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5 Tips for Developing a Better Newsletter Format

If you are like the average person in a typical office job, then you likely receive over 120 emails per day.  Some, obviously, are more important than others. Some may be work-related while some may not. As an email marketer, you need to figure out how to make your email stand out among the 120 or so other emails that someone will see during the day.

Creating a great newsletter format is a little bit art and creativity with some science and psychology mixed in as well. You want your email newsletter to look great but, most importantly, you want results.

Here are some methods you can put to work when designing your next email newsletter campaign to ensure your newsletter stands out from the rest.

1. Keep it clean and simple

One of the big dangers of creating an email newsletter is including too much info in the email. In most cases, shorter emails are better. No one likes to open an email and be hit with a wall of text.

But short and simple doesn’t necessarily mean quick and easy! Reading a short email might save time but writing a short email is an art form. How do you get across important information with fewer words?

There is a reason that good copywriters are paid well for what they do. Creating a message that grabs someone’s attention and gets them to click through to your website is not a simple task.

When you’re writing an email, you need to think more like Don Draper in Mad Men and less like Grandma writing the annual family Christmas letter.

2. Split test your email campaigns

Which combination of copy and images do your potential customers respond most to? There’s no way to know for sure unless you do split testing.

Split testing, also known as A/B testing, sends different emails from the same campaign to users. One group will receive “Email A” while another group will receive “Email B.” By monitoring statistics like how many users clicked through to the website and made a purchase, you can see which email is more effective.

Over time, you can begin to see which phrases, images, and combination of words seem to get the best response. If copywriting is the art portion of the email campaign, split testing is the science portion.

3. Use images to your advantage

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the research shows us that there is definitely some truth to that statement! People respond very strongly to images rather than just written word.

Social media companies understand this human behavior. In fact, Facebook posts with photos get 39% more interaction than text-only posts. Think about your own preferences when browsing social media or websites: would you rather see a beautiful photo or just a long block of text?

You can use this same strategy when working to create a better newsletter format. Use photos that tell the story of your business and capture the attention of your email subscribers. Keep the text to a minimum and let the photos do the talking.

The example below from Artifact Uprising is a great example of using images to grab attention. The newsletter uses large photos to lead the reader’s eye down the page and adds a small amount of text for context when needed. You don’t want customers sitting and reading your email for 10 minutes. You want them to get excited, click through to your website, and then spend their time browsing there.

4. Highlight the most relevant points

When you’re sending out a newsletter you probably have a lot of content to cover.

If you are regularly blogging or posting updates then you could have dozens of new pieces of content that have been released since the last newsletter. Resist the urge to share them all in one email.

Instead, offer up the absolute most relevant points of what you want to say. What are the highlights, the most interesting pieces, or the essential pieces for your subscribers?

If you want to share pieces of content in your newsletter then it should look like a highlight reel of your greatest hits—not a log of every post you’ve 

Don’t overcomplicate things, either. Provide a header, a short intro, and a link. Grab the reader’s attention and convince them to take action by clicking through to your website. While this newsletter format may have some more words than other styles, you still want to be mindful of avoiding that dreaded wall of text.

5. Make it bright and beautiful

As mentioned, most people get a lot of emails throughout the day. How many of those emails are black text on a white background? They probably make up a substantial majority for most people. To build a better newsletter format, you need to be different.

Using color and shapes in lieu of black and white is a great way to immediately capture someone’s attention. People have natural responses to color, or the lack thereof. You can use this to your advantage when creating an email marketing campaign.

Don’t be afraid to include color, images, and shapes to appeal to people’s most natural emotions and responses.

Build a better newsletter format today

Are you feeling inspired and ready to create? With Emma, you to build a newsletter that will capture the attention of your subscribers and convince them to visit your website, try your new product, or take advantage of your latest offer.