A newsletter in its much older printed version as well as in its younger, online form has been on the marketing scene for some time. Almost every company, big or small have adopted Newsletter with the pursuit of broadcasting the latest news and building relationships with customers.

The real AIM of the Newsletter

According to Wikipedia, Newsletter is

“a regularly distributed publication that is generally about one main topic of interest to its subscribers”

So the aim of such publication is to inform and provide value to its readers and that’s the key for effective email marketing. Right?!

The words useful, helpful, insightful, interesting and not pushy should all be the synonyms of every Newsletter. However, as a receiver of many of them this clearly isn’t the case, especially in December.

When every Newsletter turns into Salesletter

I was quite surprised by some of the sport brands and their email marketing tactics. Their emails were very disturbing, sales-y, and most importantly, very predictive. Save XY%, Special Sale, Buy this, Buy that type of emails flooded my mailbox on daily basis during the pre-Christmas period. 90% of those, if not more, I haven’t even opened.

Yes, I got it; the power of Newsletter lies in sales and this in fact confirms the research by Direct Marketing Association which found that 66% of consumers have bought something online as a result of reading an email marketing message.

Newsletters - 3 Tips for Effective Sport Newsletters

However, if several emails in a row from one brand contain the same message e.g. Save 20% only today, another one with Here’s your special 40% voucher  which is followed by Ends today: 20% off  I often tune out and I doubt I’m the only one.

So should Newsletters include only the sales pitch? If so, shouldn’t be then called ‘Salesletters’ rather than Newsletters? Well, according to the following stats you might think so;

  • Email has three times as many users as Facebook and Twitter combined, so with email you can reach much bigger audience than with Facebook and Twitter together. (Source: Kiss Metrics)
  • The average ROI of email Newsletters is $44.25 for every $1 spent. (Source: Email Expert)
  • Email conversion rates are three times higher than Social Media. Plus the average order value is also higher; by 17%. (Source: McKinsey)

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in the power of Newsletters but they need to be executed effectively. We’ve seen great results with our clients, however, it shouldn’t be about the hard sale. We, customers are changing and email marketing messages should reflect that…Don’t you think?

For the purpose of this article, I went through my mailbox and highlighted each of the branded email I opened. I then reviewed the emails and wrote down why I opened it, read it or even took an action. The results were then cross-checked with the data (open rates and CTR) on our platforms. Here are the top 3 things that came out things that make up the successful Newsletter;

1. Make me click

The most important thing of every email you will ever send out. 80% of all of your effort should be spent on crafting your subjects. Play on the emotions; create fear, curiosity and greed generated by your subject line will boost your opens rates. Be disruptive and different and look at BuzzFeed – the king of subject lines.

2. Educate, motivate or inspire me

Educational and inspiring content always work. Couple that with simplicity and not flashy layout and you set yourself on the way to email marketing success. Remember that the most effective and successful emails aim to educate, not sell. I don’t want to hear about your products everyday. Get rid of that self-promotion and instead tell me more about the things I can do with your products without the hard sell. For example, if you sell running apparel, tell me more about running, share a few running tips and motivational quotes.

Create relationship with your audience and the sales will follow from that relationship. And not only that! Offline word-of-mouth as well as online one (social media sharing) will too.

3. Be a human

If you think your company/team news are boring to your readers, you’re wrong. In my previous role as Newsletter Editor, the Company News section always rocked. The inbox is an intimate place designed for personal conversations. People like reading about the outside success of your company (awards, nominations), the inside team ‘happenings’ (new employee, birthday, fun event, etc) as well as failures. Humanize your brand – it’s ok to make a mistake, it’s great to admit it but it’s even better to then talk about it.

Ready to ace your next newsletter, or improve an old one? Make sure you follow the above mentioned tips. And if you’re looking for some inspiration, below are some awesome newsletter examples you can check out. All of these are my favourites and they always get my click and read.

  • Seth Godin daily emails – the.best.emails.ever! Educational, inspiring, short – the type of email you’re actually looking forward to reading it
  • Product Hunt short and sweet daily emails with the bullet-proof tech content
  • No Sidebar simple, to the point and very interesting and motivational content.
  • Medium Daily Digest if you’re planning to send daily emails this is how you do it.
  • Think Clearly get handwritten Newsletter in to your mailbox.


How are your email marketing efforts doing? Is there anything that works particularly well for your audience. I would love to hear thoughts – share your tips and tricks in the comments below.


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