30+ Must-Subscribe Brands: The Emails that Email Marketers Love Most

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The first step in designing a great email of your own is often receiving a great email from another brand. In a word, the first step is inspiration.

To get their inspiration fix, 64% of marketers subscribe to 20 or more brands’ emails, according to Litmus’ 2017 State of Email Creative report. Just over 9% of marketers subscribe to 100 or more brands’ emails.

Want to know which brands you should consider subscribing to? In the report, we share the top 30 brands that most inspire email marketers, based on more than 3,000 brand suggestions from more than 1,000 marketers. You should consider these must-subscribe brands.

Brands that Inspire Email Marketers (2017)

(Respondents said Litmus’ emails are more inspiring than Apple’s, but we excluded ourselves from the list because we thought they were a little biased…delightfully biased. That said, feel free to subscribe to the Litmus newsletter and see what all the fuss is about.)

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Want More?

Here’s last year’s list of must-subscribe brands from our 2016 State of Email Design report:

Brands that Inspire Email Marketers (2016)

Why Marketers Love These Brands

While we know these are the brands marketers love most, we don’t know what they like most about these brands’ email programs.

For more perspective, we asked four of our speakers at the 2016 Litmus Live conference about the brands that they’re most delighted to see in their inbox. They gave us five more must-subscribe brands—Pandora, Netflix, Litmus, Rebel, and Lyft.

Our Litmus Live speakers also explained that they love these brands because they do personalization and interactivity really well, and have solid email design practices. Their comments echo many of the hot trends email marketing identified for 2017.

You can watch the full interview here, or read a transcript of it below.



Andrew DePaul, Digital Program Manager, J.P. Morgan Asset Management

My personal favorite emails that I get are from Pandora. I absolutely love them. They really know how to use personalization. A lot of people think personalization is just putting “Dear Andrew” at the top of the email, and then I’m going to be sold that it was written for me, and it’s not true.

I think Pandora does this amazing thing where they show how many songs I’ve thumbed up, what I don’t like, songs I might love—and they have a great frequency. I get an email at the end of the month that said, “You thumbsed up 600 songs this month. Here’s what they are, here’s what we recommend.” I really do think Pandora knows what they’re doing, and they really understand personalization. They have all that data for people, and they know how to make a great email.

Dan Denney, Front-End Developer, Code School

So one brand that I think is really getting email right is Netflix. And the reason that I think so is they take my viewing preferences, the things that I’ve done, and they send me an email pitching a new show, something that they think I’ll be interested in, and they get it really right. And then they use creative ways to get me to click that button so that I add it to my lists.

2017 State of Email Creative

2017 State of Email Creative

Discover how 3,500+ marketers find email inspiration, use brand guidelines, approach email design, A/B test, handle email redesigns, and more.

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Mike Ragan, Designer, Action Rocket

I’ve been a fan of Litmus emails for years. I actually took a Litmus email and a copy of it, and I was taking it to other people, saying, “Look. Look at this.” I took it to the design team, and I was like, “Hey, this is what I’ve been saying.” Like block colors, modular. Look at how it’s expandable Look at how it’s designed so that it could be flexible. And it’s like, super best practice design, best practice build.

And then also, on top of that, there’s creative stuff with ALT text and things like that. Like, being playful as well. Knowing what best practice is and then bending it shows that you truly know it. So I was like, yeah, this is great. These are great emails.

Brian Graves, UI Team Lead, DEG

One of the brands I often look to is Rebel. So they aren’t necessarily a single brand sending out stuff. They’re more of a product. But they also do some pretty cool and crazy interactive stuff that’s really impressive, and I think it’s not only impressive from a technical standpoint, but it’s kind of following a goal at the end of the day to get people to check out in the inbox. So it’s not cool for just cool’s sake. It’s cool with an actual end goal.

Dan Denney, Front-End Developer, Code School

Another brand that I think is getting email right is Lyft, and the reason why is they take all of your data, and they put out this fantastic summary, where you get to see the people that you rode with, the miles that you took, and it feels like a game. It engages me and makes me want to use their service.

What Are Your Favorite, Must-Subscribe Brands?

Which brands do you think do email marketing best? Share your favorites and why you like them in the Litmus Community.

Join the discussion →