Choosing the right format for your email newsletter

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Email marketing is said to be the most profitable marketing channel to date with a ROI of 42-to-1 according to LYFE Marketing. What that means is, for every $1 dollar invested, you can make $42 in revenue. So, depending on your business needs, email marketing is worth your time and attention. And yes, sending out a newsletter to your email list even if you are an author or artist is considered email marketing!

When it came to choosing the right format for my email newsletter, I had a tough choice to make between some of the most popular newsletter formats out there. And as a newbie copywriter and emerging fiction and non-fiction writer, I thought the only way to bring my style into my newsletters was to go rogue. What do I mean by that?

Well, first, for someone who writes essays, it would only make sense that my emailed essays would have to look like a long letter to my readers because that’s how essays are supposed to look like. But because I also love design, I thought instead of just going with a classic letter-style essay, why not add my own quirky headlines above the fold and a creative call to action below the fold? So, I did.

I wanted to make sure even if someone is reading a newsworthy story or a personal essay they would still be:

  • hooked

You should think about doing the same.

But what do you need in order to have a complete and effective email newsletter?

First, if you don’t have one already, you will need an email marketing provider. Many people use tools like Mailchimp and my favourite, MailerLite. There are countless more available, and their main benefit is they provide great templates for email newsletters and save you time with the process of formatting because they require little to no coding.

Whether you want to send HTML or plain-text emails to your audience, when it comes to an email newsletter or an email marketing campaign, a good rule of thumb for best practices is to always have:

  • An attention-grabbing subject line

These are the basics that you SHOULD learn and implement in your marketing efforts if you are using an email marketing provider to send your emails. You don’t want to mess up any of these if you want to increase the chances of your emails to be delivered and opened by your subscribers.

Next, we need to look at the formats of your email newsletters.

To say my approach to formatting email newsletters is the best would be lying to you, which is why I want to explain to you what each format does or can do for your business depending on what you want to achieve with your email newsletter.

1. Long-form email newsletters

A long form email newsletter is one that contains a large amount of text. This format works for essays, interviews, or email courses. The best thing to remember for long-form is to always breakdown your text into smaller, digestible paragraphs. On a desktop, a digestible paragraph would be about 3–4 sentences long as you can see in the example below from one of my newsletters:

You can even go lower for it to look great on a mobile device. Make sure you choose a template that is most suited for mobile from your email marketing provider, since most people prefer to open their emails on their mobile devices. The last thing you want is to have people unsubscribe from your newsletter because it is hard to read.

I don’t recommend using lots of graphics in a long-form email newsletter, especially if it’s an essay, because people will get tired of scrolling for long minutes waiting to arrive at your conclusion. Whatever point you’re trying to drive across, you can do it with a simple quote in-between two paragraphs (you don’t want to overdo it).

2. Short email newsletters

So many newsletters can fit into the short email newsletter format, since most announcements can be a 1-minute read. Think about short newsletters as your go-to Twitter threads where you get the most important information that will drive a point across without taking a deep dive into the topic for which you may be asked to read a linked blog post or eBook.

Short email newsletters are meant to be informative. That’s also where you need to bring your creativity to make the information impactful, entertaining and action inspiring. The only rule here, for me, is to make it attractive enough so that your audience will keep opening your emails in the long run. Design matters.

Think about the newsletters you are currently subscribed to and try to find out which of those keep you coming back the most. What kind of picture or design elements go into them? Once you have that figured out, you can incorporate what works for them in your own newsletter. Make sure you stay true to your brand throughout and be creative with things like banners, coupons, thumbnails, GIFs, anything to engage your audience while getting them to click on important links.

If you need to read more about email marketing and what it can do for your business, check out the MailerLite Blog, which will help you get the marketing tips you need to succeed in your email marketing journey.

That’s it for this blog post. If you enjoyed reading it or would like to learn more about what I do, consider joining my email list where I share with you my writing, my secrets every storyteller would love, and content that will brighten up your day.

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Priscille B. Fatuma

Priscille is a freelance writer, fiction writer, podcaster, content creator & marketer. She loves books, movies, long naps, TV series, and dogs.