While my favorite kinds of campaigns to create are email drips or workflows, I definitely understand the value of a good newsletter. However, a newsletter has to be just that—good—for your company to derive any value from it. In fact, a poorly executed newsletter can actually harm your company.

So, how do you create a successful newsletter? Here are three tips:

  1. Understand your audience. A newsletter should provide value to your audience, which means you have to understand what your audience will find valuable before you can send a great email newsletter. For example, Litmus, a software company, has a target audience of email marketers. Their newsletters contain tips for making emails better, new trends in email marketing, and guides for more complicated email marketing tasks. By understanding the types of content that will be valuable for their audience, Litmus is training their readers. Each time an email marketer opens a Litmus newsletter, they will find interesting content, which means that they will want to keep clicking and opening the company’s newsletters, eventually building brand trust and respect.
  2. Write original content. While not every company has the resources to write original content, writing your own content for newsletters certainly is email marketing best practice. Why? Two reasons. First, by writing your own content you are driving readers to your website and boosting your SEO value. Second, sending readers to your website for high-quality content helps position your company as a trusted partner and thought leader.
  3. Don’t sell your product. Notice how in my original example, Litmus avoids direct calls to buy their product? Newsletters should not be direct plugs for your product (of course, the content in your articles might allude to your product and why users might find it valuable in the context of the article). A newsletter is a tool to build a relationship with your client by providing value to them in the form of knowledge and expertise. Save your direct asks for drip campaigns or emails from sales folks. Not to mention, many of the users receiving your newsletter might be current clients, making it especially awkward for them to receive an ask to purchase your product. Instead, emails selling your products should be segmented to leads, excluding current clients.  

Newsletters are a great way to build relationships and value with current and prospective clients. While they are a time investment, they can yield important returns both in stewardship and data gathering to learn more about what interests your client base.