Companies have used marketing newsletters to keep in touch with customers for decades. My parents used to get snail mail newsletters from the local comic shop and other companies. These pamphlets often had coupons, product features, and invitations to events. (I always looked for the dates for the comic book trivia nights.) They were an excellent way for businesses to keep in touch with clients and market their brands. 

Newsletters remain as popular as ever, but most modern companies send them digitally. In 2023, 69% of B2B marketers used email newsletters to share content. It’s easy to see the appeal of this approach. Marketing newsletters are an affordable and simple way to connect with your audience. They let you deliver valuable content and build long-term relationships with your subscribers. 

Of course, creating effective marketing newsletters is easier said than done. You’ll need the right content, a stylish layout, and personal touches. Marketing automation tools and other technology can streamline this process. 

This guide explores strategies and tools for creating engaging marketing newsletters. We also cover best practices and common mistakes to avoid.

Introduction to marketing newsletters 

A marketing newsletter is a collection of updates about a brand. Consider it a highlight reel of essential or exciting content. Companies typically send this type of email every month or quarter. 

Marketing newsletters contain a broad range of content, such as:

  • Announcements about new product lines 
  • Case studies from clients
  • Event invitations
  • Exclusive deals
  • How-to guides 
  • Industry news 
  • Sales announcements
  • User-generated content

Obviously, you wouldn’t include all this information at once — it’s a newsletter, not a novel! Aim to include two to five different types of content per newsletter. Your January edition could feature a case study and an invitation to a webinar, then in February, you could announce a new product launch and share industry trends. Mixing up your content will keep your newsletter fresh and offer the most value for clients.  

Marketing newsletters vs. traditional newsletters 

Digital marketing newsletters have many benefits over traditional newsletters. They’re cost-effective and let you reach subscribers much faster than snail mail. Plus, you won’t have to make a trip to the post office and worry about your newsletters getting lost. 

Most email platforms also have built-in analytics tools. This technology lets you watch every newsletter’s performance and make adjustments. Say you notice that only 20% of subscribers open your newsletter. You could create catchy subject lines and see if they boost open rates. 

The impact of marketing newsletters

Newsletter marketing is one of the best ways to engage customers. Every newsletter is a friendly reminder about your brand and the value it provides. This approach builds relationships by keeping clients informed and connected. Newsletters also invite readers to engage by clicking links, sharing content, and more. 

Businesses also use marketing newsletters to deliver personalized content. You can curate content for each client based on their behaviors, interests, and needs. Say a customer buys a software package from your brand. Send them a newsletter with software tutorials and user testimonials about accessory products. New subscribers could get a special offer and a video introduction to your brand. This personalization ensures customers receive timely and relevant content. 

The essential elements of a marketing newsletter 

All effective marketing newsletters have three essential elements. Focus on nailing this formula every time to engage your subscribers. 

Craft attention-grabbing subject lines 

Customers see your subject line first when your newsletter lands in their inbox. A catchy heading may entice them to click on your message to see more. But a confusing or uninteresting subject line could leave your email unread — or dismissed to the spam folder. 

Personalization is one of the best ways to create intriguing subject lines. Choose an email platform that lets you add dynamic fields. For example, your subject lines could include the recipient’s name or a product they bought recently. 

You should also make your subject lines brief yet captivating. Many people check their inboxes on their phones, so stick to 40 characters or less. You’ll also want to include enticing language or timely references. These small details can increase the chances that recipients will open your newsletters. 

Here are a few examples of strong subject lines for digital newsletters: 

  • We’ve Got Thrilling News to Share 
  • Get Inspired With the Latest Trends 
  • Coming Soon: New Accessories and Rewards
  • Reflecting on Our Year: Awards and Updates 

Design an impactful newsletter layout and visuals 

Your newsletter’s visual design matters as much as the content. According to Statista, readers spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails. An accessible layout helps readers find relevant content as they skim your email. 

These tips will help you design the most appealing newsletter: 

  • Organize content with headings.
  • Place the most important content at the top of the email.
  • Use professional fonts in easy-to-read colors.
  • Insert high-quality infographics, photographs, and other visuals.
  • Include your brand colors and logos.
  • Create a responsive layout that adapts to different screen sizes.

Save time using an email template instead of designing your newsletter from scratch. Constant Contact has hundreds of eye-catching templates you can customize for your brand. 

Include a compelling call to action 

call to action (CTA) invites the reader to complete a task after they read your newsletter. Businesses typically hyperlink CTAs to their websites or social media. This approach can boost engagement and drive conversions. 

Like subject headlines, calls to action should be concise and intriguing. It’s also best to use active verbs and direct language to convey a sense of urgency. Aim to inspire the reader to act before they close the newsletter and stop thinking about your brand. 

Instinct Pet Food newsletter
This newsletter from Instinct Pet Food includes a clear call to action inviting the recipient to learn more about their product. Source: Instinct Pet Food

Effective calls to action include: 

  • Explore clearance items 
  • Find my store 
  • Get a free quote 
  • Learn more
  • Sign up today 

Content creation for marketing newsletters

Content creation is an essential part of every B2B email marketing campaign. Here are three ways to produce valuable content your subscribers want to read. 

Use storytelling techniques to boost engagement

Storytelling humanizes your brand and strengthens your connection with readers.  For example, you can include client success stories and testimonials. You could also share your company’s origin story and interview industry leaders. Focus on telling authentic stories that subscribers find relatable or inspiring. 

Make readers feel special with personalized content 

According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of customers want brands to provide customized experiences. Meet this demand by adding personalized content to your newsletters.

Start by segmenting your mailing list based on company size, goals, or other factors. Then, tailor your content to each group’s interests and pain points. Suppose your business sells plastic packaging to food manufacturers. You could spotlight your recyclable products for customers who have bought sustainable packing. 

Balance educational and promotional content 

This may seem counterintuitive, but your marketing newsletters should focus on educational content. That’s because most subscribers join mailing lists to learn about important topics. 

Help them gain knowledge by providing informative and relevant content. For example, you can share best practices and industry news. You can sprinkle in some promotional content, but it shouldn’t take over the newsletter. 

Strategies for subscriber growth

There are many ways to reach new audiences and grow your subscriber base. Start by including a subscription form on your website. This form should entice readers by describing the benefits of joining your newsletter. You can also allow users to sign up for certain types of newsletter content.

Additionally, many companies offer incentives for joining their mailing list. These perks can include coupons, free e-books, and early access to new products. 

You can also integrate social media with your website to capture new subscribers. Promote your newsletter on social media platforms and link to the signup webpage.

Tools and software for newsletter creation

A newsletter platform lets you design the layout, add content, and send the newsletter. Many companies offer free services, but they often have basic features. You may also only be able to send your newsletter to a limited number of subscribers. 

Paid platforms offer more advanced features and scalable solutions. Constant Contact is one of the top digital newsletter platforms. This provider offers hundreds of email templates, simplifying the design process. It also has email analytics so you can measure your newsletter’s success. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation tools can also improve the newsletter process. Generative AI makes it easy to create tailored content. You can also use automated drip campaigns to send pre-written newsletters to subscribers at scheduled times.

Best practices for newsletter marketing 

Follow these best practices to optimize your marketing newsletters: 

  • Create a consistent publishing schedule. 
  • Proofread content for grammar mistakes and spelling errors. 
  • Use an appropriate tone and language for your target audience. 
  • Keep the text concise but impactful. 
  • Use A/B testing to finetune your subject lines, CTAs, and other elements. 

Common pitfalls in newsletter marketing 

Businesses often struggle to use digital marketing newsletters effectively. Many companies send newsletters too often and annoy subscribers. Others publish their newsletters at random times, which can confuse readers. Avoid this mistake by sending newsletters on a consistent but not overwhelming basis. 

Not testing emails is another common pitfall that can lead to embarrassing mistakes. For example, you may realize your newsletter has a glaring typo or an upside-down image. Catch these errors by sending test emails and having a trusted colleague check your work. 

Compliance and legal considerations

Research the laws governing email marketing before you send out your first newsletter. This knowledge will help you ensure you follow all relevant rules. 

The most prominent laws include: 

  • CAN-SPAM Act: This law regulates commercial emails in the United States. It requires companies to use accurate headers and subject lines. You must also include an unsubscribe button and allow recipients to opt out of all future emails. 
  • General Data Protection Regulation: The GDPR applies if you’re sending emails to residents of the European Union. This law requires you to get consent from recipients and protect their data. 
  • Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation: CASL requires you to get consent before sending commercial emails to Canadian residents. You’ll also need to identify yourself and provide an unsubscribe option. 

The future of marketing newsletters

Emerging trends will transform newsletter marketing and the broader sphere of email marketing.

Some companies have started including user-generated content in their emails. Future newsletters may include client social media posts, surveys, reviews, and more. 

Businesses can also leverage data and advanced segmentation for tailored content. For example, you could analyze customers’ behavior to send them hyper-personalized product recommendations. 

Case studies and examples

Spend time researching the top email marketing newsletter examples. These newsletters can help you identify the best strategies and brainstorm content. 

The Hustle newsletter
The Hustle is an excellent example of a marketing newsletter with educational content about business and technology. Source: The Hustle

The Hustle is one of the most famous marketing newsletters. This daily newsletter shares the latest news from the business and tech industries. It includes three to five articles with infographics, data, and other educational content. 

Interactive features within newsletters

Increase engagement by adding interactive features and multimedia to your newsletters. These elements can include: 

  • Countdown timers 
  • Gifs
  • Interactive infographics
  • Polls and surveys 
  • Videos 

These features make your newsletters more fun and unique. They also encourage readers to engage with your brand in new ways and share your content. 

Resources for further learning

Many websites have resources to help you take your marketing campaigns to the next level. 

Coursera and edX have free courses on data analytics, social media marketing, and other concepts. These classes can expand your knowledge and teach you new marketing strategies. 

Online communities let you network with other newsletter marketers and share tips. One of the most popular groups is Newsletter Creators on Facebook.

Share your insights with newsletter marketing

Companies in business, tech, and other industries use marketing newsletters to reach subscribers. Aspiring newsletter creators can invite existing clients to join their mailing lists. Once you have a small audience, publish a monthly newsletter with two or three types of content. You can bump up your production schedule as your audience grows and you get the hang of the process. Remember that the most effective newsletters focus on engaging and educational content.