Email newsletters can be a great way to communicate information.We also get a ton of email. Everyday. Here are our top 7 recommendations of things you can fix with your email newsletter so it doesn’t end up unread, unseen, or unsubscribed.
1. Think mobile first.
While some still create email newsletters on desktop, more than half are read on mobile. Mobile email readers also tend to go to those inboxes more. While there’s more a chance they will read it, there’s also more of a chance they will close out of it. Or worse – delete it – if it doesn’t display (aka render) properly.
2. Use no more than three fonts in a single email.
Fonts and font styles play an important role in developing your newsletter’s flow. They allow you to create a hierarchy within the message and highlight key elements. However it’s tempting to have too much of a good thing. We recommend using no more than three in a single email — that includes the header, subheaders, and body text. You can choose one font and use it with different styles (underlines, bold, italics, etc.) or use three totally different ones.
If you’re writing a weekly newsletter it. Can. Get. Dull. We get it. However, all communication should keep the receiver in mind. And when they are sitting there at the coffee shop waiting for their latte and reading over email, they are looking for something quick and easy for their brain to understand. Keeping your font usage to a minimum helps with that.
3. Choose a sans serif font for easier digital reading.
Sans serif fonts are ones like this! They don’t have those little feet, tails or flags on the letters. Arial, Courier and Helvetica are classic sans serif fonts. These types of fonts make it easier for us to understand the information we’re reading on a screen. Easy-to-understand means more likely to be remembered and used in the intended way. Serif fonts, like Times New Roman, are best reserved for printed materials.
4. Making a graphic with words? Check your email marketing provider’s recommended image sizes and aim for readability.
Graphics help get across the message you’re trying to communicate quickly and effectively. Or at least, they have that potential. This is where that whole mobile-first thing is so important. Images with text that look fine on desktop when you are writing them can come across as hard to read on mobile for a variety of reasons. This may not appear to be a problem when you’re creating the email on your desktop, as most images will just adjust automatically and you don’t even notice the text.
If you’re using an email provider like MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc., check their recommended image sizes for their pixel widths and pass that info to your graphics person to keep mobile in mind when those images are being created. A single oversized image can “blow out” your whole email and cause readers to have to pinch-and-zoom to read it and you don’t want that!
5. Include your logo, either in the header or footer (or both).
Think about printed letters for a moment. You put your name at the top as the sender, and again at the bottom as a part of the signature. Same thing applies here. Except now you can include the graphic element of your logo! Sure, they likely saw the name of the send in their inbox, however it’s a great opportunity to strengthen the brand of your organization in their mind. Make every touch point count, and that includes the email newsletter.
6. If you’re email provider offers a preview or test view, USE IT.
Getting to experience what the recipient will see is a HUGE plus of working with an email marketing provider. There are several out there, and MailChimp and Constant Contact are probably the two a lot of organizations use the most because of their free versions. In our experience with MailChimp, taking the time to preview and test has made all the difference. The preview step allows you to see how the email will render on multiple devices so you can check for blown out images, funky line breaks and more.
The test also gives you the added opportunity of having fresh eyes look at the email without having to huddle half the office around your computer monitor. So not only will it improve your chances of catching a typo, but you’ll be able to send the multiple people and view on multiple devices to learn if it comes across weird on someone’s tablet or smartphone when you only saw the desktop preview.
7. Set up a template so you don’t have to recreate your format every week. Your readers will like it too.
Templates save so much time and duplicated effort! Once you get all of this figured out for your email newsletter, you can set everything up within a template and not have to go back and try to remember what you did week after week. Fonts, colors, image placement, the whole thing. Find what best represents your organization, you can focus on the email message and communicating with your audience.
Keeping your audience needs and habits in mind is key for any message. Humans are creatures of habit. We like schedules. We like comfort. We like knowing what’s going on. That extends into email. For email newsletters, you might have a few changes when you first get it started but after a while, you’ll know what typically gets included. Have a consistent order. Have a consistent number of photos. Include those helpful, evergreen links in the same spot. If you use a header, use the same one for a while, and change it up only seasonally or when it makes sense. Not only does this make it easy for the recipient to find what they are looking for, but it makes it easier for you to build it each time! Templates are your friend!
If you need help developing your email program or other questions, give us a shout!
Did we miss anything? Have another tip you’d like to share? Comment below.