How Newsletter Design Can Impact Subscriber Engagement

How Newsletter Design Can Impact Subscriber Engagement

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How Your Newsletter Design Can Impact Subscriber Engagement

What makes a good email newsletter? While there are many possible answers to this question, one thing we can all agree on is that if the newsletter is fulfilling the purpose for which it was intended, then you’re probably on the right track.

For many businesses, a newsletter serves as a tool to promote products and keep themselves top of mind with potential customers. The best way to do this is by making sure the newsletter is engaging and well-designed. If your newsletter design fails to impress, there is a much lower chance that your subscribers will read through it, let alone want to buy from you.

Here are some common newsletter design mistakes that can have an impact on subscriber engagement.

1. Walls of Text

First and foremost, no one wants to open their email and be confronted with a novel. Text-heavy newsletters are very hard to read. At best, subscribers will just do a quick scan of your headers to see if they are interested enough to want to read further, and at worst, they will decide that it’s not even worth the effort.

To put it quite bluntly, there is no point to writing a long, wordy newsletter anyway. The average time subscribers spend reading a newsletter is only 51 seconds, which means that the longer the newsletter, the less it will be read overall.

Newsletter Design Tip:

In order to optimize your email newsletter design to ensure readers are actually taking in your content and not passing over large swathes of text, opt for shorter paragraphs that are interspersed with images to catch readers’ eyes.

In short, increase the scannability of your newsletter to adhere to your subscribers' reading habits.

2. Kaleidoscopic Colors

There’s eye-catching and then there is just plain blinding.

While it’s generally beneficial to use color and images to direct your subscribers to where you want them to go, what you don’t want to do is overstimulate them with too many conflicting colors and general busy-ness. Too many colors on a page will be overpowering and readers should not have to squint in order to properly read your content.

Newsletter Design Tip:

Use color but do so sparingly. A good rule of thumb is to stick with three colors in your email newsletter at the most. Complementary colors are often used to make newsletter sections pop, and make sure your text shows up easily on your chosen background color.

In short, choose a color theme and stick with it. Don’t overdo it.

3. CTA-strophe

As a business, you want to make sure you provide a way for your newsletter subscribers to engage with you and build a relationship you can track and manage. CTAs, or calls to action, are used in communications both as a means of engaging your subscribers as well as helping you to analyze this engagement.

The trick with using CTAs is that by not having one, your newsletter is simply a flyer that your readers will soon forget about; or by having too many, you’re dividing your readers’ attention and forcing them to choose between multiple actions (possibly causing them to avoid making a decision altogether). Either way you are not getting your desired engagement with subscribers.

Newsletter Design Tip:

Decide what is the main action you wish your readers to take after reading your email newsletter and make that action your primary CTA. Make any other action items into secondary CTAs but try to keep them to a minimum.

Your primary CTA should stand out from the rest of your content in the form of an easy-to-read button or link. Any secondary CTAs should be smaller in size so as not to detract from the main action you wish your subscribers to take.

In short, choose one, primary CTA and make it stand out.

4. Generic Vagueness

Our last newsletter design faux-pas takes us back to our newsletter content – arguably the most important part of the newsletter.

The need to appeal to all subscribers within the same email newsletter has caused many businesses to create one version of a newsletter with generic and vague content to send out to all subscribers no matter what they might be individually interested in. This, while seemingly more efficient, actually reduces the amount of engagement from readers who are less likely to interact with any CTAs if they are not being provided with content that is relevant to them.

Newsletter Design Tip:

This is where conditional formatting comes in. By designing your email newsletter on a block-by-block basis separated by content type, you are able to create conditional filters that are used to send the newsletter containing certain sections to subscribers who meet specific criteria (for example, including a section on pet food only in the newsletters of subscribers who you know own pets).

Also, merge tags can go a long way to personalizing email newsletter content to each subscriber, pulling personal information from each subscriber’s contact record and including it in the newsletter.

In short, subscribers are more likely to engage with communications that are tailored to them.

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