An Excellent Email Newsletter to Model

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I've been on the mailing list of Printing for Less for some time and have always been impressed by their monthly email newsletters. January's is perhaps one of the best, so I thought it would be interesting to talk about why it's so good. You can see a copy of it here.

1. The newsletter starts with a topical comment that "enters the conversation going on in the customer's head." Yes, it's about the economy – and it gives a quick tip on how a business can survive during the recession. This makes the newsletter immediately relevant and useful.

2. The company has been running an "Economic Stimulus Contest" (top marks for being topical – riding on the back of one of the biggest themes in the news.). The January issue clicks through to the results, highlighting companies that have invested in printed marketing to bring more business during tough times. Of course, each company has used Printing for Less to produce its marketing material – a subtle promotion for the company's services.

3. A neat table of contents, making it easy for readers to find an article they might enjoy.

4. Product of the Month offer. Printing for Less has slipped some promotion in here – that's fine. But it's not just promoting the existence of the product, it's making an offer too – free business cards with the order.

5. Feature article – Internet Marketing Tips for 2009. Good choice of topic for a January newsletter – one sure to interest a lot of readers. The link clicks through to a third-party site, which is fine – Printing for Less has shown it is a provider of useful, interesting information that is targeted to the needs of its readers.

6. Another feature article – on Photoshop. Links to Printing for Less's sister site, CreativePro.com, which is a content-rich site which helps designers do their jobs better. This site not only provides lots of inbound links (because of its rich content) but it strengthens the relationship between the company and one of its main sources of business – designers.

7. Surveys. The results of last month's poll – a great engagement device which turns passive readers into active participants, further strengthening their ties with the company.

8. Another engagement device, which asks readers to vote and comment on an economic proposal by the company's CEO. The link goes to a page on Forbes.com – a great way to link Printing for Less with one of the biggest brands in business.

9. Some company news. This is sensibly hidden fairly low down the newsletter – Printing for Less recognizes that most readers aren't really interested in developments at the company unless they directly affect them. The news they've chosen to share is about a green initiative, which gets the company points anyway.

10. A customer testimonial. Comments from clients are a powerful marketing technique, providing proof that the company provides a good service.

11. The newsletter has all the usual widgets you would expect, including an unsubscribe link, a forward to a friend feature and a view online feature.

This is probably one of the best newsletters that has entered my inbox (or mailbox). It's worth emulating.