Email may not be the first digital marketing aspect that most people think of, but it is a low-cost and effective way to reach an interested audience. Starting a newsletter is an excellent way to build and maintain a relationship with your customers.
What Makes a Great Newsletter?
No matter what industry they’re for or what purpose they serve, the most successful newsletters have a few things in common that separate them from the forgettable ones.
Every email you send in your newsletter should have a clear purpose and message. Otherwise, why bother sending it? Any email automation tool will let you segment your email list by goals set for certain groups. For example, you could have a segment for brand awareness, a segment for customers who have already made a purchase, or even a segment for people who have signed up for an account but haven’t made a purchase yet. This way, you can send your subscribers the most relevant content to their place in the buyer journey.
A Range of Newsletter Ideas
Your newsletter can do so much more than announce your next sale. To keep your readers’ attention and keep them looking forward to the next email, offer a variety of content. Formats like
- How-to guides
- Success stories
- And more
Give readers value with entertainment and education.
Intriguing Subject Lines
Subject lines aren’t very long, but they go a long way in getting the open rates you need to meet your marketing goals. Here are a few ways to attract readers’ attention with a subject line:
- Keep it shorter than 60 characters
- Use descriptive words
- Limit punctuation to three marks per subject line
- Use an emoji to supplement the words if appropriate
Valuable Newsletter Content
Your newsletter content shouldn’t only be about getting them to click that CTA button. The content on its own should bring value by entertaining them, teaching them something new, or both.
Eye-Catching Newsletter Design
The words alone aren’t enough to get your audience engaged with your newsletter. The images, designs, fonts, and colors you choose should be appealing to the eye and easy to read. A visually appealing newsletter design will keep subscribers engaged and encourage them to take action better than a plain, unappealing design will. Using email newsletter templates can help take the guesswork out of the design.
Your call to action (CTA) nudges readers to go to your website and take an action related to your business. This could be to make a purchase, schedule an appointment, start a free trial, or more. Place a noticeable CTA button with compelling words above the fold. Your readers should know what the button is leading them to when they click it.
Keep it Mobile-Friendly
Think about where you read most of your emails. If you’re like most people, it’s probably on your smartphone. That’s why mobile-friendly design and copy are especially important for email newsletters. Mobile-friendly newsletter design elements include:
- Simple designs
- Readable fonts
- Effective spacing
- Optimized image files
Email Newsletter Ideas
A newsletter can be about just about anything related to your company. To send out a monthly newsletter or even a weekly newsletter, you’ll need a variety of topics to keep it fresh and interesting. Here are a few types of emails you can send out to get you started:
- Blog post or video round-up
- New job openings
- Recent case studies
- Members-only deals and promotions
- Helpful tips and best practices
- Industry news
- Upcoming events and webinars
- Recordings of past webinars
- Product updates
- Survey results
- A team spotlight with pictures and bios
- Photos or stories customers have shared
- Behind-the-scenes at your company
- Interviews with company executives
- Monthly business recap
- Frequently Asked Questions and answers
Email Newsletter Design Elements
Here are the main design elements that every email newsletter needs to have:
- Your logo or masthead
- A featured image and other eye-catching visuals
- Top stories featured at the top
- Additional content and promotions following
- An email footer with social links and subscription information
The Best Email Newsletter Examples
Before you start creating your own newsletter, it’s always a good idea to see what some of the best newsletters in the game do. No matter how big or small your business is, what product or service you sell, or what the occasion for your email is, take inspiration from these newsletters.
An ecommerce newsletter should truly speak to your online customer base and make reading your emails worth their time. A successful ecommerce newsletter should:
- Establish a line of communication from your company to your audience
- Promote offers and deals
- Increase sales
- Keep customers engaged
BarkBox is a subscription company for dog toys and treats with a different theme every month. Their newsletter helps them build brand loyalty with a clever, whimsical brand voice and pictures of cute dogs.
Away luggage aims to create suitcases out of durable materials that solve real problems while also looking fashionable. Their email newsletter uses photos sent in by customers and splashes of color to draw viewers in.
Sephora is a brand with a lot of loyal customers. One part of that is that their email marketing strategy builds relationships through promotions, makeup and beauty tips, events, and subscribers-only deals.
B2B and SaaS Newsletters
B2B marketing is a different animal than marketing to customers. When your target audience is businesses, educational content, case studies, and personalized offers are the way to attract and maintain your readers’ attention.
- Offer value to new subscribers
- Provide weekly or monthly company updates
- Help business owners engage with their audience
Saas company Moosend’s email newsletter focuses on educational content to help their subscribers improve their own email marketing and content marketing strategies. Their “The Marketing Lab” series is a great example of their cartoon visuals and educational tone.
Automation company Zapier’s email newsletter keeps subscribers, most of whom are business owners and entrepreneurs, up to date on new product integrations and gives them tips on making the most of their tools. This email is a great example of how efficiently they explain what their tools do.
Hack the Box is a cybersecurity training platform. Their monthly newsletter features helpful content and promotes new modules that they add to the platform. The bright green CTA buttons grab the readers’ attention and entice them to click.
Giving Tuesday is an important day for clients of digital payment company Cheddar Up. Their email for the occasion includes fundraising tips, links to relevant blog posts, and a customer testimonial to promote social proof.
New Product and Product Update Newsletters
A product email shouldn’t just announce “we have a new product” or “we updated one of our products.” Once a subscriber reads this email, they should have a clear understanding not only of what the product is, but how it can help them solve their pain points and how to purchase it.
Litmus makes their email content stand out with color contrast and short, scannable blocks of text. The CTA buttons also make it clear what the user will get if they click on it.
The Body Shop’s email marketing uses indulgent language, exciting images, fresh colors, and clever CTA button copy to charm their subscribers.
The Box monthly newsletter alerts subscribers about new features with short, yet informative email copy. The design is simple, but the bold headings and short blocks of text make it easy to follow and the bold colors keep it from being boring.
Function of Beauty’s enticing email copy and luxurious images draw readers in. The wordplay of “it takes two to mango” is clever and on-brand with the product they’re promoting. The copy on the CTA buttons creates a sense of urgency while avoiding pushy cliches.
Holidays are the perfect time to have a sale. They’re also the perfect time to email your customers. A deal that’s exclusive to your email subscribers is an excellent way to boost sales and create a sense of community among your customers. To craft a good holiday campaign you have to:
- Use a holiday email template or create your own
- Add an incentive that appeals to your audience
- Give more value to your email subscribers
Black Friday is a big deal for all kinds of businesses in the United States. Home Chef’s Black Friday email is an effective example. The copy is simple, to the point, and benefit-focused. The black background and neon accents grab the viewers’ attention. The CTA button and “Limited time only” underneath it create the necessary sense of urgency for a one-day sale campaign.
Christmas and holiday season promotional emails can be overwhelming, especially when so many companies send them during that time. This one from Mattel is refreshingly simple. The photo is warm and familial, but not particularly festive. “Enjoy holiday gameplay with the entire family!” already lets you know that this is a seasonal promotion without hitting the point too hard. The minimal copy keeps it straightforward and to the point.
Skillshare chose to celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, by interviewing Black American artists who use their platform about what the holiday means to them and placed the most powerful quotes in their email campaign. These quotes and high quality images motivate subscribers to read more.
Blog Content Newsletters
Blogs make a great fit for email newsletters. You can use them to let subscribers know when a new post is up, promote popular posts, or re-promote particularly relevant posts. To create a successful blog content newsletter:
- Use RSS feeds to provide regular updates
- Send emails promoting specific pieces of content
- Use a conversational and friendly tone
Yep, Campbell’s Soup has a blog for sharing recipes and more! This blog round-up email uses a large, friendly header image, their brand colors, and their logo sprinkled throughout to keep the design on-brand without going overboard with it. The copy focuses on selling you on the family-friendly recipe so you have to click through to start cooking it.
The ingredient that makes digital product design platform InVision’s blog post emails stand out is their CTA buttons. The bright pink stands out against the white background and the text like “CAT GIFS ON EVERY PAGE” grabs the reader’s attention and piques their curiosity.
Moz Top 10 rounds up the best articles about marketing so marketers can have a one-stop shop to learn more about their craft in their downtime. Their top ten format with the title and brief description for each point make it easy to read and decide which pieces you want to read more of.
Nonprofit Organization Newsletters
Nonprofit organizations use newsletters to encourage donations, inform supporters of what they accomplished, promote events, and more. A successful nonprofit newsletter should:
- Promote your cause with straightforward copy
- Use high-quality visuals to evoke emotion
The World Wildlife Foundation sends their supporters weekly emails to inform them about various environmental issues and what they’re doing to help. Though their newsletters are more text-heavy than most, the structure and use of whitespace make it easy to read.
This email from UNICEF is a great example of using storytelling in a newsletter. The picture of the school children and the sentence about the problem make the reader feel sympathy, then the CTA button that says “read what happens next” functions as a cliffhanger.
Find More Examples
Email newsletter examples aren’t hard to find if you’re not a subscriber. You just have to know where to look. Milled, Really Good Emails, and Mailcharts all have databases full of marketing emails from a wide range of companies that serve a variety of purposes. You’ll probably find ones that are specific to your industry and campaigns.
Tips for Creating Your Own Email Newsletter
When you’re ready to create your own email newsletter for your small business or startup, follow these hot tips to set yourself up for success.
Lead With the Most Important Information
Placing your top story above the fold gives people a greater likelihood of interacting with it.
Give Your Content a Purpose
Every email newsletter you send should serve a purpose in the customer journey. While some emails will promote brand awareness, others will promote conversions.
Provide Value to Your Audience
In addition to its purpose in the buyer journey, each email should also give value to the reader as something more than just an ad. This could be educational, entertainment or, even better, a little of both.
Personalization Goes a Long Way
Readers want relevant content. For a newsletter, that means taking advantage of segmentation and using automated features to use their names to address them.
Keep it Skimmable
People are probably going to read your email newsletters quickly. If they’re not skimmable, they might just not bother with them at all. Keep your headers noticeable, paragraphs and sentences short, and your language easy to understand.
A/B Test Your Newsletters
A/B testing is a valuable practice for any aspect of your digital marketing strategy. Many email service providers have A/B testing tools built in so you can test aspects like
- Send frequency
- Subject line
- Call to action
- And more…
Knowing which versions of these attributes customers like better can help you develop more successful email marketing campaigns.
When it comes to branding, consistency is everything. Aligning the design and content of your emails with the rest of your marketing efforts doesn’t just let subscribers know what to expect when they open an email, it creates a more unified experience.
How to Get New Subscribers
Every email newsletter needs subscribers. But how do you get them? Here are a few ways to grow your email list:
Give People Incentives to Sign Up
Some people may just give you their email address because they like your company and want to stay up to date. For others, you’ll need to sweeten the deal with an incentive, also known as a lead magnet. Your lead magnet could be:
- A free eBook
- A checklist summarizing steps from a blog post
- A PDF version of a blog post or case study
- A cheat sheet
- A coupon
- A webinar registration
- A template or worksheet
- A free course or email series
Place Sign-Up Opportunities
Make it as easy as possible to subscribe to your emails by placing sign-up opportunities in several places. Here are a few places on your website and beyond that are great for placing sign-up opportunities for your email list:
- Checkout or sign-up process
- Blog sidebar
- Website footer
- Contact us page
- Social media profiles
- Email signature
- In-person point of sale
Be sure to use compelling CTAs in each of these places to grab visitors’ attention.
Leverage Your Social Media Accounts
The first step to leverage your social media accounts to get email sign-ups is placing sign-up buttons and opt-in forms in your social media bios. Next, take your email list to the next level by creating digital marketing campaigns for the purpose of getting newsletter sign-ups. Facebook, and Instagram, are known for their audience targeting and segmentation capabilities. One of their campaign objective options is email list sign-ups.
Create A High-Converting Landing Page
Your social media campaigns have to lead somewhere. Lead them to a compelling, visually appealing landing page and get those conversions. Social media users who click on your ads should be led to a landing page that invites them to sign up for your email list and offers them an incentive in return. This leads to more conversions than sending these visitors directly to your homepage.
High-converting landing page need these three elements:
- a strong headline that emphasizes the benefits for the user
- a powerful image to accompany the message and catch the users’ eye
- enticing body copy to engage the visitor and invite them to take action
Host A Giveaway
Giveaways are another popular tactic for email list building. They’re especially effective for ecommerce businesses. When you promote it on social media, the news can spread fast and you can collect a lot of email addresses in a short amount of time. This tactic also increases brand awareness at the same time.
Just make sure the prize you’re giving away is related to your company and target audience. If it’s not, a lot of people might sign up because they wanted the prize and then unsubscribe later on because they’re not interested in what your business is actually selling.
Run A Viral Contest
A viral contest is a giveaway that gives people more entries in exchange for referrals. If every entrant enters their email address, that makes it a solid list building technique. It’s also a great chance to leverage your customer base to do a little marketing for you with user-generated content. After all, people are more likely to see a company as trustworthy if the recommendation is coming from a friend or family member.
Manually Reach Out To Your Contacts
People you already know can play an important role in your list building strategy. Will all of your friends sign up? Probably not. But if you ask a lot of them, you’ll get more sign-ups than you would if you didn’t ask at all.
If there’s anyone in particular you have in mind, let them know that you are creating an email list and what they can get out of signing up. If you want your invitation to go further, ask them to invite their contacts. If you have a customer base but don’t have an email list yet, do this with your repeat customers.
Create A Referral Program For New Signups
The power of a social proof is a valuable thing for marketers to harvest. You can harvest it and grow your email list faster by creating a referral program for new subscribers. People may not think to recommend your email list to a friend in an everyday conversation with their friends. But they might think of some people who could be interested if you prompt them to refer a friend in exchange for a special discount or promotion. You can create a referral program with tools like ReferralCandy, Tapfiliate, and Partnerstack, to name but a few.
Email Newsletters: FAQ
Let’s break down some answers to some of the most common questions about email newsletters.
What are the 5 elements of a newsletter?
There are five elements that are essential to any successful newsletter. They are:
- Email design that reflects your brand identity
- Engaging copy and storytelling
- Content that’s relevant to your audience
- Call to action
- Eye-catching subject line
How do I make a good newsletter?
Your email should resonate with the readers. In order to do that, it should have:
- A clear CTA.
- An obvious unsubscribe link in the footer
- A company address and contact info in the footer
- Content that engages, educates, and brings value to your readers
- High-quality copywriting and storytelling
- Good email design
How long should an email newsletter be?
In general, a good length for an email newsletter is 20 lines of text or 200 words. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Every email has an action it wants readers to take. Different actions require different amounts of information. If the action is claiming a coupon code, a short email will do the trick. If the action is registering for an event, they’re going to need more background information about the event.
How Sav Can Help
Here at Sav, we don’t just make it easy to set up a website. We also make it easy to manage your website so you can stick to running your business. That’s why we partner with MailChimp for email newsletters and email marketing. Users with Advanced and Unlimited plans can send automated emails when customers take certain actions on the website. Start sending today!