Email newsletters are officially part of the content marketing senior class.

Just ask Michael Katz, founder and chief penguin of Blue Penguin Development, a Boston-based firm specializing in email newsletters and turning industry players into likable experts.

“Email newsletters have had an interesting history,” Katz said. “When they first came on the scene in the early 2000s, the hesitation among many companies in using them was, ‘Not enough of our customers use email.’ By 2005 they were at their peak. Within a few more years, the concern with spam and the rise of social media moved them to the back burner for many companies.”

However, proving that most things in life are cyclical, those same companies are once again realizing what informed marketing professionals already knew: Targeted email newsletter campaigns are invaluable.

After all, messaging is five times more likely to be seen via email than Facebook, according to Campaign Monitor. This makes sense based on past research from McKinsey, which found email is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook or Twitter.

Together with Brafton.com Managing Editor Samantha Gordon and Marketing Manager Kyle Gaw, Katz has highlighted three stellar examples of email newsletters done right in 2016. Keep these examples in mind when crafting your own marketing strategy for the new year.

MOOsLETTER

Boldly branded, from both a design and writing standpoint, MOO’s email newsletter shows off the company’s style in a loud and proud fashion. A print-on-demand company specializing in business cards, of course MOO would want to stand out from the crowd and show off its branding capabilities. Whether it’s through humorous footer copy or eye-catching colors, the company makes sure it’s remembered.

The MOOsLETTER exemplifies fun yet effective email marketing.

The MOOsLETTER scores big with fun yet effective email marketing.

“I’ve been a customer and fan of MOO for a few years now,” Katz said. “In addition to being impressed with the quality of their print products, I’ve always admired how consistent their brand is across everything they do. The tone of their website, their customer communications and their newsletter is consistent across the board. This is critical, since a newsletter, at its best, offers a ‘slice’ of the company style and culture. In the case of the MOOsLETTER, it serves to remind subscribers what they like about the company and its people, leading to buy more and more often.”

Think with Google

Billed by the search engine giant as its “source for insights, trends and research in digital marketing,” it’s appropriate Think with Google’s email newsletter would provide content marketing pros with a constant source of inspiration and relevant information.

Additionally, it wouldn’t be Google without special attention to reader experience, usability and simple-yet-effective design.

Custom email subject lines help Think with Google make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Custom email subject lines help Think with Google make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

“I know the custom subject line is just a matter of coding and automation, but even still I feel like they’ve cherry-picked the content just for me,” said Samantha. “And the email itself is easily digestible – perfect for my pre-coffee brain. It features a custom graphic that highlights an interesting stat that they’ve uncovered thanks to their limitless database of proprietary data. If the stat appeals to me, there’s a CTA right in the image that leads to a lot more content on the topic. Since the email is so short and sweet, I never feel like it’s a hassle to pop in and see what Google is up to.”

Moz Top 10

With a focus on inbound marketing, the pressure is on for Moz to offer a best-in-class email newsletter. Fortunately, the company delivers.

Far from touting only their own content, Moz’s semi-monthly newsletter concentrates on bringing subscribers the best news and tips from around the web. What’s more, the company is able to showcase both its personality and expertise in bite-sized breakdowns for readers.

Moz email newsletters are succinct yet pack a wallop.

Moz email newsletters are sleek and succinct, but pack a wealth of information.

“I enjoy the brief, one-to-two sentences they include to describe the piece they’re featuring,” Kyle said. “These little blurbs have a lot of personality but still provide the value prop for what’s in the link. Also, I like the branding in their newsletter. Everything is very consistent with the Moz branding guidelines, which makes all the links they feature treated equally in my mind, regardless of the rank.”

Email newsletters are far more than content delivery machines. The organizations that get it understand these tools are extensions of a brand, and yet another avenue to showcase organizational style and expertise.

In addition to implementing email marketing best practices, from including video to ensuring call-to-action buttons are clearly visible, content marketing professionals would be wise to find inspiration in these examples’ dedication to valuable, relevant content wrapped up in a memorable, aesthetically pleasing bow.

Get instant access to our 12 days of content.

Eric Wendt

Eric Wendt is a writer and editor at Brafton. He discovered his love of words after realizing he was terrible at math. If he's not updating his Tumblr with poetry he's too embarrassed to share, there's a good chance he's out in search of the perfect pale ale.