If You Format It… They Will Read Preparing Newsletters for Email Marketing – Part II

In Part I, we discussed the reasons why some newsletters are successful and others fail miserably. We talked about the importance of personalizing each newsletter and drawing in your audience, with simple and direct writing. However, there is more to making your audience feel your newsletter is a must read. As a matter of fact, some of the things we will discuss today will seem like common sense, yet this common sense has the power to take your email blast all the way to the top of any search engine.

So, let us begin with HTML vs. Plain Text. There are several advantages to either one of these options. If at all possible, the best thing to do is to give your customers the opportunity to choose how they would like to view your newsletter. HTML is believed to have twice the click through rate than that of plain text emails. The effectiveness of your email offerings can easily be tracked by using link tracking codes. These codes also can be used in plain text; however they make the URL too long to display in a text newsletter.

Now that we know the advantages of HTML, let us discuss Plain Text. With plain text emails you are offering universal readability. What does that mean – simply put, you cannot go wrong with plain text, and everyone will be able to read it. With plain text you can be assured your newsletter will look exactly as you intended, when it is opened by your customers. Many companies strip out HTML due to possible viruses and downloading time. Since HTML can often be misconstrued as spam, plain text seems to have a higher deliverability rate. Therefore, you can choose to send out your newsletter in “multi-part MIME” instead of just HTML.

According to Web Marketing Today, your best bet when dealing with images in your newsletter is to “optimize every image for the smallest possible file size. Your designer should do this routinely, but many neglect this. Here is a good rule of thumb: If the graphic is a photograph, use a .JPEG image type with a low-to-medium image quality. If the graphic is clipart or primarily fonts with few gradients, use a .GIF or .PNG image type. GIF images can display up to 256 colors, but the file size will be larger. Reduce the number of colors in the image as far as you can without noticeably degrading the image quality. You can aim for 16-to-32 colors if possible. It makes for fast-loading graphics.” Always keep in mind that not all of your customers will have a broadband connection, others will have a slow DSL or dial up connection, and this will make downloading the graphics that accompany your newsletter an annoyance for your clients.

Web Marketing Today also suggests always staying away from clutter. As tempting as it will seem to load your newsletter with graphics and information, you should steer clear of it all cost, it will hurt readability. Avoid navigation buttons above your content if they are not absolutely necessary. The best advice we can offer you is to keep it attractive, simple, and informative. If you provide interesting content and an easily navigable newsletter, they will read it.

*Did You Know – ID fraud increased 22% in 2008 from the year before?

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