Advertising & Marketing

Top Newsletter Ideas and 10 Businesses That Do It Right

Most businesses have them, but how many people are reading them? Turns out lots of people love signing up for newsletters from their favorite businesses – if they’re made right. If you’re looking to create something customers will actually want to read, check out these newsletter ideas, tips, tricks, and marketing must-haves. 

Why Have a Newsletter?

With so much marketing happening on social media and in paid ads, what’s the benefit of direct-to-email marketing anymore? Turns out there are a lot of benefits that come from a well-constructed newsletter, both for sales and for customer engagement. Here are some of the benefits that a good newsletter can bring your business: 

  • Stay top of mind: Customers won’t soon forget your brand when they’re reading your newsletter every week. Stay relevant in their lives by staying present in their email.
  • Leave quality impressions: A good newsletter is something your customers should look forward to. As customers enjoy your emails, they come to bond with your brand as well.
  • A great place to educate: Is there a large learning curve to your product or industry? Take advantage of those weekly emails to teach customers what they need to know to get the most out of your product.
  • Set the tone for your company: When trying to establish a voice for your brand, start with your newsletter. This will help customers get a feel for who you are and what you represent.
  • Repeat advertising boost sales: Did you know that just seeing your brand more than once increases a customer’s chance of buying? In fact, most customers need to see your product several times before making the leap to buy, and your newsletter can give you that necessary exposure. 

What to Customers Look for in a Newsletter

What makes a customer look for your email every week? Here are some essential business newsletter ideas to make you a relevant part of their inbox. 

  • Relevant: You know your target audience, so you should know what they’d like to learn. Use your newsletter to educate customers on things that matter to them and avoid marketing fluff that they’d rather unsubscribe to.
  • Digestible: Unless sharing content is your entire business model, odds are your customers won’t be interested in getting a weekly novel. Make your newsletters easy to absorb quickly as a five-minute read or less.
  • Timely: How often you send a newsletter depends on your industry and how much relevant content you have to share. Some companies can be most effective with a monthly newsletter, while content-based businesses can have daily newsletters.
  • “Candy”: Don’t just educate your customers, give them treats to get them excited about their newsletters. Offer special deals and discounts, giveaways, and more alongside your content. As Laura Owen put it for Nieman Lab, a publisher focused on detailing how to improve online content performance, it’s important to offer an audience “candy” in the form of what they want to read, as opposed to forcing them to eat “vegetables” in the form of content you think they need. 
  • Phone friendly: Many customers prefer to handle their emails primarily through their phone, which means you need to make sure your newsletters are mobile-friendly in their design and content.

Mistakes to Avoid

These common mistakes will make customers hit “unsubscribe” (or not even sign up at all!). Watch out for these common mistakes when looking for your next newsletter ideas. 

  • Hiding your newsletter: If there isn’t a clear path to subscribing the moment customers go on your website, you’re losing customers. Nobody should have to hunt through your website in order to subscribe, because by the time they find it, they won’t be interested anymore.
  • Sending useless info: Save your sales numbers for investors and patents for your lawyers, customers don’t want business jargon cluttering up their email! Keep all information directly relevant to your customers and their interests.
  • Emailing too often: If you’re emailing with sales pushes every day, you’ve become spam. Once a week is plenty for most industries.
  • Clutter with paragraphs: Again, customers don’t want a novel in their email. Avoid blocky paragraphs and keep your copy quick, snappy, and backed by good graphics.
  • Sales over information: If your emails are pushing sales more than anything else, you’re going to be labeled as spam. Customers want to read emails that teach them something useful, engage their emotions, and show them something new. Big Commerce provides great tips on how to balance sales vs information in your newsletters.

10 of the Best Business Newsletters

Looking for some examples of great newsletters? These companies are packed with great company newsletter ideas that you can incorporate into your own! 

1. Robinhood Snacks

Packed with useful nuggets of financial news, Robinhood Snacks helps customers stay abreast of important market movements in business, tech, and more. Offered in daily bite-sized 3-minute articles, customers get free information to help them make smart decisions with their investments. 

What they do right: 

Robinhood Snacks are both highly relevant to their customers, keeping them educated on events that could affect investments made through the app, and digestible, offering quick education that doesn’t soak up their customers’ morning. Because the information is extremely timely, relevant, and packed with useful facts, these newsletters can be sent daily without feeling spammy. 

2. Harvard Business Review

A newsletter made for leaders, this company offers tips and tricks from global leaders and management experts. Dedicated to helping improve management practices, people pay up to $18 dollars a month to get these insights sent to their email. Customers can choose from a wide variety of topics to keep information relevant to them, ranging from management strategy to the struggles of corporate women. 

What they do right: 

Harvard Business Review is highly customizable, ensuring customers get what they want in their newsletters, including how often you get your email! This company is so effective in producing high quality content, people are willing to pay money to get their newsletter. 

3. The Moz Top Ten

Moz is a company that offers a variety of solutions to help with digital marketing, including ways to measure and improve SEO. Their newsletter builds on that business model by offering the top ten articles from their digital marketing publications, educating customers on the industry in which Moz operates. This top ten list is sent twice a month, leaving customers plenty of time to enjoy the articles without feeling overloaded. 

What they do right: 

As customers read up on digital marketing, they’ll better understand how to use Moz’s services to improve their own marketing methods. While ten articles isn’t exactly bite-sized, it’s a lot easier for a customer to find something they want to learn about from a list of ten articles as opposed to the entire internet. Plus, with a semi-monthly frequency, customers can take their time browsing the top ten list without their inbox backing up. 

4. Caterpillar

Would you ever think of subscribing to a construction newsletter? Well, Caterpillar does it right by offering a tailored newsletter experience. Sign up with your industry and get only the offers and updates that make sense for you. Customers don’t need to worry about cluttered construction jargon in these newsletters; each email is a quick read with a straight-to-the-point approach any engineer can get behind. 

What they do right: 

Caterpillar’s newsletter customizable so you only get offers related to your industry in construction and engineering, which helps keep their offers relevant and timely to customer needs. Their emails are also brief and packed with quality branding, featuring less text and a black and yellow layout matched to their branding colors. With a design like that, customers will be able to recognize their brand at a glance. 

5. Morning Brew

When your business model is all about delivering quick and engaging news, you’d better hope your newsletter reflects that! Subscribed to one of the most popular news sites, customers can get an easy 5-minute glimpse into today’s news highlights, with links to their site for when you’re ready to jump down a rabbit hole. You can be sure your news will be relevant as well with its customizable setup. 

What they do right: 

Morning Brew delivers on its promise of quick reads that keep you engaged and informed, using a customizable subscription setup that allows you to choose what you hear about in your newsletter. A daily subscription, customers can get their daily snapshot of the world today with market movement highlights, world news articles, and more in a browse-friendly layout. As their business is all about getting you to their site, they don’t waste time putting whole articles in their newsletter. Instead, a headline, picture, and highlight snippet is all you need to help you decide if you want to check out the whole thing on their website or keep looking. 

6. Airbnb

Looking for a place to spend a dreamy vacation? Airbnb knows words aren’t going to do the job to draw you in. They rely instead on scenic pictures that show exactly what kind of gorgeous views you’ll wake up to if you use their site. Some brief introductory copy carries you into their gorgeous pictures paired with UX-friendly graphics, with the occasional offer or stay highlight to keep you reading. 

What they do right: 

Airbnb is great at incorporating a “show-don’t-tell” plan, with just enough words to give you context without detracting from the reason customers are going to click – the pics. They also follow the rule of less vegetables, more candy with promises of dreams come true and relaxing vacations as opposed to a focus on negative pressure or excessive background info to get you to their site. 

7. Cheapflights

Cheapflights live up to their name, helping customers get from point A to point B with the least amount of money possible. This means their newsletter is full of sweet deals, cheap flight highlights, and exclusive offers. Eye-catching headlines feature what customers are really looking for – low price numbers and dazzling locations. 

What they do right: 

Nobody signing up for Cheapflights’ newsletter is going to be surprised or upset at what they get, they asked for cheap flights, and Cheapflights delivers. With a simplistic, uncluttered layout that takes moments to absorb, customers don’t have to work hard to get drawn in by the promise of affordable vacations. 

8. Thrifter

Another money-saving favorite, people love Thrifter’s newsletter for its convenient snapshot into the latest deals. Customers can enjoy information ranging from specialized deals to engaging articles about what to buy next, perfect for the chronic thrifter who spends their time hunting for the latest deal. Instead of browsing tirelessly through thousands of deals on their site, the newsletter delivers special editor picks for a daily dose of deals. 

What they do right: 

For thrift shoppers, deal finding is a daily activity as much as checking your social media, which means a daily email is the perfect frequency for sending a small collection of top deals and articles. Tastefully laid out in a phone and scroll-friendly layout, customers can scroll through the morning newsletter first thing in the morning. 

9. Bed Bath & Beyond

Along with a cute collection of graphics, product images, and playful snipets, Bed Bath & Beyond gets you started with their newsletter with a subscriber’s-only coupon. Deals like this are a great way to get your foot in the door to show what you can really do. 

What they do right: 

Another great execution of candy vs vegetables, Bed Bath & Beyond uses beautiful pictures and the occasional deal to sweeten up their newsletters. While you’re not going to learn rocket science reading their text, customers can be content using this newsletter to daydream about better home décor and find gifts for themselves.  

10. Wired

For a company all about tech gear, there’s a lot customers can get out of their newsletter! Customizable from the get-go, customers can choose what comes into their inbox including deals, Silicon Valley news, long-form content features, science articles, and more. While not all of their content is directly related to what they sell, customers can quickly see Wired as a reliable source of information that helps build their trust when they go to buy. 

What they do right: 

Not everything they talk about is super relevant to their product, but it is tailored to be relevant to the customer. Their high- quality articles also help set the tone for the customer, allowing them to be perceived as well educated in their field and a reliable business. 

Pens.com Newsletter: Want to check out another example for great newsletter ideas? Sign up for our newsletter from the front page at pens.com to get exclusive deals, event updates, article suggestions, and more! 

Sources: 

https://www.classywriting.com/the-classy-writing-blog-how-a-newsletter-can-increase-your-sales/  

https://www.niemanlab.org/2018/12/get-rid-of-the-content-no-one-reads-offer-surprises-and-candy-and-other-tricks-for-retaining-subscribers/ 

https://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-answers/what-is-newsletter-marketing/ 

Katie Yelisetti

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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