Nuno Sancha
Author: Nuno Sancha  |  

Hipster Marketer with a passion for SaaS. Dreams about becoming a full-stack marketer but for now I just want to test software and write about them.


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Newsletters are sexy... again!

Email is one of those things that marketers wish to kill all the time, they came with bots (that didn't age well at all), now they are experimenting with SMS (again), but email stood the test of time, again and again.

The only problem seems to be that a lot of brands don't really know how to compose a great newsletter and end up annoying people, which leads to the result we all are afraid of, the unsubscribe button.

In this post about the best newsletters we've seen, I will try to clarify the difference between email marketing and newsletters - and try to show some great examples from people that I think are doing newsletters the right way.

Note that we won't talk about the best newsletters in the world, this would be a herculean task, this will be more on a subjective side of things and I truly hope that by the end of this article I recommend you some great gems that will help you become better in business and life in general.

Before we start with the recommendations I just want to take something out of the way first.

Newsletter vs Marketing Email - what's the effin' difference?

Let's put this in perspective to see if I can come up with a vivid explanation, and manage to draw a hard line between newsletter and a regular marketing email.

Imagine you are walking in front of a movie theater and you see a banner saying:

"Watch movies for Free, only today"

You like movies and you like free stuff - best day ever. But when you enter to watch the movie there is a catch-22. There is no sound, to listen you will have to pay a fee for headphones that you can plug in your chair.

Technically they didn't lie to you, but they convinced you to enter the theater to then sell something to you - this is not honesty as well.

I know this is scenario is a little bit far-fetched, but this is what happens when you "trick" people into giving you their emails so they can get something from you and then you start trying to sell them stuff right away - they didn't sign up for that, so it feels like dishonesty.

This is a marketing email in a nutshell, of course it can be done in an honest way and a lot of people and brands do it. Usually, they wait until you buy something from them and then they start sending emails trying to sell other things for you.

Basically this is the difference between marketing emails and newsletters. The first one has the intention to make you buy something, the other one is the "product" itself. With a newsletter your end goal is the value you add to your audience, no tricks, no upsells, pure value.

You will understand it better when you see our list for the best newsletters we've seen.

The best newsletters we've seen

To be honest, this list is a little bit biased, or should I say 100% biased? Before you close the tab, let me defend myself. Value is something personal, so I can't judge value from your perspective, I will have to do my best to select the ones I think you will find something that will help you in your life as well.

Peep Laja

A true king in the realm of CRO (conversion rate optimization), and now he is fighting to make online education better. His newsletters are really short and straight to the point, have some promotions in the end (courses and upcoming events by CXL) but he delivers real value first and you really don't mind that - it's an excellent trade-off.

The "On my mind" section alone makes this one of the best newsletters we've seen.

Newsletter from Peep Laja

So go ahead to and subscribe, because Peep is a doer, not a talker, you will learn a lot from his short essays.

The Growth Newsletter

Demand Curve is a school for growth hackers, the course may not be affordable for everybody, but their newsletter deserves a place in the list of best newsletters we've seen because it is packed with real value.

If growth is your thing, this newsletter is a must, they don't mind sharing things they learn by doing or curate lessons from other people

The Growth newsletter

The print is short but the email is long. The guys from Demand Curve really make sure they have a lot of value to share before clicking the send button. I know that Growth Hacking is a forbidden word nowadays, but growth is still a real thing and this newsletter is one of the best at sharing the knowledge that will help you improve your growth skills.

Ryan Holiday

Ryan is a marketer, one of the greatest I must add, but his newsletter is not about marketing per se. His newsletter is about philosophy, meditation, life in general. If you are into stoicism, Ryan is your go-to guy. He is also a fabulous writer, which makes his newsletter a pleasant read. What more can you ask? Thank me later.

Ryan Holiday newsletter

Nat Eliason

Another excellent writer in our list of the best newsletter we've seen. Why? The guy already has an awesome blog and he could just send you an article from his blog and call it a day, but like all the great content creators he is a great content consumer as well. So in his Medley newsletter he collects a lot of interesting stuff that is on the internet and sends them your way.

If you don't have a lot of time to research in order to keep up with all the interesting information floating on the internet, Nat curates it and makes sure you will have at least a few cool things to talk about in your next boring dinner party.

Nat Eliason newsletter

Aaron Zakowski

Aaron aka The PPC Ninja. If you are into PPC marketing this guy will help you with some insights. He has extensive experience with Facebook Ads, and knows a lot of Linkedin and Google Ads as well. Feeling that your campaigns are underperforming? Check his newsletter out.

Aaron Zakowski newsletter

Talia from GetUplift

If Peep is the king of CRO, Talia is the queen.

She deserves to make our list of best newsletters we've seen because of the value she delivers every single time she sends something your way. Sometimes it is about copywriting, other times it is about creating great experiences for people. And every single time the goal is helping you improve your conversions.

Talia from GetUplift newsletter

Nir Eyal

Marketers have to know about psychology, you can learn all the technical tricks and gimmicks you want, but if you don't understand people, all those data, integrations and optimizations will be like Pyro burning everything down for a useless victory.

Nir is on the mission to make this world a better place, and most of the things he writes about will not just make you a better marketer but will help you understand yourself as well, so my question is: why you are not a Nir subscriber yet?

Nir Eyal newsletter

Tomi Mester

I've already told you that this list of best newsletters we've seen was biased, and Tomi is my favorite data scientist out there, why? Because of his blog and newsletter. I love the content he creates, complete tutorial series for beginners. And I don't have the habit to visit blogs to check if something new is out, I am those kinds of people that need a nudge and this is what Tomi does.

First, he writes a small intro of the article and then points you in the right direction to read it.

Tomi Mester newsletter

This one is not for the newsletter per se, but for the quality of the articles he writes.

Grow and Convert

Another one that made the list, not because of the newsletter itself but for the quality of the articles that it promotes. The guys from Grow and Convert are experts in content creation, so their articles are a must-read.

Grow and Convert newsletter

If you feel that you can't remember to go check their blog from time to time, just subscribe to their list and they will remind you when their new article is out.

Tim Ferriss

I should leave this just as is… there is not much to talk about Tim Ferris. I mean, there is a lot to talk about him, the guy is like an internet demigod for all of us that work with the internet. With one book he made a revolution in the way people work nowadays.

His 5-Bullet Friday newsletter is a must-have in your inbox, the content is relatively short but is packed with value. Subscribe and see for yourself why this is on our list of best newsletters we've seen.

Tim Ferriss newsletter

The Next Brand

The co-author of Traction, Justin Mares, has a newsletter that resembles Nat's Medley and Tim Ferris' 5-Bullet Friday, which means that you are in for a treat. Despite being new it sure deserves to make into our list of best newsletters we've seen.

Dedicated to subjects such as health, wellness in life, marketing and cool stuff he finds on the internet, this is something every entrepreneur, marketer or anyone working in the startup ecosystem should check out, I promise that you will love it.

The Next Brand newsletter

The Memo

Last but not least, this is a go-to newsletter for people that want to find remote jobs. This newsletter usually comes with hundreds of remote positions that are waiting for the right person for the job to show up - and that person could be you.

Marketing, Devs, Data Scientists positions and much more. If you are looking to trade the inflexibility of the 9 to 5, and want to work in the hours of the day that you feel more like it, as long as things are done, this is definitely a newsletter you should subscribe to, maybe your dream job will come via email.

The Memo newsletter

Few words before I close my text editor and go read some newsletters

As you can see my "world" is about startups, marketing, philosophy, well being and so on. And I want to perfect it to the max.

Well, this is our list of best newsletters we've seen. It may not be a perfect one, but this is just a conversation starter. Do you have your own list? Drop it below in the comments, I would love to check it out.

See you soon :)

FAQs

1) What is an email newsletter used for?

An email newsletter is a periodical email sent by a person or business containing news, updates, or curated content from the topic that you signed up for.

2) Why is a newsletter important?

As your newsletter produces quality content about a topic or area that you have expertise in, your business will become a reference as a source of information about that topic. And by creating a newsletter publishing routine, you promote customer loyalty, and gain the trust and respect in the eyes of your audience.

3) What goes into making a successful newsletter?

For a newsletter to be truly effective, you need to tick certain boxes, like:

  • Offering value for time spent on reading it
  • Leverage new content (or even evergreen content)
  • Engaging subject line
  • Personalized and consistent content
  • Consistency of quality.

4) Which type of newsletter is better? Crafted or curated newsletter.

It depends. For example, from a traffic perspective, a crafted newsletter is better because it sends traffic to your own website or blog, whereas a curated newsletter mostly shares links from outside sources and sends traffic to them.