Email best practices

How to create an email newsletter

Customers enjoy newsletters and marketers love their ROI. Newsletters drive regular traffic to websites and engage your audience like no other medium. We’ll run through how to create and optimize a successful newsletter and share some of our favorites for inspiration.

Hermes draws an arrow amongst air balloons



So, you’ve decided to create an email newsletter. Hooray for you! Or maybe someone’s suggested you launch one, and you really have no idea what they’re talking about? Whether you’re an email newbie or you just want to make sure you’re doing things correctly, we’ve got you covered.

Right on cue, here’s the best email newsletter post ever.

What is an email newsletter?

Basically, an email newsletter is a type of email sent out by companies or individuals to a subscriber list. That list should include existing or potential customers that have signed up and given clear consent to receive digital marketing communications from your brand. Email newsletters are sent regularly and contain valuable content like guides, blog posts, news, product reviews, personal recommendations, tips, announcements, and other resources.

Newsletters are an essential part of an email marketing strategy. They allow businesses to nurture their contacts by establishing themselves as key players in their industry, sharing insights, and highlighting new products that will drive traffic to the website.

An example of a newsletter sent out by Mailjet

Why you need an email newsletter

Email newsletters are one of the most popular ways to nurture existing and potential clients. Why? Well, mostly because it’s low-cost and has great return on investment (ROI). Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels for both SMBs and enterprise level companies. The average email marketing ROI is $35 for every $1 spent, with 76% of customers preferring email communication pre-purchase.

Well-designed marketing emails sent regularly, like email newsletters, webinars, event registrations, and product sales guarantee constant website traffic. Newsletters generally form the largest part of all marketing emails sent and hold a great deal of potential.

Wondering whether setting up an email newsletter is the right step for your business? Let’s have a look at the advantages and drawbacks of sending one.




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Easi­ly link­ed to othe­r mark­eting chan­nels

Pros of email newsletters

Creating a newsletter is not just a way to keep your customers informed about your new products or features, they have many other advantages.

1. Constant source of traffic

One of the main reasons for creating a newsletter is that it generates regular website traffic. Organic engagement on social media platforms like Facebook is declining dramatically. Banner advertising is rarely noticed in the era of ad blockers. Written press releases sent by email will often be ignored by journalists and online editors.

Luckily, this is not true for newsletters. Emails that reach someone’s inbox are usually seen, and the likelihood that they will be opened is around 20-25%. Provided that the email subject line is appealing and the sender is recognized (so make sure your readers know who you are!). If your newsletter is well designed and contains relevant content, this will enhance your chances of the reader clicking on the calls-to-action (CTAs) for more information.

2. Cheaper than other channels

Budget is important to marketers. So, anything that saves you money should be a top priority – and newsletters do.

Don’t underestimate how much money email marketing saves you compared to using other marketing tools. Paid advertisements like banner advertising, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and influencer marketing are considerably more expensive than email marketing.

3. Advanced and easy performance tracking

Measuring the performance of an email newsletter is simple. Your email statistics provide you with all the information you need to do this: open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, bounces, device used to open the newsletter and when, which links are clicked on, etc. These metrics, along with UTM tags to track engagement through Google Analytics, will help you accurately calculate your ROI and produce target-audience-relevant newsletter content.

Email newsletter stats

4. Independence from third parties

When you create a newsletter, you are independent of other service providers and software. Publishers, influencers, social media platforms, and Google are much more likely to increase ad costs than email service providers (ESPs) are.

5. Easily linked to other online marketing channels

Newsletters and other marketing tools like social media can be easily and effectively combined. And they can reach recipients anywhere, regardless of whether they are in the office on their work computer, on the sofa at home on a tablet, or on the go on their smartphone. Emails can be opened and read anywhere.

6. Email automation

Another huge advantage of newsletters is that they can be automated with RSS. Now, readers and subscribers want regular and consistent communication from you (hence why they signed up!). However, manually creating, segmenting and then sending this content is time consuming and often prone to delays/problems.

Mailjet allows you to schedule your newsletters in advance at a specific cadence (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.), ensuring any issues can be ironed out well in advance.

Cons of email newsletters

Where there’s yin, there is yang. Where there is light, there is also darkness. While email newsletters provide many benefits, there are also a couple of cons to consider.

1. Absence of physical experience

Unlike analog advertising media like brochures, flyers, magazines, etc., there is no haptic experience with email newsletters. For instance, a desk calendar is visible all year round. Emails, on the other hand, are intangible.

Emails, therefore, have a shorter lifespan but are also less annoying to organize and are better for the environment.

2. Ease of deletion

Let’s be honest, emails tend to be deleted quicker and are more likely to be skimmed through than physical media. There are many reasons for this: a full inbox, unappealing subject lines, irrelevant content, etc.

Although we can optimize our messages to prevent this, a 100% engagement rate can never be guaranteed. This is true not only for newsletters, but for all marketing tools.


Create and send your email newsletters with Mailjet

Easily create and send amazing emails and reach the inbox with Mailjet. Design your campaigns using our drag-and-drop email editor and optimize your email marketing strategy.

How to create an effective email newsletter

OK, so we have convinced you to give newsletters a go. Hooray! To help you make the most of your new favorite marketing channel, we’ve detailed below all you need to know to plan an effective newsletter strategy. Your competitors will wish all their emails were like yours.

Here are the steps you should follow to create an email newsletter for your business:

  1. Set your goals and objectives

  2. Find the right platform for your newsletter

  3. Build your newsletter subscriber list

  4. Segment your contacts for better targeting

  5. Design beautiful email templates for your newsletter

  6. Define your newsletter content

Let’s run through the nuts and bolts of good email marketing.

1. Set your goals and objectives

First things first. Before you even start designing your email newsletter template, you’ll need to think about why you want to implement one. Consider the following elements to ensure you’re crafting the right messages.

Identify a target audience

Defining your audience is essential to the success of your campaign. You need to understand your potential readers’ needs and wants to provide value and send newsletters that appeal to your audience.

So, think about who you want to reach with your emails and try to be as specific as possible. Consider things like demographics, location, and interests.

If you’re aiming to reach a global audience, it can be hard to get precise in your definition, but segmenting your audience (which we’ll cover later) can help send more relevant emails.

Determine basic objectives

What do you want to achieve with your email newsletter campaign? Some companies launch newsletters to drive traffic to their website, others want to increase sales on their online shop or to invite people to upcoming events.

Setting goals gives your newsletter campaign a purpose and helps you measure the performance of your efforts. These specific objectives depend on your company’s goals, vision, and values.

Once you have defined your objectives, you need to determine the KPIs you want to track. If you’re not sure where to start, you might want to consider some of the most typical metrics measured for newsletters:

  • Newsletter subscriptions

  • Open rates

  • Click-through rates (CTR)

  • Spam and block rates

  • Newsletter unsubscribe rates

Discover your focus topics

Planning the topic of your newsletter is closely connected to the objectives you have defined, but coming up with content can be hard at first.

To find inspiration, analyze your competitors’ newsletters and newsletters from companies you think are successful at email marketing. This will give you some ideas for new potential topics, products, events, etc.

Here are some examples of newsletter content you could include:

  • Product launches and industry news

  • New or popular blog posts

  • Podcasts and YouTube videos

  • Upcoming events and webinars

  • Case studies and customer stories

  • New stories around your company culture and job openings

  • FAQs and other resources for customer support

  • Email content calendar.

You can also carry out a survey in advance and ask your contacts to share their thoughts as you grow your newsletter list.

2. Find the right platform for your newsletter

Before you start creating newsletters, you need to find a newsletter solution that allows you to create, send, and analyze email campaigns.

Mailjet’s drag-and-drop Email Editor.

Mailjet’s email marketing platform

The problem is that there are many professional newsletter solutions on the market, which can be both a curse and a blessing for senders.

So, what should you look for in email marketing software?

Here are a few features that can help you make the most of your email program:

  • Drag-and-drop email editor to create newsletters easily in a few minutes.

  • A large and responsive newsletter template gallery.

  • Email personalization and email segmentation features for creating targeted and relevant email content.

  • Structured and clear contact management options that allow you to manage your contact lists easily.

  • A/B testing to drive up engagement of your campaigns.

  • Detailed statistics that allow you to track, analyze and optimize your email newsletter.

  • Optimal deliverability to ensure your newsletters reach the inbox.

  • Integrations with other apps like WordPress, ecommerce systems, etc.

  • GDPR compliant and other certifications that ensure the highest levels of data security.

3. Build your newsletter subscriber list

In order to be able to create and send a newsletter, you obviously need recipients (duh!).

Setting up an email contact list with high interaction rates is relatively simple if you take certain factors into consideration.

Add subscription widgets to your site

To gain new subscribers, the first thing you’ll need is a responsive subscription widgetwith a double opt-in process.

Add the subscription sign-up form to all the relevant pages of your website. Some of the most effective places to include your widget are the homepage, the blog, the footer, and pages with gated content, such as guides, white papers, and others.

Mailjet's drag-and-drop Form Builder.

Mailjet allows you to create responsive subscription widgets.

Don’t forget to add a double opt-in to your sign-up process. Double opt-in ensures that no fake email addresses creep into your database and damage your reputation and deliverability. If you’re not doing this, you risk being classified as a spammer both by recipients and the inbox service providers (ISPs) themselves.

Don’t buy email lists

Giving in to the temptation of buying email addresses will result in the same scenario. Purchasing email contacts from third parties is still very popular because many companies still believe that an email contact list must be as large as possible to be successful. This is by no means true, trust us. Buying contact lists is essentially a waste of money.

People included in such lists usually don’t want to hear from you at all, so this usually results in spam complaints and unsubscribes. These lists also tend to include spam traps, which can severely hurt your deliverability.

Create newsletter landing pages

Besides implementing a responsive subscription widget, special newsletter landing pages are a great way to grow contact lists. These pages enable you to use all the optimization opportunities that apply to landing pages.

The potential newsletter subscriber is not distracted from other elements on the website. So, they concentrate on all the great reasons your newsletter is the best thing that has been written since Harry Potter.

The New York Times newsletter subscription options

Explore other channels

There are other ways of growing your email lists, such as promoting it on your social media platforms, incentivizing existing subscribers to share, or encouraging people to join at events or your physical store.

Consider what benefits prospective recipients may have if they subscribe to your newsletter. Ideally, you have already clarified these reasons in your strategy. Real added value, for example, is provided by things like:

  • Special offers and coupons

  • Advanced information and booking facilities

  • Invitations to exclusive events

  • Regular industry information

  • Access to exclusive content like ebooks

  • Email mini courses

Get consent from your contacts

But remember, regardless of how you’re getting your subscribers, you should always ask for consent before adding anyone to your email database. Remember what data protection and spam laws (like GDPR) say about consent, and ensure you’re complying with the applicable regulations.

Consent form example from EA

Pro Tip: For more information and tips on how to build and grow an email list, you can check this complete step-by-step tutorial.

4. Segment your contacts for better targeting

Instead of sending the same message to all your customers, leverage segmentation to make the most of your emails.

Think about how you can use the information you have about your customers to create segments and send tailored email marketing campaigns that really speak to that group.

Determine the kind of data to use to segment your list. Think about what would make sense for your business and consider if there are some obvious ways to group your customers based on different characteristics.

To give you some inspiration, here are a few examples of the kind of data you can use:

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Beha­vioral data­

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Past­ purc­hases

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Beha­vioral data­



Purc­hase freq­uency

If you want to get even more specific about your segments, you can combine different types of data and create even more precise groups. For example, you could focus on only women that prefer shopping for shoes and that have made a purchase over the past six months.

Once you have different groups of customers with similar characteristics, interests, or habits, it will be easier to understand each segment and craft messages that resonate well with each one.

As you start planning your campaign, consider how you can create a message based on these segments and always keep your audience in mind.

5. Design beautiful email templates for your newsletter

The first step to creating a newsletter is setting up an email template. You can use a newsletter template provided by your ESP (ours are pretty cool!) and adapt it as necessary to match your brand image and your needs.

Alternatively, you can upload an HTML newsletter template you have already created or that you have bought from a third party. In this case, make sure that the selected layout is responsive so that your email campaigns will be perfectly displayed on every end device.

Ready to dive in? There are five main things to consider when designing an email.

Think about content before building your templates

The first thing to consider when putting a newsletter template together is content. Is it relevant to your audience? Is it engaging enough? Does it follow your brand guidelines? Keep your content brief and to the point, as you only have the reader’s attention for a small amount of time.

Use images on top of your email to capture the reader’s attention, followed by brief text and a clear call to action.

Easter newsletter from Firezza

Keep your email newsletter simple

Give your newsletters a consistent design and don’t cram your email with too much information. Provide plenty of white space and keep your newsletter simple and neat.

A clear structure ensures that subscribers grasp the content and core message(s) immediately. Insert your company logo in the upper section so that the readers immediately associate the newsletter with you. Add images in order to attract the readers’ attention, followed by a brief text and a clear CTA.

Google Home Mini product newsletter

To have your email render on various devices, be mindful of your email size. The ideal width is between 500 – 680 px. Our article “Email design: Trends and best practices” offers a comprehensive guide on email design best practices.

Think about colors

Make sure that you’re keeping true to your brand identity and think about your audience. Using specific colors based on your demographic and seasonal themes, you can improve your results and ultimately ROI.

Consider your demographic to choose your color scheme and use relevant colors to match certain seasons, like crimson red for Christmas and brown for fall. Finally, ensure your colors have good contrast with a dark background.

Use images wisely

Images and other visual elements optically enhance the newsletter. But beware – image-heavy emails can negatively impact your deliverability. Internet service providers (ISPs) know this well and often block emails containing large images. So always aim for a healthy 60:40 balance between text and graphics.

Remember to add alt tags to the images and scale them down to the size you want. Always consider accessibility best practices and bear in mind that some email clients block images so that subscribers will just see a large white area. By adding alt tags, they’ll at least get an idea of what they should be looking at.

Carefully plan your CTAs

If you want your users to take action through your emails, don’t be too pushy with your CTA buttons.

Think about the placement of your CTAs and always have your main CTA above the fold (the page you can see without scrolling). Research, A/B test, and compare your campaigns to improve the text used in your CTAs to increase your click-through rate.

Ensure your newsletter is responsive

In an increasingly mobile world, your content and entire funnel must be optimized for mobile devices. Studies have found that at least 41% of emails are opened on mobile first. In other words, if you haven’t already optimized your newsletters to mobile devices, now is a good time to do it.

Responsive email across desktop and mobile

Mailjet’s responsive email rendering across devices.

To get you started, we have gathered a few of the most important steps to take while optimizing your campaign for a mobile audience:

  • Stick to one-column templates, so your emails don’t get too wide for mobile devices. Divide your text into smaller sections and make it easy for readers to get an overview of the contents of the email.

  • Make sure your CTAs and links are easily clickable and placed intuitively in the email to increase the chance of users following them. Also, ensure your landing pages are responsive to get the most out of clicks through.

  • Avoid using images that are too large, as they can slow down the loading time of the email for recipients using mobile data to fetch your newsletter.

  • Always test your newsletter on several devices and email clients. You’ll quickly see how your layout elements are displayed on different screens and clients like Gmail and Outlook, and how clear your CTA is shown in the email body.

6. Define your newsletter content

An essential part of email design is the content featured in the newsletter. Yes, this might sound obvious, but it’s still forgotten by many that think a flashy design is enough to wow their contacts.

Tailor your newsletter message

Whether you got inspiration from other newsletters or by conducting a survey, carefully map out the messages you want to share and consider how you’ll communicate these to your audience. Define your email voice and the stories you want to tell, paying special attention to your copy.

Need some content ideas for your newsletter? Here are a few:

  • Promoting the latest blog articles.

  • Curated content from around the web.

  • New freebies like podcasts, guides, white papers, studies, etc.

  • Invitations to seminars, webinars, and other events.

  • Special marketing campaigns like advent calendars, yearly calendars, etc.

Remember that the content you share in your emails should be directly linked to your goals and objectives and provide value to the reader. Place the most important information first and organize the rest following a clear hierarchy.

Create an eye-catching subject line right

We’ve talked a lot about how, just as the saying goes, first impressions really do count when it comes to the subject line. Think about this: If your email is the vault and the content inside is the treasure, your subject line is the key.

Remember that the tone and language should match the style of your brand. Be bold and try out something new. Being cheeky, using questions, citing the recipient’s name, or even adding emojis, all jazz up the subject line and draw attention to your newsletter.

Want some ideas to create attractive email subject lines? Check out our post, 56+ email subject lines that beg to be opened.

Also, don’t forget about your “From Name” and pre-header. For the “From Name”, don’t just use your company or department name, but make sure it’s easily recognizable.

The pre-header summarizes the email content and motivates the recipient to pay attention to your newsletter. So, make sure it works together with your subject line to incite the readers and encourage them to open your email.

Pro Tip: Know your audience to find the best subject lines for your readers.

Don’t forget the legal bits

If you conduct email marketing activities, you must adhere to certain legal guidelines. This means that your newsletter must contain an unsubscribe link.

Infographic showing the footer of an email

How to optimize your email newsletter over time

With your content ready to go, it’s time to start sending your newsletters. As we mentioned before, the easiest way to go is by using an email marketing service that lets you integrate your contact list, create your newsletter layout, and send your emails in one platform – like Mailjet.

Understanding email metrics

Make sure to choose a service that offers tools for tracking and analyzing the newsletters you send. It’s important to see how your audience responds to the emails you’re sending them. Most email newsletter services offer tracking of delivery, opens, clicks, and unsubscribes, which are essential in measuring your efforts.

Here are the main metrics explained:

  • Open rate: The percentage of subscribers who opened the newsletter.

  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of recipients who clicked on at least one link or CTA.

  • Conversions and/or revenue per click: The percentage of readers who executed the desired action after clicking on the target page (purchase, download, read blog article, etc.).

  • Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of users that canceled their newsletter subscription.

Mailjet’s statistics dashboard

Optimize future newsletters with Mailjet’s campaign reporting tool.

Once you’ve sent your first few newsletters, the opens and clicks should give you an initial idea about how your audience is reacting to your emails. This data is a great source for deciding how to optimize your future newsletters.

Make sure you know how to read email stats properly and how to identify what needs to be improved. If your open rate is low, perhaps your subject line isn’t clear enough. If only a few people click on the links in your newsletter, try to make your CTA stand out more. If a lot of users are unsubscribing, take another look at your contact list or try grouping your contact list into more specific segments to get a more narrowing targeting.

Use this data to determine the exact performance of your newsletter and make any adjustments to individual elements. We recommend always implementing these adjustments using A/B testing.

Tracking results and optimizing your newsletters should be an ongoing process. Even when you reach positive results, try aiming even higher and find things that can improve even further.

Finding the best time to send your newsletter

Your newsletter sending time is sent is a crucial factor for success. If you are new to email marketing, try different times and sending frequencies. Testing and comparing the results is the best way to know what works for your business.

In most cases, there are some basic rules about the best time to send emails. If you work in the B2B sector, you should send your newsletter during regular working hours. Peak times are usually between 10-11 AM and between 3-4 PM. If your business model is B2C, then you should send during the week between 6-9 PM and on weekends.

Of course, there are many different tools that can be helpful. Use web analysis software like Google Analytics and analyze the exact time when customers visit your website and send your newsletter based on that time.

Google Analytics visual chart displaying users by time of day

Google Analytics shows the best time to send your newsletter.

You can also test to find the best cadence for your company's newsletter. Weekly and monthly newsletters are the most popular, but that doesn't mean you need to default to this email frequency.

Find what works best for your business: Keep a close eye on your engagement metrics to understand what works best for your subscribers.


Email Growth Playbook

Want to know more about how to optimize your email newsletter over time? Check out our Email Growth Playbook, a database of 60+ tactics to help you increase the performance of your email campaigns.

Email newsletter examples to inspire you

Want to see some of these tips in action? We’ve got a whole blog post with 50 newsletter examples for you to check out, but we’ve also selected four of our favorites below for you to get inspiration and learn the basics.

Check them out below!

Product Hunt

What’s great about Product Hunt is how they use their brand identity to their benefit, using their signature red to make their CTA stand out on the white background.

Product Hunt features one key element, which is placed first and adds in-depth value for those avid readers that are always keen to scroll down. Their text-image ratio is also on-point, using their visual elements perfectly aligns with the brand identity.

Check out the full-size Product Hunt newsletter.


Ah, yeah, have we mentioned we love Netflix already? Netflix uses personalized content to make sure their readers keep coming back to their newsletter and find true value in it.

Also, check out their clever use of CTAs! Not everyone will be ready to indulge when Netflix’s email arrives. But by adding a combination of ‘Play’ and ‘My list’, they maximize their click rates and potential conversion.

An example of a Netflix newsletter

Netflix is one of our all-time favorites.


When someone signs up to the Skyscanner newsletter, they generally know what they’re looking for. Wanderlust-provoking articles with travel tips and suggestions that will help us daydream about being somewhere that’s not the office… And, oh man, do they deliver.

There’s no question about the value that Skyscanner’s content offers, which makes their newsletter a great way to nurture contacts until they are ready to convert. And when they are, they’ll find personalized deals to inspire them and encourage them to click-through.

Skyscanner tempt subscribers with attractive offers through their newsletter


At Fitbit, they have a clear goal in mind with their newsletter: to drive traffic to their blog. The content is meant to inspire readers to become more active and make the most of their device. So they highlight their content value at the top (‘Top articles picked for you’) and smartly present their articles with a responsive design that is easy to read (and click!) on mobile.

Check out the full-size Fitbit newsletter

Send awesome email newsletters with Mailjet

Sending newsletters requires the right email partner that’ll make it easy to create, deliver, and track your email performance.

With Mailjet, you’ll be able to build and manage your email lists using our Form Builder and contact list management features. Plus, you’ll get to carefully segment your database to send content that your readers really want to read.

If you haven’t already, try our drag-and-drop Email Editor, which will help you leverage our amazing template library. Alternatively, build your designs from scratch on the interface to create stunning responsive emails that look good on all devices.

Once your email is sent out through our interface, via SMTP or with our flexible APIs, you’ll be able to effectively track and optimize performance. Use our detailed Email Statistics, A/B Testing, and Campaign Comparison tools to help you take your email to the next level.

Want to learn all that Mailjet has to offer? Check out all our features here!


Create and send your email newsletters with Mailjet

Easily create and send amazing emails and reach the inbox with Mailjet. Design your campaigns using our drag-and-drop email editor and optimize your email marketing strategy.

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