How to Make Your Newsletter a Success

Running a successful company newsletter takes a lot of hard work, and there are many ways in which you can go wrong. People are becoming more internet-savvy, and have become wary of giving their email addresses out, especially if they think they might get spammed.

Whether you're starting your first company newsletter, or looking for ways to improve your current one, these tips will help you navigate the minefield and build a successful newsletter.


Growing Subscriber Lists

The best way to build a successful newsletter is to start with a great database of interested contacts. Apart from importing an existing list, you can create subscription forms that make it easy for people to sign up to receive your newsletters.

Decide which information you want to collect from your subscribers when they sign up to your newsletter. Everlytic allows you to collect basic information, like names and email addresses by default. You can also use custom fields to collect company-specific data, like account numbers.

Create a Subscription Form

To start creating your subscription form, navigate to Contact Admin > Subscription Forms, and then click New.

SubscriptionFormSteps

Make sure you don't put too many fields into your subscription form. Just ask for the basics up front, you can ask subscribers to fill out their profiles at a later date, and collect all the extra data you need when they do.

Once you have created your subscription form, you need to publish it in all the places you want to find subscribers.

Sharing Your Subscription Form

You will find various links and code snippets in the summary step of form creation which allow you to share your form wherever you need to.

  • Hosted: Share the link on your website, or any social media site, or use it as part of message personalisation.
  • iFrame: Copy and paste the code to create an iFrame on your site.
  • HTML:  Copy and paste the code into your website.
  • Javascript: Copy and paste the code into your site.

Set Expectations

Make sure you tell your subscribers what to expect when they sign up for your newsletter. Will you be sending daily curated news, or monthly letters from your CEO? Whatever the content and frequency of your email, it's important that you let your readers know what to expect.

Make sure this information is in the subscription form, so that potential subscribers can decide upfront if they are interested or not.

Welcome New Subscribers

First things first, send all new subscribers a welcome mail. Remind them of how they joined your list, and what they can expect from you.

A welcome mail is a great opportunity to ask readers to complete their profiles, and perhaps offer them a special deal if you can.

Create a Welcome Campaign

You can use Everlytic's Drip Campaign feature to send a single welcome mail, or create a more in-depth welcome campaign. To get stated, navigate to Campaigns > Drip Campaigns, and click Create Campaign.

DripCampaign

Once you have created your drip campaign, it will automatically be sent to new subscribers. It's a good idea to review your drip campaigns regularly to make sure they are current and relevant.

Consistent Branding

Every newsletter you send is an extension of your brand, as such, you should always design your newsletters to match your corporate brand.

Branding your emails in Everlytic is simple, and we offer a variety of methods to help you keep your brand consistent.

Email Branding

You can apply branding to your emails during composition, or by uploading an HTML template.

Uploading a template is the most effective long-term solution, because it allows you to send an email that looks exactly the way you want it to.

To upload a template, navigate to Email > Templates, and click New. Set the template properties and then paste the HTML into the WYSIWYG editor on the HTML tab. You can also import the HTML from a URL if you have this available.

Once you have created your template, you can select it from the template selection step of message composition.

EmailTemplate

Custom Pages

You can also apply branding to custom pages. These are landing pages your subscribers will see when they are redirected by subscribing, unsubscribing, among others.

You can set the colours and logo used on these custom pages by navigating to Settings > Branding & Customisation.

Email Design

Your newsletter will find your readers wherever they are, at work, at home, or in a queue at the bank. Because of this, it is unlikely that you will have your reader's undivided attention. Make sure that you design your email to be highly scannable, and take advantage of design elements that help you communicate quickly and easily.

Design ElementDetails
'From' name and addressAllows the reader to quickly identify that the email comes from you.
Personalised 'To' fieldUsing the subscriber's name is a personalised touch that can improve engagement.
Subject lineYour subject line should be informative, short and non-spammy.
Snippet TextUse snippet text to build on the subject line and communicate more information about the contents of your email.
Preview paneIf your preview pane looks good, it’ll entice your readers to open your email.
Unsubscribe linkMake the unsubscribe link easy to find and use.
Link to online versionProvide a link to an online HTML version of your newsletter so contacts can read your email and share the link with their family and friends.
Pre-headerA single line of text, which appears above the header image. It is a valuable tool for increasing open and click-through rates.
FooterGive contacts the information they need to interact with you, manage their preferences or opt-out of communications.
Design in an F-patternPeople read email and websites extremely quickly, and in an F-shaped pattern.
Email width and lengthLimit your email to 600px wide so that it’ll display properly in most email clients.
Text-to-image ratioThe image-to-text ratio is a big spam trap, in general, a 60/40 text to image ratio is recommended.
Call-to-ActionYour CTA should be obvious - make it stand out from the rest of your content so that readers can immediately see it. Make sure it looks like a button.
ImagesThere are many guidelines for images in email. Basically, keep them small, and remember the 60:40 ratio.
Web-safe fontsWeb-safe fonts are fonts likely to be present on a wide range of computer systems without the user having to download and install them.
Optimise for mobile emailMobile email requires specific design elements, please see our guide to best practices in email design for details.
Anti-Spam lawsMake sure you are familiar with your local spam laws, and the spam laws in the countries your readers live in.
We have a comprehensive guide on email design best practices if you'd like to learn more about designing emails.

Send Relevant Content

The best way you can build successful newsletters is to send interesting content to your subscribers. Everlytic allows you to create separate lists for different interests, and you can also segment a single list and send to smaller portions of the list.

You can start your segmentation from the time your readers subscribe. Subscription forms can be linked to multiple lists, and your readers can choose which lists they want to receive newsletters from.

Subscription form showing all linked lists.

 

Effectively segmenting your lists will allow you to target your readers with the most relevant information for them. You can segment your lists by interest, region, or any other criteria you need to.

Set Up a Publishing Calendar

Schedule Your Newsletter

It takes commitment and determination to build a successful newsletter. It's important that you send your newsletter on a regular basis. If you send too often you run the risk of being reported as spam, and if you leave it too long between emails, your readers may forget why they signed up.

Edit

Make sure you build in time to edit your newsletter thoroughly. You don't want to be in a rush and send out an error-filled newsletter. Poor grammar and spelling can reflect poorly on your organisation, making you seen unprofessional.

Test Your Newsletter

Your readers will be accessing your newsletter on a variety of different devices, with different email clients. You should test your email thoroughly in as many different email clients as possible to make sure it looks good in all of them.

You can set up a variety of email accounts on different devices, add them to a test list, and check what your email will look like in each one.

Everlytic has built-in testing tools which analyse your email for design conflicts, and show you exactly what elements will not display properly in different email clients.

During email composition, you will see a Test button from step 3 onwards. Click Test > Compatibility to see the email client compatibility results. On the left side of the report is a list of email clients. If your newsletter has any conflicts with a client, it will be marked with an orange exclamation mark. Click the name of the client and you will see details of all conflicts on the right side of the preview.

EmailTest

Design for Mobile

Mobile email is big. Really, really big. You have to design your emails with mobile in mind.

Mobile email will account for 15 to 70% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type. eMailmonday– “the Ultimate mobile email stats” (2015)

Here are a few design elements to consider for mobile email:

ElementDetails
Enlarge fontsSet body copy to 14px and headings to 22px minimum.
Use the right scaleTry to limit your emails to 320 - 550 px wide.
Call-to-ActionYour CTA must be prominent and easy to tap.
Simplify your designKeep the design simple so you don't clutter the smaller screen size.
ImagesMost mobile clients block images in email, make sure your newsletter looks good without pictures too.
Be conciseGet your message across quickly and clearly.
LayoutSingle-column layouts are more mobile friendly than multiple-column designs.
LinksYou need to clearly show that links and buttons are clickable.
Fat fingersFingers are big, make your mobile email easier to read by using bigger buttons, fonts, and increase line spacing.
ErgonomicsOptimise your design for single-handed use.
We have a detailed guide on deigning responsive emails, if you are interested in more information on this topic.

SPAM

If you don't want to have your emails marked as spam, don't send unsolicited emails. Here are a few things you can do to reduce your chances of being marked as spam:

  • If someone gives you an e-mail address at your web site, when you use it, mention where and when and from what host or address you got it.
  • Validate your data as thoroughly as possible; especially e-mail addresses that you receive through anonymous media like the web.
  • Do not buy lists of email addresses.
Please read our comprehensive spam guide if you want to find out more about email spam.

Everlytic has a built-in spam testing tool which will evaluate your email against common spam red-flags, give you a spam score. The lower your spam score, the better. During email composition, click Test > Spam Score to see your email's score.

Track Your Stats

Creating and publishing an email newsletter takes a lot of time and hard work. You should follow up that hard work by watching your stats to see what kind of content your readers prefer. You can use campaign statistics to improve your newsletter.

Everlytic's suite of reports gives you detailed insight into your reader's interaction with your email. There are three statistics you should pay particular attention to:

  1. Opens: Shows how many readers have opened your email. You want readers opening your mails. This is a small victory.
  2. Clicks: Even better than a simple open, these readers have clicked a link in your email.
  3. Unsubscribes: These readers have decided to unsubscribe from your newsletter for some reason. Review your content and do better next time.
Please read our articles on our email reports for full details of the stats reports we offer.
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