We all do it: visit a website of a brand you love, see the "Subscribe to this newsletter" button and think: "Hmm, I’m interested to know what these guys get up to, why not?” But before you know it, you reach a point where your inbox can't survive a minute without receiving 100 newsletters from sites you can’t even remember.


Eventually, you decide to attempt to unsubscribe from the ones you’ve realised you’re not interested in.


From a marketing perspective, this of course makes it increasingly difficult to design a newsletter that won’t fall into the category people frantically try to unsubscribe from. The design and content of your newsletter all depends on your target market and what they’re interested in, but the following ten tips are generally a good starting point when your aim is to create a newsletter that your audience looks forward to:


1. Evaluate


To avoid wasting any time, let’s start at the very beginning. Are you sure an email newsletter is really something your target audience will be interested in? Do you have a product/ service that appeals to an online audience?


2. Make it easy


To get started, do some research on the different platforms available to use to distribute your newsletters. Keep in mind what you want to achieve, who you want to reach and which other elements are important to you when designing the newsletter. Factors to consider when choosing a platform include list management, the customisability of templates, usability and whether you have the option to view analytics. At YDC, we’re big fans of MailChimp – one of the leading email marketing platforms and a very simple tool to use.


3. Know your audience


Before you create your template, nail down exactly who your newsletter will be sent to. The people that will receive your newsletter will have chosen to receive your updates, so make them your top priority. Spend time thinking about what you want to want to share with them, what they’ll be interested in and how you can add value to their inbox.


4. The good old “short and sweet”


When it comes to newsletters, the regular go-to “short and sweet” term really works best – as it does most of the time. As we’ve mentioned, if consumers are already swamped with newsletters from hundreds of brands, companies and organisations – the newsletter itself should be as simple as possible, while still conveying the desired message. Make it catchy and interesting so that people will want to read it when they’re busy scanning through an overfull inbox.


5. Template


Although each newsletter should be as interesting as possible, consistency is still key. Consider your audience, why they would have signed up, how long time they will want to spend reading it and when you’ll send it out – and then design your template. Once you have a basic layout to remind you of what to include, you can tweak it from there for every send out. 


6. Visuals


A well-designed email has a good balance of text and images. You want an email newsletter that grabs readers’ attention and impresses them without having to say too much. Have a clean, organised layout that makes it easy for the reader to digest the content.


7. Stay focused


Whether you’re going for creative or a corporate look to slot in with your brand’s style, your newsletter shouldn’t come across as merely another tool of communication to get exposure. Be original and make sure your newsletter acturately portrays your message and your brand. 


8. Subject line


Just like any heading, a newsletter subject line can be tricky to master. It may sound like the smallest element of your newsletter strategy, but those 20-25 characters are the biggest thing standing between your message and the subscriber. Dedicate some time to crafting the copy and get as close as possible to finding a balance between consistency, clarity and making it personal. In general – don’t be too ‘spammy’ with words like “free”, “reminder” or “shop now”. Lastly, don’t scream at the reader – capitals are rarely a good way to grab someone’s attention. 


9. Let it go 


This may seem counter-intuitive, but when the main purpose is to maintain an engaged, active subscriber list, you have to be prepared to let some people go. Keep the “unsubscribe” option visible and don’t hide it behind some weird sentence to make sure your newsletter isn’t marked as spam before it even hits their inbox. 


10. Test and amend before you send 


So now that we’ve listed nine things to make sure you’re getting your newsletter right, let’s not forget that sometimes things still go wrong. Whether it’s technical delivery, visual aspects or the wording, put yourself in the subscriber’s shoes by sending a test to yourself and a colleague before you push that daunting ‘send’ button. There are few things worse that the panic attack you get after sending a newsletter to thousands of subscribers and then noticing a typo. 


Although we’re still trying to find even better ways to design and send out newsletters for our clients, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way. So if you think a newsletter might be a tool that can benefit your company and you need our help, get in touch.


If you have other tips for sending a successful email newsletter please feel free to share them with us in the comments.


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