Email has proven itself to be a powerful method for driving conversions and promoting your brand. In fact, a recent survey shows that 59 percent of marketers believe email is their largest source of ROI. It's no wonder then, that 77 percent of B2B marketers include email newsletters as an integral tool in their content marketing arsenal.
Think about it: When you sit down at your office, what's the first thing you do? Most likely, you check your work email. There's a fair chance that a typical business user is more likely to see your latest email newsletter than your latest post on social media. A well-designed email newsletter has incredible outreach potential and gives you an amazing opportunity to showcase your brand's message.
If you're interested in stepping up your business newsletter email game, we've rounded up examples of some of the most successful email newsletters, including a mix of big brands and smaller businesses. Each example illustrates a different lesson about email newsletter best practices.
The most successful email newsletters have something important in common: they view every email as an opportunity to reinforce their brand.
One simple way to build your brand's identity is to strive for consistency across all your platforms. Your email newsletter's design should be similar enough to your website and your social media presence that readers instantly recognize your brand. Few companies nail this tactic better than Apple. Look at this sample from one of its email newsletters:
Even if you didn't see an iPad featured in this example, you'd have no doubt which brand created this newsletter. The layout and design of the piece are classic Apple, making this email one of the better corporate newsletter examples of consistency across platforms.
The Lesson: Never miss out on an opportunity to build your brand identity.
In most situations, it's wise to balance text and images in your email newsletter if you want to appeal to most consumers. Images catch the eye and encourage readers to keep scrolling through your email. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and certain cases exist where a text-centric email can actually deliver a greater impact.
Focusing on text in an email newsletter is a tactic seen more often in the B2B space, where using too many images or poorly-chosen pictures can run the risk of looking unprofessional. Cisco chooses this approach with its security-focused newsletter "Security Connections." Here's an example:
It's not entirely image-free, but the content is clearly the focus here. The newsletter is filled with valuable news and announcements from the world of information security. This approach strengthens the professional tone of the email and reinforces Cisco's image as an IT security leader.
The Lesson: A picture isn't always worth a thousand words.
What secret is shared by the most popular email newsletters? The answer is almost too simple: make sure that your content is relevant to your audience. One easy way to accomplish this is by segmenting your subscriber list.
While it's not the only business that segments its email list, Yelp makes this tactic look effortless in its email newsletter. Here's an example of one of its successful newsletters, targeted toward subscribers living in Boston or the surrounding area:
This newsletter is packed with information on events happening in the Boston vicinity. For a company like Yelp, targeting by geographic area is a no-brainer. Its goal is to help readers locate great places to shop and eat in their local region.
Your own targeting strategy will depend on your company's goals and what you currently know about your audience. If you have data available that allows you to group subscribers based on their interests, you can send each group targeted content that speaks to their interests.
But what if you don't know very much about your audience? It's not difficult to get on the right track towards an effective segmented list. Add a few fields to your subscription form asking new subscribers to identify some of their interests when they sign up for your newsletter. Simply provide a list of topics and allow new subscribers to choose which ones they'd like to read more about in your emails.
Gathering enough information to segment your email list won't happen overnight, so you'll need to be patient, but the effort will pay off. Before long, you'll be able to create emails with content that's relevant to each segment of your subscriber list.
The Lesson: Knowing your audience is essential.
You might wonder how the companies with the best daily email newsletters manage to create enough content to fill every edition of their newsletter. For some companies, the secret to their success is a mix of original articles and carefully curated content from other sources.
Don't think that these businesses are taking the easy way out—when done correctly, curating content takes a fair amount of time and effort. It's important to examine each contender for your newsletter carefully, making sure it's well-written, engaging, and relevant to your audience.
The team at Moz clearly puts a great deal of thought into their choice of articles for the Moz Top Ten newsletter. The content they present in the newsletter contains quality writing and focuses on the topics that interest their readers: SEO, email marketing, social media, and more.
Including some curated content from other sources doesn't just ease your company's writing burden, it can also benefit your brand's image. You're showing your subscribers that you care about providing great content for them even when it doesn't result in clicks to your website.
The Lesson: Curated content can deliver major value to your audience.
It's easy to assume that your email subscribers are viewing your newsletter on their work computer, especially if you're a B2B marketer. The problem is, that's not necessarily true.
A recent study shows that 46 percent of email opens occur on mobile devices. Guess what happens when users open an email on their phone that isn't optimized for mobile? They delete it. It's important to follow your audience, and for email newsletter creators, that means making sure that your newsletter is geared toward mobile devices.
Lumi, a manufacturer of branded merchandise, understands the value of reaching those subscribers who might check their work email on their phones before they even arrive at the office. Its email newsletter layouts are simple and straightforward, but they get the job done. Even more important, its newsletters are a breeze to scroll through on your phone during the morning commute.
The Lesson: Meet your audience where they are (which is likely on their mobile device).
6. Ben & Jerry's
When it comes to blog newsletter ideas, Ben & Jerry’s ChunkMail is the cream of the crop.
If you're interested in using your email newsletter to educate your subscribers and help them make smart choices regarding your products and services, Ben & Jerry's can provide a double scoop of inspiration. Its ChunkMail newsletter manages to educate its audience without sounding dry or preachy.
A typical edition of ChunkMail might contain ideas for milkshakes made with Ben & Jerry's various flavors of ice cream or trivia about the company's history. But the Ben & Jerry's team doesn't limit their newsletter to the world of ice cream: there's a hefty dose of social consciousness mixed into the content that reflects the brand's values.
Ben & Jerry's has never been shy about its socially conscious stance. In fact, sharing its values has always been part of the company's content strategy. For readers who support these values, this content is likely to deliver valuable information while reinforcing the brand's image at the same time.
The Lesson: Your newsletter can help you share your brand's values.
When you're knee-deep in the details of an email newsletter's design and layout, it's easy to lose sight of its purpose: to drive readers to your website. While all the elements of your newsletter should work together to accomplish this goal, your call to action (CTA) will have the most impact.
It's important to make sure your CTA stands out and catches the eye of your subscribers. But how can you ensure that your CTA is an attention-grabber? There are a few different strategies you can employ. Try using striking fonts and contrasting colors or even putting your CTA in a separate box to offset it from the rest of your copy.
It might also be wise to limit the number of CTAs you include in your email newsletter. According to one study, including just one CTA in an email newsletter boosted click-through rates by 371 percent. The same research indicated that a single CTA added to an email newsletter increased sales by a whopping 1,617 percent.
What accounts for these startling statistics? It boils down to simple human nature: People can get a bit intimidated when you ask them to do too much, so multiple CTAs can be counterproductive.
For a terrific example of a CTA that packs a punch, let's look at Google's "Think with Google" newsletter:
This newsletter has a clean, minimalistic feel, and the reader's eye is immediately drawn to the CTA. There's not much content offered here, but that's all part of Google's plan. The email does what it's designed to do: invite the reader to click and learn more.
The Lesson: Don't let your CTA get lost in the shuffle.
Users who subscribe to the Grammarly writing service receive a weekly email newsletter that provides a brief summary of their recent activity with the Grammarly app. These weekly updates include data about the user's vocabulary and accuracy compared to other users of the app, alerts the user about their most common grammar mistakes, and offers writing tips.
In the wrong hands, this newsletter could be a dry and utterly skippable read. However, the team at Grammarly clearly understands what readers want. They've organized all this data in a clean layout that couldn't be easier to skim. The email newsletter's design makes use of short and straightforward copy separated by bold colors for maximum skimmability.
When a user scrolls through one of these updates, they immediately get plenty of actionable information about their recent Grammarly usage along with some helpful hints for their next writing assignment. With this user-friendly layout, the newsletter manages to deliver real value to its subscribers.
The Lesson: Make your content easy to skim.
An email newsletter can do more than just drive customers to your website—it can also be a powerful way to promote your brand's premium content. Flywheel, a Wordpress hosting company, excels at this tactic. Look at this example of its email newsletter, which invites readers to download the business's free eBook:
When you first look at this email, you can't help but notice the brightly-hued eBook cover. Next, you see the title of the eBook in bold letters. The final touch is the standout CTA, telling you exactly what action you should take. Every element of this email letter is designed to drive the reader toward that eBook download, and the strategy works.
The Lesson: Leverage your email newsletter to promote your premium content.
There's no doubt that social media channels are hotspots for customer outreach, but that doesn't mean you should let your weekly or monthly newsletter email gather dust.
Email continues to be a reliable way to touch base with existing customers and draw in new ones. According to a study conducted by McKinsey, email proved to be nearly 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Twitter and Facebook combined.
We've looked at some standout examples of company email newsletters in this article, and we've come away with some valuable lessons about crafting a newsletter that gets real results. Whether you're looking for quarterly newsletter ideas or you just want to see what the most popular email newsletters look like, let these terrific company newsletter samples get your creative juices flowing. With these examples to guide you, you can take your business's email newsletters to the next level.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Nicole Wiegand.