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Let’s talk about some useful tips for anyone involved in the process of creating and designing newsletters. I’ve put together these bits of advice to help you get the most of your email campaigns by making the right choices about the most important visual elements of your message.
If you are using newsletters as part of your broader marketing strategy, you want them to be not only opened but to engage subscribers to the point where links get clicked on. To maximize your CTR, you need to invest time in the design of the newsletter and testing which variations work best.
As you become more experienced in analyzing feedback, you will develop and intuitive feel for what works and what doesn’t. Let me help you jump forward in time a bit by sharing lessons I have learned through working with some of FreshMail’s biggest clients. Lessons like…
Use great pictures
Everybody knows that we buy with our eyes. You know that, right? Of course, if we are interested, we read the details and descriptions of the product and maybe some customer reviews but ultimately what gets our attention and what ultimately leads us to click “Add to cart” is the picture of the product. That’s why it’s so crucial to use pictures of the best possible quality and displayed closely enough to show any relevant details (but not too close!).
Easily purchased online stock photographs give endless possibilities for any visuals you might want to include in your newsletter. There’s no better way to create the right “mood” for your product than by using the appropriate pictures - ski vacations, holiday meals etc. Be careful to choose the right pictures - images that are too “stock” and plain can turn customers off.
Pictures aren’t the only thing you can use to create a style or mood for your newsletter. The creative and clever use of an attractive color scheme can also hold the attention of subscribers. First and foremost, stick with a color palette that is consistent that used in your other marketing channels. In many cases, details regarding company logos and colors are strictly defined and staying within those boundaries helps customers to easily identify your brand.
You can, however, use other colors and designs in things like banners used on your website. Being consistent with color schemes is great way to develop a unique style and give you the opportunity to draw attention to certain elements - like buttons - by making them stand out with colors, styles and patterns different from everything around them.
Prominent Call to Action buttons
I’m mostly talking about button that take subscribers from your newsletter to your page. Even though the whole newsletter should link to your page, the buttons are the elements that generate the most CTR. Such a small change - from something small and hard to see to something that is big and stands out - has shown us more than once that you can get better results this way.
Also, try to come up with something different for your call to action buttons besides “buy” or “buy now”. How about a button that leads to a specific offer? Take a look at Sencha's original call to action.
No matter what the benefit you are promoting is - a great price, a discount code, free shipping, etc. - make sure it gets the exposure that it needs. We’re talking about the most important parts of your message, the elements that have a chance to convince your subscribers to buy now.
If you have discounted a product, make sure to put it next to the new price along with how much customers are saving in percentage terms. If you’re offering free shipping for a limited time, put it in big letters across the top of the page along with the deadline for taking advantage of the deal.
The most important things should be visible at first glance
Newsletters usually consist of several different elements - banners, graphics, text, etc. When designing your newsletter, you need to establish a hierarchy of importance. Think about what you want subscribers to see first and which parts can be pushed further down. Remember that the central point of your message should be visible without having to scroll down.
Remember that the screens and resolutions being used by your subscribers varies significantly (take a look at our CSS report for more info) but 30% of screens are set at a resolution of 1366x768px, which is the smallest size at the top of the rankings. It’s safe to assume that you have about 400px at the top of the page to get your message across instantly so use the space wisely.
Low prices, big numbers
Obviously, the lower the price on a product is, the more likely customers are to be interested. Although price isn’t the only factor involved in the process, but it’s still the most important. If you’re selling something at a price that is likely to get attention, make sure it gets attention by using big, striking numbers to tell the world about it.
And don’t limit these big, bold numbers just to prices because digits work very well at drawing our attention to other things. We see and quickly process information expressed in numbers so underline the fact that you have “100 products on sale” or there are “only 7 days left until the sale is over”.
Don’t forget the basics
When using a newsletter template, your subscribers recognize you and your brand before reading the details of your newest message. You benefit from the fact that anyone opening the message “knows” you from having seen your previous messages with the same look and design. The fixed elements that appear in all of your messages shouldn’t take a lot of space but they need to be there - contact information, social media links, etc.
Use your message footers as another chance to remind customers about things like free shipping, express delivery, etc. Don’t overdo it, but use the top and bottom of your template to “frame” the updated content that you include with each new newsletter.
Design for mobile devices!
The percentage of emails opened on mobile devices is more than 50% according to Litmus and is climbing every year. This trend has consequences for anyone involved in the creation of newsletters for email marketing.
How do you make your newsletter mobile friendly? By using responsive design, of course! This assures that your messages will adapt to fit the size of the screen that it’s being viewed on and FreshMail makes responsive design easy. When creating your responsive design message, always make sure that that ever part of the newsletter can be easily read and understood - use large fonts, calls to action and always experiment to see what works best!