April 12, 2024

9 Newsletter Best Practices to Boost Audience Engagement

Reading time about 10 min

62% of consumers favor email for communication with small businesses. Explore our top 9 newsletter best practices to make the most of this powerful marketing tool. 

Newsletters are multipurpose. They help businesses promote products and sales. They also help create natural touch points with clients. Email newsletters are so effective because they give businesses direct access to their customer’s inboxes. 

Within a newsletter, there are a few moving parts to be aware of. Written content is obviously important. That said, an effective newsletter needs more than just text! Catchy subject lines, slick CTAs, and an engaging format are must-haves too.   

Distributing a newsletter is an inexpensive, effective way to reach your market. The Direct Marketing Association UK found that the ROI for newsletters is very high. For every £1 spent on email marketing like newsletters, £42 comes back in revenue.  

Newsletters are here to stay as staples of an effective email marketing strategy. Capitalize on this, and create newsletters tailor-made to your and your customers’ needs. 

The 9 newsletter best practices you need to follow

1. Tell people what they are signing up for

Transparency is key when it comes to newsletter signup processes. Be clear from the get-go about what your subscribers can expect from newsletter content.

It’s essential to communicate the value your newsletter brings, whether it’s weekly updates, new products, or links to webinars. Clarity helps reduce unsubscribers as people are less likely to feel misled.

The same goes for explaining the frequency of your newsletters. You don’t want to be reported as spam, so set the record straight right from the beginning. Check out our best newsletter signup examples for inspiration.

Be transparent and upfront. This is not only a legal requirement, but will also ensure a happier, more engaged audience.

Note: GDPR in Email Marketing: How to Be Compliant and Avoid Fines

2. Write attention-grabbing newsletter subject lines

The email subject line is the first thing your audience will see from your campaign. To improve email open rates, make your subject line catchy, slick and enticing. 

To start, make sure your subject line is not too long. Remember that mobile users may only see a snippet. The best email subject lines place the most important information at the beginning. 

People’s inboxes are full of emails they don’t open. In order for yours to make the cut, write subject lines that are timely, personalized and indicative of value. 

Don’t fall into the trap of click baiting your customers. That won’t help build trust, and it may even land you in a spam folder. 

You can also try Brevo’s AI assistant to help you craft your subject lines. 

Visual on how to use Brevo AI assistant to generate subject lines.

Using Brevo’s AI Assistant for subject line creation.

3. Make sure your newsletter is mobile friendly 

Make sure your content is viewable on mobile devices. When sending test emails, check how the newsletter appears on different screen sizes. 

Keep readability in mind and choose a font that’s not too small. Any photos, videos or GIFs you add should be mid-resolution.

As for email content, long drawn-out text will only bog down your mobile subscribers. Try writing concise sentences, with paragraphs of no more than two or three sentences. 

Of course, any effective newsletter has got to have a call to action, preferably in the form of a CTA button. For mobile views, pay extra attention to the button’s placement. Leave some white space around the link to make it easy for mobile users to click. Do the same around your unsubscribe link to avoid accidentally lost contacts.

In the end, it’s likely that upwards of half your email list will open your newsletter on their mobile device. This is why creating mobile-friendly content is so important.

4. Segment your newsletter contact lists 

Email segmentation is a way to group contacts and personalize email campaigns. Logically, not everyone in your email list has the same interests or buying habits. So why not target your customers based on things like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Consumer profile (student, young professional, stay-at-home mom, etc.)

Segmenting can help re-engage your newsletter subscribers with targeted email content. It is also a sure-fire way to increase your newsletters’ open rates and click-through rates.

Another benefit of segmentation is being able to respond to the behaviors of your subscriber list. A customer abandoned their cart? Send them a follow-up email. A long-time client hasn’t purchased anything in a while? Re-engage them with a personalized offer.

5. Add images to your newsletters

This may be an obvious one, but photos and GIFs also add value to your newsletters. Visuals help give your target audience a more enjoyable user experience.

Email newsletters with images have a 42% higher click through rate than those without.

But don’t add photos left and right to your email newsletters. Images don’t add value just because they’re images. A few specific images will lead to far better click through rates than lots of generic and irrelevant stock photos.

Photos, videos, and GIFs are an opportunity to explain something to your customers. Try asking yourself, “What will my customers gain from these visuals?”

How many visuals should you add to a newsletter?

You should include 1-3 photos, videos, or GIFs in any email marketing campaign. Of course image content is paramount. But don’t forget about image size and compatibility with mobile devices. Oversized media will take longer to load and may lead to problems when viewed on a smartphone or tablet. 

Newsletter images should also include alt text. This describes the image to people who cannot see them, so be as clear as possible.

Take a look at the example below. As far as email newsletter design goes, this one is pretty simple. But what makes the campaign pop is the use of images.

Newsletter campaign from National Geographic using lots of images.


6. Offer your customers something unique 

Something that sets newsletters apart from other types of marketing campaigns is the direct access to your audience’s inbox. But first they need to sign up.

Email subscribers sign up to receive newsletters because they expect to gain something from them. (Think: personalized offers, early releases, informative content). 

Does your newsletter offer solutions to customers’ common problems? Does it tell them something they won’t see anywhere else? Apart from announcing a sale, what benefit does it give your audience?

Creating valuable and relevant content is newsletter best practice. It builds trust with your audience, and reduces the risk of your campaign ending up in spam folders.

Here are some newsletter ideas to keep your content fresh and interesting:

  • Use interactive elements
  • Include user-generated content
  • Highlight customer success stories
  • Run contests and giveaways
  • Feature guest writers

7. Use newsletters as a stepping stone to your website 

The last tip on this list of newsletter best practices is arguably the most important. A newsletter is a chance to connect with your customers. But your goal in email marketing isn’t only to reach your contacts. You want them to turn into (returning) customers.

Optimize your newsletters to include CTA buttons and helpful links to your website. This improves your chances of retaining customers.

Be mindful of the types of email you send out. Each one should serve a distinct purpose, whether it’s to inform, engage, or convert.

Links and buttons should have a clear destination to boost click through rate. Don’t send your subscribers to a landing page if they think they’re heading to their account. Misdirection can harm trust and diminish conversion rates.

With Brevo, keeping track of metrics like click through rate is easy. Find all your campaign statistics in your account to maximize your newsletters’ impact.

Read more: Great Email Newsletter Examples + Tips to Copy

8. A/B test your newsletter

An easy and efficient way to optimize your newsletter is through A/B testing. You can test two versions of your newsletter. Version A and B can only have one differing element: subject line. sender name, preheader text.

With Brevo you can create A/B test email campaigns for subject lines as well as email content. Maximize your newsletter’s impact and make tweaks before it reaches your audience.

Here are some opposites you might want to try:

  • Emojis vs no emojis
  • Colorful vs monochrome
  • One CTA vs many
  • Sale vs last-chance

Stay on top of customer behavior in this way to seriously improve your open rates and engagement.

9. Choose the right newsletter software

To start any kind of newsletter marketing, make sure you have the right tools for the job. That’s where Brevo comes in. It’s an email service with a variety of digital marketing tools available to nurture your client relationships. With Brevo’s email newsletter software you can send your first newsletter today.

What sets Brevo apart is the beginner-friendly tools such as the drag-and drop=email editor. Brevo also makes the email authentication process simple. This means you can easily follow security requirements and strengthen your email deliverability

Create professional newsletters from a library of email templates or design your own from scratch. From there, segment and personalize your to reach different demographics. 

And no need to worry about timing your newsletters perfectly. Brevo’s send-time optimization function determines when your contacts are most likely to engage. You can focus on making the best email newsletter, while Brevo takes care of delivering it at the best time. 

Product demonstration of Brevo's drag-and-drop email editor.

A look at Brevo’s drag-and-drop editor.

Start leveraging these newsletter best practices

Putting these tips into practice will help you boost open rates and click-through rates and build lasting client relationships.

The most important take-aways are:

  • Give high-quality and valuable content to your subscribers.
  • Make your newsletter easy to read, nice to look at, and accessible across devices.
  • Do your homework on what your subscribers want, and set expectations clearly.

Jumpstart your newsletter strategy with Brevo

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