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What is a newsletter?

A newsletter is a document that informs a target group of people of relevant information about a group or area of interest.

As of 2022, email newsletters have just about entirely taken over the older practice of paper newsletters.

What are the benefits of newsletters?

Email newsletters are an effective way to build your audience and grow your business.

You deserve to have as much control over your newsletter as possible.

Build authority

Send a consistent newsletter that shares your expertise to build authority with your audience.

Get feedback

Make smart decisions on future newsletter topics based on audience engagement.

Low risk

See what your audience cares about (and what they don't) without spending a ton of money.

Customer connection

Build a deep connection with your existing (and future) customers.

Generate leads

Sell more with email. Set up email automation that turns your contacts from newsletter readers to paying customers.

Regular engagement

Create a reliable brand by sending a regularly scheduled newsletter (without having to write one every single week).

Your guide to starting a newsletter in 2022

Newsletter Guide Table of Contents:

  1. Newsletter best practices
  2. Creating a newsletter
  3. Naming your newsletter
  4. Writing a newsletter
  5. Tracking your newsletter’s performance
  6. Using your newsletter to drive business
  7. Newsletter ideas
  8. Newsletter examples

Why is a newsletter valuable as an email marketing tool?

For many businesses, publishing a regular newsletter has become one of their most stable marketing strategies.

Newsletters are a great tool to help grow your email list, send recurring visitors to your website, convert subscribers into customers, establish trust and authority in your industry, and build loyalty with your audience.

If you aren’t already sending a newsletter to your audience, consider starting one today.

With the right strategy, your newsletter (and other email marketing) can deliver a predictable ROI that surpasses all other marketing tactics.

With access to your audience’s inbox, you can share your best content, promote special offers and build resonance with your ideal customers.

Newsletter best practices

There are many ways to build a strong email marketing strategy. Whether you’re a solo creator building a business outside of your work hours, or a large enterprise looking to build a deeper relationship with your contact list, you’ll find immense value in sending a daily, weekly, or monthly newsletter.

To get started, some things that marketers usually include in newsletters are as follows:

  1. Relevant information about a topic or organization
  2. Helpful tips or advice
  3. Organization/topic-related news
  4. A call to action
  5. Information on new or existing products or services

There are many schools of thought on what makes a great newsletter, but a few core tenets hold true across every popular newsletter:

  • They’re well designed
  • The content and curation is relevant and unique
  • They deliver value to the reader on a regular basis

Here’s how to easily cover all three bases:

1. Designing your newsletter

There are two ways to think about your email newsletter design: designing for yourself, or for your audience.

The best practice is to do both.

With a design that you love, you’re more likely to stick with your newsletter, and if your audience loves it, they’re more likely to keep opening and reading your newsletter.

At a minimum, your newsletter should be responsive, which means it looks great no matter what device your readers are using. By making it easy to navigate, your readers can skim for what content piques their interest the most. Along those lines, your newsletter should include:

Clear sections — Often these are broken out with header tags (like you see in this guide)

Imagery — Images are great for breaking up text, but with email, only add images (or gifs) if they add to the written content. Not just to break up text.

Send beautiful newsletters with just a few clicks

You don’t need to be a tech wizard to send a newsletter. Our drag-and-drop email designer lets you set up beautiful newsletters in minutes.


2. Content and curation

Most email newsletter tools allow for basic personalization such as including a subscriber’s name, but tools like ActiveCampaign also allow for custom sections that appear (or don’t) based on data you have on your customer. With ActiveCampaign, you can create a truly personalized newsletter that appeals uniquely to each of your subscribers.

3. Deliver value

When it comes to what to include in your newsletter, it comes down to valuable content and strong curation.

Some extremely popular newsletters, such as Tim Ferris’ 5-Bullet Friday are pure curation: a list of links out to things that the creator finds interesting.

Other newsletters, such as Sarah Stockdale’s We Need to Talk About {this} are a mix of original content and curation.

The most important thing about your newsletter content is that it’s truly unique, even if it’s only content curation.

Creating a newsletter: What should I include?

Before you decide what to include in your newsletter, you must establish why you’re going to send a newsletter in the first place. Is it meant to drive leads for your business? Nurture existing customers? Acquire new readers and grow exposure for your business?

All of these are great reasons to start a newsletter, but deciding the core reason for sending will help determine your strategy later on.

Once you’ve established your goals, you’ll be able to start considering what content you’ll create and curate for your newsletter.

Using ActiveCampaign’s newsletter templates, you can align with your existing brand (colors, logo, type/font, voice). While you can work with a graphic designer or developer to create your newsletter, with the right email template, you can design beautiful newsletters (no design skills required).

Some additional things that creators and marketers usually include in newsletters:

  1. Relevant information about an organization
  2. A call to action
  3. Helpful tips or advice
  4. Organization-related news such as new members of a team, new management, employee or customer birthdays
  5. Advertisement and information on new or existing available products or services

Naming your newsletter

An extremely common question is what you should name your newsletter.

Some newsletter titles are extremely creative and could be… anything.

Other newsletter titles are very literal and tell the reader exactly what they’ll get and how often they’ll get it.

As a best practice, a clear name will always win over a clever name. When considering whether or not to subscribe to your newsletter, readers aren’t going to spend a lot of time trying to find out what your newsletter is about. The quicker you can explain that to them, the better. A fun name, while clever, may be more than a reader is willing to do at the moment.

Alternatively, if you want to truly curate your newsletter list for more discerning readers, it might be helpful to add a bit of friction to filter out more casual readers.

Think about your newsletter title, you might include:

  1. The core topic
  2. The sending frequency

Along those lines, ActiveCampaign might create a newsletter called “Email marketing weekly” or “Marketing automation quarterly.”

The best way to decide? Ask your audience.

Don’t get caught up in the flavor of the week with catchy newsletter names and clever newsletter ideas.

Create a list of your favorite 10 newsletter titles and share them with social media followers, close friends, colleagues, and (most importantly) your existing customers.

This can feel overwhelming at first, but don’t let it hold you back. Naming your newsletter is vastly less important than whether or not you’re still committed to sending it 2 years later.

Writing a newsletter

Writing your newsletter is a combination of writing a really good email and writing a blog post.

If you’ve ever done either of those things, you’re already 90% of the way there.

Similar to this guide, writing for the web often means breaking up content into short paragraphs so they aren’t overwhelming to the reader on mobile devices. What may appear to be a small paragraph (like this short one) can take up the entire screen on a mobile device.

Short, punchy content is more engaging (and performs better) in newsletters.

Remember, not all newsletters are created equal: your newsletter is based solely on the Venn-diagram overlap of your audience and your business.

Your newsletter’s sole goal may be to drive readers to an offer or an article on your website. Other newsletters may aim to engage their reader and nurture them directly in the email itself.

Unless you want to share content that can’t be delivered in the inbox (long-form articles, video, or podcast, for example), engage with your readers where they already are: their inbox.

Using your newsletter to drive business

Your newsletter can do many things for your business, depending on what type of business you have:

  • B2C — Organically build an audience as readers enjoy and share your newsletter with like-minded peers
  • B2B — Nurture leads that have expressed interest in doing business with you
  • Ecommerce — Remind existing customers to be customers again

If we consider the customer journey, a newsletter almost always touches every single part of it. However, the customer journey is often messier than we think:

ngpm4pmt1 customer journey messy

With clear calls to action, we can take newsletter readers into deeper levels of awareness and move them from through the phases of interest, desire and action:

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Should you ignore the sales funnel completely when creating your newsletter?

Absolutely not. We want to be able to, in some way, quantify that your newsletter is a worthwhile thing to pursue in growing your business.

But there’s a big difference between a sales email and a newsletter. Conflating the two can reduce the effectiveness of both your sales emails and regularly published newsletter.

Tracking your newsletter’s performance

Once you’ve established the goals of your newsletter and have started sending it, it’s time to see what’s resonating the most with your readers.

On a regular basis, you’ll want to check important email metrics such as:

  1. Subscriber growth — How many new subscribers are joining your newsletter list every month, and how many are unsubscribing? Are some emails causing more readers to unsubscribe than others? 
  2. Open rate — How many of your subscribers are opening each email?
  3. Click rate — How many subscribers are clicking on the links in your newsletter? What links are they clicking on the most? What links do they click the least?
  4. Bounce rate — How many emails aren’t making it into your audience’s inbox at all? If too many of your emails are “bouncing,” your email address (and email domain) may be flagged as spam, reducing the chance of even your top readers seeing your newsletter.

If you’re publishing an ROI-led newsletter, you’ll optimize for open rates, click rates, and purchases.

If your newsletter focuses more on building/nurturing relationships with your audience, then more qualitative feedback (such as email replies) may be valuable.

In 2020, more than 306 billion emails were sent and received each day worldwide

(Statista, 2020)


Frequently asked newsletter questions

Have a question about your newsletter?

Here are some of the most commonly asked newsletter questions:

How often should I send my newsletter (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly)?

The key is balancing between engagement and annoyance. Sometimes, a topic makes a daily newsletter seem like a requirement (a newsletter about stock market performance updates, for example).

In the end your newsletter’s frequency will depend on your business and your audience.
What the best send frequency for you?

A daily email newsletter may be more than most audiences need, and sending a monthly newsletter may not be enough frequency to stay relevant.

Start with a monthly newsletter and, if you have the resources and bandwidth, start publishing weekly. Then, if that works, move to twice per week and see if open rates and positive feedback continues to stay steady.

Using a tool like ActiveCampaign, you can combine your newsletter with other email marketing and marketing automation tools to ensure your readers are staying engaged with emails outside of your core newsletter.

What are examples of newsletters?

When creating a visual newsletter, you should look at some examples to get ideas. Decide which you would consider to be beautiful newsletters and use them as a guide for creating your own.

Classic newsletter-style examples and standard email newsletter examples are easy to find and readily available online. One benefit of using a common form of a newsletter is that you can find information about which are the most successful.

Other examples of newsletters include:

  • Blog newsletter
  • Ecommerce newsletter
  • Marketing newsletters
  • Company newsletters
  • Commercial newsletters

Subscribing to best in class newsletters will give you endless ideas and inspiration for your own.

However, the “best” newsletters aren’t always the biggest. Here are 5 newsletters that have perfect alignment between content, curation, and audience:

  1. Further is a weekly email newsletter with the best hand-picked health, wealth and happiness advice for taking it to the next level in your 40s and 50s.
  2. Saturday Solopreneur Weekly gives tactical advice for one-person business owners escaping the 9-5 to 16k+ subscribers.
  3. Playing Favorites, by Jay Acunzo, includes ideas and stories for elevating your creative work (without magically adding more resources)
  4. We need to talk about {this} is a weekly email from Sarah Stockdale about surviving your 20s and 30s
  5. Creative Companion, from Jay Clouse, is the go-to Sunday newsletter for 10,000+ creatives

Do newsletters really work?

Every available data point says that newsletters really do work. If you want to be successful with your newsletter, focus on an email newsletter with original content (and curated news) that resonates with your audience.

How do I create a newsletter email?

You don’t need to be a designer or tech wizard to create a newsletter email. Using drag-and-drop builders (such as ActiveCampaign), you can create and send a newsletter email in minutes.

Are newsletters still relevant 2022?

Absolutely! In a world of ever-decreasing social media reach, email newsletters are the top channel for developing a stronger relationship with your audience (including prospects and customers).

Do people still subscribe to newsletters?

Based on a recent poll of over 1,000 respondents, 70.6% said they currently subscribe to one (or more) email newsletters.

How newsletters can help your business?

A business newsletter makes their audience more aware of the brand and products. It’s extremely cost effective for the business and an easy way for the audience to engage with them.

How long should newsletters be?

The old advice is to aim for 200-word email newsletters. However, long-form newsletters have become the norm, such as Morning Brew. The extended length has led to more engagement and more click-throughs, according to recent statistics.

What are the most successful newsletters?

  • Morning Brew
  • NextDraft
  • The Daily Skimm
  • Muck Rack Daily
  • BuzzFeed
  • Politico Playbook
  • AP Morning Wire
  • The New York Times: The Morning Email Newsletter

Is newsletter a print media?

There are still widely popular print newsletters, but currently, the majority of newsletters have gone online and are primarily delivered via email.

Improve Newsletter Open Rates

Once you’ve started sending regular newsletters to your audience,, you’ll need to focus on improving email open rates and click-through rates. There are a few ways to do this.

You can segment your newsletter list, use A/B tests, and email personalization to increase customer engagement. On top of that, you’ll want to avoid spam filters, create catchy subject lines and ensure you optimize emails for tablets and mobile phones. 

email marketing improve open rates
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Segment Your List

Email list segmentation is simple. You segment your customers into groups that fit certain criteria so that the emails you send them are more relevant. More relevant emails are more likely to be opened.

For example, if you send a newsletter that covers a variety of topics, you might want to segment your readers by purchases they’ve made from you in the past, or based on the links they’ve clicked in previous emails. Those that most often click links on Topic A will get more emails about that topic. Those that most often click of Topic B might prefer different content entirely.

By segmenting your list, you can increase engagement by giving customers offers they want to see. Over time, that will translate to more loyal customers and better bottom lines. 

Once you’ve segmented your list, you can rely on automation to do most of the marketing legwork for you.

You can also tailor subject lines and lead magnets to specific reader groups. Personalized subject lines can increase open rates and click-through rates. Customized lead magnets will lead to faster email list growth. 

A/B Testing

A/B testing sounds more complicated than it is. All you’re doing is running a split test.

Essentially, you have an “A” version of your email and a “B” version of your email, in which only one thing has changed. By sending the “A” version to one half of your email list and the “B” version to the other, you can determine what works best. 

Email marketers use A/B testing to figure out the best time to send their emails. Timing is vital in email marketing because marketing emails tend to get buried in inboxes. 

By sending the same email at different times (an A time and a B time), you can begin to hone in on the perfect day and hour to send correspondence to your audience. 

The same thing applies to email subject lines. Send the “A” version of your email with one subject line and the “B” version with another. You’ll quickly learn what phrases and terms are most effective with your audience by examining which version of the email they open more. 

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Connect your newsletter and monetization strategy

Marketing automation unifies your marketing and monetization strategy, by connecting your newsletter engagement to sales and launch emails.

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The tools you need for a successful newsletter

Our newsletter features work together, so that you can send newsletters that engage readers AND grow your business.

Multi-user editing

Edit email campaigns together with your team.

Revision history

Store all your edits in case you need an older email.

Managed deliverability

Have deliverability taken care of, so you reach as many people as possible.


Connect your email marketing service to your favorite apps.

Conditional content

Show different content to different contacts based on certain conditions.

Mobile optimized

Make emails look as good on mobile as they do on desktop.

Link actions

Add tags, get notifications, and create deals, the second an email link is clicked.

Custom data

Use custom fields to collect the contact information that matters to you most.


Automatically capture your contacts location for geotargeted campaigns.

Audience segmentation

Group your contacts based on practically any information you have.

Free image hosting

Upload unlimited images for your newsletters and email marketing campaigns.

Site tracking

Connect your email marketing to your contact's behavior on your website.


Personalize each email based on what you know about each contact.

Social sharing

Track your campaigns’ viral spread on popular social media sites.


Track what contacts do after they click through to your site through our Google Analytics integration.


it all started with a monthly newsletter...

Your Therapy Source Keeps Subscribers Engaged by Providing Content That Matters

For the money I’ve paid for ActiveCampaign over the last 12 months, I’ve recieved over 2,000% return on the money invested in ActiveCampaign


of Automation revenue is from abandon cart email


of all sales come from newsletters

Start building and connecting with your audience right now.

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Find what works, then test to find what works better

Reporting helps you see which newsletters are resonating and which ones could use work. Then, you can use simple split testing to make your emails get more opens, clicks, and buys.

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Newsletters that are personalized AND personal

Personalize your newsletter based on any contact information you have. When you send exactly what your subscribers want to see, your newsletters feel personal. And more people engage with your newsletter.

Ready to go beyond newsletters?

What happens when you need to send different messages to different audiences? Segmentation and dynamic content make it easy to customize your message and send targeted emails to exactly the right contact.
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We play well with apps you’re already using

Your newsletter is just one part of your business.

Hook your favorite apps together, from payment processors to membership websites and ecommerce stores.

ActiveCampaign integrates with PayPal, Stripe, Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Facebook, and 870+ other apps.

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Newsletter templates that make a lasting impression

ActiveCampaign has expertly-crafted newsletter templates ready for you to use right now. All templates are B2B and B2C friendly, responsive, and work with HTML

Integrate with your favorite Apps

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Send your first newsletter today.

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