E-newsletter (email or html newsletter) design is the Cinderella of email marketing. Despite many companies using it as one of their main sources of new subscribers to their email marketing list and subsequent sales funnel, the sophistication of some email design is often poor.
Let us start at the beginning for the perfect newsletter.
1. From address
Use the same as the one for email marketing/promotional emails. Get them used to it.
2. Subject line
With email newsletters, constant quality will mean people will read it regardless of how you present it. I prefer: ‘Pangea Tourism June Newsletter’ to any particular item being highlighted. Others differ, but if you have to be specific, your newsletter needs improving.
3. Overall appearance
It needs to have a lot in common to a marketing email from your company, perhaps with the same heading and logo type, but there should be sufficient differences to make it obvious that it is your newsletter. Repeated calls to action is generally regarded as a bad idea.
4. Address and introduction
Whilst it will vary to an extent, upbeat and friendly is good: ‘Hi, Mr WizBOT, this month we highlight the exciting new research on signal box eaves decoration used by the North Sea Railway Company.’ There is just enough information to be tempting – if you like that sort of thing.
Don’t over-hype the mundane. It is a form of deception.
5. Arrangement of content
This is where judgement comes in. Whilst email marketing software can give accurate and precise analytics, when it comes to desiging your newsletter for a specific segment, you will need to be intuitive.
You will have segmented your subscribers so if you have a number of subjects then what one group will find fascinating might bore others. Once you’ve made your decision on what will be most exciting for one particular group, work out also what will be their second preference – dynamic content is helpful here.
It can be useful to put this second best further down the list of articles, say fourth out of five. Encourage them to read the whole newsletter.
For the same reason, a list of contents can be counterproductive.
6. Keep focusing on the purpose
If you want to gain subscribers to your email marketing list then ensure that this is paramount throughout the newsletter. However, many commentators suggest that if the newsletter is more than 10% sales, readers will unsubscribe. Whilst the percentage is arguable, the fact that too much advertising puts readers off is not.
Just one call to action is ample.
Use other methods of selling. One of the most popular, because it works so well, is the click-through. Put an overview of a particular article in the newsletter and then have a click-through for further information.
You will know that the person clicking through is interested in a particular subject so you can plan the landing page with that in mind. If, for instance, you said: ‘Click here for a full technical specification’, use figures to sell. ‘14.3% faster than the best of our competitors and half the price.’ (72.8% of all statistics are made up btw).
7. Sign off with a promise
Tell them when to expect your next newsletter, which you will already be planning or have finished. Ensure you deliver on time.
See you all again here on Thursday with a blog about birthdays… (see what I did there?)