An email newsletter is a valuable investment for your brand. It enables you to maintain a consistent and ongoing line of communication with your subscribers, ensuring your company remains top of mind. In a world where so many are struggling to achieve inbox zero, it’s critical that brands create a high-quality resource.
But what does a high-quality newsletter look like?
Unlike a general marketing email, newsletters tend to be editorially driven with the goal being not to promote your product or service, but to offer helpful information that’s enjoyable to read — an experience similar to receiving a magazine.
Here is some email newsletter inspiration to help you build up your own reader-focused strategy.
1. Participate in important cultural dialogue
Right now, there are a number of important discussions taking place around race, politics, the economy, and society. Research shows that a majority of consumers expect brands to speak openly and take a stand on tough topics.
Email has the potential to be the right platform for these discussions. Unlike social media, email campaigns allow enough space for multimedia, long-form narratives, and nuance. To participate in these discussions, your newsletter should demonstrate your brand’s commitment to larger social narratives through design that speaks to the reader.
Take a look at the following example from Skillshare, a teaching platform that created an e-newsletter amplifying Black artists’ voices.
2. Use design to spark conversations
Words aren’t always the best way to tell a story. A valuable way to communicate abstract thoughts, feelings, and emotions is through visuals.
One way to make your brand more relatable, particularly through your email newsletter, is to create design concepts with strong human interest. The following newsletter format from Walgreens, one of the largest pharmacy and drugstore chains in the United States, does just this.
Despite the size of the brand, the company manages to deliver a personalized experience where people feel welcome, safe, and understood. This message is particularly important for pandemic-related marketing, as people are generally worried about their health.
The image-heavy, editorial layout facilitates a dialogue between a subscriber and local pharmacist, and touches on important health-related questions pertinent to the reader. The visuals communicate a story about love, personal health, and family without relying on the use of words.
3. Use emails to offer free consulting
When people sign up for newsletters, they’re generally receptive to receiving insight. One way to showcase your brand’s value is to share expertise, such as a free consultation.
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have a lot of questions about the future but don’t necessarily have time to seek out answers. Your company newsletter can offer a clear pathway to provide healthy inspiration to your reader.
For example, the newsletter template from Miro, a popular design tool that makes it easy for teammates to collaborate remotely. Miro uses its e-newsletter to offer its subscribers a bit of advice and expertise to make life run a little smoother..
4. Foster a sense of community
For the last several years, people have been leaving social media platforms like Facebook. One of the primary reasons for this shift is mental health, which researchers have found links between social media usage and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
With this behavior change, brands are in a strong position to build their own networks and communities. One way to bring people together is through a newsletter design with a “get to know you” look and feel.
As an example, take a look at Esri’s, a geographic information systems (GIS) software company, newsletter template. The company created an format that prominently features actual people who use GIS to solve important issues.
These profiles build a sense of community among an ecosystem of smart leaders.
5. Keep your reader up-to-date
Example: First Round Capital
As a collection of people, including teammates and customers, your brand is a living entity. One of the challenges your target audience faces is the ability to stay involved with your organization.
A way to keep your subscriber base in the loop is through a regular email marketing campaign. In addition to sharing news and interesting stories, your newsletter template can share upcoming events and opportunities.
For example, venture capital firm First Round Capital not only shares stories from their community, but also highlights upcoming news and events, providing its readers with the most up-to-date information possible.
6. Make it scannable and tactical
Example: Stack Overflow
Information overload is a big issue in today’s digital world with high levels of cognitive fatigue and burnout. If your email newsletter is information driven, consider keeping the visuals easygoing.
Effective newsletter email designs are all about guiding audiences through a reading experience. There’s no need to include extra or unnecessary design elements or images if you don’t need them. Besides, your audience may prefer to have a newsletter template that’s easy to scan.
In this marketing campaign from Stack Overflow, an information-sharing platform and social media hub for software developers, the message includes a roundup of valuable topics the subscriber is likely to find informative. With a simple, clean design, Stack Overflow is able to keep the reader focused, and acts as a compliment to the company’s on-site community experience.
The content of your newsletter is just as important as the reading experience. Remember that digital marketing is all about building relationships at scale.
When you send an email newsletter, you are creating a clear line of communication with a subscriber who’s interested in hearing from your team. With this in mind, a company newsletter has the potential to be so much more than a vehicle for promotional content.
Give your subscribers a source of inspiration, creating a resource that people want to read.
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