To me a lot of newsletters are just a big promotional email which defeats the purpose of a newsletter. Reviewing a lot of different (one size fits all) e-newsletters, I think a lot of companies miss an opportunity to talk to a broader member base and drive more engagement. A lot of sites have great content that is buried and near impossible to navigate to, and this is the tool to leverage that content.
When I created the Gallery Exposure newsletter for kodakgallery.com some 4 years ago the objective was to have an engaging, inspirational and retention-minded communication. Content was based on user/customer service feedback and monthly polls that featured in Gallery Exposure. We intentionally kept promotional offers to a minimum or not at all in the email with extremely positive feedback, offers do not motivate everyone and the numbers proved it. The message I heard loud and clear “inspire me”.
This award winning newsletter from Olympus is a great example: