This article is courtesy of Constant Contact:

You’ve made the commitment. You’ve signed up for Constant Contact’s Email Marketing. You’re ready to sit down to create your first email and then … nothing! Absolutely nothing!

You have no idea what to fill that email template with and think about scrapping the whole thing.

DON’T DO IT!

The content you “need to succeed” is closer than you think. You just need to take a moment to look around and figure out what type of content will engage your readers and help achieve your marketing goals.

To help you get started, here are 20 places you can look to help you get the creative juices flowing:

1. Website
Do you already have some valuable information on your website? Include a link to it in your email.

2. Marketing materials
Sift through flyers, brochures, sales sheets, or newsletters for bite-sized pieces of information. Curate some of this content and put it to work in your next email campaign.

3. New product literature
If you’re getting ready to launch a new product, talk about the problems the product will help your customers solve.

4. Press releases
What “big news” has your company released to the media recently? Spread the word in your next email. But don’t just copy and paste, be sure to make the news conversational in tone, as if you’re talking to your customer directly.

5. Industry news
Are there things going on in your industry that affect your business and what you have to offer? If there’s anything of particular interest let your customers know about your point of view.

6. Competitor news
You should always keep tabs on your competitor. As they say, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” See what type of things they’re offering and let your customers know how you’re doing it better, faster, or smarter.

7. Community happenings
Being involved with the community is huge for small businesses. Keep an eye out for what events might be happening in the community and get involved. You can help sponsor the event or offer a product or service they might need to run the event. Either way, showing you care about the community is a great public relations opportunity to share with people on your list.

8. National news
It’s a big world out there. What’s happening and how does it impact your business? I’m sure your customers would appreciate your take on what’s current and show that you’re “in touch” with what’s going on in the world outside your four walls.

9. Trade publications
Your customers might not have access to all of the trade publications you read. So if you find something interesting—share it.

10. Tradeshows
So much information changes hands at tradeshows. Let your customers know what you’ve learned and what information they can use to make more informed purchasing decisions. They’ll appreciate the input from a business they trust.

11. Survey results
If you haven’t done it yet, send out a survey to your email list using Online Survey from Constant Contact. Ask them what information they want to receive. Then you can give them the content, events, or services they want.

12. Letter from the owner/president
When people think about buying products or services, they want to know “who’s behind the curtain.” Who is the owner or president of the business and what do they believe in? Create a personal message showing them you care about your business and the loyalty of your customers. They want to hear from you.

13. Customer emails or testimonials
If you’ve ever received a customer letter or email patting you on the back for your great product or service—share it. And, if you haven’t, then ask for one—or two or three or four. Don’t be afraid to share this information. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best forms of advertising and sharing these testimonials is like virtual word-of-mouth.

14. Employee interviews or profiles
Introduce your employees to your customers by profiling them in an email. By shining a light on them your customers will feel like they “know” them, which goes a long way in creating positive relationships. It’s also a great way to boost employee morale by showing them you care.

15. Google Alerts & website reviews
People are talking about you. You just may not know it. Set up a Google Alert for your business, look around on Yelp and some of the other review sites, and see what people are saying. Pick out the positive things—which I’m sure there will be plenty—and share them with your customers.

16. Social media comments
Similarly, if you have a Twitter or Facebook Page, take a look around and see what people are saying about you there. You can even start a conversation by asking a question to solicit some feedback to include in your next email.

17. Internet research
What topics are of interest to you that you think might be of interest to your customers? It might not have to do anything with your industry, just some helpful “cool facts” you might want to pass along to spice things up.

18. Sale or special events
Running a sale or special event anytime soon? Send out some information teasing your list about the event. By that, I mean, instead of going right out there and asking them flat out to attend or buy tickets, offer some information a few weeks prior that will peak their interest so when it’s time to “buy now” or “sign-up” they’ll be right there ready to do it.

19. Financials or annual report
Let’s face it, there aren’t too many people out there who like to read financials or annual reports, but there might be some tidbits of information—like how well your business is doing this quarter compared to the same time last quarter—that your customers might want to know about. They’ll feel good knowing they’re doing business with a “winner,” because if you’re a winner, so are they!

20. Humor or other “fun” information
People don’t laugh enough these days. So if you can find a funny picture, video, story, or all of the above that will make your customers smile—why not? They’ll appreciate the break from all of the other salesy emails in their inbox and will hopefully remember that joke or funny cat picture you sent them the next time they visit your store and automatically “walk in with a grin.” Just be sure to remain true to your brand.

So, there you have it. Surprised at how much of this information is right at your fingertips? Now you just need to take some time and finesse it into something that works for your email content.

You can do it!

This advice is courtesy of Spark & Hustle National Sponsor Constant Contact. Constant Contact’s leading email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, local deals, digital storefronts, and online surveys — supported by free KnowHow , personalized coaching, and award-winning product support — help all types of small businesses and organizations find new customers, drive repeat business, and generate referrals. Today, more than half a million customers worldwide trust Constant Contact to help them drive success.