Developing an Email Newsletter Design that Converts: 10 Brilliant Techniques
Creating a well-designed email newsletter isn’t everyone’s forté.
According to OptinMonster, 51% of people unsubscribe to newsletters because of their poor design.
Now we don’t mean that you hastily hire a designer to boost conversion rates. What you do need, though, is insider knowledge as to what works and what doesn’t.
In this article, we explore ten fool-proof ways through which you can design stellar email newsletters for maximum conversions. But before, let’s look at some basics.
What are Email Newsletters?
To understand what newsletters are, let’s break the word down into two.
Newsletter = News + Letter
So in layman language, it’s a letter that communicates company news. In our case, it’s a letter sent via email that keeps your audience updated with new product launches, changes in terms, and whatever you deem necessary.
Email newsletters can be promotional, but the main focus should be on providing valuable information to your audience.
And if you’re questioning whether email newsletters are worth it, know that they result in 25 times more conversions than Facebook, according to The Seattle Times.
What Makes a Great Newsletter Design?
To create a well-designed newsletter, you need to know what it looks like.
An excellent newsletter design is not one that looks aesthetically pleasing. But, of course, it should be, but anything you add must have a strategic purpose behind it.
An excellent newsletter design;
Campaign Monitor states that an average person receives 121 emails per day. So if your newsletter is designed poorly, it’ll just get lost in the inbox clutter.
A well-designed email newsletter instantly grabs your audience’s attention and encourages them to continue reading it.
Email newsletters are valuable in nature. But why should you let go of a good marketing opportunity?
With newsletters, your focus should be on sharing valuable content and getting your customers to perform the desired action.
Hence, direct them to a landing page or entice them to share their reviews – you dictate the action to be taken.
As a marketer, you know you’ve reached the heights of success when people talk about your brand in their social circle. With email newsletters, your aim should be the same.
Not only should your audience be looking forward to your following email, but you should make your newsletters the topic of discussion when conversing with their network.
10 Brilliant Techniques for Email Newsletter Design That Converts
Adding a few images doesn’t guarantee a newsletter that converts. Follow the below tried and tested techniques the next time you design an email newsletter.
Don’t Lose focus
New collections each season, national awards, and changes in delivery schedules – there’s so much to tell!
While newsletters are longer than survey or confirmation emails, we suggest sticking to one central idea.
Your goal is to attract and convince your customers, not confuse them with multiple information being thrown at them.
When you are conflicted about what to share, you can’t expect your audience to perform the action you desire.
If there’s a lot to tell, we recommend dividing the newsletter into two or three instead of forcing all the content into one.
Another element that you shouldn’t lose focus on is how frequently you send newsletters.
While the number depends entirely on you, create a schedule and stick to it. And most importantly, share that with your customers.
They would know what to expect and wouldn’t be caught off guard.
Consistent Brand Style
What makes it dubious? An inconsistent brand style.
Your audience is not going to convert if they have reservations about a brand.
Your brand identity is one, and that should reflect in all your marketing communications, including email newsletters.
Now we don’t mean you stick to one design for all your weekly newsletters – the overall branding style should be consistent.
Play around with different colours but ensure to use your brand ones. If your brand style is youthful and quirky, show that through the images and content you include.
Take the example of Nike. All their marketing efforts revolve around solid colours with minimalistic text. The same is true for the email newsletters they send as well.
The following is an excerpt of the email newsletter they sent to announce their flash sale.
When a consistent branding style is created across all marketing channels, people’s willingness to engage increases.
They consider a brand to be credible and become confident to share their time and money with them.
Make Content King
When writing content for newsletters that converts, remember two things; quantity and quality of the text.
Text Quantity: How long or short should an email newsletter be?
Campaign Monitor says that a 200-word newsletter will get you the highest click-through rates. While the latter is accurate, we recommend testing out different content lengths. Stick with the number of words that your audience converts the most on.
Text Quality: Use all the animations you want, but in the end, it will be the quality of text that will convert your audience.
Below are a few tips for writing stellar copy for your email newsletters:
- Use simple words and avoid jargon at all costs. The email newsletter is for your audience, not for your English Literature teacher.
- Break down lengthy sentences. The latter is distracting and challenging to understand.
- The content tone should be synonymous with the aim of your newsletter. For instance, if your motive is to entice a sale, be persuasive in your writing.
- Refrain from frequently cracking jokes or building into stereotypes.
Use Images Strategically
An image speaks a thousand words. But that doesn’t justify you go haywire with adding them.
They should be included only when they have a purpose to fulfil.
With images, your main aim is to lead your audience towards the Call-To-Action (CTA) button and persuade them enough to click on it.
When designing email newsletters, make sure to follow these image best practices. A few of them have been discussed below;
- Use custom-made images whenever possible. Stock images bring with them copyright issues and aren’t made according to your brand style.
- Don’t go overboard with adding pictures. Limit yourself to 4 per email newsletter.
- The colour palette of all images should marry well. You don’t want to use every colour on the wheel.
- Consider colour psychology when adding images. Different colours will provoke different emotions. If you want to convert your audience, using images of high-energy colours, like red and navy blue, is an intelligent choice.
- Don’t forget the file size when going on an image-adding spree. The total size of your email newsletter should be 100kb or less. If you think pictures are too heavy, consider using an image compressor tool.
Stack up the CTAs
How do you convert your audience? Through CTA buttons, of course.
You might’ve heard of including only one CTA in your email. Well, we slightly disagree with that.
Unlike email confirmation or survey emails, newsletters are on the longer side. With every step, you can add a CTA button to convert your subscribers.
Like each email newsletter should have one central message, so should be the CTA. Let’s explain this with the help of an example.
You’ve launched a summer clothing collection and design an email newsletter to announce it. You will place the first (and foremost) CTA on the above-the-follow banner, which will redirect your audience to the collection’s landing page.
The newsletter will then talk about different sections, like summer dresses, tops, and rompers, and there will be a CTA button each to redirect to its relevant landing page.
In a nutshell, you should place one main CTA button, followed by secondary CTA buttons. This strategy will guarantee you maximum conversions.
Consider the example of Handy below;
Create a Responsive Design
Do you know that 81% of people regularly view emails on their mobile devices?
If you’re not designing email newsletters for mobile screens, you’re doing it wrong.
How can you expect to convert customers when newsletters are not designed for the device where they view them the most?
There’s much more to creating a responsive design than you think. For example, the newsletter shouldn’t be long enough for your audience to lose interest; all links must be in the form of buttons, images should fit the screen being used, and text should be of a reasonable size.
Designing a mobile-responsive newsletter is no rocket science. Many online email design tools offer templates that create email newsletters suitable for all screens.
Add Rich Multimedia
To convert your audience, you first need to grab their attention.
Look at your competitor’s email newsletters. Vibrant imagery, persuasive copy – how do you stand out? Through rich multimedia, of course.
The following are our favourite rich multimedia types that will get your readers on your landing page in no time.
1 – GIFs
GIFs are the new emojis. Social media marketers have already gone crazy using them – it’s time you hop on the bandwagon as well.
Imagine explaining complex ideas through a fun and short GIF – your audience would be stoked. According to Brad Zeff, a single GIF is worth 60,000 words.
GIFs are also lighter in size. Hence, ensuring your email newsletters are supported by different email service providers.
2 – Videos
While heavier in size than GIFs, videos are great for sharing large chunks of content.
You should be adding videos to email newsletters when sharing testimonials, showing product functionality, or explaining a corporate social responsibility activity that your company might have initiated.
3 – Gamification
All the extraordinary email marketers are gamefying their newsletters, and if you’re not, then you’re significantly missing out.
Gamification in email newsletters can increase your Return on Investment (ROI) by up to 3 times, as stated by Promodo.
Gamification is anything that encourages your audience to engage with an email virtually. So add a quiz, a word puzzle, or let your readers scratch a card to reveal discount vouchers.
Nobody does this better than Pizza Hut.
Focus on the Layout
The overall layout of the email newsletter you design is crucial for conversions. How so?
If the newsletter layout is chaotic, your audience will be left in a state of confusion.
On the other hand, a clean layout maintains one attraction and persuades them to click on the CTA button.
Here are a few layout best practices you need to follow along;
- Purposely create white space. The latter is more important than you think it is. It gives your reader’s eyes a much-needed break from consuming content and helps to understand the message being communicated honestly.
- The overall text to image ratio should be appropriate. We suggest following the 60/40 rule; 60% textual content and 40% visual content.
- The overall newsletter should be scannable. Different heading levels should be defined, and CTA button(s) should easily stand out.
You can’t witness conversions when your email newsletter doesn’t reach your audience’s inbox folder. According to Statista, 47% of all email is sent to spam.
One reason behind this is the absence of an effective footer.
Well-designed footers not only provide a natural ending to the email but help you comply with anti-spam laws.
What should be included in the footer of your email newsletter? Well, any or all of the following;
- A link to unsubscribe
- Physical address
- Contact information
- Social media handles
- Coupon codes
- Call to action
- Terms and conditions
Test, Test, and Test Some More
What may work for your competing brands may not always work for you.
The truth is that your audience is unique and may respond to your calls to action entirely differently. The solution? Test your email newsletters.
Testing newsletters isn’t challenging. Just follow the below 4-step procedure;
Test one email design element and create two emails (one with the element and one without).
Send the emails to two different audience groups.
Measure which email newsletter performs better.
Stick to your findings and test a new variable again.
You can also directly ask your subscribers what they like and dislike about the newsletters. You can do this through surveys or one-on-one discussions.
The Final Takeaway
The design of an email newsletter is crucial to the conversions it creates.
It doesn’t need to be tricky – follow our ten brilliant techniques to create email newsletters that convert each time.