So you've decided to start an email newsletter. Good for you as email marketing is one of the most productive ways to stay in touch with your clients and increase sales and repeat business.

But for email to be successful, you must, of course, get your emails read. And like most things, success starts with getting the fundamentals right.

Before you push send, check out the 10 'must haves' for an outstanding newsletter. 

 1.       An attention-grabbing subject line

Your subject line is the first thing people see of your email. Your subject line must compel your readers to open your email; otherwise they won’t read it.  It also must be brief (no longer than 50 characters) otherwise your finely crafted subject line will get cut off if it’s too long.

Try giving your readers just enough information to make them curious. Use action words to inspire readers to click. Subject lines that address your readers concerns such as “How to …” or “Top 5 tips…” show you understand what they care about. Finally, another technique is to personalise the subject line with the reader’s first name.


2.       An actual person as the sender

Do you get warm fuzzies when you receive statements via email from your bank? Probably not! It’s hard to feel a personal connection when the email comes from company XYZ or even worse, a version of “”.  Sending emails from a real human will increase your email open rates.

3.       Pre-header text

This is the little header at the top of your email. This short header is invaluable for supporting your subject line by pointing out the key information in your email.

4.       Personalise your emails

When you send an email to your friends or family, you always start with ‘Hi Dad/Mum’ or Dear Sarah because you know your email is specifically for the person. You should be doing the same for your customers, so they feel your email is specifically for them. Avoid using ‘Dear valued customer.’ If they are a valued customer, you should know their name!

5.       Relevancy

Make sure your newsletter content is relevant to your business and, most importantly, to the interests of your audience. When including images in your newsletter, make sure the image matches your content.

6.       Compelling content

Your content needs to be readable and compelling. While this is obvious, it’s not easy to do. The secret of creating compelling content is to stand in your customers shoes. What would they like to know? What can you offer them that is of value and interesting? Keep it short and sharp otherwise people will lose interest and stop reading.

7.       Clear calls to action

A key aim to sending out email newsletters is to encourage people to visit your website. By adding a clear call to action with a link to the relevant page on your website will help drive readers to click through and check out your site. A call to action should trigger your readers to do something. Some examples are to download an offer, request a free guide, sign up for a seminar, purchase a product, and enter a contest or special draw.

8.       Different versions

A simple ‘must have’ but often overlooked. The wide range of email programmes makes it difficult to have one version of email that can be opened and read by all. Also, some spam software will block HTML emails. So make sure you send an HTML and plain text version of your email to avoid people deleting your email because they can’t open or read it.

9.       Social media/sharing buttons

Add your social media links (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to your newsletter, so readers can share your content via social media. Include a public link to the web version of your newsletter so they can read it outside of their email programmes. The more people read it and share it, the higher your company and brand awareness will be.

10.   Unsubscribe links  

Make sure you have an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email. It is mandatory to give your readers this option. Read up on the Unsolicited Electronic Message Act 2007 to make sure your email marketing complies.