[Originally published on 07/24/2013, we've updated this article with the latest information and best practices.]
When used regularly, newsletters are one of the most effective email marketing techniques to engage your audience and increasing brand awareness. A well-fashioned email newsletter that is sent out on a regular schedule can accomplish many marketing goals while keeping your company on the top of existing and potential customers’ minds. Great newsletters should all have these key features that will increase their quality and, in turn, increase subscribers.
- Subscription change & information. Sometimes people sign up for newsletters and forget why or how. Make sure you include this data in the footer, which keeps your content from being marked as SPAM or from being unsubscribed. Normally this includes either an unsubscribe button or a link to a page where they can manage their subscriptions to your newsletters (or both). You will also need to include your company name and mailing addresses. Both of these are required by the CAN-SPAM Act and other anti-spam laws, so don't forget to include them.
- Forward to a Friend. This function is essential, either as a button or a text box. It’s an easy way to grow your customer base. It also gets your readers thinking about who else could benefit from your valuable content.
- CTA: Call to Action. This call to action is the main purpose of your newsletter. Make sure you include clear contact information and/or an easy path toward your website or the landing page of your choice.
- Social Media. If your business in on social media (it should be by now!), include clear links to all of the platforms your company uses. It will allow your follower count to grow and your content is more likely to be shared.
- View in Browser. Offer readers the option to view your newsletter in a browser. It’s not uncommon for people to use older email clients or have images turned off on messages. While it may not be a widely used feature, it will allow you to capture some stragglers.
- Preview Text. This is the text that is displayed by email clients before opening a message. We recommend that you add a short sentence in an unobtrusive color that summarizes the content of your newsletter.
- Navigation: Include a navigation bar in your newsletter and make it look similar to your website’s, along with the most important pages or the features you’d like your readers to visit. This increases the chances of them visiting--and staying on--your website.