23 Nifty Email Newsletter Ideas (+Examples) to Engage Your Readers
Think of your audience members as real-life relationships. You have to regularly communicate with them if you want anything to come out of the relationship. After all, if someone expresses interest in your business, and you don’t reply in days, weeks, or months, they’ll more than likely move on, and fast.
This is where email newsletters come in. Prospects have shown interest in you and your business by signing up to join your email list. They want to receive messages, updates, and news from you. If you leave them hanging, all it takes is one click for them to unsubscribe. So what should you put in your newsletters to keep their attention and build the relationship? That's what this post is all about. In it, we'll walk you through:
- Exactly what email newsletters are and why they're important.
- How to write a newsletter that gets opened and read.
- 23 specific content ideas for your next (or first) newsletter.
What exactly is an email newsletter?
Just as you would write a blog post to attract and engage visitors on your website, a newsletter is a message you write for prospects on your email list. A newsletter should be personal and customized to each subscriber because they have shown their own personal interest in your business by joining your email list. It can be as simple as a body of text, or you can mix things up by including links, audio or video, images, and GIFs.
Why are email newsletters important?
You’ve heard them say that the riches are in the list, and they aren’t wrong. A report from emailmonday shows that you can expect an ROI of up to 380% on your email list. So if you invest $1000 in building a list and a worthwhile campaign, you can expect $38,000 in return.
Think about what that return will do for your business.
However, to make this dream come to reality, you need to put in the work. You’ll need to build a list (don’t ever buy a list), nurture the prospects on the list, and eventually turn them into repeat customers for your business.
Can you send any kind of message in your email newsletter?
No, you cannot. You see, your prospects are already experiencing too much chaos in their inboxes. Every other business is competing for their attention and sending them promotional emails and newsletters every single day. Take a look at your inbox, for example. What does it look like?
So to make yourself stand out from the rest, you cannot send just any kind of message in your newsletter. Sure, the letters will land in their inboxes, but you can't be sure that they’ll read it or even open it.
As you can tell, starting a newsletter and getting signups to your email list is the easy part. But maintaining it and creating a message that will get prospects to open and read the letters? That’s the hard part.
So how do you create newsletters that people open? Let’s find out. After this, we’ll go on to find newsletter content ideas to grow your business.
How to write a newsletter that gets opened and read
The average 21.73% rate shows you that not everyone on your list is going to open and read your newsletter. So how do you make sure as many people as possible read it? These three tips will help you.
1. Start with a great subject line
What is the first thing that makes you want to read a book or blog post? We guess that it’s the title or headline.
Having the right headline is so important that David Ogilvy, a copywriting legend, considers it as 80 cents out of a dollar. If you cannot make people interested in your headline, then you have lost them.
In the case of newsletters, subject lines act as headlines.
Your newsletter’s subject line needs to be interesting, eye-catching, and able to raise the curiosity of your subscribers so much so that they click your newsletter and start to read.
Remember that there are limits on the characters subscribers can see before their mail app truncates the text. So make sure that you front-load the part of your subject line that will grab their interest. For more examples of subject lines, head here.
To create a great subject line, you’ll also need to avoid words and phrases that trigger your subscriber’s spam filter. We all know what happens to the emails that end up in the spam folder. Your subscribers and potential customers will be unable to see these emails, talk less of even reading them.
Here is a comprehensive list of spam trigger words you need to avoid.
2. Write great email copy
What does great copy even mean? It means writing in a manner that is simple and clear and that prompts people to take action.
You need great copywriting because your customers don’t really care about you, per se. They are always on the lookout for things that will benefit them. So if you want your prospects to read your newsletter, make it about them.
Rather than writing about your company's history or how you are the best business around—even if it's true—it's better to write your newsletter content from your customers' perspective. What value can they get out of it? What will they see as worth their time to read or click on to learn more?
When writing, always ask yourself “does this help my prospects or potential customers in any way?” If your answer is no, then do well not to include it in your newsletter.
Great copywriting takes the focus off yourself and places it on the customers. It also involves the use of storytelling. Stories help to create emotional connections that transcend a person’s background, color, or financial status. We are all drawn to a good story.
3. Make your newsletter accessible on mobile
Gone are the days when most people check their email from their laptops or computers. Now, we all have smartphones that can help us with almost everything. People now order rides, pay for rent, buy food, and read emails—all from their phone.
What this means for you is that you need to customize your newsletter in a way that makes it easy to read on a phone, tablet, or other mobile devices.
Newsletter content ideas to grow your business
Now that you know what a newsletter is and how to write one that people would read, it is now time to learn about what to write about. Here are 50 newsletter content ideas you can use:
1. Welcome series
Welcome series work well because they help prospects know more about your business and how you can help them. It is also an easy but effective way of keeping your business at the top of your prospect’s mind. You could send your welcome series over 3 days, and then send out newsletters once or twice a week.
2. Company news
Familiarize your subscribers with your business by including company updates in your email newsletters. These updates can include any multitude of topics ranging from introducing new products or services, a behind-the-scenes look at business renovations, to employee updates. Again, put yourself in your readers's shoes to make it interesting and of value to them.
Also, remember to make it easy for yourself—your email newsletter doesn’t have to be the literary masterpiece of the year. One way to format company updates is use bullet points. Not only does a simple email format make it easier for you to write your newsletter, it also makes it easy for your email subscribers to skim the content and digest the information quickly.
3. Industry news
Share and educate your customers about the latest trends in your industry. Keep the update short and simple; try to leave out terms that are too technical. Remember whom you’re writing for, so adjust accordingly to the level of knowledge your customers have and write for them.
4. Holidays and observances
There are plenty of monthly awareness causes and national holidays and observances that can serve as themes for your newsletters. With these types of newsletters, keep your focus on entertaining, educating, and inspiring. This could be anything from helping readers find the perfect gift for the holidays to sending them a funny anecdote/jokes related to events. Even highlighting an inspirational quote for a holiday like Martin Luther King Day can help you connect to a customer by communicating the values that your business is founded upon.
Holiday newsletters work well when combined with a promo. And don't worry, we've got you covered on help with holiday email subject lines.
Of course, if your business is hosting an event like a special class or an open house, an email newsletter containing a description and a link to the event invitation would be a quick way to spread the word about the occasion and can encourage more participation.
5. Employee or customer spotlight
Since company newsletters are a great way to nurture relationships with customers, writing a profile on an employee is a way to grow a more personal connection with your potential and existing customers. People love a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite local business and an employee profile is an easy way to establish a bond between your business and your community.
The same goes for customer or client spotlights. For example, if you’re an interior designer or landscaper, write up an article featuring the work you did for a recent client and add visuals (perhaps before-and-after pictures). If you run a martial arts or driving school, for example, write up a little feature about one of your students. Spotlights not only help to humanize your brand, but they require very minimal writing. Just upload a picture, and publish the spotlight in a Q&A format.
6. Guest or influencer highlights
If you’re stuck for an idea, go through your contacts and see if any of them want a guest spot on your newsletter. Maybe one of your contacts is in a business that compliments yours. For example, if you’re a florist, invite someone who owns a local greenhouse to give expert advice on houseplant maintenance. Guest features are great for generating new ideas and making valuable connections within your niche.
7. Open positions for hire
Do you have new open positions in your business? You can write about it in a newsletter. This will help you find potential employees who are already interested in your business.
8. Product or service guides
You can send a letter to your list with helpful information on how to use your products or services. Of course, these kinds of guides vary depending on your business. If you’re a software company, your guide could be in the form of a video. If you make handmade products, you could include pictures in your guide.
Product or service guides work because they help your prospects solve their problems.
You could also send an email newsletter with unique and unconventional ways people can use your products or services.
9. Special offers and discounts
Occasionally offering your email subscribers a special sales promotion will help you reengage customers who have not visited your business in a while. You can also incentivize word of mouth sharing by reminding your subscribers to forward the email and pass along the special offer to their family and friends. Including “exclusive” promotions for “subscribers only” will also help keep your email newsletter subscriptions up and give your subscribers a reason to open your newsletter instead of sending it to the trash folder.
10. Product reviews
Product reviews are a good way to showcase your industry expertise. What’s a better way to market and sell products and services that you carry than by reviewing them and educating your audience about the pros and cons of each?
Select one product to write about as the “product of the week/month”, give a little background information about the producer, talk about its pros and cons, and how it compares to other products. And just because you don’t carry a certain product, doesn’t mean you can’t review it. What’s your opinion on a product that has just been released or any other product related to your industry? Product reviews aren’t just another way to feature products in your own inventory; they’re a way for you to build trust with your potential or current customers by educating them and equipping them with resources that are of value to them.
11. FAQs/advice column
Not only does inviting your customers to ask you questions build engagement, but it also helps you understand them and their pain points better. Solicit or ask questions from your subscribers or from your fans on social media and feature the Q&A in an advice column in your newsletter. This is a great way not only to display your knowledge of industry topics, but you’re also opening another channel of engagement with your customers.
Are you getting a lot of questions about your product or service? You can create a frequently asked questions blog post and share it in your newsletter.
12. Survey, poll, or feedback
Being responsive to your customers is important for the success of your business, and an advantage small businesses have over larger corporations. Most business owners writing the newsletters are also running the day-to-day operations, so they can get a feel for what to ask for feedback or comments on. Then, in your next newsletter or even on social media, you can address feedback, answer FAQs, and feature positive testimonials or reviews.
One easy way to solicit feedback is to embed a survey in your newsletter—whether it is a brief one-question survey that’s just for fun or a longer survey to get actionable guidance for your business.
13. Blog posts
If you just published a new blog post, you could share it with your list; or you might want to share links to your top three blog posts from the month in your newsletter, with a one- or two-sentence summary for each post. You could do the same even with older blog posts.
14. Resource roundup
Every week, you can decide to send out a list of resources or top-finds for the week. This could include books, articles, videos, tweets, or as stated above, your own blog posts.
15. Behind-the-scenes content
Not only can you curate content from your business's events, talks, and programs; but you can also share pictures of staff working on jobs or projects or partaking in fun office celebrations to share exclusively with prospects on your email list.
16. A message from the CEO, owner, or president
Only a few things will make your subscribers feel that you care about them more than a message from the CEO, owner, or president. It helps you differentiate your business from faceless brands and corporations out there.
17. Testimonials and case studies
Testimonials and case studies are a powerful method of showing people proof that you can help solve their problems. You can share testimonials with prospects on your list who have not bought from you yet. You can easily target these people through email segmentation.
18. User-generated content
You don’t have to come up with fresh ideas all by yourself. You can collect content generated by your product users and share it with your email list. One easy way to collect user-generated content is by encouraging customers to share their experiences with your business on social media with custom hashtags.
19. Thank you to customers
A little thank you goes a long way, especially when it comes to customer appreciation.
20. Share new releases and product updates
When you launch a new service or feature, let your customers know through your email newsletter. Use videos of your product or service to demonstrate how to utilize the new offering and explain the associate benefits. This will help to reinforce the value or your product and/or service, and will also help to improve the traffic on your YouTube channel.
21. Thought leadership
Are there some industry opinions or updates for which you have a unique perspective? Are there common myths that need to be debunked? You can either share these directly in your email newsletter or provide a link to the content if it lives somewhere else, such as on LinkedIn or a blog post. This is a great way to educate your audience while also distinguishing yourself from competitors.
22. Send birthday wishes
Surprise your subscribers by sending them personalized messages and even special offers on their birthdays.
23. Share your favorite books/movies/songs
You don’t have to only talk business in your newsletter. Infuse some fun into it by sharing your favorite show on Netflix, a song on Spotify, or a book from Amazon. You can provide your own recommendations, or, if you conducted a poll, share those of your readers.
Use these newsletter ideas and tips to engage your audience
Now that you know what a newsletter is, the value it adds for both your business and your subscribers, as well as how to write one that gets read, you can use the content ideas in this post to start engaging your audience and winning more customers. Let's finish off with a recap of the newsletter content ideas:
- Welcome series
- Company news
- Industry news
- Holidays and observances
- Employee or customer spotlight
- Guest or influencer highlights
- Open positions for hire
- Product or service guides
- Special offers and discounts
- Product reviews
- FAQs/advice column
- Survey, poll, or feedback
- Blog posts
- Resource roundup
- Behind-the-scenes content
- A message from the CEO, owner, or president
- Testimonials and case studies
- User-generated content
- Thank you to customers
- New releases and product updates
- Thought leadership
- Send birthday wishes
- Share favorite books/movies/songs relevant to your audience
These newsletter ideas will help you to craft emails and convey messages that your subscribers will want to read and look forward to. Which one of these ideas will you try first?
About the author
Michael Usiagwu is the Founder of Visible Links Pro, a digital marketing agency committed to seeing small to large companies gain the right visibility online through various SEO strategies. Connect with him via Twitter.