Last Updated: November 24, 2020

Today’s customers don’t want to feel overwhelmed by advertising. According to a poll conducted by Upstream, 66% of adults believe they are exposed to too many advertisements. This daily brand bombardment means less consumers are retaining information or paying attention to the noise surrounding them.

At the same time, consumers want to know more about the companies they buy from. Their relationship is more than just buyer/seller; they are partners in fashioning a brand identity that applies to the customer’s lifestyle. They want to know who works for the company, what they stand for, what the culture of the office is like, and what the company’s plans for the future are. Companies must sell themselves just as much they sell their products.

Traditionally, print, radio, and television advertising have taken a blunt approach to marketing, making quick appeals to consumers that speak to their most basic and immediate needs. As companies try to deepen their relationship with their customers, they have turned to new tools that allow them to engage with their customers in more subtle ways.

One of the most effective strategies has been the use of email newsletters, that allow companies to talk about themselves and their products in a way that doesn’t confront customers with sales pitches. It is a softer form of advertising that respects the consumer, creating loyal and returning customers.

What is newsletter marketing?

Newsletter marketing involves sending out informational newsletters to interested parties (See also Permission Marketing). Some companies send newsletters through the mail, but the vast majority of companies today connect with customers over email. Email is cheaper and faster and produces data that can be more easily studied to create more relevant newsletters.

Newsletters contain a range of content that is not exclusively related to shopping. Companies might include everything from industry news, to interesting statistics, and “how to” articles in a given issue of a newsletter. Because consumers already indicated their interest in receiving the newsletter, companies can create more interesting content they know will engage their base.

Information about multiple products, sales, or company initiatives can be contained in a single email newsletter. This information is often more detailed than what could be included in a print or radio ad, because there is no limit on the length of an email. The multimedia aspect of emails also allows business to include links that allow customers to buy products immediately (See also Email Marketing). They present convenient sales channels that lead customers directly to a company’s official site.

Who implements newsletter marketing?

The low cost and relative ease of creating an email newsletter means that most businesses can maintain this ongoing marketing strategy. For some small businesses with modest marketing budgets, newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with customers without buying expensive radio or television ads.

Newsletter Content Ideas

  • How-tos
  • Problem/Solution
  • Opinion/Analysis
  • Reviews
  • Best of lists
  • Horror/Disaster story
  • Interviews
  • Quizzes
  • Funny or inspiring anecdotes
  • Links
  • Event reminders
  • Surveys
  • Case Studies
  • Look into the future
  • Helpful tips

Typically though, larger businesses, and particularly retailers, use newsletters most frequently. With larger product lines, multiple sales and deals, and special offers, these companies usually have more information to relay to customers at any given time. Also, larger companies have more expansive marketing departments featuring copywriters and designers, who are specially trained to create stunning looking email newsletters.

Successful Newsletter Marketing Strategies

  • Develop Reserve Content – Write a few articles that can be published at any time for the months when there is not enough content to fill the newsletter.
  • Read Competitors Newsletters – Read the newsletters of competitors to see what kinds of articles and deals are being offered.
  • Research The Readers – Examine the other sites and communities that subscribers frequent. This can suggest topics for future articles and offers.
  • Partner – Develop relationships with other companies or causes that readers will be interested in.
  • Recycle – Use content from sources like blogs and company publications in the newsletter.
  • Reduce Length and Frequency – Readers don’t want to be bogged down with endlessly long newsletters. Doing less can make a bigger impact.
  • Encourage Feedback – Allow readers to comment on newsletters and suggest topics for future issues

How is a newsletter marketing plan developed?

Newsletter marketing relies on providing a high quality, interesting newsletter on a consistent basis. Creating an engaging newsletter requires businesses to create an fluid plan that takes into account deadlines, content, and the target demographic.

The first step of any plan will be to define the readers that the newsletter is targeting. Are they other businesses or customers? Do they want to receive special deals or are they more interested in product and company information? Knowing who the target audience is sets the tone for the entire campaign.

Next, it will be necessary to define the purpose of the newsletter. Most newsletters are designed to increase sales, but others focus on spreading industry news, developing an identity for a brand, or starting a conversation around a product or issue. Newsletters with a sales focus must include special deals and easy links to purchasing pages. Informative newsletters will need to contain new information that is genuinely relevant and interesting to readers. (See also Direct Marketing)

Knowing the purpose of the newsletter helps the company set goals for the campaign. These goals might include increasing sales by 20%, or increasing newsletter subscriptions by 30%.

The last step is to design content and distribute the finished product. Using all of the information gathered in previous steps of the plan, copywriters are able to create content relevant to newsletter readers. The success or failure of any newsletter marketing campaign depends ultimately on whether people want to read those newsletters.

Careers in newsletter marketing

Email Marketing Manager

What do they do?

Average Salaries of Newsletter Marketers

  • Email Marketing Manager
    entry level – $50,000-$70,000
    after 10 years – $60,000-$90,000
  • Copywriter
    entry level – $40,000-$60,000
    after 10 years – $60,000-$90,000
  • Graphic Designer
    entry level – $35,000-$60,000
    after 10 years – $60,000-$85,000


Email marketing managers supervise every aspect of the email marketing process. They will be responsible for growing email lists, approving the designs of newsletters, monitoring metrics to track success, and coordinating email marketing with other marketing efforts. This is an important job that requires a mix of creative and technical skill. Managers must create ads that connect with customers, and then use all the technological tools available to them to get those ads to the public.

Education and Skills

A bachelor’s degree in marketing will be necessary for any manager. Email marketing managers working in senior positions often have advanced degrees in marketing, particularly in the areas of digital and new media marketing. These marketers will need to have an impeccable eye for images and a keen ear for the copy that will connect with customers.


What do they do?

Copywriters draft all of the written messages that appear in advertising. They will write everything from tag lines, to product names and corporate brochures. Copywriters will compose all of the text that appears in a newsletter and are often responsible for coming up with new article ideas.

Education and Skills

A degree in marketing is not absolutely necessary for all copywriters, but it is very helpful. Writing advertising copy is an art in and of itself, and it takes more than just proper grammar and form. Some copywriters enter the field after getting degrees in English, communications, or public relations. New copywriters will be asked to provide a portfolio displaying the work they have done for a variety of ad campaigns.

Graphic Designer

What do they do?

Graphic designers create and manipulate images for the purpose of advertising. Any time an image or graphic is used in an ad it has been selected by a graphic designer and manipulated for maximum effect using programs like Photoshop. They will prepare the images that appear in an email newsletter and then design the layout. It is important to consider the visual impact of the document as a whole.

Education and Skills

Almost all graphic designers have bachelor’s degrees in graphic design. Some are self taught, but the majority will have formal education. A degree in marketing is not necessary, but can be very helpful. Graphic design is about both artistry and persuasion. The strategies of marketing are linked to every image they create.

How can a marketing school help you succeed?

Our Recommended Schools

  1. Grand Canyon University (GCU)

    GCU's Colangelo College of Business offers leading edge degrees that address the demands of contemporary business environments.

  2. Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

    Explore the bond between business and consumer behavior with a degree in marketing.

Successfully integrating marketing messages with technology is crucial for writing newsletters that lead to sales, requiring both technical and traditional marketing training from a college or university. Earning a degree in marketing from a four-year institution is the best way to prepare future marketers to manage effective newsletter campaigns.

In their marketing programs, students learn how to conduct market research and design timely and appealing marketing messages that target specific consumers in the marketplace. Today, many marketing programs include information on Internet marketing in their core curriculum, introducing students to emerging concepts in the field.

Additionally, many programs allow students to specialize in digital and new media marketing if they want to focus specifically on Internet marketing. If you’re interested in learning more about how a marketing program can benefit you professionally, request information from schools offering degrees in marketing.

Open Rates by Industry

Some businesses have more to gain from newsletter marketing than others. Knowing which industries have the most successful track record of using newsletters can help a company decide if that strategy is right for them. The chart below is based on data from a 2012 report from MailerMailer which analyzed over 1.2 billion emailed newsletters. This chart illustrates the 5 most successful and 5 least successful industries that use newsletter marketing. Banking newsletters get read almost three times as often as medical related newsletters.