Everything you need to know about email newsletters

The most common type of marketing email – email newsletter, can either be a runaway hit with your customers or yield no return whatsoever. Customers might convert or delete the mail without ever opening it. The success of your newsletter entirely relies on how you design it, it’s relevance, and the timing of it all. 

Email newsletters are a big part of every brand's marketing strategy, so if you haven’t sent one yet, here’s everything you need to know about sending email newsletters.

What is an email newsletter? 

An e-newsletter is an email that is sent to your subscribers regularly to keep them informed about the latest news and updates about your product or brand. Depending on the kind of content you have to share and the frequency in which subscribers expect your newsletters, you can send them on a weekly or monthly basis. 

An email newsletter is a neatly put together piece of content that's created to engage your subscribers and update them with new information. Personalize your newsletters to your subscribers’ behavior, and boost the chance of success.

 

 

A great newsletter example is from everyone’s most loved streaming platform: Netflix. Based on subscribers’ viewing list and preference, Netflix sends personalized recommendations of shows and movies. Through this kind of communication, Netflix ensures its subscribers spend more time on the platform and don’t miss out on an opportunity to binge.

 

 

Another company that sends brilliant email newsletters would be Amazon. They send functional emails, personalized to every buyer. From tailored recommendations based on your past purchases to suggestions based on what others are buying. Amazon's emails are completely based on customer data, which makes them highly likely to be opened or clicked on.  


Why are email newsletters crucial? 

Email newsletters are incredibly important. The most used form of content marketing is via email newsletters as per 81% of B2B marketers.  Newsletters can make or break your content marketing strategy. If done the right way, it could benefit your business in many ways.

A newsletter is a constant source of traffic

Email newsletters are packed with content that is relevant and useful to your subscribers. Instead of assuming that your subscribers will find their way to you, you can use newsletters to redirect their attention. Provide value, generate interest, personalize content, and increase traffic to your website or blog.

Email newsletter generates considerable savings

Brand retention is an essential aspect of brand loyalty, and email newsletters help achieve this. For example, you could create a how-to series and help customers understand your product and its usage better. You could also address questions they might have about your brand in blogs or offer special discounts. By personalizing email newsletters, you improve the conversion rate, thereby boosting your email ROI.

It’s easy to measure a newsletter’s performance 

Every marketing strategy needs to have parameters that help you measure success. With email newsletters, you can easily measure the performance by tracking open rates, click rate, unsubscribe rate, etc. These are important metrics that analyze how your newsletters are performing and help you optimize your newsletters to convert better. If you have a high unsubscribe rate, you need to make sure subscribers don't find your newsletters spammy or irrelevant.

Newsletters are independent of third parties

An email newsletter establishes a direct connection between you and the subscribers, devoid of third parties. There are no other service providers involved in this process who could dilute the messaging of your content. 

Easily linked to other online marketing channels

Promoting your brand is a lot easier when you have newsletters. By adding your blog and social media links to the newsletter, you can bump your followers on these channels.  You might share exclusive discounts or host giveaways on social media; ensure that your subscribers are up-to-date with your newsletter.

Deliver personalized experiences to your customers

By understanding each customer segment's needs, you can cater to their preferences and tailor the content to suit their needs. This gives your newsletters a higher chance of being opened and read. For instance: you can reach a segment of customers who abandoned their carts by giving them a discount to nudge them to make the purchase. By genuinely trying to meet your customers' needs, you show that you care and build long-lasting relationships.

Email newsletter structure

Establishing a structure for your newsletter is crucial for its success. Most newsletters stick to a format, so subscribers are familiar with what to expect. A good newsletter structure has:

Dimensions 

Set the size and dimensions of your newsletter. Using a fixed width for the newsletter will prevent a horizontal scroll and smoother experience. Newsletters can be either long or broad and not both. It makes reading the newsletter a tiresome process. The most preferred width for email newsletters is 550 to 600 pixels.

Template

Decide on a standardized template which reflects your brand identity and color palette. The important thing to keep in mind is that it should be attention-grabbing, without compromising on the newsletter's readability. Keep your design ethos in mind and create a newsletter template that can encourage brand recall.

Header

Create the email header. Most companies follow a standard header for all their newsletters, which fixates on the company logo. The first thing that your readers see is the header, and you want to put out the main message there. 

Body

Every email newsletter serves a purpose - to give weekly or monthly updates to your subscribers. You don't want your newsletter to be cluttered, so keep your design and copy minimal. A general text-to-image ratio to follow would be 6:4. Be bold with your choice of images if that's what will grab your subscriber's attention, but don't use too many. If you have an image-only newsletter, you run the risk of it being filtered as spam. While designing the body of your newsletter, another aspect to keep in mind is to leave sufficient white space. The contrast makes reading much more comfortable and impactful.

CTA

Ensure that every call-to-action button/link be put in a way that stands out. Follow a visual hierarchy; it's easy to guide the attention of the subscriber to the CTA. For example, if your newsletter follows the inverted pyramid style of design, you can easily have the CTA stand out at the bottom of the newsletter. A CTA gives more purpose to your newsletter, so people know what to do. 

Footer

Wrap things up with a footer that links to your social profiles, your company information, and a link to unsubscribe. This allows your subscribers to stay in touch with you and connect with you.

Subject line

Whether someone opens your newsletter or not depends mostly on your subject line. Craft a subject line that captures the value proposition in the newsletter. A short, informative, and witty subject line will almost always get them to open it. 

Here's a ready-to-use template from Freshworks CRM

How to create an effective email newsletter?

Now that you have an idea of what a good newsletter structure should look like, let's discuss three important aspects of an effective newsletter.

 
 
 
DESIGN

Understanding your brand's design ethos and colors is crucial when it comes to designing the newsletter. A newsletter is an extension of your website and must comply with the pre-established standards. The design should be crisp, the content must be in a way that's easy to read and provides value, and most importantly, your newsletter must be mobile responsive. Most people view newsletters on their phones, and therefore it's essential to test the success of the design on mobile devices. 

Apple is an excellent example of a brand that has maintained its minimalist design across its communication. Their font, colors, and design make it easy to brand recall from feet away.

CONTENT

Keep the information on the newsletter engaging and relevant. You could round up your weekly blogs, fast selling products, guides, discounts or sale, news updates of your brand or industry, upcoming events, or even job opportunities in your newsletter. It would be best to research your audience, find out what interests them, and cater to their needs. An excellent way to understand what would work for your customers is through A/B testing. Make versions of your newsletters and send them to different customer groups and analyze what is working and what isn't. By understanding your audience, you can adjust the content and even the language.

 

PERSONALIZATION

If you want your newsletter to be successful, one of the ways to do it is by personalizing it for your subscribers. Transaction rates with personalized newsletters are 6 times higher. Categorize your subscribers based on certain commonalities and create newsletters to suit their tastes. You could either personalize by sending newsletters to specific segments or use behavioral data like Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, etc. does. By personalizing the emails, you send your subscribers content that suits their liking.

Here’s a newsletter from JetBlue informing subscribers of a sale and options of rates from their current location.

TIME OF SENDING

The time that you choose to send your email can define the success of your newsletter. Understanding your audience is imperative during email marketing. Ensure that the emails are sent at appropriate times as per the receiver’s time zone, and not at odd unprofessional times. Experiment with emails to know which segment opens your newsletters more. The best time to send an email newsletter differs for different days of the week, location, and more. 

 
 
ALT TEXT IMAGE

When you use images for your newsletter, include an alternative text for the images as well. Certain email services have blocks that either don't show images or need to be manually enabled. In these cases, having an alternate text describing the image that should be there helps subscribers understand better. For example, if your image said 50-70% sale, and it didn't load for the reader, the alternate text will still ensure that they click on the CTA and check out the sale that you're offering.

Here's an example of how an email looks if Gmail doesn't show images, and you don't put alt-text. 

Freshworks CRM email newsletters

With Freshworks CRM's intuitive drag-and-drop email builder, you can design your own emails within minutes. Decide on your email structure, and drag and drop different components on to your template. You could also choose from hundreds of pre-built email templates, created for efficiency. Just pick a template that fits your requirement, customize it to reflect your brand’s design, optimize it for different platforms, and keep your subscribers happy!

Examples of great email newsletters

Crafting email newsletters is a form of art, which comes with practice. A lot of companies are cracking their email marketing strategies. Apart from the emails mentioned above, here are some examples of newsletters that people want to read.

 
 
Spotify

Personalization is key to a successful email newsletter. Spotify sends its users a curated list of music suggestions based on what they’ve been listening to, or who they’ve been following. Spotify also sends highly personalized annual newsletters that collate a lot of data to show the kind of music users like listening to. They showcase the most listened artists, songs played on repeat, and a lot more.

 
 
Google 

Google also uses user data to personalize emails for different products. YouTube sends you personalized emails, while Google maps summarise your month in the number of cities you have traveled, kilometers you have covered, and updates you on your all-time location history. Google Home users get separate emails with personalized recommendations of what to listen to and what to watch.

 
 
Airbnb

Another great example of personalized newsletters would be of Airbnb. They send recommendations on the basis of users’ search query, historical data, and current location. It pushes people to go out and see places around them.

 
 
Invision

As a brand, Invision sends some excellent email newsletters that are highly relevant to its users. They emphasize creating immediate value for the subscribers with design tips, blog posts, hacks, and more.

 
 
Medium 

As a blog-publishing platform, medium's newsletters are bringing personalized content to their subscribers and have an above-average open and click rate. Their newsletter is minimal id design, but incredibly effective. Medium's subscribers get content from writers and publications that they are following, categories that they enjoy, with recommendations based on previous behavior.

Conclusion

Email newsletters are an integral part of every good marketing strategy and an essential touchpoint to your brand; therefore, it's crucial to ensure you have a unified message across your platforms. A well–designed newsletter has several benefits and can be a powerful tool to drive customer engagement and even sales if used the right way.