What gives us the reason to open an email? What arouses our interest? What keeps our attention while reading? Which point is decisive, whether we click on a link and what influences us, whether we build trust in the sender? Creating a newsletter is like putting a puzzle together. All ( newsletter ) parts are put together correctly; the result is a complete, beautiful picture. However, this metaphor also shows how important each part is for the overall picture. In this article, we will show you the ten most important “puzzle pieces” of your newsletter and give you valuable tips on designing each so your mailings will succeed!
Open the email
Before we deal with the actual contents of the newsletter, we first have to convince our recipients to open the email in the first place. It’s not an easy endeavor when you consider how many emails in our mailboxes compete for our attention every day. So, all those factors that we recognize at first glance in our inbox are essential:
The sender of the email, the subject line, and the preheader.
(1) The right sender for your newsletter
The sender of each email is usually highlighted in bold before the subject. This is about trust! The best way to gain the trust of your subscribers is to mention your company name and – ideally – a constant contact person. Depending on the size of your company, this contact person can and may even be fictitious. For example, the project management software “Trello” always sends its newsletters in the name of “Taco von Trello.” Of course, it is always better if the relevant contact person exists and appears again in the newsletter’s footer.
Since 2020, there has also been the option of using the BIMI process to display your company logo as an icon in the inbox. BIMI is an initiative of the world’s three largest mailbox providers, Microsoft, Google, and Oath. Their approach is establishing brand logos as an indicator of trustworthy senders in the email inbox.
(2) A promising subject line
The subject line appears immediately after the sender. This is shown in push messages on laptops and smartphones when you receive a new email. In addition to the sender, this line is the decisive argument whether someone opens your email or not.
The subject line must make you curious – and in a nutshell, you only have 80 characters available. Unfortunately, these 80 characters are not fully displayed on every device, app, or push message. Therefore, we recommend that you get your message across within the first 30-40.
Since the sender already contains your company name, you can confidently do so without mentioning it again in the subject line. Instead, emphasize the added value and benefit your subscribers expect when they open your email. Of course, nobody will open a subject line in the “Newsletter for August 2021” style. But if you arouse interest instead, name the content, and perhaps even formulate a call to action, you will guarantee significantly higher open rates. Working subject lines include commercial classics like “50% Easter discount – only until Friday! Find your favorite shoes now! “Statements like “How you can save a lot of time with Action XY” or even curious questions like “Are you there too?” or “Will you help me?”
(3) A look through the keyhole: the preheader
Often enough, many potentials are wasted in all the considerations: the preheader. The preheader is the extension of the subject line and is displayed at least in desktop versions and some smartphone applications. However, it shows nothing other than the very first line of the newsletter – in most cases, the bland reference to the web version of the email.
So, instead of referring to the web version in the first few words of your email, you can prefix this notice with a short but crisp summary of your newsletter. Since these lines are, in the best case, much smaller than the body text anyway, they are hardly noticeable once the newsletter is open. In the inbox, however, the preheader works wonders. Therefore, you must refrain from repeating the subject line and add further information.
In the example of our best product shoe advertising, the preheader could read: “Chelsea boots and winter boots on sale.” Please note that a maximum of 100 characters are available for this, too; often, not all can be displayed. So be as precise and concise as possible here as well.
Make the content of the newsletter appealing.
Congratulations, you did it! Your subscribers have chosen to open yours amid so many emails! It’s your job to keep them engaged and not lose them again. After all, the smartphone’s “back button” is only a few millimeters away. So to ensure that your recipients stick with it until the end, it takes an attractive template in your corporate design personal salutation engaging teasers, flashy call to action, and easy access to your contact information
(4) An attractive newsletter template in your corporate design
Before your subscribers read even one more word, you will perceive the appearance and structure of your newsletter. Therefore, the readers must recognize your company immediately – because that strengthens the recognition and, thus, the trust in your brand. Good software makes the adjustments very easy: logo, colors, fonts … Once the template has been created, it can easily be saved as a template.
In addition, there are other factors about the design that – if they are observed – will increase the success of your newsletter immensely. These include clarity, aesthetics, functionality, and simplicity. The reader should be able to quickly recognize what content he will find in your newsletter while his gaze is gradually guided to the all-important element – the call to action. It is, therefore, crucial that all elements, such as images, headings, and texts, find enough space and that graphics are chosen in such a way that they attract attention.
(5) The salutation
The salutation is the right point for building a personal relationship with your recipient and standing out from your competition. So, use the technical possibilities and address your recipients by name. Of course, you don’t have to enter each name individually for this. Thanks to Marketing Automation, your software does the job for you and automatically transfers the correct names to the salutation of every email.
Choose the salutation that suits you and your company. For example, do you travel extensively in the B2B area and maintain your business contacts? Then, the salutation by the surname is, of course, the better choice. However, addressing the first name is often better, especially in the B2C area and younger companies.
(6) An engaging teaser
If you are not one of those senders who run a shop and can offer huge discounts without explanation, you now need an exciting teaser. The wording of the teaser is independent of your goal: Regardless of whether you want to advertise a product, link to a post on your corporate blog, or want all newsletter content to be read – you have to convince your readers. As with the subject line, the best way to do this is to arouse their curiosity.
In the teaser, however, you have a little more space available to formulate 3-4 sentences here. So, what is your newsletter about?
Formulate clearly, do not stray, and use strong verbs. In the special case that you refer to your content platform, it is also true that you do not reveal the most exciting results in the teaser.
(7) A noticeable call-to-action
Even if the call-to-action only works with the other puzzle pieces, it still has a special meaning. Because the opening rate alone is not enough. Only the call-to-action brings your subscribers to where you want them – on your website, landing page, shop, or blog.
The call-to-action is usually a button with a clear call to action. At this point, you can be brave! Be clear and concise about what you want your reader to do. It can sound like this, for example:
“Download the white paper for the presentation now!” Get your discount code now!” or “Apply for your test version now without obligation!”
Don’t forget to highlight the call-to-action to match your corporate design!
(8) Easily accessible contact information in the footer
The footer concludes the newsletter. Use this space for your company information, the imprint, data protection information, sources, and, above all, for easy contact. You can also personalize contact persons, branches, or telephone numbers, which should be tailored to the recipient. Also, provide the option for the recipient to update their profile information quickly.
9) The right time to send
What’s the point of the best email at the wrong time? Ideally, your emails will reach the subscribers exactly when they usually check their mailbox and, of course, before twenty others overrun your email. This point is difficult to pinpoint, but there are ways to approach it. For example, B2B emails are more likely to be read during working hours, while B2C emails are more likely to be checked in the evening and on weekends. In addition, countless studies have determined the most suitable day and time for both target groups. We also carried out such a study. In the end, however, you will achieve the highest open rates in the long term if you test different delivery times against each other in an A / B test.
(10) Never No-Reply
We want to give you one last note: Never send your emails as no-reply emails. The subscriber cannot answer no-reply emails and is also marked. In this way, you would suggest to your readers that you don’t care about their feedback. You certainly do not want to give this detrimental impression to business!
Conclusion: the perfect newsletter
Many factors determine the success of your newsletter, and each one can certainly be perfected over time. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting started! Regular email marketing offers countless opportunities to optimize the individual components gradually. On the one hand, the evaluations of the individual mailings and the mentioned A / B tests help. You use this to send the same email to half of your subscribers with a single, changed element. For example, you can determine whether a green or a red call-to-action button generates more conversions than the other. This way, you will piece your puzzle together part by part. Be patient!
Selena is a blogger and a guest contributor for a well-known brand that includes MESHEBLE & IN THE MARKET. In her leisure time, she plays tennis.