These days, it takes more than a great product, exemplary customer service, and a decent marketing plan to stand out. You need to be on the cutting edge.

What becomes difficult is when you and all your competitors are striving to reach that cutting edge.

Maybe you’ve been in a similar situation once or twice yourself. You brainstorm with your team and come up with what you think is a killer new idea. After the meeting, you sit down and begin doing some preliminary research.

What you find is disappointing. It turns out that not only is your idea unoriginal, but it’s been done many, many times before.

Making your email marketing campaign stand out is one of your top goals, but just how do you go about doing it? We’re glad you asked. In this article, we’ll share our best email marketing tips so your company can take a more unique approach.

Use Automation

Here at EngageBay, automation—especially email automation—is at the heart of what we do. Regardless, we would point in you in the direction of automation anyway because it’s becoming such a valuable part of a marketer’s arsenal. We’ve written many blog posts singing its praises, and rightfully so.

How can automation make your email marketing campaign more unique?

The better question is, how can’t it? No matter what new idea you want to try for your company, be those email autoresponders, follow-up emails, emails with video, or quick newsletters, you can implement them without having to put forth any manual effort. That’s the power of automation.

After all, part of being unique is doing what no one else is doing. Part of doing what no one else is doing is throwing several things at a wall and hoping they stick. Automation lets you devote fewer manhours to these experimental tactics. This way, if said tactics by chance don’t work, you don’t hurt your company’s bottom line.

Turn to Influencers

Influencers are like mini-celebrities in the marketing world. These are people who have, through time and hard work, cultivated an adoring audience. The said audience tends to buy (literally and sometimes figuratively) whatever the influencer says hook, line, and sinker.

If you can get an influencer interested in your product, then there’s a whole new audience out there of people who can also get hooked. Influencer marketing is a rising trend that hasn’t caught on super widely just yet. There’s still some time left for you to add influencer marketing to your campaigns and remain ahead of the game.

turn to influencers

Image via Nutra Ingredients

Now, here’s the funny part. If you want to stand out to your audience, you’ll reach out to an influencer. Yet to hear back from said influencer, you have to stand out. The influencer surely receives dozens and dozens of messages every day being asked to shill certain products. Why should they choose yours over all the others?

Make sure your pitch is highly targeted, your product is relevant to said influencer, and then go for it. Prepare for some initial rejections, because they may happen. Once you do get the ball rolling on a company/influencer relationship, it can pay back dividends.

The Plain Text Email

Sometimes standing out is as easy as doing the thing that everyone else isn’t. It’s like mailing a handwritten thank-you letter after a job interview when everyone else just sends an email. Yours is different and thus unique.

While that may feel like taking a step back in time, so too will our next tip. Every other marketer out there is interested in adding more and more elements to their emails. We’re talking interactive elements, GIFs and other moving images, videos, and more. These are what make an email pop.

Why not take things back to a simpler time and try sending a plain text email every now and again? We’re not advocating that you make the switch exclusively to plain text. That would turn off your subscribers quickly. Instead, mix it up. Sometimes, send plain text emails and other times, use the elements we mentioned above.

What are the benefits of plain text emails, you ask? There are actually several. If personalized, they come across more intimately than an email with sales copy does. It takes minutes to choose a simple, basic template. You also get to let your copy shine. Finally, for those customers who have older devices or personal preferences, plain text emails are fast to load and easy to read.

Since plain text emails are so simple to implement, this is one suggestion you can use right now.

Focus on the Left-Field Holidays

Thanksgiving? Overdone. Christmas? Everyone’s doing it. New Year’s? Nah.

You can expect your competition to focus on the days we listed above because, frankly, those are the major holidays. Most people are off work, decorations are strewn about, and generally big deals are made out of those days.

What about the smaller, lesser-known holidays? If you look around, there’s a little holiday just about every single day. Seriously! In November alone, we have:

  • Deviled Egg Day on the 2nd
  • Book Lovers’ Day on the 3rd (and National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo throughout November)
  • Sandwich day on the 3rd
  • Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day on the 7th
  • Cook Something Bold Day on the 7th
  • Forget-Me-Not Day on the 10th
  • World Kindness Day on the 13th
  • America Recycles Day on the 15th
  • Clean Your Refrigerator Day on the 15th
  • National Adoption Day on the 17th
  • Have a Bad Day Day on the 19th
  • You’re Welcome Day on the 23rd
  • French Toast Day on the 28th

National Bittersweet

Photo via Foodimentary

Now, can you do something with all those days? Well, that depends on a.) the type of business you run and b.) your creativity. Most people probably aren’t aware of a Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day or Clean Your Refrigerator Day. If you can find ways to tie your products or services to a strange yet small holiday, you’ll stand out for sure.

VIP Outreach

VIPs seem to always get all the special treatment, don’t they? Don’t you get a little jealous when you see someone get the best spot at a restaurant or front row at a concert or sports game? Sure, you do.

Wouldn’t you like to make your customers feel that way?

No, not jealous. Special.

customer feel

Image via Ocean Happening

It’s easier to do than you think. By doubling back to your top customers and writing to them about why they’re so amazing, you’re doing VIP outreach. This is the time to gush as much as possible without seeming disingenuous about it. Tell your customers why they’re so great. Maybe it’s because they’ve been with you since the beginning. Perhaps it’s because they buy from you often.

After slathering on the compliments, you also want to give them something to remember you by. It could be a freebie or a special discount unique only to them. Whatever it is, make it good.

How does VIP outreach make your company stand out when this tactic seems so individualized? Great question. Customers will talk about your company one way or another. If you treat them right, then they’ll let their friends, family, and social media know about it. A great approach to customer service will always take you far, and VIP outreach makes your company more unique.

Get Personal

Personalization, as you know from reading this blog, is a great way to increase email open rates, click-through rates, and even conversions. That’s why everyone is already sending emails with customers’ names in the subject line and/or the email body.

Why stop there? You have information on your leads and customers, so why not use it to your advantage? Take personalization several steps forward. Use your customers’ age, gender, location, interests, and preferences to inspire the types of email and content you send to your various audience segments. This deeper segmentation can increase receptivity to emails, which could boost open and click-through rates even further.

That said, privacy is at the forefront since the GDPR was implemented in May. Make sure that the demographical information you have was received with the consent of the subscriber. Don’t use it for marketing purposes if it was not.

Send Emails Telling Subscribers How to Buy

This may seem unnecessary and maybe even a little patronizing, but bear with us a moment here.

Not every website is designed as easily as find a product you like, click said product, add it to cart, and check out. If your site is, then that’s fine, but some customers appreciate a little extra guidance.

Right after the welcome email and any related follow-ups is the best time to send this type of email. The goal is to help and inform while getting these new subscribers interested in your products and services.

You’re creating goodwill from the very beginning by showing customers how to make a purchase on your site. That gives them added peace of mind that the transaction will be secure and safe, which may encourage them to shop if they were reluctant before. Also, once they see how easy it is to check out, there’s little stopping them from making their first purchase. They’ll then want to make another and hopefully another and another.

Those of your customers who don’t really care for this type of email can just delete it. It is worth sending, though, especially when so many other marketers out there don’t.

Write the Best Email Subject Lines in Town

We have to end this article on an obvious but necessary note: having exemplary email subject lines will always help you stand out. Need some tips on how to nail writing your very own winning subject lines? Here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Don’t forget the preview text: You know the first sentence or two (depending on the length of your sentences) you see before you open an email? This is known as the preview text. Don’t waste it with empty text like “hello, how are you?” Write your own mini-cliffhanger that will make the customer want to open the email and find out what happens next!
  • Ask a question or make a statement, but not both: When you answer your own question (“Want more conversions? Read more!”), it comes across as spammy. You want your subscribers to click the email because the question or statement you make resonates with them. Either ask them if they want more conversions or reframe the statement: “How to get more conversions!” Avoid doing both.
  • Watch your capitalization: Capitalization should be used sparingly. Check out the Urban Outfitters emails from the Cyber Monday and Black Friday email marketing article we just published to see what we mean. You want to capitalize important words. Overusing capitalization makes it lose its effect.
  • Puns are okay, so are jokes: Make sure all puns and jokes you tell are in good taste. Otherwise, go nuts!
  • Stats and numbers are your best friend: Having stats and numbers in your subject line (that are verifiable, of course) bolsters your product and makes you look more authoritative. Just don’t add too many numbers, as you can again make your emails look spammy.
  • Promote scarcity and urgency when possible: If you want your customers to get moving on making a purchase, then let them know there are limited quantities or few available slots left.
  • Don’t make it too long: Since most people will access emails on mobile devices, don’t exceed 50 characters for your subject line if you can help it.


Whether you’re planning on deploying a cold email marketing campaign or any other, standing out is always an issue. You already know the benefits of email marketing campaigns done right. They can increase leads, convert leads to buying customers, and thus boost conversions.

By following the tips we shared above, you can start making more unique campaigns that appeal to your audience base.

Learn more about Email Marketing with our Email Marketing Guide:

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