What Are the Elements of an Effective Business Newsletter?

An effective business newsletter contains a clear format, design, and writing. Yet many business promotion emails don’t follow this best practice, potentially losing sales.

With ten years of experience, I’ve used clear email content and a simple layout to enhance engagement. If you struggle to keep publishing, see my e-newsletter packages or get a free audit.

How Email Marketing Helps Business

  • Repeat advertising – Consistent e-newsletter marketing builds brand awareness, trust, and customer relationships. Per the Marketing Rule of 7, the average customer must see a message at least seven times before they will buy.
  • Cheap, competitive advertising: Compared to other marketing channels, it’s among the most affordable. A low-cost email campaign that yields sales can turn a profit.
  • Easy access to metrics: you may check open, click-through, or response rates quickly to measure your campaigns’ results.
  • Targeted and personalized messaging: segment your list by customer demographics, behavior, and interests. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26 percent more likely to be opened.”
  • Direct marketing: Automated email campaigns nurture existing leads through the sales funnel.
  • Brand loyalty: engaging content keeps readers interested in your offerings, helping you build long-term bonds with them. According to a March 2024 Constant Contact study, the average open rate across all industries is 38 percent. 

What is An Effective Business Email Marketing Strategy?

An effective business email marketing strategy includes strong visuals. A young woman in a suit looking at the screen of a large tablet PC showing graphs and charts.

Start by defining your email goals. Do you want to highlight your expertise? Showcase your products or services?

Aligning content to clients’ needs guides them through the sales funnel effectively. Address readers at all stages of the buyer’s journey. Offer educational material for those becoming aware and more in-depth information for readers exploring their options.

Elements of Effective Business Newsletters

  1. Subject Lines
  • Use clear, concise language
  • Add power words, numbers, scarcity, or other emotion-evoking methods to attract attention

Example: 5 Little-Known Tax Strategies for Small Businesses

  1. Structure
  1. Engaging Content

Example: Share a client success story highlighting your expertise

  1. Personalization

Segment your email list and customize content based on readers’ interests and behaviors.

“To make e-newsletters more appealing to readers, it is important to customize content based on customer preferences, past interactions with them, and their specific requirements. Similarly, you may want to segment your email lists so you can send targeted messages that resonate with different kinds of people within these industries.”

Keran Smith, co-founder and cMo, lyfe marketing
  1. Readability

Ensure accessibility by using descriptive alt-text, proper color contrast, and easy-to-read fonts.

A focused approach — for any business, regardless of the type or size — yields content that connects and inspires action.

What is An Effective Business Email Marketing Template?

The downsides of e-newsletter marketing include the perception that emails are spam and “list fatigue,” when subscribers lose interest in your messages. To minimize these issues, follow these best practices:

Part of the Easy 5-Step Business E-Newsletter Template -- an effective business email marketing template.
  1. Quality: a layout should include mobile-friendly design and accessibility features. Responsive design automatically adapts the layout and content to fit any screen size, ensuring it’s readable on smartphones and tablets.
  2. Template Options:
    • Basic Layouts: Simple structures for easy content organization.
    • Industry-Specific: Imagery and layouts relevant to your field.
    • Multimedia: For videos and interactive content.
    • Curated Content: Information culled from various sources.
    • Product/Service Showcase: Highlight products, services, and special offers.
    • Event Promotion: Designed for upcoming promotions.

3. Text and Visuals: Put the most important information at the top to maximize engagement.

4. Legally-Compliant Footers: Anti-spam laws like CAN-SPAM (U.S.) and GDPR (Europe) ensure responsible email marketing.

Resources:

Many email marketing platforms offer customizable templates for professional, attractive, and on-brand newsletters.

What is a Sample Business Newsletter?

The Ann Arbor SPARK (AAS) e-newsletter follows many of these best practices:

  1. Compelling Headline: Entice readers to open the email.

Instead of their usual headline, “Check out these upcoming events in Ann Arbor!,” AAS could feature an event or a common theme.

Example: 14 Must-Do May Events in the Ann Arbor Area

It copies the headline of one of the feature articles (only cutting and pasting is required 🌝).

  1. An Engaging Content Structure: A clear and concise layout with informative, audience-focused information (e.g., news, testimonials, CTAs).
Among the newsletter examples for business: The Ann Arbor SPARK e-newsletter features a clear layout coupled with eye-catching design and content.

The clear format, with colorful headings and images separating the events from the features, ignites interest. The events section could be organized into two columns by date to reduce scrolling.

  1. Visual Appeal: Quality images, consistent branding, and readable fonts foster engagement.

The AAS e-newsletter engages well. But larger heading text, descriptive alt-text for images, and more instructive CTAs (beyond “Read More”) could enhance accessibility and interest. The CTA “lead in” text, however, emphasizes the benefits readers can expect well.

The AAS e-newsletter is one of the best newsletter examples for business. It effectively merges a clear layout with impactful visuals to form a must-read message.

Effortless Business E-Newsletter Creation

Making a newsletter without proper tools is like baking a cake from scratch — it’s time-consuming. With the elements of an effective business newsletter, you can create your own faster.

If you’re unsure where to start or lack time, explore my e-newsletter packages or get a free audit.

5 Steps to Write a Good Newsletter Article for Business

A "mail" icon on a computer screen. Testing how your emails look in email software can help you write a good newsletter.

1. Explore Your “Why” to Get to Your “What” – Businesses usually send newsletters to get more leads. How do you write a good newsletter article? If you know why you’re sending a newsletter and have already decided on a theme for it, fit your article into that overall topic. Otherwise, brainstorm subjects based on any existing customer data or what’s trending.

To refine your topic, link your article goals to the different stages of the buyer’s journey: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision-Making. Artificial intelligence software can prompt ideas that align with your customer data and your goals, too. 

2. Finding the Format: Another Way to Generate an Engaging Topic – Narrowing down the subject refines the article template. The format may also frame the topic. Common newsletter articles include:

  • A news brief
  • An editor’s or “welcome” note
  • A teaser for a blog post

3. Consider Storytelling – Your article should be useful, or in marketing terms, offer value. To help readers identify with you, tell a story. Michael Katz, who teaches professionals how to understand marketing, details his storytelling method effectively. To find good stories, list interesting things you saw or experienced recently, such as a colorful rainbow or a fun trip. Think about experiences you’ve shared.

Tie one to a useful business lesson or insight connected to your expertise. Then describe the experience, elaborating on the lesson. 

Example: HORNE newsletter: Uphill Goals and Downhill Habits

4. Get Organized – Newsletter articles tend to be brief and pull text from other sources, like blogs or landing pages. Research, is easier before you draft an outline. As you plan the beginning, middle, and end, outside of listicles, consider the basic AIDA format (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action). When you write, follow the guidelines outlined in the AMA Handbook of Business Writing, which include using a title that attracts curiosity and short, focused paragraphs.

5. Prepare Your Article – To apply the finishing touches, edit and proofread and check for scannability and accessibility. Ensure the content has breathing room and that it follows a logical order throughout.

This is a shorter version of How to Write a Newsletter Article, which covers the process more in-depth and features advice about using artificial intelligence and interesting quotes.

How do you write a good newsletter article? Feel free to comment below.

Quotes

“You can’t go wrong by providing value to your readers. If you know your readers well and you have expertise that can help them solve some of their common problems, email newsletters are a great place to share that expertise. But make sure to provide content that is truly unique and informative. You want to make sure you’re offering value and not adding to the clutter.” ~ Kathy Bryan, Electives

“A personal story is effective because you can tie it into writing a newsletter article effortlessly.” ~ Carmine Mastropierro, How to Write a Newsletter: Step-by-Step Guide

Comments? Suggestions? Need help with your communications? Contact me.

5 Ways to Boost Your Writing Style and Tone for Business

1. Know the purpose of your document. Let it determine the appropriate writing style and tone.

  • Emails: People often write them like they speak, with relaxed language, using contractions and slang (“Let’s talk soon.”). Depending on company culture, internal memos may use more formal wording, forgoing humor and emojis. It may use neutral pronouns to remove potential bias.
  • Articles, web pages, newsletters, social media, and blog posts: Those that inform can include more neutral wording than those that entertain. If you want to interest people in buying a product or a service or to support something, you may use persuasive wording with psychological triggers, like emails warning of a sale that will end soon.
  • Crisis communications: When an emergency strikes on a mass scale, consider the gravity of the situation. Serious topics, such as widespread layoffs, a mass killing, or a harmful virus need care and sensitivity. Depending on the circumstances, it’s more empathetic to deliver the news by phone, video, or in person.

2. Simplify. Large blocks of text can be hard to read online, especially without proper formatting. Shorter words, sentences, and paragraphs free of jargon are easier to read. Add a list or bullet points to reduce blocks of text to improve scannability. Write in an active, rather than a passive voice, which fosters complex words and phrases.

3. Clarify. Explain complex concepts. Use examples. Add links to boost comprehension and save words. Insert images if they will enhance your explanation.

4. Show empathy, respect, and sincerity. Think about who your reader is, where they’re at, and what they struggle with.

  • End your email with a greeting.
  • Use the words “please” and “thank you” as appropriate.
  • Consider writing for inclusivity: different races, ethnicities, and people with disabilities.
  • Consider how readers from another culture may interpret your message.

5. Proofread. As a Forbes article declared, typos, especially lots of them, can make you look sloppy or “kill your brand.” Spell-checking software maker Grammarly reported in their study of 100 LinkedIn profiles of native English speakers that it can affect a professional’s ability to be promoted. They found that the profiles of people who weren’t promoted to a director-level position in the first ten years of their careers had 2.5 more errors than those who advanced.

Need to improve the tone or other parts of your writing to boost your image and your success? Consider a business writing coaching session.

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What kind of tone works for you in your writing? Feel free to comment below.

Quotes

“Don’t you type at me in that tone of voice.” ~ Anonymous

“A writer doesn’t have a soundtrack or a strobe light to build the effect she wants. She has conflict, surprise, imagery, details, the words she chooses, and the way she arranges them in sentences.” ~ Adair Lara

5 Best Practices for Repurposing Content for Business

1. Check your tags – When repurposing content, add hashtags to social media posts and vary the amount. More or fewer can influence the results. Tag people or companies who may be interested in your content or any you name in your post.

A woman sitting at a desk thinking.

2. Add images – A picture can stoke curiosity. Nielsen Norman Group studies indicate online photos should be informative. People tend to ignore decorative pictures and favor those with real people. Also, some social posts perform better with or without photos. Experiment.

3. Track links – Generally, those at the top of an article or newsletter, where people tend to look first, may perform better than ones in the middle or at the end. Also, it depends on the platform. LinkedIn posts with offsite links might not see as much exposure, so links in the body of a post there can get fewer impressions than those in a comment.

4. Test your headlines – If you resend an e-newsletter or recycle a post, try another headline. If possible, include an emoji. For blog posts, which are sometimes optimized for search engines, research keywords people search for and questions people ask to tweak your headline and help increase your visits or impressions.

5. Edit – Rewriting your content to improve it can increase the odds people will read it. A social media algorithm may prefer a well-written post over one with errors. Editing especially helps blog posts, which can benefit from more precise keywords and to follow Google algorithm trends, in-depth, research-based text.

Need help reposting or repurposing content? A content repurposing service can make over your business content to improve the results and help you gain the right leads.

BOOST YOUR ENGAGEMENT

How do you repurpose your content? Feel free to comment further below.

Quotes

“Rather than waste or eliminate items which you don’t currently use, discover a new way to improve and enjoy their value.” ~ Susan C. Young

“Content repurposing is about getting the maximum return from every single piece of content you create. Content repurposing can take many forms, and there are lots of different and creative ways you can repurpose your content, but every content creator must repurpose.” ~ Amy Woods

5 Ways to Improve Your Business E-Newsletter Headlines

1. Test some emojis in e-newsletter headlines – Depending on your audience and the context, one per subject line is fine to help your readers understand the content. They’re more common in business-to-consumer than business-to-business newsletters. Certain companies and industries, such as the legal field, which have strict advertising guidelines, may frown ☹️ upon them.

2. Stay error-free – Don’t make typos — not even intentionally. Some marketers make mistakes (or pretend to) to give them an excuse to send an update later. As I’ve discovered through trial and error, a correction email often gets more opens than the original. But it’s better to be honest.

3. Write it well – As SaaS content writer Masooma Memon suggests, “Keep subject lines short, clear, and simple.” She also advises that power words, such as “insider” and “secret” can entice clicks.

4. Keep to one subject (per line) – Describing more than one topic in an email headline doesn’t always work when attention spans tend to be short. If you have more to say, save it for the preview text, where you can expand on the meaning if it makes sense to do so.

Example:

Subject: See How Knowledge College Can Secure Your Future at Our Open House
Preview text: And get the secret recipe for career success.

5. Avoid click-bait – For example, if you’re promoting a breakfast seminar, it’s better to describe the subject of the talk rather than writing, “Bacon, Bacon, and More Bacon!”. When readers discover the true nature of the email, they can feel like you’ve conned them, and you may lose credibility with them.

Based on a #ContentChat hosted by Erika Heald.

Does your e-newsletter fail to get clicks? Find out what you should tweak to help your content connect with readers and gain the right leads.

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What are some other ways to polish your e-newsletter headlines? Feel free to comment further below.


Quotes

“When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.” ~ MailChimp

“A subject line is like a newspaper headline, a title on a book’s spine, or the key slogan of a print media ad. It tells the user that this is all about. And it should do so in sparkling style — seamlessly channeling your brand.” ~ Win Goodbody, Senior Product Manager, Sitka Technology Group