Email newsletters – just an opportunity for a humblebrag?

Lisa Donnelly, Senior Account Manager

There has been some discussion in recent years about the relevance of company email newsletters, and whether they are just an opportunity to “humblebrag” about the company’s achievements. But, according to Forbes, “quality email marketing is still one of the best marketing tools available, especially for service-based businesses”.

If you can reach stakeholders directly and share unique insights with them on a regular basis, it can only be good for your brand.

With this in mind, we implemented a content overhaul of a newsletter for our client Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). As the owner of 26 harbours and 36 ferries serving the islands and peninsulas of the west of Scotland and the Northern Isles, CMAL communicates with a range of stakeholders, and we’ve always had a newsletter to keep them up to date on the latest vessel and harbour projects.

In the relaunched version, it was important to maintain this news content, but we also wanted to use the newsletter as a platform in its own right, by creating bespoke articles. This ties in with our overall communications objectives of enhancing CMAL’s reputation and deepening engagement with island communities and key stakeholders.


We were keen to highlight CMAL’s extensive knowledge of the maritime and naval architecture industries; but we also wanted to give readers a better insight into the day-to-day activity of the business.  To achieve this, we created a content structure with a balance of thought leadership, news, team profiles and behind the scenes. We worked with CMAL to draft content, including the story of how engineers nearly ended up in tents and campervans when emergency repairs were required at the height of lockdown.

We have also built a new section on CMAL’s website to host the longer form pieces, which provides an opportunity to drive traffic to the site.


CMAL was keen to strengthen its GDPR adherence, and as a result, suggested we changed platform from Mailchimp to Mailjet. We familiarised ourselves with the platform, including any commercial attachments, before starting the build.


The new content structure helped inform our template design. Working with our designer, we created three concepts for the client to choose from. We wanted to create a simple, visually appealing template which would be reader-friendly and showcased the client’s brand, and providing a suitable home for the content and sections we wanted to include.

Follow up

But the job isn’t over as soon as you press send (is there a scarier moment than hitting send on a newsletter or press release?!). We ensured that we had plenty of social media activity scheduled to promote the newsletter, encourage people to sign up and direct them to the sections of the website where they could find the longform content.

It’s important to evaluate newsletter metrics to monitor engagement rates and make informed decisions about future content.  Around a week after we issued the newsletter, we analysed the data; we saw a 30% increase in click throughs to the website, and a 68% open rate – according to IBM Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark 2016, a good open rate is around 40%. We created an easy to read infographic for the client, outlining all of the key statistics, and used the data to make recommendations about the next edition.

Content from the newsletter is available here …don’t forget to sign up for the next one!