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How to format e-mail newsletters
  • Sep 7, 2020
  • 2 minutes

How to format e-mail newsletters

In this article, you will consider some useful tips that will help you format an effective e-mail newsletter. Explore these effective suggestions.

1. Dangle "What's In It For Me" (WIIFM) Upfront

These days, people don't read e-mail, they scan it. I scan subject lines to see what to discard and what to open. If I open an e-mail, I scan the article headlines to see if there's anything that interests me. If not - Zap! Delete! - I'm off to the next e-mail. Therefore it is vital that on the first screen ("above the fold") people see something that captures their interest. They're all asking: What's In It For Me? (WIIFM) Note: Your top graphic and logo won't capture readers. Yes, your "brand," if recognized, may cause people to pause a moment longer and make them positively inclined toward your content, but by itself, it won't get people to read the content. Therefore, keep your top graphic relatively thin in vertical space. Too often top graphics are so fast that they take up most of the e-mail preview window so that a recipient has to scroll down to see article headlines - and most won't. Therefore, make your headlines or offers visible above the fold. Your headlines or offers need to coincide with your readers' self-interest. Titles should offer help in understanding or doing something. Your offers must appeal to readers' needs. Remember WIIFM.

2. Realize the Relationship-Building Potential

Regular e-mails are one of the best relationship-building tools I know. They can help you develop a powerful (albeit one-sided and virtual) relationship between you and thousands of readers. Small businesses can shine, since, instead of dry, anonymous "corporate-speak," they can feature actual people in their company.

Three ways to build a relationship via e-mail newsletters are:

  1. Call people by name. When they subscribe, ask for a first name. Then use that first name in both the subject line and in the greeting that begins your message. To Americans, at least, addressing a person by the first name creates a sense of friendliness.
  2. Feature photos of your authors. People connect with faces. When they see the face of your author, again and again, it builds a sense of personal recognition that strengthens the relationship.
  3. Be Friendly. Write in the first person employing the same tone or "voice" that you might use in writing to a friend. Don't be afraid to share an occasional personal anecdote in a sentence or so - but don't dwell on it. To write personably does not mean you should ramble. Rather you must write clearly and concisely so you don't waste your readers' time.

All this relationship-building may sound to you like warm and fuzzy drivel. After all, this is business! I know, but believe me, e-mail relationship building works!

3. Supply Full Contact Information

In every newsletter provide full contact information including a physical address and phone number, if possible. In some cases, the CAN-SPAM Act requires it. But it also makes good sense. When people want to respond to your newsletter, help them do so immediately.

4. Make It Easy to Unsubscribe

I know you don't want to encourage people to unsubscribe, but subscribers come and go. It's a fact of life. In the US and many other countries, the law requires an easy way to unsubscribe. If you fail to provide one, even though you might not be prosecuted, you will incur the anger of many readers over a period of time and create bad mojo for your brand.

So there you have it - great tips that can help you design an effective e-mail newsletter. Now it's time to put these tips into practice. Go for it!

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