Do you use email marketing? See the elements of a successful and creative marketing email from 1-800-Got-Junk.

I'm a shameless promoter of 1-800-Got-Junk. Having used them in multiple cities over multiple years, I can vouch for the quality of their work helping me declutter or clear out spaces. I can now also vouch for their content marketing.

Like me, I'm sure you were flooded with year-end emails of all kinds from your current vendors and those prospecting for your business. It takes a lot to stand out in that kind of crowd.

The content team at 1-800-Got-Junk hit a home run with this fun year-end email.

What's good about it: The headline is everything. It caught my eye even as I was scrolling through my inbox on my phone. And what you don't see here is the gif that initially hides the header. It features thumbnails of the items mentioned in the piece, each disappearing to reveal the headline. The header and subhead are effective, and even if you don't scroll or click, you're reminded of the company's key message ("we'll take pretty much anything") right up top. I also really like the punny descriptions. Humor can be really hard, so choosing a genre where expectations are low (we all secretly love to groan at a bad pun) gives you plenty of room to fail without harming your reputation. Don't feel like reading? The photos are an enjoyable scan.

Screen grab of 1-800-Got-Junk email newsletter on The Word Factory blog

What would make it better: While the photos are linked to the actual blog post, the descriptive subheads are not. That's a missed opportunity to get people to click earlier instead of hoping we click a pic or wait till the bottom of the mail, especially since the font color looks like it might be hyperlinked.

An example of effective email marketing from 1-800-Got-Junk on The Word Factory blog

What's missing: A hard sell. And I like that! Instead of jumping on the end-of-year/New Year's organizing bandwagon and urging me to call them to haul off my stuff, the sell is softer. I don't currently have need of their services, having completed a major de-clutter earlier this year with their help, but I read the email and the post, and it made me like the company even more. That's a clear win. You don't want to always send emails with no sell, but breaking it up is refreshing for your readers, and done well (as this one was) doesn't have a downside.

Think about this example as you look at your upcoming email topics. What can you take from this model and employ in your own way?

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