50 email newsletter ideas (when you don't think you have anything to say) - Kathleen Celmins
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50 email newsletter ideas (when you don't think you have anything to say)

You’re building your email list. Good job! Now, what do you put in your email newsletter? Keep scrolling for 50 email newsletter ideas to help give you some inspiration when you’re sitting, staring at a blank screen, wondering what on earth you’re going to talk about this time.

1. Little stories about your life

Keep in mind, the newsletter is about how you can provide value, so don’t make the newsletter all about you. That said, people are signing up for your mailing list because they like what you’re doing, so give them a chance to get to know you! Tell them about why you started your business, some of your philosophies, what’s going on in your life… just make sure you’re being authentic.

2. Business goals (and progress)

What do you want to accomplish in your business? Make this about more than just sales and the bottom line. Be transparent. Feel free to post income updates if you’d like to talk about the business end of doing business, but remember, people aren’t coming to your mailing list to hear about how you grossed more this month than last month. Always think of your audience.

3. Case studies

I love case studies. They’re such a cool way to show people that something really, truly works. People want to know that results can be replicated, that you’re not just preaching ideals to them. Case studies can come in the form of testimonials too. While it’s okay to blow your own trumpet, don’t overdo it. Try to be discreet and do it with a bit of flare and style.

4. Questions for your audience

Ask thought-provoking questions. Again, keep it real, here, and stay far, far, far away from religion or politics (unless, of course, you have a business that centers around religion and/or politics, in which case, goodness gracious you are far braver than I will ever be). If your business revolves around lifestyle, ask your readers how they celebrate Thanksgiving (whoops! Did I just go religious right after I said not to? Just looked it up, Thanksgiving is still pretty secular. That was a close one!). If you get enough answers, you’ll have plenty of ideas for products and services that will help you target audience.

5. Recent product or service launches

If you worked really extra hard on creating your products and services for your target market, let them know that this exciting new thing is available to them! Remember, your customers and clients are your inner circle. People don’t give their email addresses to just anyone. So send special promotions exclusively to your subscribers!

6. Relevant deals

Did you get an email from one of your affiliates for a deal that sounds amazing? Awesome, roll with that. Send it out, make the email very short, tell your email list that you came across something you couldn’t pass up, and one you thought they’re sure to like. Again, don’t overuse this one — save it for when you actually have a smokin’ deal.

7. Big announcements (before they go live)

Anything and everything you do behind the scenes, share with your mailing list before you tell the rest of the world about it. Are you working on a course? Send your list the landing page a day before you let it out into the world.

8. Bonus content

Did you write something you maybe don’t want read and searched for on the internet? Maybe it’s something personal, maybe it’s something off-topic, but you had to write it. Send that to your email list. You might not be in the business of writing, but send little bonus stories to your mailing list to help build a relationship with your audience.

9. Giveaways (before you share it with the rest of the world)

Do you do giveaways? They’re a great way to gain subscribers, but they’re also fun for people who already love you. Give them a chance to get in on the action before everyone else.

10. Client/customer stories

Highlight someone who has accomplished great things. In our business, I used to highlight stories of how other people got (or are getting) into and finding success through digital marketing. Find clients and customers who are happy for some free promotion to highlight, and let the rest of your email list get to know them.

11. Blasts from the past

One thing that’s really hard to remember is that most people have not been with you throughout your entire business journey. I’ll let that sink in. I’m being funny, but it’s true: we think because we have created all this stuff that we know is awesome, that people have had time to see it all. But you and I (and your mom and your dog, or whoever your early readers were) know that’s not true. Revive an oldie-but-goodie by sharing the link with your mailing list, along with why you created it, or some sort of reason why you’re sharing it today. This could be an old opt-in, video, even old promotional material, and branding. People like to see where you started and where you are now.

12. Printables/downloadables

Any time you create a new download/printable/freebie to get more email subscribers, make sure to send that to your current subscribers too. Don’t make them have to jump through any hoops! Send the link, tell them you just put it up, ask them to share it, and they’ll be happy you remembered to include them.

13. Polls

Poll your audience! See what they’re interested in learning about, or what problems they’re facing right now. This is an awesome way to conduct market research with your ideal clients and customers. Or you can be silly and give them options on what they’re doing this weekend.

14. Surveys

Surveys are similar to polls but instead of asking them to pick from three options, you’re asking them a lot more about themselves. This is a good way to get demographic numbers from your audience (and heaven knows, advertisers love that!).

15. Where the business is headed

Did you have an epiphany about where you’re taking your brand? Tell your subscribers! Or, even better, get vulnerable with them and ask for input before you’ve decided. They’ll give you valuable feedback.

16. Press mentions

Did your business or one of your products/service get mentioned by a big publisher or influencer? Or were you featured in a magazine? Tell your audience! Make sure you do this in an authentic way, otherwise your audience will feel like you’re bragging.

17. Secret recipes

This isn’t just food, but hey, if you have a banana bread recipe that consistently knocks your socks off, share that. But secret recipes are also things you’ve learned about something (anything, really) that you do differently/more efficiently/better than everyone else out there.

18. Something you just discovered

When I find a new business tool, the first place I turn is my mailing list. Actually, that’s a lie. The first place I turn is Twitter, but the second place I turn is my mailing list. If you’re on my mailing list and you don’t like timesaving business tools, you’re probably not going to stay on the list very long.

19. New series announcement

Are you starting a new challenge? Where else are you going to get sign ups other than your mailing list? Okay, that’s not a fair question, but your mailing list should be the first place you go. Certainly, before you start talking about taking out Facebook ads or spending money trying to get attention for your series.

20. Something timely and seasonal

The first day of the new season. Back to school. Daylight savings time. National donut day. Find some fun excuse to add humor to your newsletter.

21. Showcase another business owner

Is someone in your space (or adjacent to your space) doing something awesome? Tell your mailing list what you like about the business owner and which products or service they might find valuable.

22. A new life hack

Do you put your gym shoes by your bed to remind you to go for a run first thing in the morning? Or do you prep all your vegetables when you get home from the store so you don’t forget which veggies are in your fridge? Think about those little things, and pass them along.

23. A neat thing you found on Pinterest

Link to (or get fancy and embed!) a pin you found recently. Make sure it’s not yours (that ends up looking way too self-promotional). Use that as an opportunity to ask your mailing list subscribers to follow you on Pinterest too!


Speaking of Pinterest, if you came across a quote that spoke to you, share that with your email list. Bonus points if it resonated with your Facebook fans too.

25. Book recommendations

Did you read something that you think would resonate with your email list? It doesn’t have to be 100% on topic (by that I mean, sure, I’d share a book about being an online business owner, but I also would share a novel I loved or a book about something else I really enjoy). Readers of books love book recommendations, so give a little nudge toward that direction. Make sure you don’t link to the book using your Amazon affiliate link, though. That’s a violation of their TOS.

26. A day in the life

These are really interesting to share with your email list. They’re hour-by-hour breakdowns of a person’s day. I don’t know about you, but I love these glimpses into someone else’s world. Obviously, don’t do them all the time, but once a year, tell your audience everything about your day.

27. What I’m listening to

Do you have a Spotify playlist that’s helping you stay motivated? What about a new podcast you’re loving?

28. Inspired by…

One of the newsletters I read tells their audience what the newsletter was inspired by. It’s cute, it doesn’t ever get explained, and it’s a tiny glimpse into their world. Sometimes you just feel inspired by donuts and sweater weather. Sometimes it’s Thai food and nostalgia. Leave a line in your newsletter telling your readers what inspired you this week.

29. Bonus series

Consider doing a series just on your mailing list. So, think of something you could track on your newsletter (and keep off your business social media pages).

30. Reader challenge

Challenge your audience at the end of your newsletter to go out and _____ (fill in the blank). Mix it up, make it relevant to the rest of the newsletter.

31. New food

Did you try something you’re now obsessed with? Here’s my most recent story. A couple weeks ago, the grocery store was having a “back to school” special, which meant all nut butters and jams were 50% off. Now, the grocery store in question is a foofy grocery store, so typically the nut butters are at least twice what I want to pay for something like that. So 50% off meant that all the fancy ones were reasonably priced. My husband loves peanut butter more than my dog does (and that’s saying something), so when I was there, I bought three jars of peanut butter. When I tasted this one, I understood peanut butter addiction. Now, if you click through to that link, you’ll find I’m linking to $13 peanut butter which is off-the-charts nuts (pun definitely intended). So if I were to share that with my newsletter, I’d tell them how to make their own. Because it can’t be that hard to combine nuts, honey, and pretzels, and holy cow I’m going to do that as soon as this jar runs out. Because I paid $3.50 for my jar. In retrospect, I should have bought eleventy. But I digress.

32. New coffee shop

If your audience is local, tell them about the new coffee shop you found. Give details about WiFi (except don’t give them the password, come on!), bites to eat, workspaces, noise level, etc.

33. Newest restaurant visit

Same here — if your audience is local, and you just ate at an amazing restaurant, tell your newsletter subscribers. If you have a foody business, you’d probably want to do a full review here, but if your topic is broader, drop a line in your newsletter to say the crepes at xyz place are excellent.

34. A sentimental piece of jewelry/art

Do you wear your great grandmother’s pendant? Do you have art from a sketch your grandfather did 50 years ago? Snap a picture, share the story.

35. Business income

Sharing your business’s income is a great way to get more subscribers because there are a fraction of your customers (actually a fraction of all customers) who want to know the nitty gritty income details. How do you make money? Don’t publish details on your business’s social media pages, save them for your subscribers!

36. Business stats

How many sales did you make this month? Again, it’s not a great idea to share that information on your social profiles where everyone can see it, but it’s a great way to entice people to sign up. “How much of X did we sell this month? Sign up for the newsletter to find out!”

37. An honest note about a company you’re affiliated with

When you’re an affiliate of a company, you’re an unofficial spokesperson, so if something bad happens (say, the company you’re affiliated with had a computer in their cars that lied to emissions tests, for example), tell your audience. Don’t try to distance yourself by staying quiet. Distance yourself by saying, “hey, that was really stupid of them, my team is working really hard to remove any links to that company, thanks for your patience.”

38. Something you learned from a product review

Who doesn’t love nuggets of wisdom found in a product review? Unfortunately, most people don’t read these sections, so if a customer told you something you feel like everyone should see, take the opportunity to tell your newsletter subscribers.

39. Images

Do you take pictures? Share those, with a caption. Do this in the middle or toward the end of a longer newsletter.

40. Recent news

What happened in your niche that you learned about? Remember, your readers aren’t as tuned in as you are, so even if you think they’ve seen something before, chances are, they haven’t. Share news.

41. Profile someone you admire (outside of the online business world)

Who do you admire in Hollywood? What about a great writer? Talk about the things you admire about someone, and here, make it outside the money-on-the-internet crowd.

42. A joke

“There was a big fight at the seafood restaurant. Three fish got battered.”

43. Product curation

This is one of my favorite ways to share other people’s products with my audience. Remember, we’re researching so much more than our audience is, so when we find a product that makes us think WOW, we should share it. It’s okay to share other people’s products because let’s face it, you’re never going to be able to create everything. Your email list will see this as helpful and it shows you’re not afraid of other online business owners. And why should you be?

44. Organization tip

“This week’s tip: spend 15 minutes cleaning your house before you open your computer every morning. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner your house is.”

45. Checklists

Something like the five things you should do first thing in the morning. Make it silly, or make it real.

46. Something that resonated on social media

Did you see the guy pretending to be customer support for Doritos after they released rainbow Doritos?

47. Write about how people use a product in your niche

I loved this post on Roasty Coffee. What’s in your niche that your readers would get a kick out of seeing?

48. Ask for advice: what would you do?

Are you at a crossroads? Do you have a decision you’re looking for outside assistance with? Tear down the barrier, and ask your audience what they’d do in your situation.

49. Profile your contributors

Do you have other people helping your business behind the scenes? Doing social media? Virtual assistance? Write a few lines about them, especially if they’re available for more work!

50. Quick reader photo challenges: purse, desktop, unread emails

“Take a snapshot of your unread emails and reply back with it.” Then, showcase that on a new blog post. Keep asking for things like that. Your community wants to be involved!

Okay, friend, you’ve gotten to the end of this post. You should be full of ideas by now. One thing that all these ideas have in common is that they’re exclusive to your email list and personal to you. That is what the privileged people on your mailing list get to see – the real you. Audiences love it when business owners get real with them – it helps to create a relationship. So what are you waiting for? Go open your newsletter client (I use ConvertKit) and send out a newsletter!

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