Email newsletters are becoming an increasingly important part of an organization’s branding. If you haven’t already started one, now is a good time to start making an email newsletter available for your subscribers.
Ready to proceed? OK. Let’s do a little design work on your email newsletter…after we talk about creating content.
First, what is your primary goal?
If you said “To make sure that my newsletter is reader friendly,” you’re ahead of the crowd. You want your newsletter to be filled with great content in an effective layout so that its delivery is anticipated with great excitement.
So what does it take to be “reader friendly?” Here are my tips:
- Short and sweet. Email newsletters…like all emails…should be designed for the reader to “grab and go.” Headlines with minimal words, short article descriptions, and links to detail and other relevant material.
- Entertaining and relevant. B-o-r-i-n-g is dead! Personalize your newsletter to your subscriber niche. Give them information that is essential and compelling…to them.
- Eye easy. When the layout and design make it easy to read, it will be much more enjoyable.
- Expected. Send newsletters on the same day, at approximately the same time, on a schedule that’s described on your website, and in the welcome email to new subscribers.
Now, we’re ready to talk a little bit about design. What you want is a simple, pleasant layout with just enough graphic or image work to attract attention to the content.
There are plenty of professional email newsletter templates to work with. Take your time to find one that fits who your audience is…and who you are. While you could create your own template, professional templates are designed and tested by … well…professionals. They have proven their ability to help make their clients successful, and designed to attract readers…your readers.
Now, what’s better for you…HTML, plain text, or PDF? While there are pros and cons to all, HTML is becoming increasingly popular…for good reason. The templates are easier to work with than PDF, and HTML looks more professional than text.
Like all email messages, make sure your newsletter, in whatever format you choose, is well tested for compatibility across servers and ISP’s. The greatest newsletter that can’t be read is an even bigger disappointment than not getting a newsletter you’re expecting.
Now, a few words on layout. Most email newsletters work well with two unequal columns. Why unequal? So you can include content with varying degrees of importance.
Use your narrow column for links to:
- Upcoming events
- An offer in your main column
- Affiliate or sponsors
- Contact Information
- Short Headlines
- Table of Contents
Generally, your narrow column will be on the right hand side, and your wider column, which contains your most important content, will be on the left. Good relevant content, easy relevant links, a few relevant graphics and imagines to support the content…that’s about it.
Now that you’ve got the relevant basics, (you picked up on the relevancy point, right?) it’s time to get started. What’s Rule #1? Oh, yeah…to make sure your newsletter is reader friendly.
Go get ’em, Tiger. Oops..scratch that…not such a good headline right now.