In online maketing, a newsletter is an electronic circular or info letter that is periodically sent to subscribers as an email. For this reason, writing is often referred to as an e-mail newsletter. In contrast to a mailing list, communication only takes place via a distribution list. Originally, the newsletter was a print product that clubs or organizations sent to their members. Newsletters are part of email marketing and also part of post-conversion marketing.

Content and Formats

Newsletters are sent in different formats. The simplest option is the so-called plain text. Here the recipients receive the information in plain text format.


A newsletter in the so-called multipart format is written in HTML and can also contain images, 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 circulars can also be read by all programs.

Most subscribers also have the option of printing out the newsletter.

Areas of Application

Many areas of application can be covered with the help of electronic circulars:

  • Inform about offers
  • conducting opinion polls
  • Launching marketing campaigns
  • Sending important company information (e.g. product recalls)

The advantage of a newsletter in all areas of application is that it addresses a specific group of recipients directly and quickly. First and foremost, it is important for the success of a newsletter that it reaches the recipient and that there is no bounce message.

Legal Requirements

Newsletters may only be sent to recipients who have previously given their consent. This is also referred to as opting in. In the case of the single opt-in, the recipient confirms by entering their e-mail address and submitting the form that they would like to receive a newsletter in the future. With the so-called double opt-in procedure, the subscriber receives another e-mail with a confirmation link to finally agree to the subscription. In contrast to the single opt-in, the double opt-in procedure also offers the security that a newsletter is not subscribed to accidentally or improperly.

The subscriber’s consent is important, as otherwise an electronic newsletter could be classified as illegal advertising under Section 7 (2) No. 3 in conjunction with Section 3 UWG. In extreme cases, the sender would have to expect legal consequences.

A subscriber must be able to stop receiving the newsletter at any time. For this reason, newsletters always contain a link that leads directly to unsubscribing, or a message to the sender to unsubscribe from the newsletter.

For these reasons, so-called permission marketing has become established in recent years. Newsletters are only sent with the express permission of the customer. As a rule, the customer agrees to receive newsletters once and then receives newsletters regularly. 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 numbers so that the company’s customer advisors can call them directly.

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

Newsletter Software

To send newsletters, companies usually use special software that not only creates content but also tracks the circulars that are sent. In the context of e-mail marketing, the newsletter has a special function. For this reason, user behaviour is precisely evaluated with newsletter software to improve performance or the conversion rate. An analysis contains, for example, key figures on openings, cancellations or clicks on links contained in the newsletter.

The unsubscribe rate is a measure of all unsubscribes from a newsletter. If users click on the opt-out button, which is required by law, this click will be registered using tracking. Characteristics such as the unsubscribe rate also allow newsletters to be changed in terms of form and content. In the sense that an attempt is made to keep or reduce the unsubscribe rate by making various changes to the newsletter.

Such changes play an important role in targeting as part 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 when newsletters are sent to a new customer list.

Marketing/SEO benefits

Newsletter programs also play a major role in targeting as part of a mailing campaign. Newsletters are a tried and tested means of customer loyalty 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 drive additional traffic to a website.


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