Let’s be honest, aggressive promotional emails are so 2010. You can achieve the same goals by sending product recommendation emails instead — they are way more gentle, relevant, helpful, and unobtrusive. This post will teach you how to feature your products in almost any type of email and spark your users’ enthusiasm with just a couple of words. Let’s get into it!
- What is a product recommendation email?
- Do product recommendation emails work for any business?
- 10+ steal-worthy product recommendations email examples
- United by Blue
- Violet Grey
- Hunting for George
- What are you waiting for?
What is a product recommendation email?
A product recommendation email is a personalized email that includes handpicked products a particular user might be interested in. This type of email usually serves as a friendly reminder but it can also have some intrigue or a little tease that makes a user click on the CTA. It’s the equivalent of “try this, it’ll look great on you!” from a shop assistant.
In your product recommendation email, you can encourage a user to take another look at the items they already saw a week ago as well as related but alternative products. You can also take another approach and recommend selected items in relation to a certain occasion, a global event, or an important cause.
It’s not just straightforward promotional emails you can include specific products in. You can turn any type of email into an engaging product recommendation email:
- welcome emails → “Thanks for joining us, here’s something for you”
- recommendation → “You may also like X”
- transactional emails → “You still have time to add these accessories to your order before we ship it”
- recently viewed products → “We saw you looking at X”
- new items in stock → “We know you’ve been waiting for this”
- back in stock → “You’ve been asking for them, and now they’re back”
- special offer → “Only for our devoted customers, only for the next 3 days”
- seasonal offer → “A nice addition to your Thanksgiving table”
- abandoned cart → “Still not sure? How about these top picks”
- loyalty program → “You are one purchase away from the Premium level, here is how to get there”
- customer appreciation → “Thank you for sticking with us, we’ve found something you’ll love”
- re-engagement emails → “We miss you. Catch up on our current bestsellers”
We’ll show you 10+ real email examples proving that you can “sell without selling,” that is, by recommending instead of aggressively promoting.
Want to create and send email campaigns?
With SendPulse, you can create promotional and seasonal email campaigns and use trigger emails for milestones: for example, offering all the customers in your database a discount for their birthday. The platform has a drag and drop builder, ready to use templates, and built-in statistics.
All product recommendations have a couple of things in common. Usually, they are highly personalized so that the user immediately distinguishes them from generic spammy promotions. Also, they don’t cause click regret, meaning, they are full of value and help a user discover something new or bring them joy regardless of whether they end up buying something.
Do product recommendation emails work for any business?
The more products you have, the easier it will be for you to send relevant product suggestions to your customers. Businesses with a very narrow product line will have a harder time creating recommendation emails that really hit the point since their audience is most likely already familiar with their offerings.
When you recommend alternative products, you cross-sell them. Learn more about cross-selling and upselling from our blog!
Nevertheless, most businesses will benefit from including this type of email in their email marketing strategy:
- Fashion brands can recommend outfit ideas and help their audience create complete looks instead of purchasing random individual items.
- Skincare and wellness brands can suggest complementary cosmetic products based on the user’s unique needs.
- Tech companies can recommend relevant gadgets, software, add-ons, or plugins that will make the user’s life even easier.
- Sport gear shops can send seasonal product recommendations or suggest relevant products based on the specific activity the user is interested in.
The main idea is to offer to enhance your customer’s experience by helping them discover “the missing pieces” in a natural way.
10+ steal-worthy product recommendations email examples
Let’s take a look at some witty yet subtle product recommendation emails from various brands. We’ll discuss what makes them so effective and how you can apply the same tactics and tricks without copying them blindly.
United by Blue
Here’s an elegant example of a recommendation email that creates a cozy feeling instead of leaving a bitter salesy aftertaste. Mentioning a mind-blowing 25% discount is a guaranteed way to make users click on that CTA button. What we also love about this email is the fact that the brand uses laid-back lifestyle photos instead of sterile product photos. Certainly, that’s another best practice worth adopting.
While we’re at it, let’s talk about another product recommendation email example from the same brand.
As you see, it’s not just a blank reminder email — it features a beautiful, inviting product photo that motivates the recipient to take another look at that mug.
Another popular trick is to inject a sense of urgency into a product recommendation email. This particular example takes it even further because it includes intriguing “Check availability” CTA buttons that practically push the user to click on them and find out whether their favorite shoes are still in stock or not.
This example also includes photos with real people, another good move since it makes the offer less abstract.
Another fool-proof way to draw your customers’ attention to certain products is by inviting them to join your exclusive community and giving them a glimpse of what it looks like. Those recommended products will be more appealing to your audience if they are presented as part of a premium category.
In this example, we see another smart tactic. You can choose a product of the month and share it in your recommendation email to create the aura of desirability around that item. If something becomes the product of the month, it usually means that it’s popular, interesting, or in some way unusual and worth trying.
This is a classic example of a product recommendation email based on the customer’s viewing history and/or an abandoned shopping cart. You offer them a nice bonus — in this case, it’s free shipping — and incentivize them to check the availability on your website.
This email also features close alternatives to ensure that the user will find exactly what they’re looking for. If there are no similar products, you can just mention that this particular item is also available in a different color or configuration — it can also help a hesitant customer make a purchasing decision.
If you feel like your regular product recommendations aren’t gaining a lot of traction, try enhancing them with brief customer reviews or expert opinions. Let them recommend your products instead of doing it on behalf of your brand.
Keep in mind that those reviews should be real and traceable — a fake product recommendation will only undermine customer trust. Eloquent descriptions from real experts will work exceptionally well for premium products such as gourmet food, specialty coffee, or fragrances because customers often seek a professional opinion before buying them.
Seasonal product recommendation emails can be sentimental, cozy, or yummy, depending on the mood you’re going for. When the yearly pumpkin craze starts, for example, not a single brand wants to be left out. The change of seasons means that you can actively recommend seasonal products because there’s already a demand for them.
Once again, it’s a recommendation email so it should be friendly and atmospheric rather than purely promotional. This example is certainly cute and entertaining — the illustration instantly makes you crave a pumpkin dessert.
Speaking of relevancy, you can send product recommendations every time your customer reaches a certain milestone to make sure you contact them when they are open to new discoveries and purchases. In this case, the milestone is finishing the whole book — Goodreads immediately sends its users recommendations and other helpful ideas.
With intellectual products, product recommendations are especially useful since it takes a lot of time to find, for instance, a decent book or an atmospheric movie. You can emphasize that you suggest handpicked products that other viewers or readers also found interesting.
Hunting for George
If you present your product recommendations in the form of a wishlist, you’ll achieve two important things. Firstly, that wishlist will provide your subscribers with gift ideas or help them decide what they want to receive as a gift. Secondly, you’ll be able to include way more product recommendations in a single email than you’d normally do.
An email like this serves as a mood board and doesn’t require wordy descriptions — that’s another advantage because not everyone likes to dive into paragraphs of text in a commercial email.
Here’s another subtle move — list your products as ingredients in mouth-watering recipes or inspiring tutorials and feature them in your email. That’s exactly what Barilla does in its appetite-provoking newsletter.
This email doesn’t come across as promotional at all — it’s full of value yet it gently recommends Barilla products and their possible use. Of course, high-quality food photos also play a big role.
Remind your customers about the fleeting nature of the moment by recommending rare, soon-to-be-gone products and emphasizing their true value. For brands with a rich history, such as Polaroid, recommendation emails can lead to immediate sell-outs.
Usually, wordiness is a no-go in commercial emails, but this example is different. Emails of this sort can even feature detailed descriptions as long as they serve the purpose of justifying the price or explaining the story behind a specific item that is being recommended.
Excite your audience with new arrivals by featuring them in your email and explaining what’s so cool about them. This email does a great job of this — it recommends a bunch of new plants and briefly describes their advantages. These helpful descriptions provide enough reasoning for the user to click on that link.
Thanks to its well-written copy, this email creates a positive mood and naturally motivates its readers to make their rooms a bit greener.
Who doesn’t want to receive a pro tip when preparing for their first outdoor experience? This brand knows it for sure and therefore includes incredibly helpful and detailed product recommendations in its emails.
While reading this email, a user can already gain some clarity on what kind of gear they need and why. Instead of overwhelming first-time campers with technical characteristics, Backcountry clearly explains what all those complex words really mean.
What are you waiting for?
Creating an effective product recommendation email will take you even less time than reading this article did. Use our platform for creating and automating email campaigns that really work. We offer easy onboarding, an intuitive code-free builder, customizable templates, lead capture forms, clear analytics, 24/7 support, and more. Create your free SendPulse account, and it’s all yours!