I collected these 27 great newsletter ideas from real email newsletters written by 21 different freelance graphic designers, web designers, and copywriters.
Publishing an email newsletter is one of the top 6 business practices actually used by successful graphic designers.
Why? In short, sending a newsletter on a regular basis will:
- Keep you top-of-mind with current and prospective design clients, and
- the newsletter content will build up your personal brand over time.
27 Great Newsletter Ideas
Just publishing your newsletter on time, every time, in itself sends a general message of being reliable and professional. And it keeps you top-of-mind. A great start to your personal brand!
Next step in is to make your newsletter readers know, like and trust you.
Content that Teach Readers What You Are About
Make sure your readers know you for your specific shade of graphic design, illustration or web design. In each newsletter, you want to (subtly) remind readers of what you do best.
Like for your design portfolio, gear your newsletter towards the type of work you want to do in the future!
- Show recent work or self-initiated projects that clearly reflect what you want to be commissioned for (include short project info.)
- Announce changes in your design business: New products, new company name, new or redesigned website.
- Always insert a short, separate blurb about what you do, but separate it from the editorial content. The bottom of the newsletter is a good place for a blurb.
Content that Will Make Readers Like You
You are a real person, aren't you? You are not some faceless company. Use that to your advantage. Let your true colors through a little! Share personal stories, be generous to your readers, help them. Being real will also help you to attract clients who are in tune with your style and temperament.
- Share your personal projects. Let your readers get to know creative passions and interests.
- Share snippets from your personal life:
“I also moved into a brand new house and am just loving working in my new office (Peanut, the cat, is super happy with the new digs too—even though she couldn't be bothered to smile for the photo).”
Jill Anderson, freelance web designer.
- Offer some fun! Arrange competitions.
- Do surveys, polls, e.g. on what to write about. Report back on the results.
- When in festive seasons, include graphic holiday greetings in your newsletter. Showing off your mad design skills at the same time.
- Offer freebies & goodies: Offer a digital download or something physical! Cairril Mills, a graphic designer, invites her readers to send in their favorite quotes. Cairril then awards the best contribution with a custom designed digital print featuring the winning quote. Jill Anderson made buttons with affirmations and offered them to “the first 5 folks who want a set.”
- Share tips & tools designed to make life easier, e.g. for better personal productivity.
- Share reading tips
Content that Will Make Clients Trust Your Expertise
Besides liking and knowing you, a prospective client needs to trust your expertise.
Demonstrate your design expertise by:
- Client spotlights: Case studies, success stories, project stories. Demonstrate your deep understanding of your clients' challenges (and give them some love.)
- Show recent work: Show before and afters, link to live web designs, photos of your work when actually used.
- Write educational pieces on how your type of services (not necessarily you) solved marketing and branding problems. “Don't mess with Texas” is a piece of newsletter content, in which Henry Alpert clearly educates his readers on the need for and value of professional copywriting services without being pushy.
- Report back your main takeaways from industry conferences and other professional meet-ups.
- Announce and report back from your own speaking gigs.
- Do Q & A:s (questions and answers.) If one client asks a question you can bet others are wondering the exact same thing.
- Do a “behind the scenes”-piece where the reader can follow a project from start to finish.
- Describe your design process. Prospective clients will then know what to expect (it also qualifies clients.)
- Announce awards won and other recognitions your business receives
- Include clients testimonials
Hard selling has no place in your newsletter. Focus on giving, but now and then you can carefully, very subtle, nudge readers towards taking action through. You need a call to action:
- Offer a complimentary 30-minute chat (combine it with an online form with some key questions.)
- Offer a 1 hour paid strategy talk (also combined with a form to fill out beforehand.)
- Announce discounts and special deals
- Inform your readers of your availability. Facing the end of 2012 Jill Andersson did it in a smart way:
“Save 5% on your next project! Are you in need of a new website? I'm currently booking new website projects for January and if you pay your deposit by December 31st, I'll give you 5% off your project fee! Plus you'll get to write it off on your 2012 taxes. A win-win for everyone!”
- Write about possible cost savings, productivity boosts, trends, opportunities, events, behavior changes and other real-world changes with implications for the type of services you deliver. A newsletter piece on how the increased use of mobile devices might trigger requests for responsive websites or Facebook's latest redesign could instead trigger request for new cover pages on social media.
- Address changes in clients businesses that typically leads to design overhauls or refreshes, e.g. new market positioning.
- Quick, actionable marketing, branding and social media tips. An article on how professional-looking headshots increases credibility could trigger requests for photo retouches, or an article about conversion rates could trigger requests for new landing pages.
Want More Newsletter Inspiration?
Check out these four newsletters from freelance creatives:
- a*jill*ity (Jill Anderson, a freelance web designer partnering with other creative businesses.)
- The Occasional Oracle (Henry Alpert, freelance copywriter.)
- Connect with Copy (Deidre Rienzo, a freelance copywriter partnering with designers.)
- Li'l Robin (Anke Stohlmann, creative director.)
Also, check out 8 Fresh Ideas for Email Newsletters by copywriter Robyn Bradley!
Still not sure if a newsletter is a good idea for your business? Read Email Marketing for Creative Freelancers. Yay or Nay?