How to create email newsletters that don’t suck – part 2

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Keep design and copy minimal.

Like I said before, a newsletter can easily feel cluttered because of its nature. The trick for email marketers to make a successful email newsletter look uncluttered revolves around two things: concise copy and enough white space in the design.

Concise copy is key because you don’t actually want to have your subscribers hang out and read your email all day.

You want to send them elsewhere — your website or blog, for instance — to actually consume the whole piece of content. Concise copy gives your subscribers a taste of your content — just enough that they want to click and learn more.

White space is key in email newsletters because it helps visually alleviate the cluttered feel, and on mobile, makes it much easier for people to click the right link.

Make sure images have alt text.

Given that visual content is incredibly important to the rest of your marketing activities, it’d make sense that you’d want to include them in your emails … right?

Right. But email’s a little bit trickier. Most of the time, people won’t have images enabled, so you’ve got to make sure your images have one essential component: alt text.

Alt text is the alternative text that appears when images aren’t loaded in an email.

This is especially important if your CTAs are images — you want to make sure people are clicking even without the image enabled.

Make it easy for people to unsubscribe.

This seems a little counter-intuitive, but it’s key if you want to maintain an active, engaged subscriber list.

Don’t use weird language like “Alter your communication with us.”

Don’t hide an unsubscribe button behind an image without alt text. Besides keeping your list healthy, having a clear unsubscribe process will help ensure your email isn’t marked SPAM before it hits the rest of your list’s inbox.

Test, test, test.

I know I just listed out a whole bunch of “best practices” to make sure you’re doing email newsletters right, but you’ve also got to find out what works for your company and your list.

Just like different cultures of people prefer different things, different groups of email subscribers prefer different things.

So use these email newsletter best practices as a jumping off point … and then experiment to find your secret sauce.

Run an A/B test on subject lines. Change up your CTA copy. Heck, even try not including images. The world is your oyster for your email newsletter, so find out what it likes.

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