Savvy Speaks: Got a Newsletter? See How Yours Measures Up

Savvy Speaks: Got a Newsletter? See How Yours Measures Up
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Wed Oct 06, 2010 @ 01:18AM
Comments: 18

It seems like these days EVERYONE sends out their own email newsletter (or eNewsletter). Some we look forward to all month, some we trash right away. Here’s a peek into how the Savvy Sisters counsel their own clients when it comes to creating a knock-em-dead newsletter.

Stephanie Tilton


  • Keep each issue focused on a theme and write a subject line that reflects it
  • Segment your list so that you’re sending relevant content (e.g., educational content to leads you’re trying to nurture vs. how-to’s on extracting the most value from a solution for current customers)
  • Keep the newsletter short, with links to expanded content online
  • Mix up the type of content (e.g., informative article, tips, survey/survey results, download offer, etc.)
  • Make calls to action prominent (i.e., above the “fold”)
  • Conduct A/B testing to test elements such as subject line, headings, call to action
  • Offer clear links for opt-out/subscription management



  • Pick an email subject that tells the reader what’s in it for them
  • Don’t do ANY graphics at all or keep it VERY simple so you can skip downloading it but still read the text. People don’t like to have to right click and download pictures.
  • Keep articles short, and if necessary direct the reader to the main site for the rest of the article.
  • Include an interesting tidbit (“Did you know?” “Catch this article on…?” “What does this mean for our industry?”) in the sidebar that will make the reader want to dig into the rest of the letter.
  • Don’t do any “We opened a new office/distribution center/promoted Andy to Head Water Cooler Changer!” articles unless it REALLY adds a benefit to the customer.
  • Make your headlines work for you; list all the headlines at the top of the email with a bookmark that takes them down to the body of the article
  • Make the unsubscribe notification easy to find




  • In look: Keep your look and feel and layout similar so your readers know what features to expect in each edition.
  • In delivery schedule: So many organizations plan a monthly newsletter but after a few editions it falls off to quarterly or semi-annually.
  • In tone: Be informative, timely and relevant with content.  Don’t treat your newsletter as a sales advertorial.



  • Have a landing page for your eNewsletter so readers can learn about what they are signing up for.
  • Be consistent with delivery, be it weekly, bi-monthly or monthly, and state this on your registration page (e.g. “Sign up to receive our monthly eNewsletter, which will be sent the first Wednesday of every month.”)
  • Decide what the purpose of the newsletter is, and stick to it. Do you want to provide content that you do not publish anywhere else? Is it a wrap up of blog posts and other content you released (maybe with some additional commentary?) Again, be specific with what readers will receive on the registration page.
  • Provide a sample of your newsletter on your registration page.  Even better, archive all of your issues on your website.
  • Include social sharing options on your newsletter so people can easily share your content.
  • Automatically send a welcome email when someone registers for your eNewsletter and point them to other resources if appropriate.
  • Use an email service provider that enables you to do A/B testing on things such as subject line, content placement, etc.
  • Think about the mobile user. Marketo has some good tips on designing emails for mobile users.
  • For a great resource on email marketing, check out this eBook from Proteus B2B Marketing (note: registration is required).



  • Have a strategy in place before you start creating any content. Decide on marketing goals for the newsletter – are you trying to generate requests for demos, increase attendance at Webinars and other events, drive blog subscriptions, or just stay in touch? Focus your content to support the key goal.
  • Be realistic about your frequency goal. If in doubt, start out monthly (or even quarterly!) and then increase frequency when you feel comfortable with the process of generating content and pushing out the email.
  • Remember that most email programs strip out images. Make sure that your message will remain intact even without the pretty pictures.
  • Syndicate your email content via social channels like Facebook and Twitter (directing to a Web version of the newsletter). Having the content available on multiple platforms expands your reader base and doesn’t necessarily hurt email subscriptions. People like to have options when it comes to how they consume content.
  • Include interactive elements like surveys, polls, and even giveaways. If you can get your readers to engage beyond just skimming the headlines, you’re one step closer to the kind of relationship that leads to conversion.
  • For the love of Pete, only send to people who have actually opted into your list. Just because someone “Liked” you on Facebook, followed you on Twitter, or showed up in your Outlook database does not mean you can add them to your newsletter distribution list.

Wendy Thomas


Remember, remember, remember that it is all about giving your audience value and it is not about how wonderful you are. Newsletters with constant articles boasting of company triumphs or interviews with the ulterior motive of solely enhancing someone's self esteem will only lead to the death knell of any newsletter. In those types of articles it is clear the author is more enamored of herself than her readers. How difficult she makes it for us to even care. 

Tease, titillate, present organized content, and for God's sake give your readers a concrete reason to invest some of their life reading your writing. 

Join the conversation!

What are your best eNewsletter tips?

Seen any violations that make your eyes water?

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