When was the last time you emailed your list?
If your first reflex is to hide away in shame, it’s okay. You’re definitely not alone. Before I understood the importance of email newsletters, I’d ghost my email list for MONTHS at a time.
If you’re running out of email newsletter ideas to write, keep reading to discover some of the best examples I’ve seen land in my inbox this year!
What’s an email newsletter, anyway?
Not everyone agrees on what “email newsletter” means — which is why you might see other email strategists define it differently compared to me.
For some people, it describes the weekly or monthly roundup of articles, resources, news, or other topics you want your subscribers to read about.
But here’s how I define an email newsletter:
Any reoccurring email you’re sending to a specific list of subscribers.
Do you send a nurture email once a week that shares your latest Instagram post? Newsletter.
Do you practice daily email sending by sharing a fun story with your list every day? Newsletter.
Do you create a monthly roundup of your best podcast episodes along with your favorite joke of the month? Also a newsletter.
But when I talk to my clients, I rarely ever call these types of emails “newsletters”. That’s because I don’t believe the traditional “newsletter” format best serves small online business owners.
Instead, I call them “nurture emails” or “daily emails”.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you want to call them, as long as you understand their purpose:
Email newsletters help you stay in touch with your subscribers.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but sales cycles are getting longer when you’re selling online. If you wanted to grow a profitable business online, it used to be as simple as throwing up a webinar, launching some Facebook ads, and watching your ad spend double or triple automatically.
That’s no longer the case. While it’s not impossible to get those results using social media ads, it takes a lot more work and dialing in to get to that point.
And for small business owners who’re doing everything on their own… that’s a steep hill to climb.
So what are you to do except give up and beg for your day job back?
That’s exactly what email lists are for. Email has always been — and still is — one of the most reliable to get in touch with your audience online. Even today — as the ROI for ads and other online tools keeps shrinking — email still generates an ROI of $36 for every dollar you spend.
But an email list on its own won’t generate any kind of return on investment. You need to be consistently emailing your list to get anywhere. If you don’t email your list, you won’t be:
- Building rapport with your subscribers
- Staying top of mind for the problem you solve and solution you offer
- Putting your offer in front of your ideal buyers consistently
Now, I’m not the type of person to lecture you about “the only way to do this” or “you should focus only on this strategy”. So I won’t claim email is the ONLY way to achieve the three things I’ve outlined above.
And for some people, sticking to growing a social media following and using social selling can be enough!
But I’ve found that for me (and most of my clients), email is the most cost-effective way to consistently talk to your audience and get them to buy from you.
The first reason is that once someone is on your list… sending them an email is free.
There are SOME expenses, sure. Like your autoresponder subscription and the professional fee you’ll pay if you hire a professional email copywriter. But that’s nothing compared to what you’d pay to retarget the same audience using online ads!
But social media is free too, right?
Yes, it is. But engagement rates are dropping considerably year after year. Here’s what Instagram engagement rates looked like last year:
Compare that to email newsletters, which usually get a much bigger percentage of your audience to open and read your emails! For example, here’s my most recent snapshot for my own engagement rates on Convertkit:
Even if you remove the open rate metric — which is hit or miss when it comes to accuracy — my click rate is still higher than Instagram’s average engagement rate.
In short, this means I’m reaching a much bigger portion of my audience with every email I send.
And it just so happens that emails can be much easier to prepare than a social media post… at least, when you’ve got the framework to get it done!
What should I include in an email newsletter?
What to include in your email newsletter will depend on what you’re trying to achieve with it.
Are you nurturing your relationships with your subscribers? Do you have a specific piece of content you want to drive traffic to?
Or do you have an opening for one of your programs or services?
With that being said, I almost always follow the same framework for every email I write — whether I write it for clients or for my own list.
Here’s what this framework looks like:
- Hook: The first line of your email should hook the reader and keep them interested.
- Story/nugget: Get right into the story you want to tell in your email — or offer a “nugget” of value, whether that’s a tip, a helpful fact, or a change in perspective.
- Segue: A short phrase to transition from your story to your call to action… in short, why does your story or nugget matter to your reader?
- Call to action: What action do you want your subscribers to take once they’re done reading your email? Keep it focused on ONE call to action per email — for example, click to watch your video, hit reply, or click to check out your sales page.
I have several examples of this framework in action in my free email marketing cheatsheet.
Don’t include anything you don’t need in your email, like a link to another offer or resource. This will distract your reader from the main point you’re trying to make!
How to design your email newsletter
Not everyone will agree with me, but unless you’re an ecommerce business, I recommend keeping your email newsletter design to a minimum.
My clients and I have found plain text emails to be much more effective than over-designed templates.
When you keep the look of your newsletter simple, your email looks like it could come from a friend. And ultimately, that’s what it should feel like! If you want your subscribers to feel connected to you, you need to humanize your brand.
If you want to see it in action, here’s what my usual newsletters look like — sometimes I’ll have a single image inserted, but that’s it:
Emails that look like they come from a friend also have fewer chances of getting flagged by your email provider as spam or promotions, which can increase your deliverability, too.
6 Email newsletter examples in the “wild” (AKA my inbox)
Now that I’ve shared an example of my email newsletter, I’ve got some other fun newsletter ideas to show you! These are all from my personal inbox
1. The case study email from Mike & The Peaceful Profits Team
I’ve been subscribed to Mike’s email list for quite some time now. And I read almost every single one of his emails.
One of the reasons I love them so much is because they’re so straightforward and free from hype.
Below, you can see how he clearly illustrates his client’s success without fluff:
After telling his client’s story, Mike explains how he can help the reader. I love how he explains exactly what happens if you get on a call with his team.
2. The call for applications from Laurel Portie
You don’t have to overcomplicate your newsletter when you’re trying to enroll clients into a service, course, or program.
In this email, Laurel uses a super-simple framework:
- She asks a qualifying question (that’s outcome-driven) to get the right people to raise their hands
- Next, she provides the details on her program, including a bit of scarcity
- Finally, she reminds readers who this is for and how they can apply
And she keeps the entire thing simple while still infusing some of her personality into it.
3. The mistake call-out with Brad Smith from Wordable
Brad Smith’s newsletter calls out a common mistake his ideal audience makes and he isn’t apologetic about it.
The reason this email works so well is because Brad starts off with a hook — he entices his readers by letting them know about three steps they need to achieve what they want.
But he goes further and pulls the wool from their eyes by telling them those three steps aren’t enough!
His newsletter provides JUST enough information to keep people intrigued while also providing an incentive to click through to his blog post.
4. Transparency with Sarah and Justin from Wake Up To Freedom
Transparency is refreshing, especially in a world where fake scarcity and bogus countdown timers run rampant.
That’s why I found this email to be a breath of fresh air:
I love how Sarah and Justin acknowledge their readers have other things going on in their lives apart from reading their emails.
And I love how they take that opportunity to give a “fake” last reminder to join their workshop.
5. Thinking about nothing with Mike Mark from Coaching Sales
I’m on Mike Mark’s email list because every time he sends an email, I get an important reminder or a shift in perspective.
And this newsletter came to mind when I was looking for great examples and ideas:
There’s no hard sell or call to action in this email, except in the PS section (not pictured above). But I still walked away from this email with a fresh reminder to give myself the time to think about nothing from time to time.
These types of emails help me see Mike Mark as not just a business owner, but a thought leader.
6. “Spooky story” with Nina from GetSiteControl
I love seeing humor in the newsletters I read, which is why I appreciated this “spooky story” opener from Nina’s email:
Not only does this email from Getsitecontrol provide some tips, but it gives readers the tools they need to implement them!
Email newsletter ideas recap: get a year’s worth of daily newsletter prompts!
Of the hundreds of emails that landed in my inbox this past month, these six examples were some of the best! Here’s a recap of how you can repurpose these ideas for yourself:
- Showcase one of your client’s success stories (without being over the top)
- Use a clarifying question to get people interested before you pitch your application link
- Call out a common mistake your subscribers make (and help them fix it)
- Admit something to your audience to be more transparent
- Help your audience shift their perspective
- Find a way to provide a resource to help your subscribers implement the advice you give them
But if you need more email ideas, did you know that I shared 250+ email newsletter prompts in my email marketing membership? If you email every weekday, that’s an entire year’s worth of prompts! You can join us right here and get the prompts for free.