How to Bring Your Email Newsletter Back To Life

You can’t be serious! You mean to tell me that you made another all-star hire this month?! And you’re planning the most extravagant picnic in your company’s history?!


Sadly, many companies’ email newsletters have little more appeal than the cubicles they’re written in. Predictable. Boring. Repetitive.

We empathize with these newsletter writers, however. We know how easy it can be to fill the periodic company mass email with reposted blogs and poorly formatted announcements.


If given the necessary time and attention, an email newsletter can still be THE tool to make, keep, and engage your brand advocates.

So, in honor of that newsletter writer sitting in their cubicle repurposing other content just to meet their email quota, here are a few ways to spice up your email newsletter. No rocket science here.  These simple tips will likely seem obvious, but in the rush to get the next email newsletter out, are often forgotten or overlooked.

Make your subject lines sing

When writing your next subject line, keep these 3 rules in mind.

1) Clarity over creativity

Though creative writing is a gift in most blogs or books, statistics say it has no place in subject lines. According to a recent study by AWeber, on average, clear subjects lines performed 541% better than creative ones.

2) 29-39 characters

According to Email Marketing Metrics Report, this was the sweet spot for subject line length boasting a 12.2% average open rate.

3) Convey action

Use action verbs to inspire people to… well… take action! Users are much more likely to respond to calls to action like “Preorder Your New iPhone Before it Sells Out! ” or “Save 25% This Week on Clearance” than subject lines that lack direct CTA’s like “The New iPhone is Here ” or “Clearance Sale”

Need some more inspiration? Check out these 557 Email Subject Line Hacks to Get You Noticed in the Inbox.

Beautiful yet useable

Using the same default layout and design time after time can get boring and you’ll likely see less engagement in the long run. Stop bringing the same predictable game. Mix it up by changing the layout every once in a while, but make sure to follow these simple usability guidelines.

1) Get to the point quickly

As reported by the Nielsen Norman Group in its Email Newsletter Usability Report, the average reader skims a newsletter for 51 seconds. Get to the point.

This product launch email by Apple is a great example. The point of the message is quickly and clearly communicated, and the details fill in as you read.

iPad Air email

2) Make the most important content pop

Check out the email below. It’s design helps draw your eyes to the most important content – CONTENT. Make sure to create a visual hierarchy. Important content should draw attention first and less important details should attract less attention.

Email design elements

3) Let the content shape the layout

Simple as it may seem, you have to tailor the layout of your email to the content. This is another one of the many reasons why having a standard email template doesn’t work. Your content will vary time to time, so your layout must vary also.

As seen in this Leap Frog email, you don’t have to have the most interesting or innovative layout to be effective. This layout is simple but compliments the content well.

Leap Frog Email

4) Get creative

These usability guidelines shouldn’t limit creativity. Take a look at this creative marketing email from uncommongoods. It’s fun and interesting, yet incredibly effective in getting it’s point across.

creative email design

Ask and listen

No one knows what your subscribers want more than your subscribers. So…ask them! How do they like the frequency of emails? Do they like the design? Do they like the content? Would they be up for a new feature? What do they want less of and what do they want more of?

Here are a couple tools to help ask those questions:

1) Facebook Polls
2) Survey Monkey (a free survey building tool you can use to easily create a quick questionnaire to send to your audience)

Look Good In Your Audience’s Hand

Before you go through all the trouble to rebirth your email newsletter, just remember that 65% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. Go responsive or lose a good portion of your readers to a shoddy mobile experience.

If your email newsletters have lost their luster, don’t worry – it’s never too late to revive them.

Write good subject lines. Make it pretty. Make it useful. Make it mobile. Sprinkle in some creativity then watch your engagement and conversion rates come alive.


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