The small business guide to eNews

The small business guide to eNews

How many online newsletters are you subscribed to? And what percentage of those do you ever actually read?

Odds are, it’s pretty low.

However, newsletters (when done well) can be effective ways of keeping customers informed about your services, and keeping your business top of mind.

In the golden age of content marketing, it’s said that every business is potentially a publisher. But with so much content out there – and so much of it distributed via an email inbox – how can you cut through that clutter?

Here are six steps to writing an eNewsletter that will actually get read: 

1.   Plan your editorial. Brainstorm some topic ideas by considering three important factors:

      • What is my customer interested in? (What are their pain points, needs and goals?)
      • What can my business talk credibly about? (Make sure it meets your business goals too)
      • Are there any broader issues I can relate this to? (If everyone else is talking about it around the water cooler, it’s more likely to be shared)

Good articles or blogs will hit the sweet spot that connects these three things.

2.   Know your audience. This is key, because if the content isn’t immediately relevant and useful for them, they’ll delete it. Before you start to write, check your content is going to benefit your readers.

3.   Create a compelling subject line. Why the reader should open your message: what’s in it for them? Avoid clichés (as you should in all your writing) and keep it short.

4.   Make it personal. We’ve found that the most popular business newsletter articles are about people – case studies with real-life examples of people using your product, or stories about your team that give a sense of personality or commitment.

5.  Giveaways, competitions, freebies, trial offers, VIP events – try to provide at least one loyalty incentive with every newsletter.

6.   Be clear about your call to action. Tell your audience what you want them to do next – it could be sharing the content with others, clicking back to one of your blog posts, engaging with a promotional offer or answering a quick poll question Whatever it is, include an obvious link. 

And some pitfalls to avoid: 

1.   Looking like spam – this is a surefire way to the immediate delete. Avoid sales-y marketing speak in your subject line, and you’ll be on the right track.

2.   Dull content – don’t just talk about you. Give your readers something educational or valuable, like how-to guides, tips and resources for your products or services.

3.   Writing advertising, rather than a story. A newsletter is a chance to tell stories about your business – and if your story can’t answer ‘who, why, when, how and what’ there’s a good chance it’s just a product push.

4.   Plagiarism. Whatever you write must be original. Don’t just copy and paste your competitor’s ‘top ten tips’ and cross your fingers. And don’t be tempted to use last June’s eNews again because you’ve run out of things to say. It’s fine to re-cut content – just take a new angle.

5.   Inconsistency – all too often, small business owners start a blog or fortnightly newsletter with the best intentions and then get too busy to stick to the schedule. Having said that – avoid sending too often. If you’re pushing content twice a day by email, you might see a spike in unsubscribe rates!

Content marketing is a commitment, not a one-off campaign – so if you’re having trouble seeing it through, it may be worth chatting to a professional writer about how they can help with the process.


You may also be interested in our related posts on small business guide to writing brochures and flyers, and business letters.  Visit us next week as we look at the do’s and don’ts for website copy.

Do you have any tips to share?   We’d love to hear from you so please leave us a comment below.



  1. This is a very good article which makes a bunch of good points to keep in mind. Things to do and some to avoid. I think if we always keep the reader in mind, that will go a long way.

  2. Thanks Vicky, you make great points on how to cut through the noise so a newsletters grows a following! Putting in the thought and work seems to be a key to making it come together and be a success.

  3. You are so right. I usually read opening sentence and if I think useful, bokmark. But seldom ever have time to return and read. Made some good points for the writer. Thanks

  4. Thanks, Vicky, for sharing your well-detailed discussion on the small business guide to enews.

  5. Great tips. Sometimes people pay so much attention to what to DO that they forget what they shouldn’t do

  6. Great idea about loyalty incentives. Good way to keep the customers you have. As always, a great read, Vicky, with helpful, how-to information.

  7. This is great… I just recently set up my monthly news/email marketing and like everyone has said, they wish they started it sooner…. I do too! lol I just use some of my blogs, mention what else is going on and keep it simple.. but my blogs are usually answers to pains that I have recently seen… so this is great. Thank you

  8. I like this all the way around. We are always trying to figure out how to make the newsletter better and more interesting. I just add a personal touch to her newsletter. Soon I am going to be adding giveaways. Not sure what and how yet, but something.

    • Vicky Savellis-Grant says

      Great idea Yakini. Giveaways can surely add value to your newsletter marketing effort. Thanks for sharing.

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