High-quality newsletter design is critical to the success of having your e-newsletter opened, read and clicked on. You often have only a split second to catch your reader’s eye before they decide to keep reading, or almost instantly delete your message.
If you’re hoping your newsletter has impact as it flashes into your readers’ inbox, design matters.
10 Design tips for better e-newsletters
- Keep it simple. The name “newsletter” may conjure up a picture of multiple stories, columns and sidebars, but people don’t have time for that. Choose one main story per newsletter for the most impact.
- Make sure it’s mobile optimized. More than half of all email is read on phones nowadays. So your newsletter needs to look good on a small window, but everything just can’t shrink down. Type sizes must stay readable even as column widths get narrow; so styles within your e-newsletter system should be built using a responsive technique that changes based on the window size. Don’t worry, here at Mail on the Mark all of our e-newsletter are built this way.
- Match your brand identity. Your e-newsletter is a great way to give repetitive exposure to your brand. In fact, even if someone opens but doesn’t read your e-newsletter, you can gain positive visibility for your brand. So make sure that the colors, fonts, logo, etc. match your brand identity. Your e-newsletter design should closely match your web site design.
- Make your call to action clear. The goal of most newsletters is not just to be read, it’s to push the reader to take action. So pick one thing you want the reader to click on, and make that link bright and bold. It’s best to have it look like a button, not just a text link.
- Avoid cheesy stock photos. Pictures are great because they engage people, but if they are too generic they just feel like a space filler. Remember, cheap photos just look…cheap. I doubt you want to have your brand portrayed as cheap, so find quality photography or skip it altogether.
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short. If you’re used to working in Microsoft Word, what seems like a reasonable looking paragraph, will feel excessively long in the more narrow format of an email newsletter.
- Use each piece of the email structure to its max. Every email has a sender’s name and subject line. You should also be able to control the snippet that previews in most email clients. And of course there’s the content of the newsletter itself—including headlines. Don’t repeat similar text in all these places. Use each piece of text uniquely.
- Make social sharing clear and easy. Most people want to grow their e-newsletter list, so make it easy for your readers to share your content on Facebook, Twitter or other channels. When you put a little Facebook icon in your newsletter, be clear whether you’re asking someone to like your Facebook page or share the content of your newsletter on their own timeline. Both are great! But make it clear which action you’re prompting people to take.
- Remember that many links will default to blue. There are many email clients that will default to a blue color and underlined style of hyperlinks. Even if you set it to another style in your e-newsletter composer, it may still look blue and underlined to some of your readers. So, avoid putting a text link on a blue background, because it will be difficult to read.
- Make it professional looking. Choosing the various fonts, setting up the layout, and selecting or creating imagery can lead to a mess. If you’re hoping your newsletter will promote your brand, think about the impact that your unprofessional-looking newsletter may be having on your prospects. Don’t get so caught up in the pride of doing-it-yourself, when hiring a professional e-newsletter firm will make the improved effort worth the costs.