to see the missing pieces…

    This is something I’m going to apply in my next mailing. Thanks!

  23. Trapez Sac Fiyatları

    5/22/2011 10:12 am

    your autoresponders dont support foreign languages ! Will there be any support for that ?

  24. Amanda Gagnon

    5/23/2011 8:28 am

    Trapez ~ As of now there isn’t, but I’ll pass the suggestion along.

    Tim ~ Go for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Email Marketing A to Z

    8/31/2011 8:04 am

    […] E is for EngagementIf subscribers stay engaged and respond to your messages, they’ll remain on your list longer. To keep subscribers interested in your company, try some of these ideas. […]

  26. Kenisha Happe

    3/6/2012 4:35 pm

    I like what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and exposure! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.