While the general content of your email newsletters will change, there are elements that should be built into the newsletter template design so that they automatically appear in every issue. These will help offer instant recognition, build brand awareness, encourage clicks and viral activity, gain new subscribers and fulfil legal requirements.
- Looks good in a preview pane – Assume the preview pane is turned on in the recipient’s inbox and use those top few inches of space in your design to encourage them to open and click. Along with streamlined branding for instant recognition and brand awareness, have a space dedicated to highlighting the WIIFM (“whats in it for me’) in this issue. This can be achieved by a table of contents or a letter from the editor, or a sentence that highlights and links to articles.
- Renders well with images on or off – Never use one big image, but don’t stop using images. Instead build a design that holds up and gets your message across without images. Content and calls to action should not be dependent on images. Do include graphics and pictures when they enhance your story, people do turn on images when they’re interested. Describe the image in written content.
- Gives tools for sharing – Remind people they are welcome to forward (or share) the email. Also, give readers the tools to share your newsletter in their social networks of choice.
- Includes contact points – In the UK & IE, Limited companies must include company details and physical address. This is a good idea anyway – embed your company details, including physical address and contact points into the design.
- Features an opt-in form – If you are looking to increase the size of the database, don’t neglect this crucial element in your email so new readers can sign up!
- Includes a link to your website – Have a general home page link prominently featured for readers who use the reminder of your email to jump straight to your website.