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.

5. Create compelling and focused content.

“One of the biggest problems with email newsletters is that they are often cluttered and unfocused because they are supporting every aspect of your business.” Our email strategy will continue to evolve, but it starts with the notion that there are several different types of emails to share. From newsletters, to digests, dedicated emails, lead nurturing, sponsorship, transactional, welcome, advice/educational, testimonial, surveys and more – it’s important to decide which communications work best for your audience and deliver focused content, respectively. HubSpot, a great resource for marketers, goes into detail here.


6. We’ve got a lot of personality and it starts with a brand voice.

When I launched YFS Magazine in late 2009 it had a very specific brand voice (I think “Young, Fabulous and Self-Employed” spoke volumes). As we’ve evolved into a global platform for entrepreneurs, our reach expanded and our voice matured. In essence, it has remained true to its brand roots: making entrepreneurship accessible with an authoritative voice and selectively optimistic view of startups and small business culture. To share this personality with readers, we’ve added a publisher’s note to our newsletter, which I will pen for the foreseeable future. My goal is to highlight key trends and insights we’re seeing across the ecosystem and stay in touch. It’s a simple way to steer clear from boring and remain relevant. Also, we endeavored to write short, strong copy—because there is beauty in getting to the point, especially in email.


7. Remind people that you’re social.

In our freshly-minted newsletter we place a high priority on social. Not only did we link to our primary social networks, we also included social sharing buttons for every article to increase engagement. Did you know? “Options to share on social platforms generated a 115% better CTR (click-through-rate) than emails with no options to share the message.” (Source: Socialfresh) This in itself is reason enough to empower people to share what resonates. Social is still an incredibly viable and cost-effective way to grow your business. Email is no exception.


8. Metrics are in the overlooked details.

Pay close attention to the details. From design to deliverability, branding, social and more. The smallest details can go a long way. For example, we had never given much thought to email preheaders—until now. It’s the first thing you read after the subject line and it gives a quick summary of what your email is about. For example, “in Gmail, it is the first line of text that follows the subject line in the inbox view.” (Source: Email Design Review) Most importantly, it boosts the subject line and delves deeper into what your subject line doesn’t say. Also referred to as the “Johnson Box,” these 30 characters actually raise open rates and click through rates on mailings. Who knew?



When we started the email redesign process, I had to think clearly about what I expected from other campaigns I receive – what I enjoy and what I don’t. We took this thinking a step forward by sharing the new news of our email redesign across social networks to invite feedback.

Like you, I am flooded with email and pressed for time. Anything that doesn’t speak to my time-crunched state hits the trash quickly. We endeavor to take a “So what?” approach to much of our marketing efforts and email was no exception.

If you’re not a subscriber yet, sign up to receive our free weekly updates. After you checkout YFS Magazine’s Weekly Insider newsletter, let me know what you think in the comments section below.


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