If you need to get the sale, go with the no-holds-barred promotional email instead (e.g. 20% off storewide!). Marketers who create email newsletters want to build relationships with their customers by providing support and information, and common newsletter features include “how to” guides, expert advice and opinions, news updates, case studies and interviews.

That’s not to say you can’t mention your company or direct readers to your website; you can and should do so, especially if you’re discussing a situation where your product or service could come in handy. We practice this even on our blog; from time to time, you may come across statements like “this feature is available on eConnect Email, so give it a try.”

Some marketers observe the 25% rule – that is, an email newsletter should not contain more than 25% of promotional material. But every target group is different, and if you’re a eConnect Email user, we recommend that you run an A/B Split Test with different versions of your content to find out what your audience is comfortable with. (Notice that we’re slipping in some product information right now.)

To ease your content load and cover more ground, consider a joint editorial effort with a related company. For example, if you’re marketing a bridal boutique, you could produce a newsletter with a wedding consultant, a jeweler or a hair and make-up service provider. But please note that we mean joint editorial, not joint subscribers.

Another source of inspiration is your competition – examine your rivals’ newsletters for strengths and weaknesses, and find a way to differentiate your newsletter from theirs. And look beyond your industry for ideas. Pick up a magazine (preferably something from the easy reading variety), or scan the email newsletters that land in your mailbox – take note of headlines and articles that capture your attention, and identify elements that you would like included in your own newsletter.

About James Trumbly:
Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. Follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail