E-Newsletters: Do You Want Sales? Focus First on Helping the Reader

Remember this 80/20 rule: 80% of an e-newsletter should focus on helping the reader and 20% should be about your business. If you want attention, you need to be a likeable expert and build relationships. This creates the wonderful “Know, Like, Trust” factor with treasured subscribers!


A big problem with e-newsletters happens when the content centers on how great your business is, upcoming seminars, employees who have won awards, the latest projects, people who’ve been promoted, boring (to the reader) details about how the company functions and blatant in-your-face advertising. Don’t do that! Readers will hit the Unsubscribe link so fast you probably won’t even know you had them on your email list in the first place.

And believe me… email is NOT dead. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is. You DO need an e-newsletter for your business! If you don’t like the term “e-newsletter”, call it “Tips”, “New Articles”, “Advice”, “Blog” or “Digital Magazine”. You get the idea.

The email phase is the best channel to establish before a sale. Growing your email opt-in list is vital for the best conversion rates in online marketing. Within your e-newsletter, incorporate another free offer for a report, white paper, case study, online email course, webinar, etc. Those who request this additional information tend to be the prospects inching their way closer to buying the product or service you sell.

E-newsletters should pump out interesting, useful content. They don’t need to be lengthy, either. In today’s busy, frantic, and overwhelmed society, shorter is better. Have one main article, concentrating on one main topic. This content follows the 80% rule, engaging the reader with helpful information.

A great e-newsletter is authentic, using a professional but conversational voice. You want to come across as a human, not a machine. Show some personality as you “talk” to your readers.

The main article tells a short story… with your prospect as the protagonist (hero), dealing with a problem (the antagonist), and searching (their journey)for a solution (arriving at their destination). Directly naming your product or service as the solution at the end of the anecdote should probably be avoided. Too pushy. Just simply wrap up with the answer, without screaming, “Buy my stuff now!” Your product/service may not even be the solution to the story’s problem.

The point: dish out useful and interesting content… that may, of course, tie in with what you DO actually sell.

And you’ve hit the jackpot when your subscribers share your e-newsletters, or the main article within. Free advertising for your business!

A good marketing concept includes posting your main article from the e-newsletter onto your website – normally it’s placed in your blog. Some companies prefer not to call it a “blog” and choose “Updates” or “Articles”. The new articles keep consistent, fresh content on your site. Search engines love fresh content.

E-newsletter content (or a link to it) helps lower frustration on days when you’re struggling with what to post on social media. By publishing an e-newsletter, a new issue instantly gives you something to talk about wherever your business has an online presence (you DO have accounts with the big ones, right? Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linked In?). If the headline is catchy and meaningful, people will click on it and pop in at your website to read the article. At the end, we toss a question to the reader: “Enjoy this article? Subscribe here…”. Bingo! We’ve captured their email address.

Be sure to let them know in the e-newsletters what IS for sale! Some businesses fear losing subscribers if they place promotional material in their e-newsletters. Just keep to the 80/20 rule and only promote your product or service towards the end of the e-newsletter – just 20% (or LESS!) of the overall content.
Within that 20%, other company-related news can be included; such as upcoming events, charities you support, specific business updates, etc.

Don’t forget – People hate being sold to, so be compassionate and care about your readers. Let your product or service be the ANSWER to their problems or desires. Understand your audience by putting yourself in their shoes. The content they read needs to resonate with them, perhaps touch them on an emotional level.


If you’re not sure what content to write about in the e-newsletters, ask what do your customers or prospects want to know? What questions do you hear most often? The questions usually begin with “How do I…?”, “Should I…?”, “What would you recommend for…?”, or “How do I know if…?” Pick just one topic and that becomes your main article of the e-newsletter.

But don’t make the problem & solution all about you, your business or what you’re selling. That article is NOT meant as sales copy!

The prospect or customer wants useful, interesting or entertaining information. It’s all about THEM. Remember that!

Let me help you improve your online status. I can create e-newsletters for you. I have a complete system that’ll knock your socks off! Quality content seriously drives everything towards your final reward: SALES. That would be nice, right?

Gina Marie Long
Web Copywriter | Content Marketer
Email Me
“Authentic connections equal profits.”