Many businesses rely on email newsletters to build customer relationships and keep their companies top of mind with their audiences. A well-executed newsletter is a powerful email tool with multiple benefits, which is why it’s crucial to ensure your newsletter design is visually appealing. If it looks good, readers are more likely to click.
To help you start, we’ve created a list of six design tips to make your email newsletter visually appealing.
1. Create a header
No question, your newsletter needs a header. It’s the equivalent of a magazine, newspaper or website name. It sits at the very top of your newsletter and should include the newsletter title (if you have one), your company name and your logo.
Fortunately, there are online DIY tools to help you with your headers, such as Stencil or Pixlr. With these programs, you don’t need any graphic design experience to create and save graphics to your computer. Just create your header once, and use it again and again.
Here are a couple of examples:
2. Let your logo dictate color scheme
Your newsletter needs a color scheme. Because your logo is part of your header, consider using its colors throughout your email newsletter as font colors, borders or other elements. After all, your logo’s colors should already be the color palette for your entire branding.
3. Stick to standard fonts
When selecting fonts for your newsletter, the top priority is legibility. Stick with basic fonts like Times New Roman, Helvetica or Arial. Refrain from using several different fonts in one newsletter: Too many fonts together gives a cluttered, disorganized look that can easily distract the reader. Pick one or, at the most, two fonts for your entire newsletter — and consider sticking with them for each newsletter you create.
4. Use subheadings
Your newsletter should have several different pieces of content that are broken up by subheadings. It should look a lot like a newspaper. The subheadings should be in one of the clear fonts that you selected. The size of the subheadings should be smaller than what’s used in your header, but larger than the text you use for articles. Here’s an example from a real estate broker’s newsletter to her readership:
5. Stack content
If you’re using a newsletter template through an email service provider like VerticalResponse, you’ll be able to add content easily. For a layout that looks good to readers and scrolls smoothly on mobile devices, stack your content.
Here’s an example from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco:
6. Use pictures
A well-designed email is a good balance of text and images. When a recipient opens your email, images instantly grab his or her attention. By adding a few pictures, you pull in your reader and enhance the effectiveness of your message at the same time.
When you create your next newsletter, add pictures that are easy to snap with your digital camera. For example, take a picture of an employee that you plan to highlight or grab a shot of your newest product to include in the next edition. Here’s an example from San Francisco Bay Area-based The Spanish Table:
Of course, some businesses don’t have a lot of photo-worthy opportunities. An online magazine that sells monthly subscriptions, for example, might not have a lot to take pictures of. If you’re in the same position, use simple graphics, or consider buying stock images from sites like iStock to incorporate into your newsletter.
When you’re creating your next email newsletter, remember that you want it to grab your readers’ attention. A clean, organized layout that makes it easy for the reader to digest your content is the best way to do that. Use these six tips to spruce up your design, increase readability and create an email newsletter that your audience looks forward to receiving.
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Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in January 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.
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