There’s a question that often lingers in the mind of the modern marketer: Does newsletter marketing work? The short answer is yes.
The long answer is that you’ll need to cover a few bases to really be effective. While there’s no tangible list of newsletter templates that work, the best ones keep their subscribers in mind 100% of the time. They offer real solutions to the pain points and problems their subscribers face, while entertaining and engaging them. All while building trust and confidence in the brand.
Great newsletter design examples are interesting, captivating, and functional. Sometimes this means bright colors and breathtaking photos, and sometimes it means minimalism and simplicity to focus the attention on what’s most important.
The best brands are always searching for new, relevant marketing newsletter content ideas that go outside of predictable sale announcements and boring confirmation emails.
In this chapter, we’ll cover:
- Some newsletter templates and ideas for all sorts of purposes and occasions, from welcome emails to company news to content round-ups
- Newsletter format tips to get maximum engagement from your layout, design, and visuals
- Creative newsletter design examples, as well as some classic, traditional, and “safe” examples
- Impressive newsletter campaign examples from ecommerce and non-ecommerce companies
[highlight]Note: Check out ReallyGoodEmails.com for thousands of beautiful newsletter examples and inspiration. You can even edit an email’s HTML code if you want to fiddle with how to format a newsletter. If code isn’t your thing, stick to an email builder or automation tool to handle all that for you.[/highlight]
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5.1. Ecommerce Newsletter Examples
Let’s look at 10 real newsletter examples that were sent by ecommerce brands.
You don’t always have to push your products (in fact, you shouldn’t). Men’s shaving and grooming products company Harry’s sends an instructional, educational email that’s relevant to its business line. Instead of trying to outright sell stuff, Harry’s provides a value-add by telling its customers how to better take care of their skin and get more from their shaving experience.
It’s all done in a clean, simple newsletter format that gives white space the love it deserves. They use the company’s signature brand font, which is easy to read and digest while still being unique and reinforcing the Harry’s brand.
Subject line: Are you doing this AFTER you shave?
2. Tailor Brands
Online branding and marketing solutions company Tailor Brands uses a classic incentive strategy to get subscribers to fill out a survey. (Because sometimes, you just gotta bribe people to get that coveted feedback!)
The email is beautifully simple, using color contrast to point your eyes in all the right directions. The green background is the perfect shade to allow for a red and white contrast for the main headline and subheadline, while still using black as the main body copy. This clever use of color puts it in the top examples of newsletter headlines.
Plus, the subject line is a fun play on a popular saying, while also making the reader curious about how much more they’re hinting at.
Subject line: Penny (or more) for your thoughts?
Sock company Bombas has mastered the art of the referral email. One of the most straightforward newsletter headline examples, the email’s header leaves nothing for interpretation: “Refer a friend, get free socks.” Simple as that.
Instead of using blurbs or blocks of text, they use short numbered lists to explain how it all works. The blue subtitles create a clear distinction and visual separation as they lead down to the bright pink “Refer a friend here” button. And the “Get free socks” button in the header image leads to the same link, to avoid distracting from the main CTA (call-to-action).
All this while maintaining the cool, fun personality of the brand.
Subject line: Free Socks Are Not A Myth
4. Casper Labs
Casper Labs is the research branch of the premium mattress company Casper. In this dedicated product email, they introduce a company innovation with what I like to think of as grace and poise. They use a problem-solution framework and simple storytelling to show the reader how they solved a problem.
Simple graphics help to enhance the newsletter story format while reinforcing the company’s branding. Instead of the hard sell, the “Learn more” CTA button (as well as the play button in the header GIF) leads the reader to their Kickstarter page – the ingenious way Casper helped fund the development and manufacturing of the new duvet.
To add to their cleverness, they used a trackable URL so they could see how much Kickstarter engagement they got from the email.
Subject line: Casper Labs: Creating a Humidity-fighting Duvet
Here’s another dedicated product email from shoe company Toms. They have a one-two punch here: they’re using the seasonal approach to make their everyday brand relevant to Halloween, and they’re doing so by using a creative email newsletter image format.
When you hover your mouse over the slider, you can see a photo of their glow-in-the-dark shoes glowing in action. View the live version here to hover for yourself.
Interactive newsletter examples like this one are a fun way to show off your product while standing out from the crowd. The only downside here is that the shoes are designed for women and kids only. Not fair, Toms.
Subject line: These Classics glow in the dark! 🎃
6. The Hill-Side
This one is one of those rare exceptions to the rule about always staying consistent with your branding. Men’s clothing company The Hill-Side takes a supremely unique and clever approach to standing out on the most popular ecommerce day of the year: Cyber Monday. Anyone with an email account can attest that Cyber Monday turns an inbox into a battlefield.
This email is completely off-brand, using a tech theme that’s reminiscent of a hacker. Or your inner late-90s computer nerd. Or a late-90s hacker. In any event, it really hits home on the “cyber” concept while catching you off-guard (and hopefully making you smile).
This is certainly one of the more creative newsletter design examples out there.
Subject line: Cyber Monday Sale: 30% Off Everything
Anthropologie is a women’s clothing, accessory, and home décor company that’s known for its quirky and laid-back-yet-glamorous “bohemian” style. Because of this, visuals are an important part of the company’s identity.
This email seamlessly blends being promotional and informational, advertising their 20% off sale while providing home décor style tips to guide a customer’s purchases. And they do it all with the help of beautiful product photography.
They also have a great use of fonts to add personality while still keeping it clean. On top of this, it’s one of the more naturally responsive newsletter design examples, as it uses a “mobile-first” layout that looks good on desktop, but focuses on mobile. Win-win.
Subject line: Catnaps. ZZZs. Shuteye. SALE!
Peloton is an indoor exercise bike company that streams live cycling classes through the bike’s monitor. This sales newsletter format is short and simple. It uses concise and action-oriented copy, and there’s only one CTA here: get the bike.
To help encourage readers to do this, the bright “Limited time offer” banner and “Get the bike” button are a good contrast to the black-and-white of the rest of the email. This immediately draws your eyes to the most important details.
They also did a great job with the “lifestyle photo” (one of the top product photography tips), which shows the product in action while helping the reader visualize themselves using it in the comfort of their own home.
Subject line: Last Chance: Get $100 Off Accessories With Your Bike Purchase
Generally speaking, if you want to send an email that builds hype for an upcoming announcement, you need to make sure it really does the job. Otherwise, it can just dilute your campaign and seem a bit spammy. However, this is one of those newsletter teaser examples that does a good job of piquing the reader’s curiosity.
Soylent, a meal replacement product company, sends a simple and clean teaser for a new mystery product in their line. The tone is casual, relatable, and self-aware, which catches the reader’s attention and perhaps makes them giggle.
Subject line: Something new is launching tomorrow.
Fab is an ecommerce company that sells a wide range of products including women’s, men’s, art, home, and tech accessories. In this email, they take a more personal approach by putting the spotlight on the men who designed a popular watch line.
By putting a face to the products and adding a human aspect to the shopping experience, Fab is helping to build stronger relationships with their subscribers (and therefore more brand loyalty).
The email uses a neutral color scheme that has nice visual contrast while keeping the high-end feel. Beautiful product photography and lifestyle photos show different variations in the product line as well as how they look in action.
Subject line: Designer Spotlight: MVMT Watches
5.2. Non-Ecommerce Newsletter Examples
And now for some great newsletter design examples from service-based companies, software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, and some others in between.
This is one of those short-and-sweet newsletter welcome message examples that’s brilliant in its simplicity. Competitive email monitoring tool MailCharts skips the frills for a text-only welcome letter to new subscribers. It’s written directly from the co-founder and director of marketing, Carl Sednaoui.
In the letter, he sets clear expectations by telling the subscriber that they’ll receive a few emails each month. The best part: he asks them to hit “reply” to tell him their biggest email marketing challenge, and urges them to ask him any questions at all. The subject line “How can I help you with email marketing?” immediately tells readers that Carl really cares.
This is wonderful way to build trust, humanize a company, and encourage engagement. It’s also a clever way to get valuable customer feedback to help improve MailCharts services in the future.
Subject line: How can I help you with email marketing?
As we mentioned in Chapter 4’s discussion of email marketing tools, Grammarly is a writing app that helps make your messages and copy top-notch. As part of their email marketing initiatives, they send users a weekly update that summarizes their activity with the app.
The update discusses the user’s activity, accuracy, and the quality of their vocabulary in comparison to other app users. It also shows top grammar mistakes to help keep the user mindful, as well as a writing tip of the week.
It’s one of the more classic newsletter format ideas that includes a fair amount of information, but the Grammarly team does it well. They keep the copy short while using colors to help create visual separation and easy skimmability. Overall, this email is a great value-add for regular users.
Subject line: Grammarly Weekly Progress Report & Tips
13. Story Matters
Story Matters is a cool publication that’s dedicated to celebrating storytelling in all its forms. Their monthly email gives subscribers curated content like articles, poems, and podcasts, each of which contains captivating stories or a discussion on storytelling itself.
The email is pristine, with a classic and simple newsletter format. Instead of images, the header has an artistic use of fonts. The copy drops some key phrases and takeaways from the article that’s linked to the header’s clever “Waste not” CTA. Visual hierarchy leads you down the page to smaller content links, each with vibrant photos and illustrations to catch your attention.
You can tell that this publication is all about storytelling, as the copy uses powerful, descriptive – and borderline poetic – language.
Subject line: What is in the stuffing?
Digital marketing automation platform Listrak has a quality newsletter template for promoting its upcoming webinar to help businesses make more money on social media. In the header, you find every detail you need to know: what it is, what it’s about, when it is, and a “Register now” button.
Keeping with the social media theme of the webinar, the main graphic shows a social media ad displayed on a smartphone. To display the key pain points that the webinar will solve, Listrak cleverly uses boxes that mimic social media posts, complete with tallies for likes and comments. Two thumbs up for this creative newsletter format.
Below the scroll, you see photos of the 2 speakers, helping to humanize the company and familiarize readers with the people they’ll be learning from.
Subject line: [Tomorrow] Beyond the Inbox: Social Acquisition
Soapbox is a Wistia Chrome extension for recording and sharing videos. To announce the plugin, Wistia uses Soapbox to embed a video into the email. Needless to say, using the tool’s functionality to promote the tool is a solid idea.
The video is a helpful explainer that tells you all the basics of the extension in a little over a minute. As for the rest of the email, it’s nice and clean, with minimal copy that gets right to the point. The CTA “Get on your Soapbox” is a fun play on words of the saying “get off your soapbox.” I see what you did there, Wistia.
While background photos and patterns can be risky and potentially distracting, Wistia does a good job of choosing a light and colorful pattern that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the message.
Subject line: Introducing Soapbox, Wistia’s video creation tool
Food delivery service Caviar knows how to keep its brand relevant through the changing seasons. This email focuses on springtime US Daylight Savings, where the clocks roll forward and everyone gets an extra hour of daylight.
While food delivery has no direct relation to this twice-yearly phenomenon, Caviar makes itself relevant by offering a $0 delivery fee to celebrate the fact that dinner time is no longer spent in darkness. The clever headline tells readers they can look their food in the face now, with a GIF of some fries wearing sunglasses.
Overall, it’s a fun, quirky newsletter content example that reminds people of the brand and gets them to order some food. Especially with that bright (but still on-brand) “Order now” button.
Subject line: No eating dinner in total darkness anymore!
On-demand transportation company Lyft has an engaging take on the classic New Years email. The company typically takes the opportunity to review a user’s interactions with them over the year. But this time, it shared information about all Lyft users in the recipient’s hometown.
They turned it into an awards ceremony of sorts called the Lyfties, showing things like the city’s top trending destination, as well as the most visited bar, university, event venue, and restaurant. Based on the topics, we can infer that Lyft is appealing to its key demographic of young, twenty-something adults.
This is valuable info. The kind of info that you’d want to click on and share from your social media news feed, just out of curiosity and entertainment. So Lyft includes Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons to encourage readers to do just that.
Subject line: Your 2017 with Lyft
Typeform, an online form and survey tool, really knows how to get a subscriber’s attention. With a subject line like “Siri is dying,” could you resist clicking? This email keeps it simple with just one CTA, which is to visit their newest interactive article. In this article, they learn the story behind Susan Bennett, the woman who unknowingly became the voice of Apple’s Siri.
The email has a minimalist, simple newsletter template. The tech-inspired blue soundwave GIF makes a low-key-yet-interesting header image. As for the copy, there’s only a short headline and subhead, 2-sentence blurb, and a green “Listen In” CTA button. That’s it. And the great thing is: that’s all it needs.
Subject line: Siri is dying
19. 1973 Ltd
A great newsletter marketing strategy is to keep subscribers in the loop with company news. UK marketing agency 1973 Ltd does this well, using its newsletter to take them behind the scenes of the company’s recent branding redesign. The email also shares 2 blog posts – a good amount for more content updates in this newsletter template design without having too many things going on.
The subject line is classically-clickable (though a bit vague for my taste): “We’re so excited to share this with you!” The body has a good use of contrast, with white text on a dark background for the header. As an added personal touch to humanize the brand, the email includes the first name of the team member who wrote each article.
Subject line: We’re so excited to share this with you!
Like we discussed earlier, a newsletter is a great opportunity to promote your company’s premium content. Here, managed WordPress hosting company Flywheel sends an email to encourage downloads of its free ebook.
This is one of the “louder” newsletter header examples. When you open the email, you see a big, bold image that immediately draws your attention to the ebook’s cover. The larger headline shows the ebook’s title in an eye-catching bright blue color, then the smaller subhead is bold and italicized in a serif font. Then the description is in a smaller, plainer font.
This is a nice use of colors and fonts to create a visual hierarchy, which highlights the most important details first and leads you down to the “Download it now!” CTA. I also like how they mention that the ebook gives you 4 tips in 4 chapters. It’s a nice way to set expectations for readers.
Subject line: This FREE ebook has the secret to scaling your agency!
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That’s a Wrap
So there you have it! Hopefully, you feel ready to start designing, building, and sending out awesome email marketing campaigns that help accomplish your unique business goals.
Throughout this ebook, we’ve covered:
- A brief definition for email marketing
- General phases or segments for an email marketing campaign
- Laws and regulations that you’ll need to keep in mind
- Some of the top terms and definitions for key KPIs
- How to use these KPIs to measure and improve your performance
- The anatomy of a successful email
- Different types of marketing emails you can send to accomplish different goals
- How to build and segment your email address list for maximum engagement
- Key tools and automation platforms that will help make the process easier
- 20 great newsletter examples from companies who get it
While this ebook was comprehensive, there’s always more to learn and experiment with. Use this as a guide to get started, but remember to always stay attentive, open-minded, and curious.
Subscribe to the newsletters of some of your top competitors and favorite brands. Pay attention to trends and new developments. Try new things, but look closely at the results.
To be a real email marketing winner, you’ll need to grow and evolve just as fast as consumerism is growing and evolving – and that’s pretty darn fast. What works today may not work tomorrow.
And that’s the beauty of it all!
Did we leave out any awesome strategies that have worked well for you? Let us know in the comments.