Email newsletters provide a great opportunity for brands and publishers to generate sales, strengthen customer relationships and drive revenues through advertising placements. This versatility is a big reason why newsletters are generally considered one of marketing’s most effective channels. According to a recent eMarketer article, email delivers a median ROI of 122% — far greater than that of social media, direct mail or paid search.
But for all that email newsletters can accomplish, they simply aren’t going to work if they’re not designed to be engaging and user-friendly. After all, a reader will never see your product offer if they’re immediately chased away by obtrusive ads or a poor mobile experience.
We asked three email marketing influencers to tell us about the tactics they use to maximize performance and keep readers engaged. Here are the best email newsletter tips they gave us:
1. Implement a Mobile-Friendly, Responsive Design
With today’s consumers using more devices than ever, marketers need to deliver a quality experience across desktop, tablet, and smartphone environments.
With that in mind, InboxArmy president of operations Chris Donald recommends creating a responsive design template with CSS3 media queries. This setup will automatically reformat your newsletter to fit the user’s device, boosting your engagement in the process. After all, responsive emails drive a 21% higher click-to-open rate than non-responsive ones.
If you want to improve the mobile experience further, Donald suggests deploying thumb-friendly calls to action and making sure the user never has to swipe, pinch or zoom.
2. Be Considerate of Your Reader’s Time
Email newsletters face incredible competition when it comes to commanding the user’s attention — both from other emails in the inbox and outside channels like Facebook and YouTube.
In this environment, Convince & Convert managing editor Jess Ostroff says it’s important to ask yourself whether your newsletter contains useful content that you, personally, would want to click on. If you really want to preserve the reader’s time, you can try using a plain text email any time you only have a single point to communicate.
Not sure if you’re giving your audience exactly what it wants? Use ongoing A/B testing to keep tabs on their changing preferences.
3. Build an Effective, Sophisticated Email Newsletter Template
The right email template will go a long way toward driving results — regardless of whether you’re pursuing sales, engagement or advertising monetization.
Shaw+Scott co-CEO Julian Scott recommends building a flexible creative platform that contains a number of predefined elements, including creative assets, style guides and pattern libraries. This will allow you to create highly personalized email newsletters without spending a ton of time on each individual package.
Your template should place your products and services in the best possible light. When the user clicks or taps on something in your newsletter, you want them to arrive at a landing page that feels consistent with the email they came from. This consistency is key to generating conversions.
Hopefully, these email newsletter tips have provided the information you need to craft the best possible email newsletter. If you’d like to refine your best practices further, our white paper is chock full of valuable advice from leading brands, publishers and influencers.