How to write a newsletter people will read

21 Mar 2022
Henna Amin

If you don’t already have an email newsletter set up, go and do it! Email marketing is hands down one of the best ways to engage your audience and build long-lasting relationships with customers, which is vital for business success.

But, getting it right can be tricky. Knowing how to write a newsletter people will actually want to read is a lot different from sending a generic email your readers will either ignore or delete. Plus, if done right, people won’t just want to read your newsletter – they’ll want to share it with friends and further interact with your brand. 

So it’s definitely worth investing your time into. But, as we know, your business’ time is precious, and like with any other marketing activity, the last thing you want to do is spend your valuable time and resources on a strategy that inevitably doesn’t produce results. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way with your email newsletters. There are a lot of things you can do to make sure that your email newsletters are engaging, readable and impactful, and we’re going to share them with you. But first, we have to set the scene.

Email Newsletters are the Keys to Your Customers’ Hearts

We’re big believers in human-led marketing and content. Because real, authentic connections are what will make your brand memorable – when it means something to your customers and makes them feel something too. Building a strong relationship with your customers should be a priority for brands, because it’s that relationship that will lead to recommendations, repeat sales and brand loyalty. 

Email newsletters are pretty unique in terms of content marketing, because email is one of the most personal marketing channels you can access as a business. Unlike a social media post that’s written for anybody on the Internet, an email newsletter feels more like a for-your-eyes-only kind of deal to your customers. 

And getting your brand’s message right to your customer’s inbox (and more often than not, phone screen) is pretty much as close as you can get to them. If you ask us, email newsletters are the keys to your customers’ hearts, and therefore, business success.

So How Do You Engage Your Readers? 

To know exactly how to write a newsletter that people will read, we need to understand the context behind email newsletters. What is it that your customers are looking for from your email newsletter? What do you want to show them about your brand? How will you spark and nurture that connection with each newsletter? To answer these questions, you need to strike a balance between giving your readers what they want and communicating your brand personality and message effectively. 

The first step of understanding your readers is pretty straightforward – especially because you are most likely an email subscriber too. In fact, as an expert on your brand and email subscriber, you’re perfectly placed to strike said balance, because you can easily draw on both sides! 

Let’s start with a question. How many email newsletters are you signed up to? The number is probably relatively small, considering all of the brands that you shop at and consume content from. And you’re probably quite selective about the newsletters you do sign up to because the last thing you want is your inbox clogged up with emails you’re not going to read, right? 

That’s exactly why getting your emails right is so important. Not only are spots in your customer’s inbox limited, but if you clog them up with mind-numbing, overly-long newsletters, they’ll be looking for that unsubscribe button before long. And that means low open rates and even lower click through rates (sad face.)

So, when it comes to thinking about how to write a newsletter that people will actually read, getting in the mind of your reader is a good first step. 

Why Do People Sign Up for Email Newsletters?

To understand how to write a newsletter people will read, we need to get into why they sign up in the first place. Like other marketing strategies, understanding the why shows us the how. The ‘why’ in this scenario is ‘why do people sign up to email newsletters?’ 

Understanding this will help you align the content in your newsletters with what your customers are looking to get out of them too. Because while, of course, your newsletters will promote your business, their primary function is to connect with customers. Let’s look at the main reasons customers have for signing up to your email newsletters. 

They Identify With Your Brand

If someone is signing up for your newsletter, it means that they already feel connected to your brand in some capacity. This means that they identify with your brand, whether it’s your product or service, sector, brand personality or values, already. 

Signing up to your newsletter is a way to consume content that aligns with their personal values or personality and that interests them. For example, an eco-conscious consumer who signs up to a sustainable beauty brand’s newsletter will probably do so because they feel strongly about protecting the environment and know that they can learn more about this passion through their newsletters.

They Want to Stay Up-To-Date with Your Company

Another major reason readers have for signing up to your email newsletter is that they’re personally invested in your brand, and want to stay up-to-date with your business. For service providers such as coaches, customers might also want to make sure that they can nab a spot when you launch a new course or offering too, so will subscribe to your newsletter to stay in the know. 

How Can You Add Value to Your Newsletter?

Now we understand what customers want out of newsletters, it’s time to look at the other side of things: and that’s what you can bring to the table as a brand. You can’t just rely on your customers’ interest to drive your newsletters and get them read. You have to provide something that intrigues, engages or gives them something too. 

Email newsletters are so effective because of how they can add value to the service you provide or product you sell to your customers. They provide the opportunity to go that one step further for your customers, and give them more than just your product or service. And that’s how you’ll get your customers to read your emails. By giving them that added value in the form of a newsletter.  

In a world that never stops spinning, our time has become more precious than ever. So if you want your readers to take time out of their day to read your newsletter, it has to be worth it for them. 

Ways You Can Add Value with Your Email Newsletters

There are a lot of sources of added value that you can leverage in your newsletters. Depending on all of the unique elements that make up your brand, as well as external factors like your industry, you can choose how to add value in a way that suits your brand. Let’s look at some now.

Brand Values 

If you want your newsletter to create connections with your audience, then you can focus on communicating your brand values. This could be through your tone of voice or subject choice. What matters to your brand and your customers? Finding common ground here is perfect for developing a relationship with readers. 

Industry Expertise 

If you want to give your readers new knowledge and information, then leverage your business’ industry expertise in your newsletters. This could be commentaries on industry trends or breaking down industry jargon. For readers interested in your sector, this is a great way to build rapport and trust. 

Brand Personality 

If you want to evoke emotion and make your readers feel something, express your brand personality. You can do this with colour, design or copy bursting with character! Bringing your brand to life in your newsletters will make your readers feel more connected to your brand than ever. 

Once you’ve identified how you can add value to your newsletters, and what you want your readers to get out of them, you can start combining this with your customers’ motivations to create irresistible newsletters. 

How Do We Make Email Newsletters Readable?

So, we’re all on the same page that email newsletters are marketing gold, right? Now it’s time to look at what exactly sets the readable newsletters aside from the rest. There are certain characteristics that the most engaging, readable newsletters have in common. So as long as your newsletters cover these points, you’ll see those open rates soar. 

Elements of an Engaging Newsletter 

They Have a Clear Goal

Unlike email promos that announce sales or showcase your latest range of products, email newsletters offer commentaries about your industry and insider knowledge and information. That means that the goals of these marketing emails will inevitably differ. 

Whilst the former primarily aims to convert into clicks on your website or sales, the latter is more focused on building a rapport with readers. So, it’s important to set a clear goal for your newsletter before you start writing it. This will guide your writing and give your newsletter some direction.

Finding that source of added value that we covered earlier is a key decision that will guide the goal you set for your newsletter. You can think of the goal as the impact you want the newsletter to have on your reader. Is it to delight them? Inform them? Connect with them? Figuring this out first is really important if you want your newsletter to have direction and purpose. 

They Entice Readers Before They Even Open It

We’re talking about the subject line here. That first interaction that readers have with your content needs to be engaging enough to convince them to click on your newsletter, which is where you’ll be able to wow them with your amazing content. It’s really crucial to devote time to writing this, as, without an enticing subject line, they won’t get to see your amazing content. 

Here is where it’s more important than ever to understand your customers deeply. Get into their mindset – what subject line would cut through your endless unread emails and make you think, ‘I need to read that’? 

They Have a Killer Opening Line

The best newsletters also have killer opening lines. There’s no time or space for fluffy, vague introductions, because if your reader doesn’t like what they see after the first few sentences, you’ll seldom be able to get them to stick around for long. As the second step in the email-reading journey, the opening paragraph of a newsletter needs to keep feeding that intrigue you created with the subject line before you get into the good stuff. 

They Aren’t Too Long-Winded

Writing for the sake of writing is a surefire way to bore your audience, so your newsletters shouldn’t be too long-winded. Now, this isn’t to say your newsletter can’t be detailed, it can. In fact, it needs to be if you have any hopes of successfully connecting with your audience. But it can be all-too easy to waffle and end up not saying a whole lot in your newsletters. 

Remember, each communication you have with your customers is crucial in building a strong relationship, so make sure each word counts. 

They Include Calls to Action 

This one is more from a business perspective than a user experience one. Whilst we know that email newsletters’ primary purpose is to deepen that customer-business relationship, it’s still important to encourage an action from your readers at the end of a newsletter. 

Your call to action could be to share the newsletter with a friend, to browse your products, or even to reply to the email itself! 

How to Write a Newsletter People Will Want to Read

Now it’s time for the good stuff. We’re going to look at how to write a newsletter that delights and engages your readers. 

Craft an Effective Newsletter Introduction 

The introduction of your newsletter is arguably the most important part of it. This is your one chance to secure that opening click. If you don’t get this part right, it doesn’t matter how well-written your newsletter is, because your reader won’t see it! 

Your newsletter introduction is made up of a few parts: the subject line, ‘from’ line, and the opening paragraph. Let’s look at each of them in a little more detail now. 

Subject line

That little line you see in your inbox should intrigue your reader enough to want to click on your email. Think emotive language, emojis and punctuation – you want to win their attention and pique their interest here. Don’t be afraid to get a little unorthodox – you could even start with a question! 

Be wary of making it too long – otherwise your reader’s email provider might cut it off. 

‘From’ Line

This is a small but mighty part of your email newsletter. Rather than a cold, robotic company name, make sure your ‘from’ line has a real human’s name in it, even if it’s ‘[Name] from [Brand]’. People are much more likely, and willing, to open an email from an actual person.

Opening paragraph

The next part of any good newsletter introduction is the opening paragraph itself. Depending on your tone of voice and brand personality, the way you write this section will vary. But it’s a good practice to give your reader a quick overview of what to expect in your newsletter. 

All of these elements come together to form a newsletter introduction that feels authentic, engaging and intriguing enough to encourage your reader to commit their time to reading your newsletter. 

Give Them a Reason to Keep Reading

Emails are similar in some aspects to blogs, in that they often contain a lot of information and require your readers’ concentration. So, we can actually look at some blog best practices that are also relevant for emails. 

For example, it’s a good idea to give your readers a quick summary or bulleted list of what your blog is about before you dive in. This gives them a chance to check whether your content is relevant to what they’re looking to get out of it, and you a chance to entice them to keep reading. Knowing what to expect can make reading your blog less daunting for your readers, and the same applies to email newsletters. 

Another blog best practice is to not have a never-ending wall of text – and the same goes for email newsletters. Break your copy up with graphics, images, lists and, of course, paragraphs to make the content more manageable to read. Especially as many of us read our emails from our mobiles, smaller chunks of content are much easier on the eyes.  

Keep Your Copy Concise

As will any other form of content marketing, content quality is a huge priority when you’re writing your newsletter. We’ve already mentioned that great email newsletters aren’t super long, but more importantly, they aren’t filled with pointless paragraphs that don’t tell your readers anything useful.

This isn’t to say that you can’t paint a beautiful picture with your words, because really good copywriting does that without turning into a never-ending monologue. 

It’s about being intentional with your copy, and trying to be concise where you can without taking away personality and flair. This can be a tough balance to strike, but if you keep your main goal for the newsletter in mind and write with a strong tone of voice, you should be able to get it right. 

Make Your Calls To Action Subtle

You don’t need to be worried about being too salesy in your sales marketing emails – but your email newsletters are another story. The rapport that you build with your readers by showing off the different sides to your brand personality and business values can be ruined if you throw in an in-your-face, obviously salesy call to action. So try calls to action that naturally lead on from the main content of your newsletter.

The good thing with your call to action is that it doesn’t appear until the end of a newsletter. At this point, you know your reader has read the main bulk of your email, so even if your call to action is a little on the nose, it won’t disrupt your reader’s flow.

Now this isn’t to say you don’t have to worry about the call to action. It’s still important to take a more subtle approach to your call to action with an email newsletter, by gently nudging your reader to your desired action rather than shoving it in their face.  

Sign Off With Personality

All that’s left to do now is say goodbye! Don’t be afraid to show a little personality with your sign off, it only adds to creating that relationship with your reader. 

And That’s a Newsletter People Will Want to Read!

Now you know how to write a newsletter people will actually take the time to read, it’s time to go ahead and do it! 

If you need a bit of extra help in the form of an email marketing agency, we can help. At writefully, we specialise in crafting engaging newsletters that will delight your readers. You can order yours in a few clicks right here.