As consumers, our inboxes are filled with emails from eCommerce brands we’ve previously purchased from. Emails include various promotions, sales, and new products, all aimed at garnering interest and revenue. If you’re anything like us, some emails quickly get the “unsubscribe” heave-ho, while others bring us joy and anticipation.

Why is that? What sets the good emails apart from the ones we can’t wait to unsubscribe from?

Sure, the product plays a part, but there are tons of contributors to a successful eCommerce email. And in the retail world, brands are getting more creative than ever to win over the attention and engagement of their customers. Particularly, shoe brands are finding clever ways to step onto their customers’ radars and are undoubtedly seeing more successes because of it.

Email marketing has been around for a long time. Using a fresh approach with the right tools is the best way to maintain the pep in your step needed to push the envelope and attract more customer engagement. Let’s see what we can learn from these six shoe brands that are taking creative email marketing seriously.

1. Dr. Martens – Spark Intrigue With the Subject Line

Doc Martens define the counterculture lifestyle and have been doing so for years. It’s what they’re known for, and by tapping into that brand identity, they’re able to play around with a theme that’s both on-point and interesting.

Their subject line, “Stretch the rules,” does double duty here. It gives a nod to the brand’s identity, which reaffirms its target market while also hinting at the innovation revealed in the body of the email.

Their product, laceless elastic slip-ons, fit the theme well. They still look like the Docs we know and love, but there’s an added edge and creativity that is sure to spark intrigue. Plus, the subject line manages to create a bit of curiosity, and we all know that curiosity leads to clicks.

2. Converse – Get Personal

Who doesn’t own a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors? They’re a staple in most households. But with new shoe styles and brands coming into the fold daily, it’s crucial that brand legends find a way to stay relevant.

When you need to ignite new interest in a product that’s seemingly simple and unevolved from the original, find a way to personalize it so people can feel the product is truly theirs. In this email from Converse, the message is clear: Your Chuck Taylors can be customized with different patterns, colors, and builds, so they’re just as unique as you are.

Converse finds a way to tap into surprise and the power of individuality by showcasing their product’s versatility. It’s tactics like this that are exactly what keep us opening promotional emails.

3. Rothy’s – Make it Timely

There’s one thing that’s guaranteed to pique the interest of the masses: award shows. Rothy’s used the Grammy’s as inspiration by sending out a clever campaign that incorporated award categories to showcase various products. This email went out on the same night the award show aired, which was an extremely smart move. Rothy’s knew that tons of people would be sitting at home, tuning in to the show with their phones nearby. And what do we all tend to do when television shows break for commercial? Check social media and our emails. We also included a Rothy’s email in which they relate their product to daylight savings, proving they know what they’re doing when it comes to capitalizing on timely events. Good job, Rothy’s.


4. Keds – Use Tried-and-True Tactics but Add a Twist

Seasonal color palettes are nothing new, but Keds freshens up an old move in a couple of ways.

First, they bring in a relevant social media influencer to model the shoes, tapping into effective third-party credibility from someone with a loyal following. Co-branded partnerships like this are great for extending reach and tapping into new audiences.

Second, Keds taps into the power and intention of colors to introduce new spring shades. They tie the colors to the moods they might boost: blue for calm, mauve for positivity, and harvest gold for motivation. A little woo-woo from some perspectives, maybe, but that’s popular with their market and adds deeper meaning behind selecting a shoe color.

5. UGG – Pair Your Products for Ultimate Promotion

When it comes to marketing your product via email, it’s easy to feel like you’ve tried it all. But take a note from UGG, and their pairings approach to see if it can add a little magic to your promo emails.

Never one to miss an opportunity for subtle humor, UGG’s email subject and headline are a perfect play on words for the infamous shoe brand. And if you love UGG already (which if you’re subscribed to their emails, it’s probably safe to say you do), the promise of a perfect pairing is sure to reel you in.

In this case, the recommendation is another level of coziness: UGG sells sweatshirts that match up to their shoes in both comfort and style.

And then, to seal the deal, they suggest a few boot and sweatshirt options the reader might want to check out – or pair up:

By promoting two (or multiple) products at once and encouraging a pairing of some kind, you’re doing double duty without appearing pushy or too salesy (cringe). You’re also able to showcase the versatility of your product offering, proving you’re no one-trick pony.

6. TOMS – Be Transparent and Tap into What Your Audience Cares About

TOMS takes footwear and goodwill to the next level. Most people are familiar with TOMs initial practice of “one for one,” in which they donated a pair of shoes for every pair purchased. They’ve since shifted and now provide a third of their profits in support of grassroots movements aimed at equity, mental health, and ending gun violence.

While this message is apparent on their website, they don’t stop there. TOMS maintains transparency across all forms of branding and communication, including their emails. By putting this messaging at the forefront, they’re showing their customers exactly what they care about and what kind of brand they are.

Check out this recent email as an example. It’s framed around their mission of supporting grassroots organizations that help improve the lives of others. TOMS understands what their customers care about, and they aren’t afraid to put it front and center in their branding.

Customers feel better when they put money towards organizations that align with their values. And they feel even better about it when there’s full brand transparency.

As all these brands prove, there isn’t one guaranteed right way to connect with your email list. The more creative you get, the better you’ll be at making a connection. And if you feel like your creativity has totally dried up, look to some of your favorite brands to get some much-needed inspiration.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got some shoes to buy!