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How to Create a Newsletter People Will Actually Read (and Why You Should Want to)

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Article Highlights:

  • You should focus on delivering content that has real substance and value.
  • A newsletter is only as good as the email addresses you're working with.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: An email newsletter is not the loudest, flashiest marketing channel available to you. It’s not what comes to mind when most retailers think, “I really want to blow my customers away with this next campaign!”

And that’s okay, because that’s not what this type of marketing is designed to do. But should you still want an effective newsletter in your arsenal and put in the time and effort to make that happen? Absolutely!

Where a newsletter might be lacking in “wow” factor, it makes up for in consistency and value over time. A newsletter, done well, represents your best opportunity to regularly reach a targeted audience with specifically curated messaging – week after week, month after month, year after year. These people should already be predisposed to interact with your content, meaning you have a built-in advantage in terms of open rates and conversions.

This is a huge opportunity to solidify your relationship with your most loyal and responsive customers. But, the first step to success is making sure what you’re delivering is something people will actually read. You have to offer real value and meet the unique needs of the moment, not just lazily advertise your brand.

So, here are a few critical best practices to keep in mind when developing your newsletter:

Know Your Customers

Automotive retailers live and die by this maxim in every other part of the business, and the same holds true here. The only way you’ll be able to deliver a newsletter that engages your customers and moves them to take a desired action is if you know them.

That doesn’t stop with inserting a name into a subject line. It’s important to provide your readers with content that’s relevant to them. That means leaning on available data and analytics to ensure your messages address the issues that matter to your customer base. Customized content can boost your engagement rates and keep people subscribed.

Create Quality Content

Quality content that converts has the following characteristics:

  • Helpful and/or educational
  • Timely
  • Actionable

Sure, it’s tempting to make every marketing channel an opportunity to advertise your latest tire sale or newest inventory. But, remember the purpose of your newsletter: consistent touchpoints over time that solidify customer relationships and pave the way for additional purchases long term.

In other words, you should focus on delivering content that has real substance and value. It should educate or inform your customers, it should be timely to the trends and goings-on in the industry and economy, and it should present customers with a clear call-to-action to keep the conversation evolving toward a buying decision.

Clean Up Your Database

An email newsletter is only as good as the email addresses you’re working with!

Seems obvious, yet customer databases in dealerships everywhere are rife with inaccurate information, double entries, undeliverable email addresses, etc.

Think of your customer data as the ultimate foundation of all your marketing efforts, not just your newsletter. If the foundation is faulty, the best you can hope for is suboptimal performance, if not outright failure.

Take the time to clean up your database and get the necessary missing data to maximize successful delivery. Quality content that never makes it in front of your customers is pure cost with zero benefits.


Creating a newsletter people will actually read is no easy task, but it’s absolutely worth the effort. Know your customers, create quality content, and clean up your database to get this channel right, and you’ll have a golden opportunity to move your customers at the perfect time with the perfect message.

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Anna Perry is a marketing communications professional at Reynolds and Reynolds. She is an expert on Reynolds’ suite of cutting-edge marketing products, their functionalities, and how they can be utilized to improve dealership success. Anna received her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Marketing from Miami University, as well as her Associate’s Degree in Business Management Technology with a concentration in global and social computing.

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