The Ultimate Guide To Making A Successful Email Marketing Newsletter

Created: 27 Apr 2021 Last updated: 02 Feb 2023 By Juan Pineda

The following guidelines will help you improve your email marketing efforts this year.

General Guidelines For Email Marketing Newsletters

Great subject line

The subject line of your email is a crucial factor in determining whether it will be opened or not. It’s important to consider your audience and experiment with various approaches to find their preference.

Some recommendations:

Set the subject of your email marketing campaigns

Emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.

Source: Campaign Monitor

Pre-header text

The preheader text is the section of an email that appears directly after the subject line in the inbox preview. With an average of 50-100 characters, it provides an opportunity to complement the subject line and encourage the recipient to open the email. The preheader is typically taken from the first text in the email template and can be hidden using CSS, but is still visible in the inbox preview for email clients.

This is particularly beneficial for mobile users, who can get a quick idea of what the email is about before opening it.

As such, the preheader text is a crucial aspect of your email marketing strategy, as it needs to be engaging and convey a clear message to the subscriber.

HTML Emails pre-header

This is a frequently overlooked aspect of email marketing.

Whilst it may not carry the same significance as other elements, including a “View this email in your browser” hyperlink in your email template ensures that all recipients can access the full version of your email, regardless of the email client they use or any rendering issues they may face.

It is a simple addition that can go a long way in improving the readability and accessibility of your emails.

Company logo in the header

Incorporating branding elements, such as logos, icons, and colours, in your email newsletter helps customers instantly recognise your brand.

Some recommendations:

  • Use a logo with transparent background.
  • Put your company name in the Alt attribute.
  • Link the logo image to your website.
image 6

Located at the footer of the email, this section typically features information about the sender, such as the company’s logo, name, address, website, and contact details. It also provides links to opt out of future emails or forward the email to others.

Having the option to unsubscribe is important as it allows recipients to inform you that they no longer wish to receive emails from your company. This function is usually integrated by the email platform you use, such as Mailchimp.

Some recommendations:

  • Remind recipients of how they subscribed to your newsletter with a brief statement.
  • Include comprehensive information about your company.
  • Ensure the unsubscribe link is prominently displayed.
  • Offer a link for updating email preferences, especially if you send multiple types of communications to your audience.

Plain text version

Most email marketing platforms will automatically generate a plain-text version of your email.

It’s important to include this in your campaign to ensure that your email can be viewed by recipients who prefer plain-text emails or those checking emails on wearable devices.

Additionally, including a plain-text version can also help bypass spam filters on certain email clients.

Design Guidelines For Email Marketing Newsletters

Design your email with a width of 600px

It is recommended to keep the width of your email at 600px, as this has proven to be an effective size that works well across most email clients.

Adhere to your brand’s style guide

Your email newsletter is a reflection of your brand, so it’s important to maintain a consistent look and feel in terms of design, colours, and overall aesthetic. This will help recipients easily recognise your brand, increasing trust and engagement.

Use appropriate padding and alignment

If your email appears cluttered and disorganised, it can be overwhelming for recipients and lead to a higher likelihood of abandonment.

Incorporate ample white space and position your copy and visuals strategically. Consider making certain text bold, italic, or underlined, but keep it simple for maximum readability rather than aiming for an overly elaborate design.

A well-organised, easily digestible, and user-friendly layout will improve the recipient’s overall experience with your email.

Ensure that your links are visually appealing and align with your brand guidelines.

Also, make sure that all links are short enough to not compromise mobile display.

Familiarise yourself with the implementation of your email

CRMs and email marketing platforms provide marketers with great flexible options. However, these platforms often come with certain restrictions for developers, which could limit certain design capabilities.

Consult with your team on how the email will be implemented and the potential limitations, so you can create a design that is compatible with the chosen platform.

For added peace of mind, opt for a one-column layout, as this is universally compatible with all devices.

Content Guidelines For Email Marketing Newsletters

Ensure that your content is relevant and accurate

Keep your content brief and to the point as people have limited attention spans. Prioritise important information by placing it at the top, as it is the most viewed section. Highlight key details using headings, bold typography, colour, and white space.

If the campaign is particularly lengthy, consider creating a separate landing page to provide readers with additional information about the campaign.

Ensure your dynamic content is accurately populated

Personalised emails can enhance the efficacy of your campaign. To guarantee highly personalised emails are delivered optimally to your audience, test your emails for all possible variations and verify that your variables are functioning as intended.

Many email marketing platforms offer the facility to preview how content appears to various recipients in your list via their user interface. Nonetheless, it’s advisable to perform a test send to be thorough.

Additional checks

Review and ensure that:

  • There is a salutation
  • The written content is accurate (free of spelling and typographical errors).
  • All calls-to-action (CTAs) are present and their links are functioning correctly.
  • Tracking URLs are established (if necessary).
  • The content is easily legible on mobile devices.
  • Mobile-specific sections have updated content (if any).
  • Images comply with the brief, are of an appropriate size and optimised.
  • Images are hosted at a publicly accessible address.
  • Images have appropriate Alt tags.

Compatibility Checks For Email Marketing Newsletters

Outlook-specific code is in place

It’s important to note that various versions of Outlook have different limitations. Ensure you are familiar with the target device list for your email marketing newsletter and that alternative solutions have been established and put into practice in case of compatibility issues.

Remove irrelevant code

If you are reusing an existing template, review and test it across devices to make sure there are no sections left over from previous newsletters.

Final checks and validations

Before sending, run a final check and validate your email marketing newsletter looks good on actual mobile devices with various email platforms, such as Gmail, Inbox, Outlook and iOS Mail on iPhone and the same on Android.

Additionally, use tools such as Litmus or Email On Acid to validate your email.

Design, Subject lines, and Accessibility top the list attributes that are important to test before launch (Ascend2 survey, 2021)

The Ultimate Checklist to HTML Emails [2022]

Do you want your email campaigns to be a success?

With over ten years of experience in the email marketing industry, Agile Digital knows all the essential tricks to get your email rendering ideally across all email programs.

Focusing on personalization, segmentation, and 1-to-1 communication we make your emails more relevant and authentic.

Juan Pineda Juan Pineda

Managing Partner at Agile Digital Agency. Juan is an experienced digital professional with more than 20 years of experience in web solutions, digital marketing, and innovation. He holds a degree in Computer Sciences, and has worked internationally for renowned digital agencies. Juan provides clients with his skills and expertise in the digital field to create successful online solutions.