We live in a world of information overload. With every social media feed filled with businesses claiming how great their services are, an email newsletter is a content which bypasses all this noise and hits that perfect marketing + engagement spot.
In fact, 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email (versus direct mail, text, phone, or social media).
With numbers of this kind, it is safe to say that email marketing campaigns are one of the most heavily-practiced and highest ROI – generating tactics.
For every $1 spent on email marketing, $44 is made in return, according to a study by Campaign Monitor.
Eager to get your newsletters started?
The challenge here is to keep coming up with new and interesting content for email newsletters. This might sound familiar to some of you.
Fret not! We’ve done the research and created a list of the best content and topic ideas for your email newsletters throughout 2018. We’ve divided these into various categories from which you can pick and choose the newsletter topics that work for you. Finally, we’ve also given a list of generic newsletter ideas which you can use, regardless of the niche your business is in.
Email newsletters can be one of the best ways to keep customers informed about the state of your business and the direction it is moving in. In this way, you can send out a non-invasive update to the people who are interested in your business, are investors, or are connected to your business in any other way.
This also helps by showing off the progress of your company and keeps it in a positive light for the people who matter. A few examples of the type of information you can share here:
Business changes that impact customers
Effective policy changes, changes/updates in your product UI or app/website, or any changes that your customers should know about should be covered in the company’s newsletter.
You can also use these kinds of email topics to invite beta testers. This list of beta users will connect with you the people who are most interested in your business. Special campaigns can be made to market and remarket to these users.
Apple had one of the best newsletters announcing the updates to the App store:
Important Company Milestones/Achievements/Awards
Whenever your company reaches a major milestone, it is good practice to show off this progress to your customers.
Examples can be specific revenue goals, number of years you’ve been in business, your company history outline, etc.
Another type of content for your email newsletter topics can be your achievements or industry awards. You can use these awards/nominations to build trust amongst your users. It also shows to your investors that your company is doing well.
TakeCareOf, a vitamin supplement company, had a really great anniversary newsletter when they completed one year in business.
With email, you have a direct channel to your customers to teach them about your products. If you keep educating customers over time, it can lead to more people using your product as they become comfortable with it. The types of content and topics these newsletters can have:
A short video/presentation explaining how to use your product or a series of emails explaining the various functions.
Plus, you can include screenshots of your products in action to make the product more familiar to users when they actually use it.
Use this type of newsletter to send out important information about new updates, new products, and releases.
Best Practices and Tips
Special tips and ways to optimally use your product can be highlighted here. You can also make a repetitive series of “exclusive tips” for your email recipients only.
Tricks like this will increase your email open rate and draw more engagement with your emails.
Lesser Known Features Which Differentiate You From Competitors
Does your product have some special functionality or features which your competition doesn’t offer?
Newsletters relevant to these features are a great way to show off your unique selling point (USP) and demonstrate why you’re better than your competitors.
Before you go spending all your money on advertising campaigns on social media, consider spending some of it on email. You can hand out special deals and discounts via newsletters. As we highlighted earlier, most customers prefer receiving promotional offers via email.
Be careful though — be too promotional, and email will go unopened, or worse, in the trash/get caught in the spam filters.
Your content for promotional newsletters should clearly state the value you’re offering and the action, users have to perform to receive it. That being said, deal and discount newsletters are one of the most interacted-with of all. So make sure to include this in your email newsletter ideas.
Partner Products/Useful Products
Newsletter content has to be focused on delivering values to your readers, always.
You can introduce your audience to products and services you like — ones that can make their life easier. Other than this, you can also drive conversions/sign-ups for partners and businesses related to yours. If these genuinely help your audiences, they will love receiving such newsletters.
For example, if your audience consists mainly of freelancers, and you turn them on to invoicing software that makes their work convenient, they will be more than happy to try it out. Plus, you can offer additional incentives like discounts on your partner websites etc.
DesignBetter, a website teaching design principles, has a great newsletter about who they are.
The content you create is the main magnet which will draw customers to your product. About a decade back, you could just go about creating quality content, and it would automatically draw an audience.
But now, with everyone and their grandmother creating content, it has become much harder to make your content reach the intended crowd. Everyone’s social media is full of businesses screaming about their content and how good it is. So what do you do?
Away from the all the social “noise”, there lies the email inbox, a literal “dojo” of users, where they come to check for important information.
This is why email is still so relevant. And via newsletters, you actually have access to this private space where you have the full attention of the user. It is the best place to promote and get engagement with your content. Make it count. Here are various Email newsletter topic ideas for promoting your content:
Pretty obviously, whenever you come up with new content, you should send out a newsletter notifying your users that it is up and published. Not just for your own content, you can also do this for:
- Guest Posts You Publish
- Infographics You Create
- Recent Studies/ Surveys related to your business: It is a good idea to include your own observations with such content. You can also elaborate on how the study, its results, or its observations can help your audience, and how the trends can be used to their advantage.
- Posts that your partners publish: You can use your platform to help out partners if the content is relevant to your audience
- Any third party content that might be helpful to your audience
While sending out a content-centered newsletter, your absolute focus should be on helping the audience. It is good practice to include a concise, directed CTA (call-to-action) which takes the user to the target content.
Also remember to include a short summary of what the content is about, who it will help, and what the people who click it can expect.
It is extremely important that the content and your overall email deliver what it promises. It will keep your audience coming back for more.
Let’s face it, not all your recipients will click on each and every email that you send out to them. For keeping these people in the loop, and for promoting quality pieces of content that you’ve worked hard on, it is best to send out a content round-up newsletter, a ‘best of’ list for your users.
You can either do this weekly/monthly/quarterly based on the frequency of content you put out.
Various ways you can branch this out:
- ‘Best of’ Your Posts
- Helpful articles/content in your industry which will engage your recipients
- Content Related to new industry trends/regulations
- Your Social Media Channels Roundup: We all put out helpful, engaging content on social media (or most of us, hopefully). A fun email newsletter idea can be a collection of your best posts/best performing ones.
- Best Tools/Third Party Apps Roundup
Salesforce has one of the simplest and most beautifully designed newsletters for announcing their content.
In the world of online business, it is essential for your human customers to know that your company too, is human. Due to the nature of online transactions, it may be possible that you won’t meet many of your users/prospects in-person, ever.
This makes it even more essential to put in the ‘human factor’ of your business via the other channels where you interact with them.
Building a personal relationship with your clients further encourages customer loyalty and trust. You can use the following email newsletter content ideas to add personality to your business:
- ‘Meet-the-team’ newsletters: Simple, straight and to the point, this type of email can be great for introducing and connecting your team to your customers.
Remember to keep these interesting for the reader though. One idea is to introduce different teams in individual newsletters. For example: ‘Meet the People Who Get You out of Jams when you’ve simply given up (the customer service team)’
- Interview with executives/experts on specific industry domains
- A message from the CEO: This can be about anything. About thanking the current customers, informing them of a new milestone etc. It is a great way to show humility as a company. It also shows that the upper higher management of the company actually cares about the customers, greatly adding trust.
CharityWater sends out great emails in this regard. Each one is a well-written story with a human focus and tells the customers how their money is used to help people around the world.
- Positive Feedback from Customers: This kind of content in your newsletter does wonders for your image. Words from a customer are a great factor in adding to the authenticity of your product.
While developing trust with other users, you can encourage them to give out more positive reviews to get featured in your content!
- Information on your Customer Loyalty Program: You can offer special discounts and features, special to your email subscribers.
- Interesting Events/Outings with Your Team
Email newsletters are one form of content that get an above average engagement rate. You can and should use this attention of your readers to your advantage. By educating them repetitively and gradually, you can reduce the number of help desk calls and emails, hence freeing up resources to invest in further optimization.
As of 2018, more customers prefer helping themselves instead of waiting for responses from the support team, so they are more likely to engage with such content.
The first and foremost requirement for these newsletters to work is a well documented and indexed self-help database for consumers. Check out the various email campaigns you can run as newsletters here:
- FAQs and Answers: Scour your help desk records. Find out the problems customers face most frequently. Make a newsletter with these problems and their solutions.
You can send this out to every new customer as a part of the onboarding process.
You can also use this newsletter idea whenever you roll out new updates or add new features to your product.
- Before/After Stories: This type of newsletter is the best way of showing off your product and its features without making it sound like marketing.
A success story will not only show prospects HOW your product can help them, it proves that you can actually deliver what you promise. Mix these with catchy subject lines, highlight the stats, and you have got yourself some of your best email marketing campaigns.
- Customer Case Resolution: Got a customer case that you think was unique? A resolution that your team handled very well?
Show it off in a newsletter. You can highlight how smooth your customer service process is. Moreover, it might help users facing similar problems.
- Training Resources: You can also use a newsletter to publicize resources like white papers, tip sheets etc.
Headspace (which is a great app, by the way, for guided meditation) does a great job of following up based on user activity. The email encourages you on your progress while including a video based on the hurdles most frequently faced by beginners. Great concept!
This one’s a no-brainer. Whenever you are holding events where you’ll be interacting with your customers, you should promote it using as many channels as possible.
You will already be promoting the event on social media, but let’s face it, sign up rates can be pretty low on social media. While scrolling through their feed, if someone doesn’t complete their sign up, it’s gone forever.
It is good practice to send out invitations via email as well, where they remain as a reminder for your readers to sign up. You can do this for:
- Partner Events Related to Your Business
- Recordings of Past Events that can help users
- Events you’re sponsoring
You can get more tips in this event reminder email guide.
Sprout social did a great job of promoting their #SproutSessions webinar series. I really like how they’ve introduced the speakers as well, which is always a good idea. It makes people more interested.
The ideas we’ve talked about up to now deal with specifics related to your company. There are many additional, miscellaneous email newsletter ideas which you can use throughout the year to keep your content pouring out and to keep engaging with your customers.
Each month has specific days which you can use for your email newsletters. Here are a few examples for every month:
- January: New Year’s Resolutions, introductory offers and new client specials, after-holiday sale to rid customers of holiday blues and get rid of extra inventory.
- February: Valentine’s Day-themed specials/products/events, heart healthy information or tips, Black History Month stories and dedications
- March: The first day of Spring — what signs of renewal do you see in your field? You can also tie in your annual report with a looking back/fresh start theme. March also includes St. Patrick’s Day, and the start of Daylight Savings Time (spring forward!)
- April: April Fool’s Day — you can do a funny spoof. Easter supplies opportunities for story connections. You can also spread eco-conscious information or products for Earth Day.
- May: Promote Cinco de Mayo specials or party planning tips if they relate to your business. Graduation day can also work for stories about college students or people moving on in some way. May also provides opportunities for Mother’s Day gifting guides.
- June: Father’s Day promotion and gift guides. It is also the best days of Summer; so you can tie in summer plans, vacation guides, ideas etc.
- July: Independence day (in the US) — you can use this to connect the concept of freedom to your business, summer-related content, etc.
- August: Olympics-themed marketing, End-of-Summer and Start-of-School-Year marketing
- September: Labor Day — How your business can relate to the movement, Plus the beginning of fall marketing
- October: Halloween-themed marketing — what scares you most about your job? And how your business can help.
- November: Thanksgiving is a nice time to say Thank You to your supporters. You also have Veteran’s Day and the end of Daylight Savings time to consider (fall back!).
- December: Winter and holiday marketing, New Years Eve promotions, Share a year in review, Have an end of the year sale to kick off holiday sales.
In the end-of-year reviews, I’d like to give a special mention to Vimeo’s end of year newsletter. They made it a perfect mix of humor, professionalism, design, and storytelling, which actually made me want to click on the links they had given and find out more. Kudos!
Apart from the months, there are special commemorative days, festivals and events which you can use to tie to your business in one way or the other day. You can check this list of special days throughout the year, and use the ones which are relevant.
Other than special days, you can also use the following content ideas for your newsletter:
- User Birthdays and Anniversaries
- Motivational Quotes
- Customer Success Stories
- Religious Holidays
- Humanitarian Events
Piggyback on Current Events and News
If none the above ideas fill your appetite for newsletter ideas, no problem. Simply check out recent hot news and events and figure out how you can align your message with those.
It’s a neverending resource for inspiration. But of course, your creativity is required to make the most of these opportunities.
The trick for choosing these stories is not their scale, but rather whatever has the attention of your target audience. In every “internet” day, there is news, new events, new social media trends, and viral content. The advantage of using these is that the content is already familiar to the people, and you can use it to piggyback your email newsletter by tying them to your business.
You can give your unique take on these events and market your products along. This is a great platform for using the voice of your brand and letting people know about your views/vision as a brand. Above all, the ultimate goal is to increase the empathy of the readers with you.
A recent example of this is the American President and all the controversial policy changes he’s been making. When he introduced the travel bans, some of the best performing email marketing campaigns were talking about how they opposed (or supported) it, and how their product met with their views.
So this is it, our all exhaustive list of inspirational content ideas to make your email newsletters interesting, original, and engaging. If done right, you can generate great returns from these ideas.
It is no wonder that 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel, in terms of revenue generation.
Feel free to comment if we missed out on any email newsletter topics or ideas! Which ones will you be using to make your campaigns more interesting?