Blog Home Business Marketing 8 Email Newsletter Design Mistakes Small Business Owners Should Avoid

8 Email Newsletter Design Mistakes Small Business Owners Should Avoid

Did you know your email newsletter design can significantly impact your click through rates and conversions?

Virtually every part of your marketing strategy is a visual experience, even if it has a foundation in copy to be read by your customers. One of the major benefits to an email marketing service is that they make email newsletter design simple: Images, pre-built templates, and example campaigns coupled with powerful tools can help you create great looking emails.

And they’re super effective – that’s why over 80% of companies, both B2B and B2C, use email marketing technology to engage with customers. It’s a big potential audience, too. That massive audience can lead to terrific returns when leveraged properly – as much as a 3800% ROI.

To see those numbers though, your email newsletter design as to be on point. Even small design mistakes can cost you big.

Here’s 8 email newsletter design mistakes you should be mindful of to protect your conversions and click throughs.

1. Ignoring the mobile user

More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, according to data from Campaign Monitor. Email marketing gets your message right into the pocket and palm of your audience, so your email newsletter design should look great on virtually every mobile device.

The easiest approach is to use a responsive template that will fit any screen, adapting to the size of the mobile device on the fly by reorganizing and resizing content. If you’re not using responsive design, keep those smaller screens in mind. Make your message clear and concise, make clickable links and buttons large enough to be accessed on a small screen, and don’t overwhelm with cluttered content.

Use a responsive email template that will fit any screen by reorganizing and resizing content. Image by Carmen Murillo

2. Neglecting your branding

Your customers get a ton of content in their inbox, so it should be immediately obvious to them who an email is from. Use smart subject lines, a clear “from” field, and get your branding front and center at the top of your email.

Work your branding into the email newsletter design as well. This includes:

  • Consistent logo placement and color scheme
  • Original photos that feature your business, products, and people
  • Stock photos that best represent your brand
  • Consistent language that supports your brand identity and positioning

3. Using too many fonts (or the wrong ones)

You should minimize the number of fonts you use in your email newsletter design. Too many font varieties can make your email look cluttered and will distract from the message you’re trying to send. It can also interrupt the flow of the email, preventing the reader from reaching the call to action.

Choose fonts that are easy to read and universally accepted online. Serif fonts are great for print, but sans serif fonts are easiest to read on the web. They’re perfect for websites or any place where smaller text will be read.

4. Overwhelming with text

You might have a lot to say in your email newsletter, but don’t overwhelm your audience with too much content. They have a limited attention span. One study from Constant Contact revealed that the best results (and highest click through rates) came from emails with 20 lines of text.

If you have a lot of content to include, use teaser lines that link out to blog posts and external pages to get the rest of the story.

This newsletter template is clear and organized with strong headlines, minimal text, and nice illustration. Image by Run The Jewels

5. Cluttered content with poor formatting

Good email newsletter design is dependent on proper formatting of blog posts and other content. People tend to scan content quickly to see if it’s relevant to their needs. They often absorb bullets and subheadings first before diving into content.

Serve up your most important piece of content at the top of the email, then drop in two or three secondary messages with bold headings that can easily catch the eye while skimming.

6. Poor use of images (or no images at all)

Every email newsletter you send should include eye-catching images that grab the attention of your reader. It’s best to drop a single image for each content segment, no more. A recent study of some 2 million email customers found that emails with 3 or fewer images result in the highest click-through rate.

7. Missing the call to action

Every email you send should be sent with a purpose. What do you want the recipient to do after they read it? Good email marketing design includes a call to action that clearly directs the reader to the next step.

It should be clear and stand out from the content around it. This is best achieved with buttons or bold links directing the reader to click.

Be sure to send them to the most relevant page to the action you want them to take. That means a specific blog post, product page, or landing page instead of sending them to your homepage.

The size and contrast of color on the call to action button is eye catching, making it clear and simple for the user to know what to do next. Image by zaniman

8. Designing email blasts for “everyone”

One thing small business owners don’t often consider is the type of content being shared. Not everything you share is relevant to all of your customers. Part of good email marketing design is different messaging for specific list segments. For example, content geared toward a weekend promotion is best served to customers who frequently visit you or engage with you on the weekends. Likewise, you could also create a promotion specific to customers that only shop during the weekend to get more traffic into your store during the week – then shoot that content to those specific list segments.

Don’t try to push the same message to all your customers when designing your email campaigns. Targeted email newsletters will have much higher open and click through rates.

If you’re making any of these mistakes, don’t sweat it. Not every email is perfect. It’s easy to jump in and make a few small changes to test the response on your next email campaign. With those small design tweaks, you’ll have more customers reading and interacting with your email newsletter and a far greater return on your investment.

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