What are the Types of Email Marketing?

What are the Types of Email Marketing

It’s not a strange thing to ask— what are the types of email marketing? Especially if you’re new to email marketing or just want to be sure you are using every angle possible.

We have made it easy to see the types of email marketing available with a simple infographic below.

It shows 12 email types along with each one’s basic purpose. Also, sprinkled in are reasons some are so effective. One particular email type is less effective than what most marketers think.

Take a look at the graphic below. Then for a bit more information below the image, I’ll further detail what are the types of email marketing (with stats and best practices mixed in).

What are the Types of Email Marketing

Starting with Promotional Emails 

This is the most popular type of email that marketers and businesses send.

  • No complex strategy is needed to start. Just send offers and discounts. This tactic goes way back to grocery store sales papers in mailboxes.
  • Can be used before your new business launches, to generate awareness
  • Open rates and clicks will fall if your promotions don’t excite subscribers. So be sure these email types are worth sending or they will lose engagement, causing your deliverability to decline.


Second-most used email marketing type of message.

  • Provides subscribers with valuable information
  • Allows for some promotion and sales ultimately
  • You can also sell ad space to generate revenue

Transactional Emails

Can’t talk about what are the types of email marketing without emails triggered when a customer or subscriber takes an action. Such as:

  • Initial sign-up to your email list
  • Orders product
  • Invoice generated

Since the customer took an action, they are likely to open these transactional emails because they have your business on their mind.

Cold Emails

These go to people not expecting your email. They are not signed up to your newsletter or promos. So how are they not spam?

  • They have a specific purpose targeted to a specific individual
  • *These can ruin your deliverability though if most readers ignore your cold outreach or mark the emails as spam

Cold email is a solid marketing tactic but use extreme caution. Check this article out for more cold outreach tips.

Welcome Emails

No better way to set your email strategy up for success.

  • Some of the highest open rates and click rates 
  • Readers actively ask for these emails by signing up with you
  • You can inform readers about your brand from the start and set clear expectations about upcoming email campaigns
  • Tell them which days you’ll send, how many per week or month, and a bit about the writer if it’s a newsletter welcome

Reminder Emails

What are the types of email marketing where reminders are needed in the inbox?

  • Dental appointments
  • Payment due
  • Review an insurance policy update

Many reminder emails are not super important but can be used to simply remind subscribers / customers your organization exists. Example, a non-profit sends photos from last year’s event you attended— to remind you of this year’s event date.

Re-engagement Emails

This is the email type that’s less effective than what many marketers believe. These emails are a ‘Hail Mary’ to beg readers to respond.

  • They fail because inboxes are crowded
  • Subscribers are distracted with too many other emails to read
  • A perfect subject line and offer is often needed to get them to re-engage.

If that doesn’t work, you can utilize a triggered re-engagement email using reEngaged (powered by Inbox Mailers). Many users are seeing 30% of their unengaged list reactivated. Learn more at reEngaged.com.

Feedback Emails

What are the types of email marketing where feedback is gathered?

  • Simply asking readers to hit reply to an email to give you feedback
  • Survey links in emails
  • Interactive AMP emails with quizzes, surveys, or games

*Pro Tip: A great way to improve a declining average on Google or Yelp Reviews? Ask your most loyal email subscribers to leave a review and your average rating will rise.

Lead Nurturing

This type of email series should be automated and can have as many emails in the series as you want. Be sure you don’t over-send to those not clicking or opening your messages.

  • Can nudge readers into buying
  • Propel repeat purchases
  • A perfect way to manage customer journeys

Abandoned Cart Emails

One of the most profitable forms of email marketing. Billions of dollars are lost yearly to shoppers abandoning online carts. They don’t finish checking out.

Use this type of triggered email to:

  • Remind them of their items
  • Countdown the time they have to finish checking out before a price change or inventory runs low
  • 69% of online carts are being abandoned by shoppers

Offering free shipping or a discount can nudge the shopper to finish the checkout. This can mean big profits over the customer’s lifetime. That first purchase is the hardest to get but afterward, they’re more likely to buy from your business again.


A weird example of this type of email marketing? My Fitbit gamifies walking and exercise. So I get a new badge emailed to me when I climb enough stairs to trigger a new badge. I always open these gamified emails!

Use milestone emails to:

  • Thank subscribers for being a reader for 12 months, 3 years, etc.
  • Wish subscribers happy birthdays
  • Acknowledge their loyalty with a gift

You can get creative with milestones by reversing the idea. Email users when your business hits a milestone or you achieve something personally (like climbing 100 flights of stairs or running a 5k… email is personal).

Announcement Emails

These marketing emails can seem a bit underwhelming. Why? Businesses often use any event as an excuse to fire off an email. So be sure your announcement emails are worth reading.

  • Software updates are important 
  • In-person events are noteworthy
  • Fresh products and services appeal to most audiences

What are the Types of Email Marketing? → Conclusion

We could go even deeper with more niche types of email marketing.

Think automated emails, online course emails, registration emails… you get the point.

But the 12 email marketing formats above are a solid representation of what most brands use in their email strategy.

Keep the infographic handy for when you want to add a new type of email for your list or a segment of that list.

And remember these 6 keys regardless of which type of marketing email you send:

  1. Ensure your readers recognize you as the sender
  2. Don’t send to people who did not give explicit permission (outside of cold outreach)
  3. New emailers will find a shared IP easier and better for deliverability
  4. Take easy deliverability wins (mail more to the most engaged subscribers)
  5. List segmentation is worth extra extra effort
  6. A/B test subject lines for max open rates
Picture of John Gardner

John Gardner

John Gardner is an expert email marketer and co-founder of Inbox Mailers. He specializes in email segmentation and improving overall deliverability, helping top brands and businesses optimize their email marketing strategy.