Email Marketing: 8 Practical Lessons Learned From Our Newsletter Redesign

Are you frustrated with email marketing? If so, you are not alone. These insights will get you real, actionable results.

Are you frustrated with email marketing? If so, you are not alone. Many small business owners are admittedly not leveraging it fully. At YFS Magazine, we recently overhauled our Weekly Insider newsletter, because – like you – we were frustrated and knew we could deliver a better and more simplistic product.

To share what we’ve learned and help eradicate some of your email woes, I’ve rounded up the lessons we learned into simple, quick tips that you can implement in your own email marketing efforts today. These insights will get you real, actionable results. And to make it easy, I’ve broken it down to 8 key lessons:


1. Inboxes are cluttered—your newsletter shouldn’t be.

In retrospect, our old email newsletter was cluttered. When thinking about our email redesign we opted for a more minimalistic approach, which included more whitespace, better typography and less color. Steven Bradley does a great job explaining the concept: “Minimalism aims for simplicity and objectivity. It wants to reduce works to the fundamental, the essential, the necessary, and to strip away the ornamental layers that might be placed on top.” Less is definitely more when it comes to email. Many businesses are guilty of trying to cram more than one marketing message into their email marketing campaigns, but focus drives metrics. Our minimal design approach ended up being easy on the eyes and beautiful across all devices.


Photo: YFS Magazine Weekly Insider Newsletter; Source: YFS Magazine
Photo: YFS Magazine Weekly Insider Newsletter; Source: YFS Magazine


2. Bring sexy back with thoughtful email design.

Our minimal email design focuses on key elements, all with the same underlying principle that less is more. We added blocks of neutral color to help break up the newsletter into sections that are easy to distinguish. And the color scheme makes our weekly newsletter, as a whole, look cohesive. When recipients open our emails we want them to think, “fresh and clean” instead of “overwhelmed and cluttered”. One of the most important things you can do (with any marketing communication) is to stay on brand … simple is in fact, sexy.


3. We’ve got mobile on our mind and so do your customers.

As Forbes contributor Katie Lee explains, “If a campaign doesn’t show up on mobile devices, it’s not going to perform very well.” We’re on-the-go, and so are you and your customers. Mobile is no longer a nicety, it’s a must-have. We’ve adopted the philosophy, moving forward, that everything we send should be mobile-friendly. “63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans would either close or delete an email that’s not optimized for mobile.” (Source: Forbes) These stats speak volumes.


4. Subject lines must be short and relevant.

Once we clearly defined our primary goal for sending email, we rethought our subject line. As a consumer, we’ve all seen wordy, misleading, and lengthy subject lines that made our heads hurt. So, we opted for a “simple” cut to the chase approach. An email marketing rule of thumb is that you should keep your subject line to 50 characters or less. (Source: MailChimp) Also, since our free Weekly Insider is delivered on a weekly basis we added a date to the subject line for easy cataloging and reference. Keep in mind, your subject line is highly dependent on my next lesson learned – content.


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