The newsletter is one of the most commonly used email initiatives by companies to get in touch with their customers. Despite this, a lot of them present some weaknesses. This is a guide that will help you evaluate your own newsletter and bring the necessary corrections.
Anatomy of a newsletter
Pre-Header and Header
The pre-header section is the first one that will be noticed by your recipient. It usually contains a few links allowing a better reading experience, for example, a link to direct your reader to a browser. The header section, on the other hand, should display your brand elements and your company logo, as well as the purpose or type of communication you are sending. It should be simple in order to accommodate users reading your email on a mobile device. Links to your social network pages could also be displayed in that section.
Main and Secondary messages
In a newsletter, the content section will be slightly different from a usual email. In a promotional email, a strong (main) message will be accompanied by a secondary message, but in the case of a newsletter, both the main and secondary messages are merged in a unique content block. Since the newsletter’s vocation is directed towards the content, it is recommended to replace the main and secondary messages by a personalized section followed by a section where a series of article summaries and images can be integrated.
The content section of your newsletter should be reader-friendly and well organized. A horizontal list will help you achieve that. Use images and a summary of your articles that will pique the interest of your readers and get them to read further.
If your email contains images, make sure to insert ALT tags that will allow the content to be displayed without having to be downloaded. Images are more than useful in an email but it is always better to use them sparingly and keep a good ratio with the text in order to avoid being identified as SPAM.
The footer section should contain an unsubscription link that is easily spotted, the address of your company (C-28) and a link to your business website. Links to your corporative social network pages can also be added in this section.
Here at Publipage, we often advise our customers to personalize their communications as well as the standard elements of the footer section, which will serve to create a better connection with their subscribers.
In the end, you have to experiment with each section. Test you pre-header, your content, etc. You don’t have to change everything every time you send an email, but small changes can bring about considerable improvements. When you respect those guidelines, you ensure that your readers receive well-structured emails, thus optimizing your results.
The involvement of mobility
A constantly increasing number of people consult their emails on mobile devices. A new CEFRIO study shows that one out of two homes owns a tablet and the same percentage of people use a smartphone to read their emails. It is therefore becoming essential to provide an appealing user experience on those devices. The solution is not necessarily easy, but these two options are available to you:
1. Create an email that will be identical on every platform, but that will be better suited to mobile devices. It is a simple solution that does not require a vast knowledge of responsive technologies or media queries.
2. Create a new newsletter template that will be able to identify what type of platform it is used on and adapt its size to the screen it will be read on. You will need a good integrator and you will have to perform multiple tests, but they will result in a beautifully displayed newsletter on any platform.
Regardless of the option you choose, it is highly recommended that the mobile version of your newsletter meet these criteria. Some rules can be modified according to the platform that is used. It will be the case for your email’s maximum width or the font size, for example.For more information on responsive technologies, check out this article on our blog : Tips for creating responsive emails.
A few rules of thumb to follow
• Choose a single column layout
A simple, single-column layout will facilitate your email reading. Do not use more than two columns: the number of columns will have a direct impact on how legible your newsletter will be, as it will reduce your text size in portrait mode.
• Opt for large buttons, designed for touch screens
Design calls to action with a touchscreen in mind, which is not as precise as a computer cursor. Instead of inserting hyperlinks in the body of your email, opt for calls to action in the form of buttons with a large and spacious surface, easier for the reader to select.
Apple recommends a button size of 44 x 44 pixels for its mobile devices. A button size of 48 x 48 pixels is recommended for Android operating systems.
• Increase the scale of your functionalities
In a similar vein, consider increasing the scale of all menus and email functionalities in order to facilitate their use from a touch screen.
Should you choose to insert hyperlinks in the text of your email, make sure they are sufficiently spaced out so as to limit the risk of an involuntary selection.
• Adapt your font size
Select a larger font size than the usual 12 pixels to compensate for the size of the screen.
Apple recommends using a font size between 17 and 22 pixels, whereas Google recommends a minimum font size of 18 to 22 pixels.
• Choose a concise email subject
A limited number of characters are displayed from users’ inbox on their mobile phones. Consequently, a concise email subject using few characters will provide your leads with a quick overview of your message.
The key to any email campaign, including newsletters is relevance, There are many ways to be relevant, but when it comes to newsletters, these two factors matter most:
When it comes to newsletters, it is very important that adequate personalization be at the forefront. In the following example, two types of adequate personalization are portrayed. The first one will be the way you address your subscriber: ’’Hello, Alexandre’’. It could have included the name of a company, or the complete name and title of your reader as well, etc. What matters is that your reader knows you are addressing him personally.
The second way of personalizing your emails is related to the issuer of the communication. The image below shows that we have developed an entire section dedicated to the issuer of our newsletter. This section contains a picture, a personal signature as well as contact details. Our newsletter is always sent by a person, Alexandre Sagala, and not Publipage. A reader that has questions will easily be able to contact the issuer directly instead of an ‘’info@’’ or ‘’no-reply@’’ type of email address, all of this in the sole purpose of making your communication more appealing and enjoyable for the subscribers, in a similar manner as a newspaper daily or weekly column. (ex : Foglia)
Content is another way of increasing the relevance of your email campaigns. However, in the case of a newsletter, this step could end up being a little more complex. Usually, every communication email presents a content that is adapted to a certain type of reader. For instance, if I am interested in a specific product or service, I should be getting emails that will keep me informed on those topics. It could become very difficult to produce enough content for every type of subscriber. If your company already produces a lot of content, it will be easier to follow this approach, but otherwise it will be relevant to focus on certain articles that will be sent to everyone.
This overview of the essential elements to consider when improving your newsletter will allow you to develop an efficient communication with your readers. Combined, these elements will ensure that your newsletter is not only read, but also appreciated. I encourage you to test your ideas, because after all, it is your newsletter!
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