November 13, 2009

Email Newsletter Design Guide


Hostway Team

By Hostway

You've been collecting customer email addresses for a while, but haven't quite made the time to design your first customer newsletter. The good news is that it's not very hard to get started. We'll walk you through the process of designing your newsletter.

Design Considerations

The design you choose should reflect your goals for your newsletter. Every business has a different reason for creating a newsletter. To make sure it achieves your objectives, think about your goal before you do anything else.

If, for example, your newsletter's goal is to inform customers of sales on specific items, you will want an image-heavy design with little copy. If you're trying to position yourself as an expert in your field, you'll want a text heavy newsletter with information articles and tips.

Once you have an idea of your overall content, consider what sections your newsletter will include. Come up with headings that last beyond a single newsletter. Here are a few ideas:

  • Product spotlight that gives tips on new ways to use your products
  • Special promotion just for newsletter subscribers
  • Reader survey
  • Top 10 Tips
  • Customer profile
  • Company news
  • Letter from the CEO

Take a look at your competition's newsletter, if you can, to see what other companies in your industry include. You might get a few ideas you can improve on for your own newsletter.

Once your section headings are finalized, it's time to look for a design. If you have someone proficient in HTML on staff, you can opt for a completely customer design. If not, you can use a template from the email marketing software you use to send your newsletter.

Email Newsletter Software—What to Look for

Email marketing software makes it easy to manage your newsletter. Any good software program will automate the tasks of:

  • Handling opt-in subscriptions
  • Removing opt-outs from the list
  • De-duping your list
  • Providing analytics

Additionally, make sure you choose a software package with a good template library unless you plan to use a custom design. Look for templates that complement your company color palette and include design elements similar to your Web site. For example, if you have rounded corners and organic design elements on your Web site, you should choose a template to match.

Take a look at our email newsletter checklist for more ideas on your customer newsletter.

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