3 Important Elements of Your Email Newsletter

The web is inundated with information. It’s said that there is more information published every hour than a human being could hope to consume in an entire lifetime. Digital-savvy audiences expect to be guided through this chaos of content in an engaging way. Email marketing newsletters have a huge part to play in this, as they (should) offer the to-the-point content about your brand or product, that subscribers require.

A study by Salesforce corroborates this – validating that 95% of recipients who opt-in to receive emails from companies find the messages somewhat or very useful. Ultimately, email marketing is about trust. By signing up to your database, customers or prospects trust your business to deliver desirable, useful and digestible content straight to their inbox. Thus minimising their need to trudge through masses of information that you may be broadcasting elsewhere.

The reputation of email marketing has suffered in the past, with many discrediting the strategy as intrusive. But, with online providers and email clients finding new ways to filter out unwanted messages, people generally feel more in control of their inboxes. In fact, 66% of companies now view email newsletters as a main form of correspondence with their target audience – and fundamentally, a core business driver. Email marketing newsletters have been, and continue to be, one of the most important ways to communicate with your customers and prospects. However, when your competing with a multitude of other brands that are vying for covetable space in the inbox, it’s vital to take certain measures to ensure that your message isn’t being overlooked.

66% of companies view email newsletters as a main form of correspondence

What is it that you want to achieve with your newsletter? Whilst they can be multifunctional, be sure to outline both long-term objectives of the campaign, as well as short-term objectives for each and every message that you send out, depending on your industry, company goals and even the time of year.

From strategic subject lines to optimised broadcast times, getting the formulae right for a successful email newsletter isn’t an easy task. There are many elements that must be mastered and could be the difference between a click to open, click to purchase or click to trash.

Short and Sweet

When we talk about introductions, many refer to the main body of text within the email. But this shouldn’t be limited to the paragraph at the top of the email. Your open rates are dependent on a snippet of content that displays before an email is even clicked on – the subject line. View the subject line as the first step in communicating your message – or prompting the recipient to want to read your message. A study by Radicati found that in 2015, the number of consumer emails sent and received per day is 93.1. With people having to sift through and organise that many message, it’s easy for those that don’t stand out to get lost in the pile. Thus your value proposition must be clear in your subject line. Having an enticing opener is vital, as not only does this govern whether your email will be read and your content seen, it’s also an important branding opportunity.

We’ve deconstructed some methods in our past blog posts that we recommend adding to your email marketing efforts. But as a rule of thumb follow the three S’s and keep your subject line and email intros short, simple and specific.

Newsletter Hotspots

Nielsen highlighted the importance of grabbing attention quickly – 51 seconds to be exact – when they released their findings after tracking reader’s eye movements over emails. As well as tackling a limited timeframe to engage subscribers initially, only 19% of newsletters are read fully. Meaning? Email layout and how scannable your content is, is pivotal.

The majority of recipients will skim read your information, so making the elements that most help you to achieve your objectives stand out is key. Fortunately, data from Nielsen’s eye-tracking heat map confirms that people are predictable in their browsing habits, absorbing content in an F shape pattern. Utilise such insights to inform the positioning of specific email elements – images, your call-to-action, the area of business that requires most support, for example.

Users spend 69% of their time viewing the left side of a page online

You can dub these areas as ‘hotspots’ – the prime real estate of your email newsletter. The evidence is overwhelming for strategic positioning – users spend 69% of their time viewing the left side of a page online, compared to just 30% on the right. Further to this, the vertical pattern that completes the F shape is a product of search engines such as Google, who have successfully trained people to look at query results in a list format. Heat map analysis has changed the email marketing landscape – thankfully, instead of playing guessing games, you can now make informed decisions that influence where your important information, links and images are placed – so that they get the attention that they require.

Your Creative

Don’t squander the impact of your visual impression. A study by Ciceron found that a shocking 83% of brands fail to impress new subscribers. With your email being a direct extension of your brand, the design needs to represent your business from the off. Utilise templates, images and text in an impactful and unified way that is in line with your established brand guidelines. This will alert your subscribers that the email is from a company that they have opted-in to receive emails from. Your email newsletters should be made as easy as possible for recipients to manoeuvre through – whether it’s sharing with a friend, directing them to your website or just clicking for more information. Your call-to-action acts is a clear signal of the next steps that you want recipients to take. Without a clear and compelling call to action, users may be left unsure what to do next – risking their exit from the email without further interaction. Ultimately, your content dictates user engagement and must logically guide them through the email in a way that fundamentally, achieves your objectives.

Email newsletters entice prospective customers, build existing relationships and help to develop your brand equity. Remember – your audience wants to hear from you and 90% would prefer to do that through emails than social media. The key takeaway – every element must have a purpose! It’s also paramount that your emails facilitate scanning – so keep this in mind and try to gauge how you can perhaps achieve more with less.

Mark Warman - Founder & Digital Consultant Administrator

With a background in design, technology and user experience, I help businesses adapt. Adapt to the changing needs and expectations of their digital audiences.