Anatomy of a great email newsletter
Who’s up for a little pop-quiz? Ok, ready…
Question: Who am I?
I am a marketing communication tool that is exceptionally cost effective. I help educate your audience and keep them informed of important news. But what I’m most famous for is promoting your business, generating leads, acquiring more customers and nurturing existing relationships.
That’s right. It’s me, your trusty ol’ email newsletter!
Ok, so that was an easy one. Even beginners to email marketing would recognise an email newsletter in a line-up of effective communication tools. But when it comes to building their own email newsletter, marketers sometimes struggle with how to put it all together.
If this is you, check out the below list of elements that combine to make an effective email newsletter.
Part A. Newsletter Details
Normally the last things you consider when building your email newsletter are the ‘From name’ and ‘Subject Line’. However I’ve listed them here first because recipients first look at this information to decide whether or not to open your newsletter.
1. From name: Choose something easily recognisable to recipients such as your company name and use it consistently.
2. Subject line: Encourage your audience to open the email with an informative, intriguing subject line. Learn more about writing good subject lines.
Part B. Newsletter Components
1. Logo and brand: Position your logo in the top-left corner of your email so recipient’s can quickly identify your branding.
2. Quick scanning and navigation: Include an ‘In this issue’ section with article headlines that link directly to the article content below. This is particularly important for lengthy newsletters.
3. Eye-catching headings: Format headings for quick scanning and use font size and colour to stand out from the rest of the newsletter content.
4. Appealing imagery: Use images that are relevant to the content and enhance both the design and the call to action. Include alt text in case the images don’t display in the recipient’s inbox by default.
5. Create a dialogue with customers: Remember that email is not a one-way communication and include options for recipients to contact you and provide feedback.
6. Social sharing: Include links to your social network pages so that email subscribers can easily connect with you in other ways. Also include social sharing options that allow recipients to share your newsletter with their own networks.
7. View email online: This link is best positioned at the very top of your email and should direct recipients to an online version of your email in case of inbox display issues. Check out some additional creative uses for this part of your newsletter that can help drive conversions.
8. Call to action above the fold: Place your main call to action within the top 400 pixels and make it easy to find without the need for scrolling. Experiment using both text and images with your call to action.
9. Valuable, interesting and relevant content: Personalise content so it is relevant to your audience. Only send content that your audience will genuinely be interested in.
10. Separate key messages with colour: Use colour that is consistent with your company branding as a way to break up newsletter content into smaller, more easily scanned sections.
11. Calls to action throughout: Increase the likelihood of recipients taking action when reading your email by including multiple calls to action throughout. For best results, use a mix of text and images as your calls to action and hyperlink them to relevant landing pages where appropriate.
12. Update preferences and unsubscribe: Include links for subscribers to update their profile or unsubscribe and make sure they’re easy to find. Traditionally these links are placed somewhere at the bottom of your email.
So there you have it. Whilst it’s important you experiment to find the ideal email newsletter format for you, hopefully this list provides you with a useful place to start.