Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: How To Build Anticipation In Your Emails


Email marketing is a powerful way of keeping your audience engaged with your business, buying your products, and keeping those vital brand-consumer relationships strong.

However, it’s also too easy to slip into patterns of email marketing that is detrimental to your brand — through aggressively salesy copy, spamming your customer’s inbox and focusing too much on self-promotion. This can result in customers switching off from your emails, unsubscribing, or even being dissuaded from using your brand and buying your products.

Yet promotional emails (also known as teaser emails) are important for businesses: they can inform customers about upcoming sales, new product launches and announce any special events that you’re holding. If they are done correctly, they can be extremely effective at increasing brand awareness and sales.

In the post below, we’ll be looking at some of the best ways to build anticipation in your emails — from simple features to the more in-depth.

Recommended reading: 10 Tools for Email Marketers You Need to Try

The Countdown Email

The countdown email is a classic for building hype about any new exciting product you’re launching, or an online sale you’re holding on your site.

Countdown timers are typically used to give consumers a sense of urgency during a sale, so that they are aware that the clock is ticking on your deal, and they only have a limited time to take advantage of this. This tactic is based on FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and pushes customers into action.

However, countdown timers can also be used in email campaigns to build anticipation for your latest product or an amazing offer you have in store for your readers, like the one below:

Image Pinterest

After all, we count down to everything; from holidays to pregnancies to midnight on New Year’s Eve. Everyone loves a countdown because there’s always something exciting that comes at the end!

Adding a dynamic element to your email grabs your readers’ attention and tells them to get ready and get excited for whatever’s coming.

A countdown email is going to stand out in a crowded inbox, especially if you pick a striking timer in bold colors and powerful fonts. They’re not too difficult to include in an email either, as they are essentially just animated GIFs.

The Intrigue Email

Anticipation is founded on a hook, a teaser to reel you in and whet your appetite. If want to build anticipation in your emails, you need to use something as bait to catch your reader’s attention and intrigue them into finding out more.

That’s why a strong subject line is crucial. You need to create subject lines that pique your reader’s interest and compel them to read on — this could be a mysterious statement, question or command that arouses their curiosity and leaves them in suspense. It’s usually best to avoid overly spammy wording like “sale” and “discounts” when using this style.

The main goal of a subject line in this type of teaser email is to leave readers wanting to find out more without being annoyed at you for being too vague, and most importantly, open your email.

Next, you need to think about the main body of text in your email. Unlike newsletters or storytelling email, you should keep this short and sweet. The aim is to be mysterious — you want your subscribers to feel curious about what is coming and compelled to learn more, this visually intriguing email body below:

Image Pinterest

It’s important not to give the game away when you’re using this type of teaser email to build anticipation. You want to give the reader just enough tantalizing information that they are excited about what is to come and will be keeping a close eye on their inbox for a further update.

Shroud your email in an air of mystery, but let readers know that their patience will be rewarded soon — after all, good things come to those who wait (and subscribe to your mailing list).

The Storytelling Email(s)

The email types above are perfect for building anticipation in just one email, but sometimes the best way to build anticipation and generate even more hype around your brand is to create a multiple-email campaign.

You can treat your campaign like a story — setting the scene and giving your readers a chapter at a time to whet their appetite, ultimately ending in a grand finale (whether it’s a product launch, event or mega sale).

This is known as an email sequence; an effective growth marketing technique where you drip-feed emails to your subscribers, depending on variables like when or if they opened your last email. This will build anticipation, provide information in stages, and prepare them for a big launch or sale.

Generally, a compelling storytelling campaign is made up of four types of emails:

  • An initial teaser email: you can use the “intrigue” email as a template for this one. It’s an introductory hook to reel the reader in — think mysterious subject line and very little copy in the main body. Countdown timers or an ambiguous “save the date” style works well.
  • A scene-setter: this is where you give the subscriber more information about your announcement and nurture your leads. Let them know any relevant details, how they can get involved and why they should be excited; what value are you offering them?
  • A highlighter email: nearer to the date of your launch, event or sale, remind your subscriber that they’re getting closer. Start counting down the days, visually highlighting any awesome features of your product like this Apple Watch Nike+ launch email:

Image Automizy

You can send a few of these to build hype and elicit excitement — like a story plot gaining momentum as it reaching a crisis moment.

  • A launch email: the grand finale is here! Your new product is now available to buy, your event is here, your sale is on — fantastic. The key here is finally converting the hype you’ve been building in your audience into sales. Use compelling sales copy to create a sense of urgency, as well as tell readers how they can buy your product and why it will change their life.

Sequential emails are perfect for storytelling in a way that generates hype and builds anticipation. Think of them as chapters, leaving the reader with multiple cliffhangers and ramping up excitement throughout the process.

These are just three ways to build anticipation in your emails to promote your brand and increase sales.

Remember, the primary goal of a teaser email is to entice and compel your subscriber into wanting to find out more and push them into action. You’re essentially priming them for product purchase —  whether it is by convincing them to open your teaser email, getting them to eagerly anticipate the next email in a campaign, or building their anticipation.

By using the above methods, you can convince your subscribers that good things really do come to those who wait.

Post By Patrick Foster (2 Posts)

Patrick Foster manages Ecommerce Tips, his blog and ecommerce resource that delivers insight, knowledge, and advice on everything about online selling. For all the latest, check out the latest on Twitter @myecommercetips.


It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

Read Similar Blogs

Post a Comment

1 Comment

Ready To Rule The First Page of Google?

Contact us for an exclusive 20-minute assessment & strategy discussion. Fill out the form, and we will get back to you right away!

What Our Clients Have To Say

Luciano Zeppieri
Sharon Tierney
Sheena Owen
Andrea Bodi - Lab Works
Dr. Philip Solomon MD