In online marketing, a newsletter is an info letter that is periodically sent to subscribers as an e-mail. For this reason, it is often called E-Mail newsletter. In contrast to a mailing list, communication only takes place via a distributor. Originally, the newsletter was a print product, which was sent by associations or organizations to their members. Newsletters are components of email marketing and are also part of post-conversion marketing.

Contents and Formats

Newsletters are sent in different formats. The simplest option is plain text, where the recipients receive the information in plain text format.

A newsletter in the so-called multipart format is written in HTML and can contain pictures, videos or parts of a website in addition to the text. In many cases, these newsletters can also be displayed as plain text. This ensures that the electronic newsletters can also be read by all programs.

In most cases, subscribers also have the option of printing out the newsletter.


Many areas of application can be covered with newsletters:

  • Inform about offers
  • Carrying out opinion polls
  • Starting marketing campaigns
  • Sending of important company information (e.g. product recalls)

The advantage of a newsletter in all application areas is the direct and fast addressing of a specific recipient group. First of all, it is important for the success of a newsletter that it reaches the recipient and that no bounce message occurs.

Legal requirements

Newsletters may only be sent to recipients who have given their prior consent. This is also called Opt-In. In the case of the Single-Opt-In the receiver confirms by the indication of his mail address and the sending of the form that he would like to receive a newsletter in the future. With the so-called Double Opt-In procedure, the subscriber receives an a E-Mail with a confirmation link to verify their subscription. The Double-Opt-In-Proceeding offers the additional security that a new newsletter is not inadvertently subscribed to.

The agreement of the subscriber is important, particularly since the introduction of the GDPR. Not complying to the requirements in the GDPR can lead to legal consequences.

A subscriber must always have the possibility to unsubscribe from the newsletter. For this reason, newsletters always contain a link that leads directly to unsubscribing, or a note about unsubscribing by sending a message to the sender.

For these reasons, so-called permission marketing has emerged in recent years. Newsletters are only sent with the express permission of the customer. As a rule, the customer agrees once to receive newsletters and then receives regular newsletters. However, newsletters are only one form of permission marketing; call back forms are also part of this form of marketing. Here, customers leave their telephone number so that they can be called directly by the company's customer advisors.

If a newsletter contains confidential information, it can also contain an email disclaimer.

Newsletter software

Companies usually use special software for sending newsletters, which not only creates the content, but also tracks the delivered newsletters. Within the framework of e-mail marketing, the newsletter has a special function. User behaviour is precisely evaluated with newsletter software in order to improve performance or the conversion rate. An analysis contains, for example, key figures on openings, unsubscriptions, or clicks on links contained in the newsletter.

The unsubscribe rate is a measure for all unsubscriptions of a newsletter. If users click on the opt-out button, which is required by law, this click is registered using tracking. Characteristics such as the unsubscribe rate also allow newsletters to be changed in form and content. In this sense, the unsubscribe rate low by making various changes to the newsletter.

Such changes play an important role in the targeting of a mailing campaign. The better the newsletter is tailored to the needs of the customer, the lower the unsubscribe rate. On average, the unsubscribe rate is 2 to 3%, although it can be higher if newsletters are sent to a new customer list.

Benefits for Marketing / SEO

Newsletter programs also play an important role in targeting as part of a mailing campaign. Newsletters are a tried and tested means of retaining customers and increasing sales figures. If newsletters are used intelligently without being perceived as annoying by the recipients, they form a direct line to the customers. A newsletter campaign can also generate additional traffic to a website.