How To Write The Perfect Digital Newsletter (infographic)

A cookieless world is coming. But don't worry, we're not talking about actual cookies.

Those delicious mid-morning snacks are safe.

Instead, we're referring to digital cookies.

Google Chrome is phasing them out this year, and Apple has also announced that it's locking the cookie jar forever.

It's good news for online users concerned with privacy. But it's not so great for small companies and marketers who rely on third-party data to promote their brands.

They'll have to develop new methods for reaching customers and sharing messages.

That could mean revving some of our more traditional forms of communication, like letter writing.

Not real letters, obviously.

No one is going that old-skool in the year 2022.

But email newsletters - weekly or monthly communications delivered directly to a potential customer's inbox.

Email newsletters are a highly effective marketing tool for smaller firms operating on a tight budget. And that's why small business lender OnDeck created a new infographic guide explaining the fundamentals of writing killer business newsletters.

It explains how to write, promote, and track a newsletter campaign from scratch.

But before we get on to that, let's look at why newsletter writing is making a big comeback in the post-cookie world.

How effective are email newsletters?

Email newsletters are awesome.

But don't take our word for it.

Here are some stats:
  • 31% of B2B marketers believe email newsletters are the best content marketing tool to nurture leads.
  • Almost 1 in 2 (49%) consumers like receiving weekly promotional emails and letters from their favorite brands.
  • Research shows that $1 spent on email marketing generates $42 in revenue.

The benefits of writing newsletters

The main benefits of firing a newsletter straight into your customer's email box include,
  1. Generating more leads
  2. Teaching people about a brand
  3. Building long-term relationships with customers
  4. Announcing new products and services
  5. Offering special deals to the most loyal and engaged customers
  6. Using analytics to gain valuable insights into customer behavior
  7. Receiving instant feedback with direct reply features

How many people read newsletters?

More than 9 out of 10 consumers in the USA are subscribed to at least one email newsletter, with 74% of them receiving weekly communications from between one to ten different companies.

Sounds impressive.

But are people actually opening and, more importantly, reading all these newsletters?

Many of them are.

Open rates for newsletters have been growing by over 4% year-on-year since 2020.
A 2022 email marketing report from Campaign Monitor found that the average open rate for newsletters is now 21.5%.

And millions more could be clicking and reading them within the next few years. An estimated 4.3billion people will have an active email address by 2023; that's half of the global population.

What should you include in a newsletter?

Newsletters come in many different forms. However, they all share the same objective. The goal of any newsletter is to persuade or inform. The best newsletters persuade AND inform (but more on that later.)

Newsletters can include
  • Weekly content digests
  • News stories
  • In-depth guides
  • Interviews with industry experts
  • Case studies and testimonials
  • News about upcoming sales, promotions, and deals
  • Lifestyle tips

How long should a newsletter be?

There's no set word limit to a good email newsletter. We're not writing a high-school English paper here.

But, as a general rule, shorter is always better. This is the 21st century, remember? Our attention spans are not what they used to be. Some studies suggest that it's down to about 8 seconds!

Most people read newsletters on their phones or mobile devices. The content should be light, snappy, and super (super) scannable.

Aim for around 200 words or about 20 lines of text.

How to write killer email newsletters

There's definitely a creative element to writing email newsletter copy.

But it's also a science, i.e. the most compelling newsletters are designed around an established set of rules and formulas.
Understanding the rules of newsletter writing is far more effective than praying for a flash of inspiration, especially when you have to come up with fresh content ideas first thing Monday morning.

We've all been there before...

Here's the secret recipe for writing newsletters that are impossible to ignore.

Subject line

This is your first impression, and it needs to be a good one. Nearly half of all marketing emails are opened based on subject line content.

It should be short, sharp, and value-driven. Use active verbs like 'see' and 'find.' And avoid all caps or cheap exclamation points. They scream CLICK BAIT!!!!!


Let people know exactly where an email is coming from by emphasizing your company name and logo in the header line.

Header content should sound enticing, not desperate or cheesy.

Stir your reader's curiosity with a cryptic question or the suggestion of valuable or secret information.

Or take a more direct approach that teases people's FOMO or natural desire to get something for nothing.

Body text

The 'meat' of any newsletter; this is where you do the informing and persuading.

Keep it light and easy to read, limiting each paragraph or section to one or two sentences.

Don't make it sound too 'salesy.' Most people don't like being 'sold to,' even when they're interested in buying. It feels inauthentic.

Newsletters are generally 90% information and 10% sales-focused.

Include appealing images to break up the text and provide some context. Avoid stock photos whenever possible.

The call to action

This is your big close. Calls to action (CTA) encourage viewers to take direct action, immediately.

Use active verbs to create a sense of urgency.

Contrast colors and fonts to make CTAs stand out.

And use a button graphic instead of a regularly looking link. Humans love pushing and clicking buttons.

Building an email list

An unclicked email is as useless as an unopened letter.

You can boost your click rate by building bigger and better email lists.

There are six main ways to do this:
  • Social media
  • Opt-in forms on your website
  • Timed pops up
  • Digital ads leading to landing pages
  • Gated content (the viewer must provide an email address to view)
  • Personalized CTAs

Newsletter data metrics

You've written and sent out the perfect newsletter.


But what happens next?

Now the 'real' work starts. Because you need to understand how your newsletter is performing.

Welcome to the world of email marketing analytics

You need to be tracking and evaluating your:

Open rate

The ratio of opened emails to sent emails. Track this date weekly.

Click through rate: Track weekly, focusing on total clicks compared to the number of emails delivered.

Conversion: Track this month by month. A crucial metric. It shows how many of your email recipients are buying, subscribing, or completing surveys.

Bounce rate: The bounce rate highlights undelivered emails. Track monthly, removing addresses from your mailing list to improve delivery rate.

Unsubscribe rate: Track this super important metric weekly, and closely. A high unsubscribe rate suggests your newsletter content is not doing what it should. It probably needs a refresh or rebrand.

List growth rate: See if your marketing campaigns are working by checking if that email list is growing or shrinking every month.

Final takeaways

  • Email newsletters can boost sales while cutting marketing costs, promising an excellent return on investment.
  • An increasing number of consumers are subscribing to newsletters.
  • Global digital adoption means millions more people will have active email addresses by 2025.
  • Newsletter content should be value-led. The best newsletter content informs, then sells.
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