If You Format It… They Will Read

Why do you open certain newsletters, is it brand familiarity, eye-catching subject lines or attractive design? Whatever the reason, you do admit to clicking and opening certain newsletters, while ignoring others, right? Do not be afraid to admit it, I do the same thing. Why? I am going to take you through some explanations of what not to do, for the next newsletter you send out. If you are guilty of any of these “no no’s” STOP!

First and foremost is the SUBJECT LINE, while this isn’t exactly formatting, this is the single most important line in your entire newsletter. If your subject line is uninteresting or altogether irrelevant to your targeted audience they will not open it. The subject line MUST ALWAYS show your audience that the information contained within is invaluable to them.  Better yet, if you offer this priceless information with a personalized subject line (i.e. customer’s name), your chances of getting your newsletter opened increase dramatically.

Secondly, ALWAYS IDENTIFY who is sending the newsletter. If sender information is not immediately visible, your chances of getting your newsletter opened greatly diminish. Customers only have a few moments to sift through emails and sort them out.  Do not make the mistake of not identifying yourself, this will make you look like a novice or a spammer, either way your newsletter will be junked or deleted.

Now that your newsletter has been opened, how do you present your information?  According to Web Marketing Today, “studies have found the maximum length of a line of text should be 50 to 55 characters. Shorter lines are okay, but longer lines will hurt readability.” In other words, keep it simple and get to the point! AVOID putting imperative information on side columns, people read from top to bottom. Few of us will scroll back up to the top to read a second column. If you want it to be read, keep it in a linear format. The only exception to this rule should be newsletters presenting multiple products.

This next rule cannot be overemphasized, ALWAYS have your text on a solid white or very light background. Never, ever use a patterned background; this will be an annoyance to your customers and a detriment for your newsletter. BE FLEXIBLE, today more than ever before, we are encouraged to do more than one task at a time. Chances are while reading your newsletter your customers will have more than one window open. Therefore, it is important your newsletter can be easily minimized or reduced in size without distorting information. What does this mean? Maybe, just maybe, you want to rethink the banner logo extending all the way across the top of your newsletter.

And what is the single most important rule for newsletters? If you want to give your clients a special offer, coupon or bonus, KEEP IT TEXT! While the idea of seeing your 10% discount coupon pop up on the screen may appeal to you, chances are this will never be seen. According to Web Marketing Today, “a large percentage of emails are opened by web mail users where graphics are automatically blocked by default.”

*Did You Know – you are required by law to give readers an easy way to OPT-OUT of your newsletter?

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