Online Marketing Resources

5 Tips for a Successful Email Newsletter

By Bob DeStefano

Is your email newsletter a success? The big challenge in producing a successful email newsletter is generating content that will motivate prospects and customers to open, read, and respond. E-newsletters that simply provide a recap of your latest products and news may be of great interest to you, but they are of little interest to your readers. To make your e-newsletter a ‘must read’ and a valuable nurturing tool for you business, you need to provide useful, objective information that will truly help your prospects and customers do a better job.

The following tips will help you create an email newsletter your customers will love.


Your email newsletter is not for you – it’s for your customers. You need to focus less on your company and more on the issues and ideas your customers are interested in. I like articles that focus on “how to” tips, best practices and actionable strategies. To help get you started, the following are examples of customer-focused email newsletter content:

  • Problems and solutions. Identify common problems that your readers might face and provide ideas on how to solve them.
  • Lists and tips. Provide actionable lists and tips with titles that begin like “Seven steps to…” or “The top five ways to…” or “The top ten tips for…”
  • Technological developments. Inform your readers on how they can take advantage of recent technological developments to improve their operations and be more effective.
  • Industry news and trends. Write about new developments in your industry that your readers can take advantage of. Make sure to highlight why they are important for your readers’ businesses.
  • Case studies. Write case studies of how others have improved their operations. Make sure to include details that readers can learn from and success measures so your readers can gauge the results achieved from these actions.

2. Focus On One Core Idea Per Issue

Many companies pack way too much content in each issue of their email newsletter. Interestingly enough, these are normally the same companies that feel they cannot keep up with the creation of a monthly e-newsletter. Focus on one idea per issue and resist the urge to explain your entire field of expertise in each email newsletter. You’ll have more content to choose from for your next issue and your readers will find your e-newsletter easier to read.


When you write your articles, take a conversational tone in your copy. Don’t feel you are writing your articles for hundreds or thousands of subscribers. The reality is that one person will be reading your newsletter at a time. Have a conversation with each reader by writing the way you talk – in a direct and friendly manner. Your readers will find it much more appealing than if you write in a formal manner. In fact, I feel you can break a lot of the rules your high school English teacher taught you about writing. While writing your article, and definitely after you’re finished, read it out loud. Does it sound natural – just as if you were having a conversation with someone? If not, go back and polish the rough edges.


Your articles need to be short and sweet. The best e-newsletter articles are between 500 and 750 words of text. Also, people scan information online before they read it in detail. With email newsletters, you have about five seconds to convince someone your e-newsletter is worth reading before they delete it. Make your e-newsletters easy to scan by breaking up the text in your articles into manageable chunks. Use bullet points and bolded headers to make it easy for your readers to scan and absorb your message.

5. Make a Subtle ‘Call to Action’

Even though the focus of your email newsletter is to educate prospects and customers, this is a great opportunity to present them with relevant offers to generate leads and sales or encourage repeat Website visits.

  • Remember the e-newsletter 80-20 rule. I like to see email newsletters be 80% educational and 20% promotional. The majority of the email newsletter content is useful educational information, while the sidebar is presenting your readers with an attractive offer that is relevant to the article content.
  • Make sure your offer is relevant. I know we mentioned relevancy in the previous bullet point, but it is important to repeat this idea again. Your offer must be relevant on a number of levels to be effective. It should be relevant to the reader’s interests, as well as relevant to the focus of your article content.

Check out SVM’s proven approach to email marketing success, or contact us for more information.

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