Worried that email strategies may not be worth your time? Email marketing generates $38 for every dollar spent. That’s a 3,800% ROI!  Millions of entrepreneurs use email newsletters to deliver valuable content, share product or service recommendations and win new business.

With automation and personalized email marketing capabilities, your newsletter marketing efforts can actually save you time so you can get back to working on projects you love. Also, it doesn’t hurt that 54% of businesses still list email as their primary platform for increasing sales and reader engagement.

In this article, you’ll gain insights on how to write a newsletter and get a behind-the-scenes look into newsletter examples that will inspire you to think outside the box. 

Ready to dive in? Let’s go!

What makes a great newsletter?

The days of simply asking people to “sign up for company news and updates” are over. You’ll need something more interesting to convince readers to not only subscribe to your list but to also stay. 

Here are a few best practices to grab their attention and keep them coming back for more content: 

  • Tell stories: Storytelling makes your brand up to 22 times more memorable and gives your readers an experience that can’t be replicated. New to storytelling? Watch this video on 3 Steps to Tell Your Founder Story.
  • Educate readers: Provide value to your readers by giving them the information to achieve their goals. The more your newsletter can tap into their desires and curiosity, the greater the results you’ll see.
  • Entertain readers: Keep content fresh and engaging with fun pop-culture references, entertaining copy and trending topics. 
  • Focus on design: Fantastic content is quickly disregarded when formatting is painful on the eyes. A well-branded and beautifully designed newsletter is powerful. That’s why we focus on helping our Flodesk members design emails that get more opens, clicks, and saves.
  • Send newsletters consistently: Determine a sustainable cadence of your emails and stick to it.

Worried about starting your newsletter?

Flodesk makes it easy with guided tutorials and easy-to-edit templates. We help you design emails people love to receive.

16 small business newsletter examples to inspire your email marketing

The strongest email strategies are created with an end goal in mind, even from the first newsletter. The fundamental question to ask yourself is this: What are you hoping to achieve through your newsletter? The sooner you answer this question, the better your strategy will be. 

We want to see your email newsletter flourish due to its strategy along with your consistent branding, newsletter design, and copywriting. 

Here are 16 real-life newsletter examples from small businesses that are getting it right:

  1. Ira Briones – Surprise and delight your email list
  2. Hannah Brencher – Build a community
  3. Moodelier – Position yourself as a thought leader
  4. Jen Carrington – Sell your services 
  5. Bootstrap Biz Advice – Host a live webinar 
  6. AllieMarie Design – Launch an online course
  7. Natalie Franke – Highlight special offers
  8. My Billie Designs – Share blog content
  9. Akua Konadu – Personalize your content with a quiz 
  10. Do You Even Blog – Host a giveaway 
  11. Literary League – Increase event attendance
  12. Digital Grace Design – Earn affiliate income 
  13. Fish & Family – Give subscribers first access to new goodies
  14. Jules Acree – Keep a diary for your subscribers
  15. White Buffalo Studio – Give visual inspiration in your newsletter
  16. Fearless Chase Academy – Send out an interactive newsletter

1. Ira Briones – Surprise and delight your email list

Have you ever received a gift you weren’t expecting? Think of how you can channel that same excitement when you surprise and delight your readers. “Surprise and delight” is a creative marketing technique that is used to make a lasting impression on your audience.

One great example of this comes from Ira Briones who sends guided audio meditations as an exclusive gift to their subscribers. Since Ira uses meditation in their program, this free gift gives readers a small taste of what they would experience by working with Ira.

Following Ira’s newsletter example, you can surprise and delight your audience by giving them a variety of free resources they’ll love. This could be an ebook, video tutorial, template, worksheet, checklist or an audio recording like Ira. Have fun with this!

2. Hannah Brencher – Build a community with your email newsletter

Your email strategy won’t be successful if it’s hyper-focused on sales instead of prioritizing your community’s needs. People sign up for your email list because they genuinely want to hear from you, not to receive an endless stream of pitches. In response, you’ll want to deliver your highest quality content to them.

Emails create a direct line of communication with your audience, meaning no other algorithms or third-party site factors will determine who gets to see your content. It levels the playing field, ensuring your most engaged readers will continue to receive your updates. 

Communities need active leaders who consistently show up, like author and speaker Hannah Brencher who’s emailed her list every Monday for over three years. In doing so, she’s built an email list with tens of thousands of subscribers who can’t wait to hear from her first thing Monday morning.

Since Hannah is publicly committed to emailing her audience once a week, her readers have built an incredible amount of trust in her. This is the reason why so many people share screenshots of Hannah’s emails on their social media accounts.

If it feels overwhelming to commit to a weekly newsletter like Hannah, begin with a bi-weekly or monthly newsletter. Consistently showing up has less to do with sending daily emails and more to do with defining and meeting expectations.

If you want to learn more about building your subscribers list, check out 7 Newsletter Signup Form Examples to Grow Your Email List.

Grow your email list with Flodesk

Husband and wife creative duo of Chez Núñez have used Flodesk to grow their list by 1,514% and consistently engage their community of artists.

3. Moodelier – Position yourself as a thought leader

A thought leader is someone who is known for their cutting-edge knowledge and expertise. Many educators and coaches want to be seen as thought leaders, leading them to create a niche business that serves a specific audience or specializes in a certain field. 

One of these thought leaders is Claire Xue, the founder of Moodelier, a design and education studio. Their mission is to help small business owners create scroll-stopping visuals.

moodelier newsletter

Moodelier email

In their newsletter, they always share different resources, including: how to create beautiful brand graphics, reviews of popular digital courses and interviews with top designers. By creating and curating these resources, Moodelier is able to consistently deliver content to subscribers that align with their vision and purpose while switching up their newsletter subject line each time to keep it fresh.

If you want to position yourself as a thought leader, our best advice is to find your niche and begin creating all types of niche-specific content. This content can be repurposed for your blog, social media and email newsletter. Thought leadership happens over time, so commit and stick with your content strategy.

Create your own gorgeous newsletter

4. Jen Carrington – Sell your services in an email newsletter

If you’re a freelancer, consultant, coach or service provider, you may want to monetize your newsletter, using your email list to generate leads for your business. All of these industries allow you to work one-on-one with clients or in a group setting. 

Since services often require a larger investment than DIY-friendly products, you’ll want to use your email list to nurture leads. Instead of asking them to work with you right away, use a welcome email to personally introduce yourself. 

Then, build trust with each subscriber as you send them weekly tips, helpful advice and other valuable resources. By the time you talk about your services, your new subscribers will already be primed for your offers.

One influencer who does this well is Jen Carrington, a business coach who works with other coaches through a six-week program. With a soft-selling approach, Jen offers journal prompts, personal recommendations and other freebies before she introduces the benefits of her program.

If selling makes you feel nervous or sleazy, we recommend reframing your mindset and remembering that selling is a form of service. You’re actively solving problems and helping clients overcome key obstacles on their way to success. You get to be a part of this positive transformation when you believe in what you sell.

Grow your business with email marketing

We want to see your business succeed- that’s why our price will stay the same, no matter how many subscribers you gain or how many emails you send.

5. Bootstrap Biz Advice –  Host a live webinar through your email newsletter

Do you have a product or service launch that’s fast approaching? Have you been wanting to engage with your email audience through live video? Hosting virtual events like webinars and workshops might be your answer.

If you’ve been wanting to experiment with video or see what it could do for your business, webinars are a great place to start. You can learn from the best by looking at LaShonda Brown’s example. She also happens to be one of our instructors at Flodesk University

With 16,000 YouTube subscribers and counting on her Bootstrap Biz Advice channel, LaShonda strategically uses video tutorials to lead people to her email list. Once they’re in her email community, she teaches during free webinars that allow her to go more in-depth than she can in a typical YouTube video.

Think about a topic your readers frequently ask you about. What do your readers really want to learn from you? Now, turn your answer into a webinar topic your audience can’t wait to sign up for.

6. AllieMarie Design –  Launch an online course through your newsletter

Do you want to impact and teach hundreds of people rather than serve a few clients? Online courses may be the best fit for you. It will give you an opportunity to build passive income because once the course is created, you can promote and sell it again and again.

With an online course, you’ll distill your best knowledge into bite-sized, DIY-friendly lessons. Most online courses feature video lessons with workbooks, but you can follow any format that fits your vision. You could even sell an email course and deliver the content through Flodesk! 

Online courses are a great source of income for entrepreneurs, including service providers who don’t want their earning potential to be tied to their time. After deciding to simplify her business, Allison from AllieMarie Design thought it would be a great time to offer passive income products.

Allison wanted to create a course that allowed her to teach the basics of design without adding more work to her plate. After three years, Allison has offered her Design Spirit course as an option for those who want to DIY their design or don’t have the budget to work with her quite yet.

Every year on her birthday, she offers a special discount code for subscribers who may be on the fence. This makes it easier for her to convert more subscribers into course buyers while also celebrating her birthday. We recommend using last-chance or limited-time offers in your subject line if you want to increase conversions.

7. Natalie Franke – Highlight special offers in your email campaigns

In addition to offering discounts, you can also use your email newsletter to give special offers. This strong call to action entices your audience to take immediate action on whatever you’re offering.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is through a limited-time offer. It adds a sense of urgency, increasing the likelihood of making the sale.

Natalie Franke, the co-founder of Rising Tide Society, wrote and published a book titled Built to Belong. To encourage her audience to pre-order the book, Natalie promised to send the first 100 people who signed up for the launch team a free T-shirt. Since Natalie has a large, super-engaged audience of small business owners, this special offer was a slam dunk.

Special offers like this are a great way to add buzz to your upcoming event or launch. Add a simple CTA button to your email so people know what action to take next. Get creative with this!

8. My Billie Designs – Share blog content in your weekly round up

It takes hours to outline, write, edit and publish a blog post, so it’s important to ensure your audience is seeing your latest content. One of the best places to highlight your recent blog posts is through your weekly newsletter. 

As a designer turned content coach, Melanie of My Billie Designs created a newsletter to connect with her most loyal audience members. 

In addition to sending personality-packed emails that feel like a letter from a sweet friend, she also uses her email newsletter to drive traffic to her blog posts. That way, her most engaged readers will never miss her most recent blog post.

You can use the same strategy by adding one of our many pre-designed Layouts to your email.  They usually feature a photo, title and button that are all customizable for all newsletter examples.

Once you find a Layout you like, keep using the same one each time to have a consistent email newsletter design and simply switch out the blog post links.

9. Akua Konadu – Personalize your content through a quiz email sequence

Did you know 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides a personalized experience? Personalization isn’t just a “nice-to-have” digital marketing strategy; it’s a necessity.

While it’s great to personalize your emails by addressing each person by their first name at the very top, it’s only the first step. Next, tailor content to each person based on their interests, traits, motivations and desires. 

One of the best ways to automate this process is by creating an interactive quiz. Akua Konadu, a content strategist, uses a storytelling quiz to personalize content for each individual who lands on her site.

After someone takes the quiz on her site, they have an opportunity to subscribe to Akua’s email list to receive more information through automated follow-up emails. Thousands of entrepreneurs use this same strategy to grow their list, leading to email conversion rates of around 40-60% or higher.

Akua’s form

To get started, you can use a quiz builder like Interact and use Zapier to integrate Flodesk with your quiz. To learn how, visit our help center. Otherwise, you can follow Akua’s newsletter example by creating landing pages in Flodesk to collect email leads after the quiz results are shown.

10. Do You Even Blog – Host a giveaway for email subscribers

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Random selection giveaways can be a great way to not only increase your email list but also re-engage current subscribers. You can show how much you know about your readers by choosing the right item to give away.

As a great example, Pete of Do You Even Blog decided to put together a giveaway of entrepreneurial-focused books. He even let his subscribers know the main goal of his giveaway: increasing his YouTube channel’s subscriber count.

Instead of offering one book, he bundled his favorite six books together to sweeten the prize. The best part is that his Flodesk subscribers heard about the giveaway first, showing how much he cares about keeping a healthy and happy email list. 

Pete used KingSumo to automatically collect email entries but you can use other automation tools like SweepWidget, Gleam or others. Just make sure you follow any necessary legal guidelines when creating your giveaway and that you include language so people know they’re explicitly opting into your email marketing list when they enter.

11. Literary League – ​​ Increase event attendance with a newsletter

What if you want to host an in-person event? With ever-evolving social media algorithms, it can be difficult to ensure everyone who’s interested in your upcoming events sees the announcement.

That’s why it makes sense to highlight the event registration in your emails. Then, you’ll track open rates and click rates inside your Flodesk analytics dashboard to ensure people are seeing your announcements.Literary League does this well with their book-inspired monthly newsletter. With a vibrant newsletter design, curated images, and user-generated content from their thriving Instagram community, Literary League is the place to learn about new releases from the publishing world.

In addition to running a digital book club, they also organize in-person book club chapters across the U.S. Each chapter meets on the same day, making it much easier to communicate with their wide audience.

12. Digital Grace Design –  Earn affiliate income with a weekly newsletter

Are you a natural curator who loves to promote high-quality products? If so, you may want to think about incorporating affiliate marketing strategies into your newsletter. 

Affiliate marketing allows you to collect a commission from every sale that’s made through your unique URL links. Depending on the product or service you’re promoting, you may collect a one-time commission or receive ongoing payouts for the lifetime of the account. At Flodesk, we give our members a $19 one-time payment for each new member who signs up through their link.

Remember, every affiliate program is set up differently, so you’ll want to read through the brand’s affiliate guidelines before you start promoting your links. Also, be sure to try their product first so you feel more confident putting your brand name behind it!

You can start earning more affiliate revenue like Sarah from Digital Grace Design. When Sarah discovered The Legal Paige was having a legal template sale, it was a no-brainer for Sarah to promote the sale through her own newsletter and affiliate link.

Many bloggers, influencers and small business owners use the very bottom of their emails for affiliate marketing opportunities. To start with affiliate marketing, we recommend selecting up to five of your favorite products to promote through your links and track your progress.

13. Fish & Family – Give subscribers first access to new goodies

Want to give your customers a real reason to sign up for your newsletter? Make sure they know that as subscribers they are the first ones who get to hear about replenished stock and new products. 

Early adopters love to be in the loop to be the first ones to try new things, and your newsletter is a great tool to connect with them and give them that sense of VIP treatment. 

These newsletters work wonders because they actually provide readers with news that’s relevant to them. It creates a sense of urgency to see that in-demand products are now back, or that something new has been released. Knowing that something is already sold out can give people a huge push to buy – and new products are always interesting. 

And if you think this only works for high-tech products, think again! Just look at how Fish & Family announces the restocking of their king salmon supply. With exact dates, times and places they make it super easy for lovers of fresh fish to find them. 

Whether you’re selling fashion, food, tech or handmade products – this type of newsletter will turn your customers into hungry followers!

fish and family newsletter

14. Jules Acree – Keep a diary for your subscribers

Newsletters are a great time to get a little personal. If you’re building a community, working on personal branding or social selling, authenticity is key. And what better way to be truly real than to show your followers what you’ve been up to, and what you’ve been enjoying?

Jules from Om & The City sends out her lovely morning notes, which feel a lot like catching up with a great friend over coffee. She adds in her recommendations, reminders, and intentions and even highlights a reader to really nurture that feeling of community.

What’s great about these types of personal newsletters, is that they don’t feel like ads or commercial newsletters at all. But it’s still super doable as a business owner to work in some of your strengths, advice and projects, secretly nurturing your leads. Plus, you can add in products, events and affiliate links in a way that is less sales-y than a ‘’business’’ email format. 

So next time find yourself staring at a blank page, just start sharing the wins of your week and connect with your audience over shared experiences!

slow brew sundays newsletter

15. White Buffalo Studio – Give visual inspiration in your newsletter

Lost for words? Don’t worry! Chances are, your subscribers aren’t always in the mood to read long emails. Sometimes, some visual stimulation is all they need. 

With the right email template, you can send inspiring emails that revolve around visual content, to showcase products, and events or to get your followers’ creative juices flowing.

White Buffalo Studio shows us a great example of how less is more. They picked ‘stripes’ as the theme of the week, and nourished their audience with nothing more than beautiful product shots of striped fashion. 

The clothing takes the stage, and without distracting copy, as a reader, you immediately want to get  started with your own striped-themed fashion line. 

This approach works for countless business types. You can pick themes and match your products to that, to create Pinterest-like pages that get delivered straight to your followers’ inboxes. Do make sure it’s easy for them to find the products you’re showing off. Even without copy, these types of emails can generate sales and boost conversions!

white buffalo studio newsletter

16. Fearless Chase Academy – Send out an interactive newsletter

Another way to entertain your followers, without bombarding them with long copy, is by making your newsletter interactive. Add in a poll or a quiz, and you’ll surely stand out from all other newsletters they received that week.

Interactive features like quizzes are also a great way to further personalize content for your readers, because in their answers lies a lot of useful information. And even if that isn’t the goal, it’s great fun and will keep your readers engaged. 

Madison from Fearless Chase Academy combined the fun with the functional in a quiz that reveals what iconic sitcom character embodies your current stage of business. It’s fun, low-barrier and yet, it makes her readers think about the next step. 

Browse Buzzfeed for inspiration to make something similar, or start from scratch. Your quiz doesn’t need to be long (the shorter the better, actually) and it doesn’t need to be all that serious. Look at your funnel and what information could help you push leads further, and design a quiz around that. We’ll make sure it looks great in your template of choice! 

fearless chase academy

Use a newsletter to enhance your digital marketing strategy 

Now that you know what goes into a great newsletter and have seen several email newsletter examples, it’s time to create your own newsletter templates. And if you’d like to learn more, don’t forget to check out our curated collection of Flodesk University tutorials on topics like email design, accessibility and more.

Want to save time and resources with email marketing software that does the hard work for you? Read our post on the 10 Best GetResponse Alternatives for Cost-Effective Emails to see what tools are right for you.

Create elegant emails with Flodesk

We help grow your email list with intuitive templates that pack a punch. Focus on what matters: writing great emails (we’ll worry about the rest!)