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Email Marketing - How to Do It Right?

1 January 2011
Meirav Barsadeh

Email marketing, also known as an email newsletter, is a type of email sent out by companies or individuals to a subscriber list (existing or potential customers) that contains valuable content (guides, blog posts, news, products reviews, personal recommendations, tips, announcements and other resources). Users sign up for newsletters hoping to be informed about things that they would not otherwise be able to find out about. Email marketing is still a robust strategy for any business, whether you’re looking to communicate internally, or externally. However, just like any other marketing tools for engagement, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking the right steps to engage your audience if you want your company newsletter to work for you.Planning and creation of an email newsletter vary among different scenarios, industries, and use cases - there are still some elements and best practices that you can incorporate in an email newsletter:


Content of Newsletter

  1.  From Name - This is usually the company name; it identifies the sender in the recipient's inbox.

  2. Subject line - The subject line is the first thing subscribers will see: Name of the e-newsletter; Date - to see if the communication is up to date.

  3. Headline - Most readers will scan the headlines in a newsletter first and will only read or click if they see something that intrigues them.

  4.  Call to Action - To encourage interaction with an e-newsletter, the content should ask the reader to act - whether it’s something as specific as - “Sign up for a Newsletter” or as general as: “Tell us what you think”; “Watch the video”; “Find out more”.

  5.  Interactivity - Invite readers to send feedback or questions. Provide an e-mail address where they can send feedback, questions, and suggestions. Invite readers to share the e-newsletter with friends

  6. Archive back issues - Potential subscribers can preview archived newsletters before choosing to subscribe.

  7.  Engagement and Feedback - Direct responses from subscribers, such as reactions to content, suggestions for content, questions about the e-newsletter, etc.

  8. Footer - Follow CAN-SPAM rules. Include an unsubscribe link, contact address, and permission reminder in the footer of each newsletter.

  9.  How Often to send Emails? - One of the easiest options is always to send them out Tuesday at 10 a.m - weekly or monthly. That will let subscribers know when to expect the message so they can be on the lookout for it.

Newsletter Design - Look and Feel

The following recommendations will help to create an email newsletter that is attractive, easy to read, and able to display properly across a variety of email programs:

  1.  Try and keep a similar format, as users come to expect the same look and feel over time. 

  2. A clear structure ensures that subscribers understand the content and core message(s) immediately. Insert the company logo in the upper section so that the readers immediately associate the newsletter to you. 

  3. Add images to attract the reader's’ attention, followed by a brief text and a clear calls-to-action.

  4. Making It Easy to Read and Understand.

  5. Make Layout visually engaging, the email newsletter should use images to support the content, but not overuse them. Try to limit the number of fonts to two.

  6. Make it visually balanced. If a column is narrow, content in that section should be brief, so that the reader doesn't have to contend with reading a long, skinny paragraph. Columns and content articles should be attractively aligned, but still flexible.

  7. Include a footer in design. This will enable visually define the bottom or end of the email newsletter. 

  8.  Ideal width is between 500 – 680 px. 

  9. Make each section easy to distinguish and understand. This can be done by designing standard section labels, including dividing lines/rules or borders and defining column widths. 

  10. White Space - White space is the blank area around the paragraphs, images, and call to action buttons. Adding white space around the elements helping focus the reader’s attention on them at the right time.

  11.  Allow the email newsletter to be accessible to all readers, including color-blind or visually impaired readers who use a screen reader that reads aloud all the text in the email newsletter. Additionally, include “alt” text in the code that describes graphics and photos. 

  12.  Have links open Web pages in a separate browser window. That prevents readers who read their email on the Web from being sent out of their email inbox to another Web page and having to use the Back button to return to the e-newsletter.

Follow these tips, and you will be on your way to engage with your audience and increase awareness of your company and its products and services!

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