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5 Ecommerce Newsletter Best Practices and Who Does Them Well

Michael Waters
May 27, 2022
Brands are investing more in newsletters since they cost less and give brands access to niche audiences. With these best practices, you can build your own too.

Newsletters are a great way of staying up-to-date, and they also feel highly personal. In an era of social platforms crowded with content, people are finding comfort in short articles delivered directly to their email addresses.

Email Newsletters Are Going Through a Major Boom

The newsletter platform Substack is now worth over half a billion dollars, and publications from The New York Times to The Atlantic are investing more in newsletters. More quietly, brands are starting to cash in on the newsletter boom, too.

Major jewelry brands like Cartier and Bulgari have started sending out marketing newsletters that don’t just promote their own products, but also give real value to customers. They offer style tips, book recommendations, and Q&As with important figures and influencers.

Branded newsletters are catching on fast with audiences. The online jewelry company Atelier Romy said that its subscriber base has increased by ten times in the last year. 

It’s a smart approach. On average, emailing your customers earns $36 for every $1 you spend, making it consistently one of the best investments a fledgling brand can make.  

Newsletter Examples: How Brands Use Them

How Do You Make a Good Newsletter?

Sending regular circulations, like weekly newsletters, is a great digital marketing strategy for consistent audience engagement. Here are some best practices you can use to ensure your readers don't unsubscribe: 

Don’t Make It Spammy

Many eCommerce brands use email in order to push new product recommendations to returning customers.

While that’s a perfectly acceptable way to market by email, these brands and retailers that want to start a newsletter should think of their newsletter as a much more immersive project than just a set of recommendations.

Treat your newsletter like a content marketing initiative. It should be about something—an interview with a celebrity, say, or a story about how a brand or a product has evolved over time. Let it mirror the depth that a traditional news article might provide.

Remember Newsletters Aren’t for Every Customer

Abby Morgan, the co-founder of Cuup, told Business Insider that she knows most of her customers are only coming to her brand to buy bras—not to subscribe to a newsletter.

But she said that newsletters are a useful way to convert those customers who are already excited about the brand into long-term buyers.

“Those are the people you really want to cultivate relationships with because we think they're going to be our strongest customer,” she told Business Insider.

Perfect Your Subject Lines

Customers are deluged with emails from brands, and most won’t even give them a second look. Think of an attention-grabbing subject line as a part of your newsletter design. It's the best way to get someone to click.

But emails with all-caps words or percentage signs are now so common that they tend to blend together. A better approach might be the one taken by CB Insights, a newsletter for the tech industry.

CB Insights—unlike most newsletters—uses a casual, all-lower-case approach to its email subject lines, often with an intriguing, three-to-four word quip: “you’re on mute,” “metaverse unbundled,” and “an NFT decacorn” are among their recent memorable subject lines.

FYI: Following up your subject line with a memorable email header helps make your newsletter more attention-grabbing.

Customize Your Audience

Newsletter programs let you break your subscriber base into smaller sub-groups, and brands can use this to tailor different messages to particular groups.

The maternity clothing brand Hatch, for instance, sends different emails depending on which stage of pregnancy its customers are in, so it can give advice and feature products that are highly focused on each person’s circumstances.

The best eCommerce newsletters even curate different mediums that cover specific facets of the eCommerce industry:

FYI: Having tailored newsletter templates for each sub-group can help with the optimization of your bulletin's delivery. Also, don't forget to protect your readers' personal data privacy.

Join Newsletter Ad Marketplaces

You don't have to hope that you stumble across a good newsletter organically. You can actually join marketplaces that are dedicated to connecting brands with newsletter creators.

Swapstack is a prominent example in the space. On Swapstack, brands can not only search for newsletters by the theme and the cost of conversion, but they can also arrange the ad and handle the payment on the platform.

Other newsletter ad marketplaces include Paved, Letterwell, and Hecto. Paved, which is the oldest, has 2,500 advertisers. According to Paved, their median newsletter has roughly 22k subscribers, and the open rate is somewhere between 30% and 50% for each newsletter.

What Are the Trade-Offs of Advertising in Newsletters?

If you don’t want to run your own newsletter, you can always advertise in other people’s newsletters. Newsletter advertising has big pros and cons, however:

Streamlined Support for Your Email Marketing Campaigns

No matter your approach, when you do begin your email marketing push into newsletters, you should have a customer service team that is ready to respond to any product questions or issues that arise.

Chatdesk provides customer service representatives who are real fans of each brand, and they can answer questions in the replies to each newsletter you send out. Also, Chatdesk's reliable support can translate into better conversion rates (15%+).

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