The Best & Worst Emails in my Inbox: Volume 2

Did you miss last weeks edition of "The Best & Worst Emails in my Inbox"?

As an Email Marketer, I subscribe to EVERYTHING because I like to see what others are doing with their email marketing. I even have a special inbox completely dedicated to receive all of the emails I subscribe to. Even though I get hundreds of emails a day to this inbox (don’t even get me started on how many I got during Black Friday/Cyber Monday) I spend about 20 minutes a day scrolling through this inbox to see what others are up to with their email marketing.

While I do this, I come across some amazing emails and also some really, really bad ones. So, I figured why not use these emails as an opportunity to teach my audience what to do, and more importantly what NOT to do, when it comes to email marketing.

I encourage you to start doing this as well. It's crazy how much you can learn through "How have others?" research. Create a special Gmail email address that you'll use specifically for subscribing to various mailing lists and spend 10-20 minutes a day sifting through this inbox. Flag emails you really like and learn from the ones you really hate. Simply use these emails as inspiration for your own email marketing but DO NOT copy others emails, that shit ain't cool.

Alright, let's dive in. 

The Best Email in my Inbox

Last week I received an email from Uber and man oh man was it good! The email I received was about a new feature they launched and there's so much goodness in this email that everyone can learn from, regardless of your industry. Here's a quick clip of the email I received (make sure you watch the whole thing so you know what I'm referring to in each of the points below):


FROM: Uber

SUBJECT LINE: Your Scheduled Ride has Arrived in Toronto

What I LOVE About This Email:

1. The subject line caught my attention.

The subject line of this email was "Your Scheduled Ride has Arrived in Toronto". Now, I don't know if Uber meant to do this, but the subject line of this email really caught my attention. It almost seemed like one of the transactional messages you'd receive from them via push notifications after requesting a ride. So when I first saw this subject line, I was like "Wait what? I didn't schedule an Uber to pick me up..."

In hindsight, I realized that even if I did schedule a ride, they wouldn't be telling me that it's arrived through email but hey, I had a long day and this subject line totally caught my sleepy selfs attention.

I love how this subject line is personalized and relevant just by simply adding in the word "Toronto". They could've easily stopped the subject lien at "Your Schedule Ride has Arrived", but they didn't. They took it a step further and added in my city to add some extra relevance to this email amongst all of the others I receive in my inbox on a daily basis. 


TAKE ACTION: Take your subject lines one step further by personalizing them in some way. Challenge yourself to take it further than just including their first name (that's so 2014) and see if you have any other data that you can include in the subject line to make your subject lines stand out from the crowd and be extra relevant to your readers.

2. PAS email copywriting formula at its finest.

The intro copy of this email is great. It's short, succinct and tells me exactly what I need to know in 2 sentences. I like how they've used to PAS copywriting formula to clearly identify how this new feature is going to benefit me. 

If you're not familiar with the PAS copywriting formula, let me break it down for you. 

  1. Identify the problem - First you want to identify the problem that your customer is currently experiencing. In this case, the problem is not having a guaranteed ride somewhere when you need it.

  2. Agitate the problem - Next you want to exaggerate the problem just a little bit to really stir up some emotion in your reader. In this email, Uber chose to agitate the problem by referencing the example of not having a guaranteed ride to the airport at 4am when you need to catch a flight. A problem we've all experienced.

  3. Provide a solution - Once you've added a little salt to the wound, it's time to provide a solution for your customers. The new 'Schedule a Ride' feature from Uber does just this. You no longer have to wake up extra early to try and request a ride from Uber, just to find out that there's no cars available. Instead, you can schedule a ride and have that extra reassurance that someone will be there when you need them to be.

Take a stab at applying this simple yet effective copywriting formula to your next email for an easy way to communicate the benefit of your product/service and persuade your subscribers to buy.


TAKE ACTION: Practice this copywriting technique on some of your old emails and see how you're able to transform your copy to be a little more persuasive. Once you've had some practice, put this technique into action with your next newsletter!

3. A crystal clear and action-oriented call-to-action.

When it comes to your calls-to-action, they should be crystal clear and action oriented. You never want to leave your subscribers wondering what's going to happen if they click on something in your email. Use your call-to-action to not only communicate what's going to happen when they click but also be very clear about what action it is you want them to take.

The main CTA they used in this email was "Schedule a Ride >". It doesn't get more clear than that huh? I know that by clicking this button in the email it'll likely take me to the app where I'm able to easily take the action they want me to and schedule a ride (oh, I tested it and I was right! Good on ya Uber).


TAKE ACTION: Ask yourself 2 questions for every single CTA you have: 1) Is my CTA clear enough that my subscribers will know exactly what happens when they click? 2) Is my CTA action oriented? Asking yourself these 2 easy questions will ensure you're always challenging yourself to write and clear and action-oriented CTA's.

4. Some extra information for those who aren't ready to try.

You should never assume that it's only going to take 2 sentences to persuade your subscribers into taking action. While this might be enough for most, you'll always have some folks who need a bit more convincing. 

This is why Uber didn't stop after the first section of their email. Instead, they went on to highlight 2 other situations in which this service might come in handy as well as highlight specific instructions on how to use this new feature + a gif for us visual learners.

You'll notice the second CTA of this email is 'Learn More'. Even though some of your readers may not be ready to 'Schedule a Ride' right away, it's always a good idea to give the another, less demanding, option. This secondary CTA allows your not-so-convinced reader to click-through and learn more about this feature. If you do this, make sure that the destination they're clicking through has the main CTA (Schedule a Ride) as well so that they don't get confused on how to take action once they're convinced. 


TAKE ACTION: If you know me, you know I'm a BIG fan of short and succinct emails. However, sometimes a little extra information in order to help convince your readers why they should care is necessary. For meatier emails, make sure you have a secondary CTA in case your readers aren't immediately convinced on what you have to offer. Your secondary CTA should direct them to a location where they can learn more but make sure they're able to take action from this location as well!


FREE GUIDE: How to Create a Damn Good Email (that converts!)

After sending 1000's of email campaigns and running 100's of AB tests, I know exactly what it takes to make a damn good email that converts.

Download this free guide + template and learn how to create damn good emails that convert.

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The Worst Email in my Inbox

This week I'm looking at an automated email I get from Wave Accounting on a weekly basis. This email is a perfect example of email marketing automation and personalization gone wrong. Here's the email:

As you can see, this is clearly an automated email that gets sent to Wave users on a weekly basis providing them with a summary of their account usage. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great idea for leveraging email automation and personalization to deliver value to your users on a regular basis, but only when there's value to be delivered. 

I signed up for this account as a test while doing some research and haven't gotten around to deleting my account since. I haven't done a single thing in my account yet I still get this email every single week (not sure why I haven't unsubscribed yet). 

As you can see in the email above, it says my year to date amount is $0 in all categories. To improve this email automation communication, Wave should add some logic into their targeting criteria to only send this email to users who have data in their account. It's up to Wave on how lose they want to be on this criteria but even just layering in "Year-to-Date does not equal $0" into their logic would drastically improve the performance of this email and ensure it's only being sent to those it will bring value to. 

There's lots of other things that can be improved in this email but for the purpose of todays rant, I wanted to use this email as an example of when not to use email automation and personalization. 


  1. Make sure every single email you send provides some sort of value to your readers.

  2. Carefully craft your email marketing automation logic to ensure your emails are only being sent when it makes sense.

FREE GUIDE: How to Create a Damn Good Email (that converts!)

After sending 1000's of email campaigns and running 100's of AB tests, I know exactly what it takes to make a damn good email that converts.

Download this free guide + template and learn how to create damn good emails that convert.

Powered by ConvertKit

Alright, that's it for this week! If you'd like me to review one of your emails for free (and privately), sign up for my newsletter. Once a month I randomly select one of my subscribers who'd like to submit one of their newsletters for an expert review by yours truly! 

Bye for now,

-- Nicole