How to Craft the Best Newsletter for Your Retail Business

Don’t see the value in email newsletters?

Consider this: Even The New York Times thinks they’re still relevant. In fact, as of August of 2015, they had at least 33 (with more in the works), with an average open rate of 50%.

If that doesn’t convince you that email newsletters are a force to be reckoned with, we’re not sure what will.

But we’ll keep trying to convince you of their relevancy anyway.

“For readers, newsletters offer an easy way to stay in touch with their favorite brands or media sites,” says Content Marketing Institute. Readers don’t have to search Google or scroll through overly busy social media feeds packed with ads. The newsletters are simply delivered regularly to their inboxes, and with simple filters in place, all the junk mail is curtailed so what people want to read is easier to get to.

And senders benefit, too. Newsletters are a powerful way for brands to stay top of mind with readers, providing a direct route to obtaining their attention.

“The best newsletters — the ones readers value the most — get an almost automatic open because readers want to see what goodness is inside that day.”

Source: Content Marketing Institute

7 Strategies for Creating Irresistible Email Newsletters

Want to create a newsletter that gets opened every time you send it? Check out the seven strategies below.


1. Curate, Curate, Curate

ReadThisThing is an ultra-curated daily email that highlights one piece of superb journalism. Selecting from a diverse range of topics, sources, and formats make each email an irresistible surprise.

Why’s that important? Surprise is one of the foundational principles of the psychological model (and book) Hooked, by Nir Eyal, for driving customer engagement and building loyal audiences. He refers to surprise as a “variable reward.”

Of course, curation can be tricky. You might be tempted to include too much content for fear of leaving out all the great stories or articles out there. But less really is more in this instance.

When curation is done well, it is an invaluable service to readers and they’ll thank you for it by opening your emails again and again!

2. Show Some Personality

“Every brand has a personality and it’s this personality that makes subscribers recognize and connect with the brand, developing a stronger bond with every communication,” says LiveIntent.

Just as people have certain traits that define their personality, there are certain characteristics that define a brand. To find yours, answer these 3 questions:

1. What adjectives best define your brand’s character?

2. What tone best relates to your core audience?

3. How do you want your prospects to perceive your brand?

The answers to these questions will help you develop a distinct personality and define how your prospects will interact with your brand.

Remember…one of the best ways to build a long-lasting bond with your audience is by maintaining a consistent brand personality in email newsletters that your subscribers can relate to and want to engage with.

3. Provide Value

The success of your newsletters will depend, in part, on creating email content that your recipients want to read. This means your content must be well written and focused on their interests (rather than your brand’s). Additionally, you must deliver on the promises made to your email subscribers – including publishing on a consistent basis and not peppering them with content they opted out of receiving.

To make sure all your bases are covered, follow the 6 guidelines below:

  • Only send email newsletters if you have something of value to say
  • Keep your messages simple, focused, and concise
  • Write compelling, relevant copy
  • Don’t overdo sales-y messages
  • Create an easy-to-digest and attractive design that will hold your readers’ attention

A good example of an email newsletter that provides value is Finimize, which sends out a newsletter that succinctly explains the two biggest business or economic news stories of the day. It only takes three minutes to read, but it explains what’s going on, what it means, and why the reader should care.

4. Personalize It

It’s important it is to create content that speaks to individuals—audience members who will benefit most from the insights you plan to share.

Because today’s consumers are very discerning when it comes to which marketing messages they will allow into the inner sanctum of their inboxes, segmenting your audience by known interests and communication preferences will help you deliver an email experience that’s more personally resonant as well as relevant, suggests Content Marketing Institute.

The reason personalizing matters, according to Andrea Fryrear, is because this type of content will increase the likelihood that the recipient will actually do something with that content (like sharing it, for instance).

5. Get Niche-y

“Newsletters, perhaps more than any other format, allow you to go really niche,” comments Content Marketing Institute.

“You don’t need huge audiences for your newsletter to be valuable, you just need the right people — those who care and who are engaged.”

Source: Content Marketing Institute.

In an effort to reinforce their niche, HubSpot removed 250,000 subscribers from its newsletter database to ensure that it would only get sent to those who actually wanted to receive it. Because otherwise, what’s the point, right?

Going niche has another advantage, for small businesses in particular, because most email service providers offer free use of their software for smaller databases. This means your niche audience newsletter could be free of charge!

6. Make it Exclusive

Make your subscribers feel like part of your inner circle by offering exclusivity. Consider writing a short article, review, or how-to for your newsletter audience only. Or, if you sell products/services, offer your subscribers a discount.

Whenever you discuss or promote your newsletter, always point out that it includes behind-the-scenes peeks, brand new content, and subscriber-only discounts, suggests GoDaddy. “Make it clear that your newsletter readers are part of an exclusive club.”

Another approach that keeps people opening your newsletter is paid subscriptions. The concept here is that people tend to be more committed to things they’ve made an investment in, especially when it’s a financial one.

For example, Stratechery offers readers the chance to receive an exclusive daily email with the author’s take on the most important news of the day. Subscribers pay $10 per month or $100 per year.

7. Keep it Fresh, Focused and Pure

“Email is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic,” points out Content Media Institute.

“Media trends, informational needs, and consumption preferences evolve; and people change careers, upgrade their devices, develop new interests, and discover new obsessions. If you aren’t prepared to maintain the effectiveness of your email content to ensure that your experience is always viewed as fresh, useful, and personally relevant, your once essential resource can transform into a fly-like nuisance that won’t stop buzzing in your reader’s inbox – keeping it from performing to its full potential.”

Source: Content Media Institute

Email newsletters also give you a chance to have a pure, honest conversation with your readers. The subscribers who appreciate it—the ones that matter—will reward you by opening up your newsletter each time it’s sent.


A well-executed email newsletter campaign is a valuable asset to any content marketing program, as well as being one of the best techniques for building a subscriber base.

As Content Marketing Institute points out, 74% of marketers consider email to be the most effective distribution channel for their content. And when you use email to send out your newsletters, you’re taking advantage of that effectiveness to stay top of mind with readers and gain direct access to their attention.

Email newsletters help you strengthen your brand’s relationship with customers and prospects. And if you follow the tips above, you’ll build up a loyal audience of readers who will potentially become your best customers and brand ambassadors.

Also published on Medium.

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.