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Best Practice

Nail your newsletters with our 10 top tips

17 Sep 2018 by Sadie Burgess



Email has three times the users as Facebook and Twitter combined, and people spend about 13 working hours in their inboxes each week. So whether you are a sole trader, a family-run restaurant, a boutique agency or venture-backed tech start up an email newsletter is a great place to start your email marketing efforts. Newsletters are a cost-effective, reliable way to keep your brand front of mind with your customers and prospects.

 

So where do you start?

 

1.      Set expectations

Be sure everyone knows what to expect as soon as they sign up. Tell them the type of content they’ll get and when they should expect to see your newsletter in their inbox. This kind of transparency sets a good tone and helps to build a good relationship right away.

 

2.      Keep content balanced

A good rule of thumb for newsletter content is 90% educational and 10% promotional. This allows room for a focused call to action but makes sure that the large majority of content is meant to serve the customer first.

 

3.      Don’t overdo it with images

Focus on useful and informative content and use images as support, don’t make your mail reliant on images as many email clients turn images off by default. Also emails that are mainly based on graphics tend to be picked up or even blocked by spam filters.

 

4.      Create subject lines that sizzle

Your subscribers may well be expecting your email newsletter, but to really drive up open rates your need enticing subject lines, “April Newsletter” simply won’t cut the mustard. Short, simple and motivating – easy right?

 

5.      Add a personal touch

Personalisation improves engagement. We automatically connect with our names. And in a cluttered inbox our name could make all the difference. Emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

 

6.      Offer something special

Special offers are a big draw to get people to engage with your newsletter, but it doesn’t have to be promotional. Exclusive content as well as exclusive promotions can draw the interest of your audience.

 

7.      Make your content scannable

Ideally you should have between 3 and 5 articles in each newsletter. More than 5 articles is just too long. Prioritize which articles you want to use and maybe keep some for the next newsletter. Use bulleted lists and boldface help make your articles scannable.

 

8.      Optimise for the preview pane

A large percentage of people only read email in their preview pane. This means that the top 200-300 pixels of your message is what people are going to see first. If all you have there is a large banner image, you won't get as many reads as you might if you include the titles of your articles in that space. Also keep an eye on the width of your newsletter, 600 pixels is best.

 

9.      Design for mobile

With more and more people reading their emails on their mobile devices ensuring that your newsletter is suitable for a smaller screen is an absolute must. Make sure that your buttons are large and easy to click and your content is short and sweet.

 

10.  Be consistent

Decide on a standard number of articles and a standard format for writing articles and stick to it! Always use the same colours and placement of elements within your newsletter. This will help in a number of ways: you'll build "brand identity" with your subscribers, they will find it easier to scan and read your newsletters if things are always in the same place, and you can do more effective analysis of your statistics. Also be consistent with the day and time that you send your mails (once you have tested to find the optimum) so your readers are ready and expecting you.


Email newsletters are a true workhorse of email marketing. A tried and tested way to keep your brand front of mind with your customers and prospects. But with audiences receiving more and more emails everyday making yours standout is of paramount importance.

Tags: newsletter

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