What things should I include on my email newsletter?

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In today’s #asktheukdomain video, I look at how you can structure an e-newsletter to answer the question: “What things should I include on my email newsletter?”.

I’ll look at the essential setup of the email, including the from name, subject line, and pre-header text.

I’ll also cover how you can layout your content including:

• Banner/image for the top of the email, including your logo
• Main images with supporting text (keeping it short!)
• Breaking up the email with other layouts such as columns, call to action buttons and images
• Promotional banners
• Your social banners
• An unsubscribe link (legal requirement)
• Company details
• Preference update to learn more about your customer’s interests

Plus, I’ll share some great top tips such as testing the email in different mailboxes (Outlook, Hotmail etc.) and remembering the pre-header text!

Video Transcript

♪ [music] ♪ Hi, I’m Natalie from The UK Domain, and today, I’m answering a question from Sofia. And she’s asked us, “What things should I include on my email newsletter?” So great that you’ve managed to get a list of email subscribers. That in itself is a huge achievement and actually can take a lot of time and effort to get that far. But we appreciate once you’ve got those list of email subscribers, what do you actually send them? What content format should you send that in? And we appreciate there’s also lots of tools out there, too. And if you all aren’t already using an email tool, an email platform, then we recommend you look at places like dotmailer or MailChimp because often, you can get a free package with them to begin with, and you can trial it with some free templates, too.

I’m going to give you just some of our advice in terms of things to look out for and to include in your content newsletter. So firstly, think about your from name. This usually should be your brand name. It should be something that people are familiar with. So obviously, if they’ve purchased an item with you, they’ve obviously had contact with your business before because they’ve subscribed to your email list. Then, make sure that it’s familiar and they recognise that email address straight away.

Subject line. This should be short. Think about it, really, on mobile, there’s only an option for a short number of characters to be seen. If you can use personalisation…so a lot of the tools do offer that now. So MailChimp and dotmailer definitely do do that. Maybe, include the first name, and make it a bit more personable. The reason for this is, really, you want to encourage people to open your email because they don’t get a lot from just the subject line, but you need to entice them.

Preheader text. So a lot of people don’t actually know that this actually is even a thing. But this sits in your inbox under the subject line and can give you more space to play around with to give context to your email. It’s between 40 to 50 characters that we’d recommend, and again, should be quite short, but just think about it as an addition to your subject line. But the main thing to think about, really, is that it will also appear at the top of your email, so just be careful. It needs to make sense in situ as well.

Banner and image. So probably, at the top of your email, we’d recommend that… Obviously, it’s the first thing that your customers are going to see when they open that email. Think about whether you want to use imagery, whether you want to create some kind of banner that you use consistently for all of the newsletters you do, and you may even want to include your logo. The reason for this, as well, is if they haven’t actually recognised the brand name, they may actually recognise you directly from the logo. So maybe think about including that at the top of the email.

The other sections are kind of optional, but things that we’ve seen work really well in the past for a lot of brands are including a main image, which then is supported by some text, short text that just gives a small summary, but can link people off to the website where they can find out more. We also recommend you break up some of the email so you don’t consistently just lead with an image, text, and a website. It’s very tempting to do that, and you can do that. But just to make it seem a bit more visually appealing, to give the email a bit more of extra design, I guess, think about other ways you can use it.

So one example could be to create columns, and in here, you could use imagery, too. But, you know, here, I’ve just suggested you could even simply break it up by using some text and another call-to-action button back to the website. That could even be directly back to the product pages.

And then, you may want to include a promotional banner. So one thing I would avoid within all of your newsletters is being too promotional heavy. You need to think about educational pieces, things that your customers may want to learn a bit more. It doesn’t always need to be promotional, but if you want to use promotions, a banner may work well. And actually, this isn’t what you lead with, but actually may be something that’s further down in the email.

Your emails can be as long as you want, but I would recommend that you test them by sending them to yourselves across different platforms. So making sure you maybe test it within Outlook, maybe within Hotmail, within Apple Mail because certainly, what you will see, is actually length of emails and how they appear can be slightly different on different mailboxes.

You also want to include your social icons, so if you use social media, too, make sure you give the opportunity for people to follow you on social. But it could also encourage them to share some of the content on social, too, so make sure all of the social media channels that you are using are covered here.

You, of course, and it’s a legal requirement on all newsletters, must include an unsubscribe link. Okay. We don’t want people to unsubscribe. I get that, but you have to give them the option. And ultimately, for you, you don’t want to have people that you’re sending emails to that aren’t relevant and don’t want to actually receive the emails in the future. So just include a small unsubscribe link, and make sure that you’re tracking this and keeping a record of all people to remove from all future email sends. If you do use an email tool, this should automate that for you, but do just look into that and make sure that you’ve got yourselves covered.

Also include your company details. It could be the company telephone number. It could be your address. It could be your store location. If you’ve got multiple stores, include those details at the bottom because actually, it may be people look through their emails first if they’re looking to get hold of you if they ever need to.

And also, if you do use one of the email tools, have a look-see whether you can use a preference centre. Preference centre ultimately allows your customers to decide what kind of emails they want to receive from you, but also allows them to give you a bit more information about their interests. So it could be that they only want to hear about your products. So in that instance, actually, your newsletter the following month, the following week, however frequently you do those could be tailored depending on that interest to them. So just think about using that. And then you may want to also include another logo or a link back to the website in the footer. I don’t think you should worry too much about the logo there. I think key really being to include it at the top here so it’s forth and upfront for your customers. But I hope these tips help, and good luck with your email newsletter.

♪ [music] ♪

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Natalie Wood is Digital Communications Lead at the UK Domain. Natalie leads the email and social communication strategy. She is responsible for advising and implementing all online communication strategies to promote brand awareness.

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