Email Newsletter Formats: Types and Benefits



August 11, 2021 (Updated: March 12, 2024)

Person opening a new email on their phone.

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Email newsletters are a great way for businesses to engage with people and generate new customers. Many newsletters share information on promotions and products. However, they can also talk about important industry information. An email newsletter’s information and format often depends on the specific business or organization it’s written for. In this guide, you’ll discover the main benefits of using a newsletter, how newsletters work, and how to create different newsletters for different formats.

What’s the Benefit of Using a Newsletter?

Smartphone with new email notficiation.

Image via iStock by Prostock-Studio

Newsletters provide customers with direct information about you and your company. They inform people about what you’ve been up to, your company’s recent successes, and exciting new product releases.  Customers can get some of this information through your social media, but emails are a personal way to communicate with your customers. Both social media and email are good for your company’s marketing, but email newsletters have some unique advantages, including:

  • Increasing credibility: Many businesses send newsletters to their customers, so creating a newsletter on a weekly or monthly basis can help establish your credibility and your place in the market. Newsletters can also help customers understand what to expect from your business.
  • Ability to customize: Some services allow you to easily customize the information you put in your newsletter. This can help you connect with your individual customers and further develop your brand. For example, you can collect your customers’ purchasing history and send them newsletters based on their interests.
  • Time tested: Companies have been using newsletters to communicate with potential customers since at least the 19th century.  Although many companies have transitioned from print to email newsletters, it is still a great form of communication that can reach many people.
  • Providing analytics: Depending on which service you use, newsletters can help you gather and analyze data on your customers. This data can help you see how effective your newsletters are by gauging open rates and click-through rates for links.
  • Easily shareable: When customers receive a newsletter through email, they can easily forward it to others. If a few people forward your newsletter, that possibly earns you more customers and readers. One great way to ensure that customers share your newsletter is by including promotions. If you announce a promotion or discount through a newsletter, people might be more inclined to share it with friends and family.

How Do Newsletters Work?

For businesses to send out newsletters, they need a list of email addresses. Businesses generate these lists in several ways, including asking for a customer’s email at checkout or asking them to sign up for the newsletter directly.

Newsletters contain a lot of different information, but most try to attract new or returning customers to the company. That’s why some include discounts and promotions while others might talk about a new product and how it can benefit people.

Other companies might use the newsletter to promote their content and link to different articles or videos they’ve created. The newsletter might even take the form of an article, informing the customer about important company or industry news.

No matter how you build them, most newsletters focus on enticing readers to visit a company’s website and learn more information. Because of this, businesses often include a call to action where the reader can click on a link that will take them directly to the company’s website or online store.

How To Create a Newsletter

Using the list of steps below, you can start creating an effective newsletter your customers will want to read. Those steps include:

1. Determine the Creation Process

The first step is to figure out how you’re going to build your newsletter. Though some people like to create the newsletter themselves from scratch, others might like to use a newsletter creation service.

If you’re creating the newsletter from scratch, look into programs such as Photoshop. Photoshop allows you to manage the size, shape, and layout of your newsletter. It can also help you create impressive images and graphics. These graphics can help you create a more stylized newsletter that fits your brand and attracts customers.

If you’re hoping to use a newsletter service, there are several options available to you, like MailChimp or Stripo. With these services, you can create your newsletters, manage your email lists, and schedule emails for delivery.

If this is your first time creating a newsletter, consider starting with a creation service that gives you the tools to build it quickly. Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment with more advanced design programs to create a more unique product for your brand.

2. Create the Header

The header of your newsletter — usually a graphic that contains your company’s name — is the first thing that people will see, so it’s helpful to ensure it matches your company’s branding. When you create your header, consider using images and logos from your company website. If you run an e-commerce business, it’s also helpful to put links in your header that can take customers to your website. These links may help you increase your conversion rate.

Example of Nordstrom header.

Image via Nordstrom

In an e-commerce business, it’s important to make sure that everything runs efficiently. For tips on this, download CopyPress’ free eBook on how to optimize your e-commerce website.

The final thing you want to include in your header is a link to view the newsletter in a browser. Newsletters often include images, graphics, and logos that not everyone can view in their email app. Some people even change their email settings to stop images from loading. Adding a link at the top that says something like “Having trouble viewing this? Click here to view in your browser” can help you retain your readers.

3. Add the Body

The body conveys the purpose of your newsletter, and because of that, it’s the most important section. What you include in the body is directly related to the email’s call to action.

Are you a blogging website that delivers impressive content to readers? If so, your newsletter body might include some links to different articles and resources:

Example of Clementine Creative newsletter.

Image via Clementine Creative

If you’re a retail store, your newsletter body might contain pictures of items currently on sale, links to popular items, and information about any ongoing promotions:

Clothing store newsletter example from Old Navy.

Image via Old Navy

4. Add a Call to Action

One of the best things you can add to any newsletter, no matter the business model, is a call to action. A call to action is a statement that encourages customers to interact with your company. For the previous blogging website example, their calls to action included “Read the Blog Post” and “Download Directly.”

Calls to action create a sense of urgency that inspires the reader to act. To create an effective call to action, consider the following steps:

  • Be specific: Customers don’t just want to know what they need to do, they want to know what they’re going to get. Using specific language can help your customers understand exactly what the call to action can offer them. Rather than saying “Click Here,” you might say “Click Here To Get 10% Off” or even simply “Get 10% Off” if the prior text has clarified the call to action’s context.
  • Make a button: If you make a call to action look like a big, clickable button, it will not only grab the customer’s attention, but it can also simplify the action for them. A lot of newsletter creation services allow you to create buttons, making it easy for you to add this element to your newsletters.
  • Use different colors: One great way to catch someone’s eye is to make the button a contrasting color to the rest of your newsletter. For example, if you have a theme of green and white, you might make the button a bright red or blue.
  • Keep it on brand: It’s helpful to have your call to action resemble your existing branding, as this helps the reader maintain a consistent image of your company. For example, if your company sells kitchen goods, a more brand-specific call to action might be “Get Cooking!” instead of “Click Here.”

The footer of your newsletter is a place where your customers can access additional resources. One important piece of information to add is your signature. An email signature informs customers who you are and how they can contact you. It also continues to market your products or services and develop conversions. On your signature, it’s good to include your contact information, your picture, and another call to action.

Example of an email footer and signature

Image via The Blueprint a Motley Fool Service

Your picture helps customers feel like they’re receiving this information from an actual person and not a machine. Showing people who you are can help connect with them personally and hopefully drive your conversion rate. Adding another call to action is also great for that. In your email signature, you can add an image, a button, or just linked text that states what the customer needs to do. “Schedule an Appointment,” “Follow Me,” and “Get 10% Off Today”  are all examples of calls to action you can place in your email signature for Google Workspace, for example.

Another thing you should add to your footer is a way for people to unsubscribe to your newsletter. This is important for all newsletters, and, in some cases, it’s required. The most common way that businesses do this is through an unsubscribe link. The link generally takes the reader to a webpage where they can choose which messages from the company they want to stop receiving.

Another great thing to add to your footer is social media links. These links not only tell customers where they can find you on social media but also provide customers with a quick and easy way to follow your business. The more people who follow your business, the easier it will be for them to hear about your promotions and new product releases.

Example of an email footer with social media links.

Image via Misfits Market

Types of Newsletter Formats

Though you can make the newsletter your own and shape it to your brand, it’s helpful to know where to start. Depending on your business or industry, there might be certain information you should focus on and formats you should follow. Some of those formats include:

Business Newsletters

Business newsletters are often professional communications sent to customers, employees, or stakeholders. They can update employees on policy changes, inform customers about discounts, and tell stakeholders about current business performance.

There are several ways to present the information in a business newsletter, but it’s often helpful to use at least one of these elements:

  • Graphs: You can use graphs pretty much anywhere you need to show data or changes over time. Graphs can present company growth to investors and inform customers about the benefits of your business.
  • Infographics:   Infographics are images that entertain and engage readers while presenting them with information. Sometimes businesses sprinkle them into their newsletters. Others make their entire newsletter one big infographic that combines text, color, and image.
  • Lists: Lists allow people to scan the newsletter and quickly absorb its general information. This format encourages you to distill your most important points into as few words as possible, which helps maintain a reader’s attention.
Screenshot of business newsletter example.

Image via Stripo

Real Estate Newsletters

Realtors can use their newsletters to easily promote their business. The newsletters themselves often talk about how their services can benefit the reader. However, they also can list helpful tips for first-time homeowners or the best places to buy a home. This extra info helps realtors connect with their target audience and hopefully gain their business. Real estate newsletters, just like business newsletters, often use lists and infographics to ensure their content is engaging and informative.

Screenshot of real estate newsletter example.

Image via Zillow

Wellness and Health Newsletters

Wellness and health companies often send out newsletters to display exciting new products, promotions, or events. However, they can also teach people important information about their well-being. This content often gives customers different tips and tricks on how to stay healthy while simultaneously directing them to the company’s products or services.

A unique element that this type of newsletter can utilize is recipes. Including recipes in your wellness and health newsletters can help sustain customers’ interest and give you the opportunity to link any products of yours that are relevant to the recipe.

Screenshot of health newsletter.

Image via Oh, The Things We’ll Make!

Retail Industry Newsletters

It’s important for each retail business to distinguish itself from others. One of the best ways to do that is by focusing on convenience in your newsletter. When you highlight how your company can make a customer’s life easier, you may persuade them to read more information. Some examples of retail convenience include:

  • Curbside pickup.
  • In-store pickup.
  • Same-day delivery.
  • Free shipping.
  • Online ordering.
Screenshot of retail newsletter example.

Image via Clinique

Nonprofit Newsletters

Asking for donations can be tough, especially when you have to ask again and again. Creating a newsletter is a great way for nonprofit organizations to inform their donors about the good their organization is doing, which can make soliciting donations a little easier.

For nonprofits, lists are a great way to engage with people. For example, “10 Reasons You Should Give to Our Cause” or “5 Ways $5 Can Help Us Reach Our New Year’s Goal” are effective list headlines that may pique a reader’s curiosity. These newsletters help show donors where exactly their money goes and how it can benefit your cause.

Another way newsletters can persuade donors is through storytelling. Consider writing a spotlight piece on a person your organization helped. For example, let’s say you’re raising money for cancer research. Ask a cancer patient who was helped by your research if they’d be willing to share their story in your newsletter. This shows that your work has tangible, positive results.

Screenshot of nonprofit newsletter example.

Image via St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Newsletters are great tools that businesses can use to market themselves and their brand. If you’re hoping to use a newsletter to promote your company, it’s good to know the best format to use and how to make one. With the right tools and techniques, you can develop a customized email newsletter that your customers engage with consistently.

Author Image - jross

CopyPress writer

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