There’s no doubt newsletters are one of the most important channels to keep an informed audience and engaged users. Back in the days when there were no social networks, email was the biggest way to deliver information, and nowadays, even though people spend most of their time in social networks, email still remains as a source of personal contact that seems to be not going away. We know this because of the personal and private connection people still keep with their inboxes, and when users gives you access to their email address, you know you have the biggest asset you can get: their trust.
In this article, I will dive into the design characteristics of a compelling newsletter and which are its benefits if you use it correctly.
In general, a cool newsletter uses great photography, adequate typography for proper readability, and a structure that involves a header, a container with images and the required footer with important news as the unsubscribe and edit preferences options. Up next will see some graphic examples of characteristics highlighted in beautifully designed newsletters.
The most fascinating newsletters make images prominent, yet not so heavy for them to be a burden when the content loads. Text are usually short and concise, and titles are highlighted in a professional way, not with the use of bright colors, unless the layout requires that.
The unsubscribe link and the preferences update options are visible and easy to find for the users. They have the right to change the way they see your content or stop receiving your newsletter at any time, so if you try to hide these options, they won’t hesitate to mark it as spam.
Users will keep up with a company if it adds social buttons, preferably at the top. In fact, every piece of important information goes on top since it would be the first piece of content a user will see when they open the newsletter, even if they don’t read the whole thing. Email newsletters are just one part of a complete marketing strategy, and great newsletters are a complement of a network of content.
Exceeding 600 px wide is not recommendable since major mail clients are set to be viewed on a standard resolution of 1024 x 768 px, divided vertically, leaving a regular 630 to 800px wide for the main content, so a standard newsletter respects that. This has become sort of irrelevant with the rise of responsiveness, but it’s still worth to have in mind.
Highlighting newsletter’s sharing options is important because every user who shares it will potentially make your list grow. Orange and bright pink tones work great for these kinds of buttons since this color creates enough attention on users to motivate a click but not enough to annoy them.
The text version of newsletters is not an unnecessary and boring part of it. This is important for a specific reason: creating it helps email clients identifying your mail as legitimate, and not some sort of robot sending random mail. This step helps your email avoids being in blacklists due to spam complaints, and also helps readers with low bandwidth access the content you carefully created.
Attractive newsletters are easy to digest and navigate; this involves the use of good lettering, small pieces of text, and short but descriptive titles, besides the use of great images, photography or illustrations to complement the design. All of it comprised within a simple but powerful layout.
Adding contact information becomes relevant for subscribers to recognize whether they’re dealing with a real company /person, or a phony. A general characteristic of spammers is that they don’t use real or any information at all.
Responsive is important, but not the panacea. Some email newsletters work great with 2 or more columns, and they perform correctly in every browser that way. So what’s important is to have in mind your audience needs, and tastes and blend them with your business strategy.
Don’t place a lot of ads; it is ok for you to want to monetize your newsletter, whether it is by sponsored content or by actually selling something, but including a lot of ads or dedicating it only to sell any product will make your followers unsubscribe.
Always.. always ask for permission to users if you want to send them newsletters; there are different way to gather users’ email addresses (via your website contact form, a subscription button in your mobile app or by adding them by yourself to your newsletter list) but don’t forget to ask them if you can send them the newsletter, or at least remind them where you get their address, alongside the unsubscribe and the update preferences links.
And finally, be creative and keep it targeted; it’s the best way to keep an engaged audience.
The benefits of a beautiful newsletter
Content plays a fundamental role in every newsletter, but today’s newsletters can use the capabilities of the different devices in their advantage by adding a great design. Within the benefits of an appealing template can be acquiring an engaged audience due to the quality of the content, make you or your company a leading source of information and knowledge on the field you dominate, also showing people you want to help them selflessly, without asking for something in return.
Creating a newsletter can also help you open another channel for monetization since you would be able to charge different companies to advertise in it or sell their products to a specific audience. It can also drive a large amount of visitor towards your main channel of communication since by being personal and private you can count that people who subscribe to your newsletter really want to hear from you. Adding links to your main channel of communication, as your website, can signify an increment of visitors over time.
In that context, creating beautiful newsletters gives us the possibility to develop our companies beyond our imagination, but remember, the newsletter process is usually a long road which can be very hard to walk by, but still very rewarding if you succeed and persist. So keep sending!