How to Create a Well-Designed Email Newsletter That People Will Actually Read


How many times have you opened an email newsletter only to delete it two seconds later? Or even worse, just delete it without even clicking open — which you’ve done the past 10 times? It happens to all of us. But why? One reason is that the newsletter just isn’t interesting enough to catch your attention. In our overly busy, exceedingly digital lives, we simply don’t have time for cluttered, visually flat emails that don’t immediately pique our interest. stellapop-click-to-tweet

So how do we solve this, you ask? There are many ways to design and write a newsletter that people will pay attention to and keep reading. Here are our top tips to keep your newsletters fresh and appealing.

1. Put your header to work

Your email header is the first thing readers will see — the thing that should grab their attention and entice them to read on. This will be in every single newsletter you send out, so take the time to make it perfect. It should represent your brand, set the tone for the newsletter, and maybe even make a splash. We love how Adobe executes this design must-do.

2. Create some eye candy

Your newsletter must be visually impactful. This can be achieved through use of a vibrant color palette, striking images, animations, and a unique (yet clean and organized) layout. Some of the best designs aim to make powerful pictures or fun animations the focus of the email.

3. Clutter free is the way to be

While we all love some eye candy, you don’t want to overdo it. Remember: Less is the new more. No one wants to go cross-eyed just trying to read a darn email. This means using the elements mentioned in #2, but with some finesse. If you want to use pictures, choose them wisely and don’t create clutter. White space is your friend, and so is concise copy. As much as people don’t want to be overstimulated by an email, they also don’t want to read a thesis.

4. Scanning is caring

Reading every single word of a newsletter? Ain’t nobody got time for that. stellapop-click-to-tweet I mean, you can hope they do, but the reality is that we all love scanning through content to get the gist of it. So make sure your newsletter is organized in a way that allows readers to do a quick scan, but also walk away with the information or call to action you desire. This can mean using strong subheads, strategic colors, and quick descriptions to highlight the most important information.

5. Respect the fold

While your header should stand out, it shouldn’t take up the entire screen. As is the rule of thumb with a newspaper (remember those?), the critical content should be above the “fold.” Or, at least the content you need to entice people to read further and scroll down.

6. Keep your focus

It can be tempting to want to jam a ton of information into an email newsletter. Maybe you have a few blurbs that you feel are critical to shoehorn into your otherwise neat design — but try to resist. Just as we said in #4, you don’t want to overwhelm your readers with too much information.

7. Make mobile your bestie

We’re all glued to our phones. So of course, an overwhelming percentage of emails are opened on a mobile device these days. It’s absolutely essential to design your newsletters with mobile in mind. We’re all about the “mobile-first” approach, where you figure out how you want the content to appear on a device, and then design the desktop version after that. And don’t forget about those tablets — their smaller screen size requires an adjusted design as well. Pro tip: If you hear a designer say the word “responsive” about your website, that means your design responds to any device it’s presented on.

8. Embrace the footer

An email footer is more than just a fine-print section where you try to hide the unsubscribe link. It rounds out your newsletter and should provide the information typically sought after in this area: contact information, social sharing options, and yes, a way to unsubscribe. Don’t try to be tricky and hide that pesky link. It’s bad form and not to mention a doesn’t follow the rules of email. And wouldn’t you rather know that the people receiving your newsletter actually want it?

9. Don’t be a hero

After designing your shiny new e-newsletter, you’re ready to sit back and enjoy all the glory that comes with launching a successful email campaign. But not so fast. What do your readers think? Do they love it as much as you do? Go ahead and find out. Send out a quick survey to see what you’re doing right and what you could do better. And then listen, change, and implement.

Also, remember to have a little fun along the way. If you enjoy your newsletter, I bet your readers will too.

If you’re struggling to make your email newsletter look on-brand and highlight your services in a clear and simple. Reach out to the StellaPop design team today.

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