It’s important to regularly contact your customers. The act makes them feel valued and supported. Plus, it keeps you top-of-mind.
An email newsletter is a great way to do that.
An effective email newsletter should focus on creating a connection to your customers rather than selling them something (that’s where automated emails come into play). The relevant content inside the best newsletters, however, improves retention and increases revenue as a byproduct.
Your newsletter can include things like
- blog posts
- upcoming events
- new products and services
Without further ado, let’s look at how to structure a great newsletter:
Write a Catchy Subject Line
This determines if your newsletter will be opened.
Your subject line’s tone (and the rest of your written content) should align with your brand as well as your website. Crucially, though, it should be clear, concise and clever.
Use a Mobile-Responsive Template
Let’s get the (not so) hard part out of the way first: Most automated marketing and email providers have customizable templates to start you off, so you don’t have to design one yourself.
Since your template is where your content will live, it should be branded, organized and consistent. Make it easy for your subscribers to read and take action.
It must be mobile responsive. That means it will automatically adapt to any screen it’s opened on—a desktop, phone or tablet.
Your template should also match your visual brand and include your business’s:
- Logo or name. Put this in your newsletter header so subscribers know who it’s from immediately.
- Brand colors. Make sure they’re easy-to-read, though.
- Fonts. If your branded font is simple and easy-to-read (like Arial or Helvetica), use it. Otherwise, use one legible font throughout (just say no to Comic Sans).
- Social media links. In your footer, include links for any social media platform you’re active on—Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
Have Strong Content
The most important part of your newsletter is what’s inside. The written and visual content should be short and simple. Online readers are distracted and busy, just like you. They don’t have time to read through a complex email.
An effective newsletter includes:
- 2–3 topics. If there’s more to add, think about adding another email.
- Concise writing. Get straight to the point—each topic should include about 200 words, max. If you need more detail, link to a blog post on your website.
- The most important content up top. Readers unfortunately drop like flies as they head toward the bottom of an email. Stack your content so the most important stuff will be seen by the most eyes. If you have a call to action (CTA), put it above the fold (i.e., before the reader has to scroll) to make sure they see and act on it.
- One main CTA. Have one task you want your readers to complete and make it easy for them to find and complete it. Good examples of CTA text are things like “RSVP,” “sign up now,” and “learn more.”
- 2–3 branded images. Keep an 80:20 text-to-image ratio in mind so it loads quickly for your readers and prevents the email from ending up in a spam folder.
Test and Evolve
Testing means two things when it comes to email newsletters.
One is to literally send a test email to yourself, which most email platforms allow. Check to make sure the images load and the links take you to the right place. Open the email on your desktop computer and a mobile device to be sure it works for both.
The other is to test how your readers respond. Most email providers will let you A/B test your email—sending two different versions to two subsets of your subscribers. Use the feature to try different subject lines, CTA buttons, and even variations on when you send the email. This will help you to figure out what’s most effective to keep your readers opening your email and engaging with your business.
For more newsletter and general email marketing best practices, download The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing.