15 Ways to freshen up the contents of your newsletter

Newsletters are perfect for connecting with your subscribers and sharing useful content. 

If you’re feeling a little burned out on the current contents of your newsletter, you’re in the right place. 

In this post, we put together over a dozen ideas for you to freshen up your emails. Get ready to step up your campaigns. 

15 ideas to energize the contents of your newsletter

Good news: Up to 67% of people prefer email for communicating with brands.

Meanwhile, when MarketingSherpa asked people why they unsubscribed from mailing lists, 91% cited problems with the contents of newsletter campaigns – too much promotion, too much generic content, and irrelevant content all played a significant role.

That leaves plenty of room to connect with your audience in their inbox. Think about the type of content you’ll provide different segments of your audience and how you’ll deliver it to them.

1. Set up an RSS feed or custom feed

RSS feeds make it easy to automate the contents of a newsletter so you can share blog posts on a weekly or monthly basis. 

Why not take it a step further with a personalized RSS feed for your subscribers?

Zapier offers a custom RSS feed function – and Emma integrates with Zapier so you can easily build personalized feeds for different subscriber segments.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) lets people sign up for different newsletter topics and each contains a different feed. 

adding a custom RSS feed to the contents of a newsletter

Source: CFR

2. Evaluate your frequency and cadence

Most people (nearly 60%) say they unsubscribe from mailing lists because they get too many emails. 

Reach out and ask how often subscribers would like to hear from you through a survey. Also, include a preference center link in each email where subscribers can adjust their preferences.

Whatever you choose, make sure to keep it consistent so people don’t forget they signed up.

improving the contents of a newsletter

Source: DMA

3. Include some interactive content

You have several options for including interactive content in your email campaigns:

  • Quizzes

  • Polls

  • Surveys 

  • Reviews 

  • Games 

Many brands have toyed with embedding review options in their emails. 

Interactive content is fun for subscribers and useful for brands because it encourages engagement. In the email below, Wendy’s included an interactive salad menu.

interactive features in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Play around with live content

Live content serves two great purposes: It conveys urgency and keeps subscribers informed. 

Features like countdown timers are perfect for:

  • Promoting early bird event tickets

  • Getting subscribers excited for events

  • Letting subscribers know how long a coupon is valid

  • Informing subscribers how many seats or products are left

Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra included a countdown timer in the below email to encourage subscribers to RSVP to their New York event.

countdown timer in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Gmail

5. Guide your subscriber’s eyes around the email

Marketers always want to know what the best layout is for email. For mobile browsers, a single-column layout works best. 

Instead of thinking about layout elements, what if you focused on guiding your subscriber’s eyes down your email? 

Look at what UNICEF did in the contents of this newsletter. In the first section, an inverted pyramid points to their main call-to-action (CTA). If a subscriber keeps scrolling, they see a Z layout that shoots back and forth on the screen.

layout for the contents of a newsletter

Source: Gmail

6. Promote your upcoming event at the bottom of the newsletter

Campaign Monitor found that giving subscribers more link choices actually improves engagement. 

While it’s still smart to stick with one major goal and CTA for each email, feel free to include a few other links in your campaign to spark interest.

If you’re hosting an upcoming event, for example, why not include it at the bottom of every campaign leading up to the date? You could even have team members change their email signatures to promote your registration landing pages too.

Whenever Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) hosts an event, they’ll promote it at the top of their newsletter.

promote events in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Gmail

7. Feature your WhatsApp or live chat info 

About 90% of people in the U.S. have an email address. That’s one reason email is such a great tool for connecting with clients and customers. 

Meanwhile, people also like to ask questions through text messages and other platforms. It’s worthwhile to let subscribers know how they can contact you outside of the inbox. 

WhatsApp is one of the world’s favorite messaging platforms with over 1.5 billion monthly active users. Consider including a widget towards the bottom of your newsletter with your WhatsApp details or live chat link.

8. Revamp your preference center

Preference centers are important for meeting your subscribers halfway. They can tell you what they want, and you can do your best to meet expectations. 

A quarter of people say they’d like to personalize their email content while 36% would like to reduce how often brands contact them.

include a preference center in the contents of a newsletter

Source: DMA

Here’s what Brooks Running’s preference center looks like.

including preference centers in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Gmail

9. Highlight your mobile app 

Why not use every precious pixel of real estate in your newsletter? 

Just like you would include space at the bottom for your WhatsApp or event promotion, you can also include a banner encouraging subscribers to download your app.

Adidas includes a banner link to their app store at the bottom of most of their emails.

promoting apps in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Adidas

10. Revisit your newsletter branding strategy

Branding is an important piece of your newsletter – and consistency is important for building brand familiarity and trust, which can encourage lead conversion. 

Now might be a valuable time to rethink your email branding if you haven’t done so in a while. Make sure to include plenty of brand colors, your logo in the header, and filters over photos.

using branding in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Pinterest

11. Invest in custom GIFs and infographics

What would an awesome newsletter be without stunning graphics? 

Instead of relying on static images to do the work, include GIFs or infographics to wow your audience and boost engagement. 

Including GIFs can increase revenue by 109% and, like infographics, can help explain complex concepts. 

You could even use a personalized infographic like Fitbit did.

including infographics in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Really Good Emails

12. Introduce readers to different team members or experts

Consumers and business buyers (84% of them, in fact) say the key to winning their business is by treating them like a human being rather than another number. 

You could use your newsletter to humanize your marketing and form a connection with subscribers. Consider including bios of your team members or different experts at your company.

13. Remind readers about your hours and business details

Are you open late? Do your hours change seasonally? Use the contents of a newsletter to keep your subscribers informed. 

It’s easy for businesses to forget that their audience may not remember their business details. The Fix Chiropractic used their newsletter to alert subscribers about their updated Friday hours.

sharing business details in the contents of a newsletter

Source: Gmail

14. Scan the internet for brand mentions to include 

Tools like Buzzsumo – and even Twitter’s advanced search – make it easy to track when your brand or organization is mentioned anywhere online. 

When someone writes about your brand, grab that link and include it in the contents of your newsletter. It’s smart to include curated content from outside your branded domain. It shows that you care about providing your subscribers with interesting content. Plus, it helps build brand authority. 

You could also use your newsletter as an opportunity to promote content from partners in your industry.

15. Give your subject lines and preview text a makeover

Subject lines and preview text are the first things subscribers see when your email enters their inbox.

When asked what entices them to open an email, the majority of people said the subject line. 

improving the contents of your newsletter

Source: DMA

Subject line length is important for mobile browsers – about 30 characters is ideal. 

It also can’t hurt to revisit your subject line approach. Instead of generic copy like, “August newsletter,” try something like, “What’s new for metro Detroit restaurants this month?”  

Wrap up

Everyone’s newsletter could use a revamp occasionally. Layouts get stale. Content grows old. Trends change. 

Try out these ideas to switch up the contents of your newsletter in 2020:

  • Create a detailed email preference center

  • Promote other ways to connect

  • Share content from other sources

  • Set up personalized RSS feeds

  • Play with different types of content like interactive features

Maybe you’d like fresh design ideas to spice up your newsletter. We have an awesome guide with 11 designs that people can’t resist.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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