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How to Step Up Your Newsletter Game

This guide is your friendly reminder not to overlook email as a marketing tool. Email marketing has the potential to pay off with its high Return on Investment (ROI), generating $42 for every $1 spent on average. It might be one of the oldest digital marketing methods, but it works— when done right. 

Distributing a well-thought-out newsletter helps brands build a loyal readership while expanding their customer base. The more readers on your list, the more traffic, business, and conversions you’ll see on your website and media social platforms. 

Types of Newsletters

There are four core types of newsletters. 

Letter From the Editor/Featured Article 

First is the “letter from the editor/featured article” style. This style works well for brands and individuals who want to educate or share a story. For example, this is the format many businesses use when taking a stance on current events in the industry. These newsletters typically have between 200 and 2,000 words in length, giving readers and customers something deep and meaningful to walk away with. As long as the letter is well written and meets the following requirements, you’re good to go:

  • The topic is something your subscribers care about
  • The newsletter consistently brings subscribers value 
  • The topics are specific to your industry
  • The content is engaging, and limits being promotional or salesy 
Curated Content

The second format for a newsletter is the “link” or “curated content” style. This type of newsletter is perfect for product-based businesses, like fashion brands who use their newsletter to deliver quick scannable headlines and photos to their readers. If you don’t like writing a ton or simply lack the time, sending a curated list of links is the perfect way to give value to your readership. You want to keep it short and digestible – simply explain why the readers should open each link. 


The third format is the blog-style newsletter. This type is dedicated to driving traffic to your website. It’s a happy medium between the two types above. The content just needs to entice the reader to visit a single link for more. Businesses that create video, blog or social media content can use this format to drive traffic to their destination of choice. For example, a restaurant with an event coming up can use this newsletter format to drive traffic to their online ordering portal.


The fourth newsletter format is the “hustle” style newsletter. This format links out to both internal and external content, all industry-relevant. This daily format is ideal for publications and media outlets to share top stories with the intention of keeping the readers informed. 

Each newsletter type delivers useful, entertaining content that readers should find interesting. 

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 How to Get Started with Newsletter Marketing

  1. Choose the right service provider. You’ll need to choose a good email service provider if you want to get serious about email marketing. This will help you manage a potentially large subscriber list and leverage automation. 
  2. Create email templates. Templates help streamline the newsletter creation process while also providing your newsletters with a consistent look and feel, which is important for branding. 
  3. Stick to a newsletter schedule. To find an ideal time and cadence for sending out newsletters, then dive into your analytics and pick a time, and stick to it so your audience knows when they will hear from you.  
  4. Keep track of your newsletter metrics. Once you’ve ramped up sending out newsletters, pay attention to metrics like your open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, and a number of unsubscribers. Learn how to understand and use these metrics in this blog post.  
  5. Take your time crafting subject lines. This is the first chance you get to entice your readers. If your subject line isn’t interesting, people won’t click. Make them short and punchy. 40 characters is a good guideline. Entice readers to click by asking a hyper-relevant question, creating a sense of urgency, or teasing your content. 
  6. Craft a thoughtful welcome email. Welcome emails reach your readers at a time when they’re already engaged with your business. They often have higher open rates as a result. That means creating a winning welcome email is a great way to show readers why they should look forward to your next newsletter. 
  7. Grow your email list. To build your email list by importing all your existing contacts. You can create a pop-up on your site and link your newsletter on all social media accounts to attract new readers. A link-building tool like Linkit or Sellit is great for pinning posts and redirecting them to where you can sign up. 
  8. Incorporate emojis into your copy. Emojis are great additions to your subject lines and email copy, but only if they fit your audience. Older B2B audiences might not appreciate emojis as much as younger audiences. If you use them, make sure readers will easily understand what they mean. Some emojis are ambiguous and can result in confusion among readers. 
 PLANOLY Pro tip: implement personalized email sections. Add fields to your signup form to help segment your audience, then personalize certain sections of your newsletter accordingly. Considering that 96% of organizations believe email personalization can improve email marketing performance, this is a no-brainer. 

How Newsletters Fit in Your Overall Marketing Strategy

No matter which style you send, you can use your newsletter to drive traffic to social media accounts and your website. What is more, newsletters are great for building anticipation and awareness around new promos and events. With the right software, you can even retarget email subscribers in your digital ads to boost conversions. 

The main thing to remember with incorporating newsletters into your overall marketing strategy is that you have to have a clear purpose and value or your readers will unsubscribe. Although it is easy to just want to get something in their inbox, readers are already overwhelmed by the amount of email they get - make yours stand out!

Note: This blog post was originally posted June 18, 2018, and was updated with new content on January 24, 2022.

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Megan Martinez

Megan is a contributing writer at PLANOLY. She's our go-to for knowing our community's needs and interests.

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Learn how to step up your newsletters. From subject lines to design, we'll show you how to create emails that create a personal relationship with your audience.

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