April 16, 2024

8 Newsletter Design Tips to Drive Engagement

Reading time about 11 min

Newsletter design may seem like a tall task. But using the eight tips in this article will make your next email marketing campaign feel like a walk in the park. 

Email newsletters are a staple of any effective digital marketing strategy. They give you direct access to your contacts’ inboxes. They let you create personalized content. Best of all, they are highly cost effective.

But once you’ve covered the basics of how to create a newsletter, it’s time to pay attention to newsletter design.

A newsletter does more than drive conversions. It conveys your brand’s image, builds credibility, and cultivates a community. Knowing how to design a newsletter and using a professional newsletter software will help you do just that!

Newsletter design tips for your next campaign

1. Include original copy

Newsletters are a stand alone resource, not just a catalog of links. They deliver valuable information about your business directly to your customers inbox.

The primary goal of a newsletter is to build credibility and a following and for your brand. Use it as a separate editorial channel instead of just directing traffic to your site. Readers want to see more than another list of links in their inbox every month.

Newsletter content is a place for a brand’s voice to shine while educating and informing subscribers. Telling a story is the key to creating an engaging newsletter. 

Take your email list on a journey via a mix of text, images, and other rich media.Where design comes into play with content is your brand’s voice and tone. Even small businesses can and should have a defined writing style. 

Pro tip: Brevo’s AI helps you write better emails faster. Check it out! Having a consistent tone in your communications is essential to effective email marketing. It’s truly the core of your newsletter. Without a consistent voice, even the most eye-catching graphic design won’t impress.

newsletter design with good copy

In this example created with Brevo, UniKitOut offers their subscribers value with various kits in the form of packing lists, food packs and other kits to help students as they start university

2. Have a hierarchy of calls-to-action

Layer your CTAs to direct users to the content that is most valuable or important.

Promotional emails should only contain one primary call-to-action (CTA) to maximize engagement and conversions. However, newsletters are a different story. 

Email newsletters are about content and information rather than encouraging a purchase decision. To maximize engagement with your content, organize your newsletter CTAs in a hierarchy. This communicates to readers where the most important information is.

The best email newsletter examples read kind of like digital newspapers. The main story is on the front page and the smaller ones are interspersed. In the same way, a newsletter should have a primary focus. 

This main piece represents the overall theme of the newsletter. Supplement the main focus with things like additional information, downloadable resources or external links. The result is a well-focused newsletter: a main CTA followed by a hierarchical “tree” of smaller CTAs. 

3. Use a newsletter template

Email newsletter templates are a great way to nail your content’s structure.

newsletter template gallery by Brevo

Take a look at Brevo 40+ ready-made newsletter design templates

Email templates serve as a launch pad for effective newsletter design. For those of us without coding and graphic design skills, templates are true lifesavers.

Email templates allow you to start with a solid newsletter layout and basic design elements. From there it’s up to you to customize the content and bring your brand to life. You can even design HTML templates to use.

When building up from a template, there two considerations to keep in mind: 

First, align the format of the template with the goal of the newsletter. The design should cater to your idea. For example, your content-heavy monthly newsletter probably won’t fit the promotional email template. 

Second, don’t be bound by the original template. The structure of the template is typically not worth changing. But everything else is free game! 

Change the color palette. Add or remove white space. Throwing any other design ideas you have to make the most of email templates. Otherwise, your email newsletter will come across as generic.

Brevo offers premade sections for quick and easy template creation. They’re perfectly designed to look best on any device.

Pro tip: With Brevo, you get access to over 40 newsletters templates on any plan. The design tool is a drag-and-drop editor, no HTML knowledge needed.

4. Maintain brand consistency

Creating consistent and on-brand content is key to developing trust and credibility. Maintaining a familiar newsletter design is important to build a dedicated following. The easiest way to do this is by sticking to a template. 

Ground your efforts by using the same header and footer across newsletters. Another newsletter best practice is to maintain consistency in your headings across newsletters. Then, all you have to do is update the content without having to worry too much about design every time.

Brevo lets you set up your brand asset library, including fonts, colors, and logos for easy access every time you need to send a newsletter. One click and it’ll look consistent with the last!

Plus, Brevo also lets you save custom blocks and reuse them across your emails. Save time while your emails still look amazing. 

Subscribers should know who sent an email solely from the design. 

Consistency builds trust and makes it easier for readers to quickly find the information they want in your newsletters. Using different color schemes and layouts with every new campaign can annoy recipients. This can decrease open rates and increase unsubscribe rates.

branded newsletter

We like this example by Workona because their brand’s personality comes through so well. The small graphics help readers know immediately who this email is from.

5. Use high-quality images

Images can easily make newsletters more engaging. They break up text and make it easier to read. This gives readers a chance to rest their eyes (especially when using small screens and mobile devices).

Newsletter images are not only captivating, they also make the email more approachable, increasing reader engagement. Using your own images is always better for brand awareness, as stock images are easy to overlook.

Including informational images like charts and infographics is a great way to convey information visually as well.

Some email marketers swear by minimalist, plain text newsletters because of their simple clean design.The argument is images can quickly result in visual clutter. Too many images and links can also lead to your email newsletter automatically landing in the spam folder.

It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your readers by thoroughly A/B testing different designs.

We recommend using images where they add value. Product features, employee spotlights, and infographics can all contribute to effective, beautiful emails. Just don’t take it too far. If your newsletter looks like an inventory of all your new products, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. 

newsletter with images

Example images that add value to a newsletter (Source)

Want to learn more? Check out our article on using GIFs in Email

6. Choose fonts and colors that are easy to read

This may seem obvious, but your subscribers won’t be too happy if they aren’t able to read your newsletter content.

Don’t use colors that blend together or wash out your text. Use a tool like coolors.co to get help finding color schemes that work together. This can increase the readability of your emails and improve reader experience. 

Similarly, brand fonts do not always provide the best reading experience. While some typography renders well on the web or looks great in small quantities (like in a logo or tagline), they may not work for an entire email.

Opt for a clear, legible font to ensure emails will be easy to read across different devices. If you really want to use your brand font in your newsletter, the headings can be a good place for this. Check out the best fonts for emails too.

7. Make your content accessible

Ensuring your content is accessible across all devices and for people with disabilities is another essential consideration of newsletter design.

When an email or website can be properly viewed on various devices (desktop, mobile, tablet), it’s called responsive design. Considering that most email campaigns are viewed on mobile devices, creating responsive newsletters is absolutely necessary!

Thankfully, creating responsive content is super easy with professional email marketing solutions. Brevo’s email templates are fully responsive. You can even preview how they look on various email clients!

To make your newsletter accessible to people with a visual impairment, be sure to add descriptive alt-text to your images. This way, a page reader will translate your text to speech.

8. Promote engagement

Optimize your email design to encourage more brand engagement and strengthen your customer relationships.

Subscribers can only engage with your newsletters if you provide a way for them to do so. 

Promoting engagement through your newsletter design is a great way to motivate subscribers to get involved. Even small design tweaks can make for high-quality engagement.

Make sure you’ve optimized the CTAs in your newsletter. Be strategic and transparent about where you’re sending your readers. 

CTAs are there to help readers navigate through your content across channels. For this reason, any funny business around your calls to action is bound to hurt your click through rates.

Another great way to boost engagement is by incorporating social media buttons in your newsletter. Try adding them to your email header or footer if you don’t want them to take up too much space. 

In the short run, it encourages subscribers to connect with your business across multiple channels. In the long run, this leads to a well-connected web of communication between you and your target audience.

Pixlee does a good job of giving their audience plenty of opportunities to share their content. There are social media buttons in the footer and even a clear “share this with your friends” CTA button too!

newsletter with button encouraging shares

8 email newsletter design tips later…

As you’ve seen, newsletter design doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but there are a few considerations to take into account.

Whether it’s an ecommerce marketing campaign or a school newsletter, these tips can help boost engagement, raise open rates, and bring new subscribers to your email list.

For more like this, take a look at our other articles on email marketing:

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