When people first start doing email marketing, they often assume they need an email newsletter. Not only is their newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it easy to read and mobile-friendly. You don't have to click out of the email to read the news if you don't want to -- although they do link to their sources if you want to read further. For your own email marketing, TheSkimm is the place to go if you're looking for writing inspiration or for emails without much visual content. You'd hope that an email marketing testing company would have great emails ... and Litmus definitely does. There are a lot of creative things you can do with images in your emails, from designing your own custom graphics to creating animated GIFs. What makes their newsletter unique is that it isn't just content curated by one person or one team; it's content curated by a community of people on the internet. Shah does this by breaking the list of curated posts into different sections -- Business, Product, Marketing Growth, Tip of the Week, etc. Many marketers don't frequent Hacker News, but they should still check out this hand-picked curation of the social network's top stories of the day. The newsletter is clean and minimal, but still sends a ton of really great content its subscribers' way.
“It’ll have everything our customers care about, all in one place,” they rationalize. “Our list will be different — people will actually look forward to getting our newsletter,” they argue. “Since we’re only sending it once a month, it’ll be a breeze to put together,” they say.
And while all of those things may become true for a few lucky individuals, lots of email newsletters flop. They become an uninteresting mush of content people automatically ignore, archive, delete, or straight up unsubscribe from. And this isn’t great for you, your metrics, or your company’s success.
So if you’re thinking about creating an email newsletter, read this blog post and think really hard about whether that’s the right move for you in terms of your marketing strategy.
If you’ve decided that you want to start an email newsletter, or you want to revamp one that’s not performing well, keep on reading. We’ve compiled some of our absolute favorite email newsletters to inspire you to make the best email newsletter for your company possible.
Each newsletter on this list is fabulous for different reasons. Some have exceptional design, some have exceptional copy, some have exceptional calls-to-action … but all are exceptional at solving for their subscribers’ needs. Check ’em out.
Best Email Newsletter Examples
- Austin Kleon
- Vox Sentences
- General Assembly
- SaaS Weekly
- The Ringer
- Hacker Newsletter
NextDraft is a daily email written by a man named Dave Pell, which is a curation of the best web content of the day. As Pell describes it, “Each morning I visit about fifty news sites and from that swirling nightmare of information quicksand, I pluck the top ten most fascinating items of the day, which I deliver with a fast, pithy wit that will make your computer device vibrate with delight.”
You can tell he’s a great writer. His copywriting is one of my favorite things about the newsletter. It starts with the subject line, which is usually a play on words or a clever one-liner on the top news of the day. It then extends to the body of the email itself, which is always descriptive, accurate, and clever. Finally, the minimalist design is fantastic.
Not only is content delivery is clear, organized, and digestible, but also the inclusion of social share buttons underneath each story is brilliant. Rather than assuming that the reader is going to make it to a social sharing option at the bottom of the newsletter, Pell provides them with multiple opportunities throughout. Social engagement can play a big role in growing your newsletter, as every share on social opens up a valuable opportunity to attract more subscribers.
For those who’d rather read news like this in a mobile app, the NextDraft app is free in Apple’s app store.
REI, the recreational sports outfitter, is a model of success in several areas of content marketing — and their membership email is no exception.
We included this email newsletter on our list because it does what many ecommerce and consumer product vendors find challenging: promote good products with good content. In the newsletter example below, you’ll see how REI delivers many different types of material to its subscribers, and each type relates to one another. Following the seasonal product offerings at the top of the email, the company offers trainings to help educate readers on its new products and blog posts for even more insight into the outdoor lifestyle.
Did you notice something else about this newsletter? It’s dedicated entirely to runners. Catering your email newsletter to a single audience — even if that audience belongs to an even bigger buyer persona — can help you tell a story in your email that resonates with the recipient from start to finish.
Not to play favorites, but this newsletter from Austin Kleon is one I really look forward to. First, I love the simplicity. It’s not flashy, nor is it overly promotional. That’s the hallmark of a successful email newsletter: The most effective newsletters aim to educate, not sell.
I also love the overall informal tone he takes, as it makes it feel as though you’re hearing from a friend. If you’re looking to lower the barrier between your company and your audience, consider using language that is friendly and inviting, not buttoned-up and jargony.
FandangoNOW is a movie streaming app that allows you to build a library of purchased and rented movies around your interests. And it uses the below email newsletter as part of its customer retention strategy.
The email below offers movie suggestions for the weekend, making it a well-timed newsletter if it lands in your inbox on Friday afternoon. In addition, its design is easy to digest, despite being so graphic-intense. Using numbered icons and consistent “Buy” and “Rent” CTAs in corners of each movie tile, the email compartmentalizes a lot of content while still connecting each movie to the FandangoNOW brand.
InVision’s newsletter is a weekly digest of their best blog content, a roundup of their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt.
Not only is their newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it easy to read and mobile-friendly. They make great use of animated GIFs in their emails (which you can see when viewing the whole email here). I also love the clever copy on their call-to-action buttons:
- “Cat GIFs on Every Page”
- “Set Your Sights”
- “Why So Serious?”
In addition to classic CTA buttons, they engage their audience at the bottom of every newsletter with a “You tell us!” text CTA.