The downsized economy has made everyone who’s still working busier than ever. Everyone is asked to “do more with less,” and that includes time and attention. At the same time, email marketing volume continue to grow, with 68% of b2b marketers planning to increase spending on email marketing this year. Effective email newsletters, focused on the needs of readers, remain a powerful tool for communicating with your customers and nurturing sales leads.
This means your email newsletter has only a matter of seconds to either engage the reader or make them hit the “delete” button–or worse, mark it as spam. Here are six best practices for making your email newsletter engaging and reader-friendly, and optimize it for viewing under different recipient email settings. These are illustrated using the popular iMedia Connection newsletter, one of the leading sources of marketing news and guidance. That’s not to say you should copy their template necessarily, just the techniques they use for engagement and readability.
- Keep your masthead or any graphics near the top of the newsletter shallow vertically, so that readers using the preview pane with images turned off don’t see just a blank box. Make sure at least part of your text content is visible without scrolling.
- Use white space on both sides, or at least on the right side of the template, to improve readability and make the newsletter seem less “heavy.” This enhances the appearance of the newsletter whether images are turned on or off, and gives it a blog-like look and feel.
- For each content item, combine a small graphic, compelling headline, and 1-2 sentence summary to entice the reader to click through to your site to read more. Keep the graphic small so that the link and summary are easily readable even with images turned off.
- Incorporate a “share by email” or “forward to a friend” button to encourage readers to pass along your content. Also include a “view this newsletter online” option, with social sharing buttons on the online version, to encourage social sharing of your content. Posting your newsletters online also provides SEO benefits and encourages readers to subscribe.
- Include buttons for your social network accounts in the newsletter to build your following on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social sites.
- Make use of the footer to provide links to supplemental or less important content: upcoming events, popular past articles, additional newsletters you offer, etc.
Utilizing these best practices in your newsletter design helps increase reader engagement with your content and extends the reach of your content.