Understanding the Anatomy of a Great Email Newsletter
Email newsletters are one of the most popular types of emails that marketers send to their customers.
And for good reason! Done properly, email newsletters are a powerful and cost effective way to promote your business, engage with customers, and generate sales.
But do you know what to include in your email newsletter to get the best results? If not, you could be missing out on valuable clicks and sales.
Read on to learn about the elements that combine to make an effective email newsletter.
Part A. Newsletter Details
For many marketers the ‘From Name’ and ‘Subject Line’ are mere formalities to be considered just before sending their email newsletter. However this is a mistake because it is this information that your customers first see in their inbox. And often, this is all they will see before deciding whether or not to open your email.
So give your email the best chance of being noticed and opened by following the below.
From Name: Choose whatever is going to be most recognized by your customers. This may be your company name, your own name, or even a combination of both. Eg. Zoe at Vision6. Whatever you choose, try to be consistent so that your customers get used to seeing your From Name in their inbox.
Subject Line: Generally speaking, shorter subject lines are best so try to be concise. Most people quickly skim subject lines though so you need to ensure it conveys the value towards opening your email. Plus try to be informative and personal. And don’t be afraid to use a bit of humor now and again.
Part B. Newsletter Elements
Logo and brand: Help readers quickly recognize your brand by placing your logo at the very top of your email.
Navigation: For email newsletters that contain many stories, help readers to quickly sum up the content by including an ‘In this issue’ section. Place it towards the top of your email and include internal links to each of your stories below.
Scannable headings: Ensure the headings in your email newsletter can be quickly scanned by your readers. Use font size, color and padding to ensure headings stand out from the other newsletter content.
Appealing imagery: Always ensure the images in your email newsletter are relevant to the content and enhance both the design and the call to action. Plus remember to include alt text in case the images don’t automatically display in the recipient’s inbox.
Encourage interaction: The best email marketers know that email is not a one-way communication. If you’re doing it right, your readers will want to respond and reach out to you. So make sure it’s easy for them to do so by including ‘Contact us’ and ‘Feedback’ options.
Social media: Similar to the above, make it easy for readers to share your content with their own networks by including social sharing options in your email. Plus remember to include links to your social network pages so that email subscribers can easily connect with you in other ways.
View online: It’s a good idea to include a link to an online version of your email at the very top of your newsletter. This helps readers who may not be able to read your email correctly on their device, by displaying it in their web browser instead.
Prominent call to action: Your call to action is arguably the most important part of your email newsletter. It should be obvious to see and easy to click. It’s ok to repeat your call to action in different parts of your email in both text and image formats.
Engaging content: Only send content that your readers will find genuinely interesting, relevant and valuable. If you’re unsure, simply ask customers what sort of content they want to receive from you. Plus remember to check your email reports to see what content your customers are clicking on most and try to send more of that.
Segment with color: The color of your email newsletter should be consistent with your company branding. Experiment with background colors and borders to break up the different sections of your newsletter content. And remember that white space is your friend when it comes to a more readable newsletter.
Footer links: For compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, you must allow recipients to unsubscribe from your email newsletter. This is easily done by including an unsubscribe link in your email. Most important is to make this link easy to find. It is often placed at the bottom of your email along with an option for readers to update their preferences.
Hopefully this list helps you create an effective email newsletter for your business and I encourage you to test different elements to see what works best for you.
Head of Marketing, North America