Tips to Design Engaging Newsletter Layouts

Newsletters still offer the best way to reach your audience directly and increase sales. But if you’ve never managed an email list before this can be an intimidating process.

 

Once you have a list you’ll need to send out emails that connect with subscribers and offer real value. This means great content and great design all wrapped up in a pretty bow.

 

Let’s dig into the UX side of email design to consider what makes an email engaging. This goes far beyond a great headline and once you know how to design emails you’ll see incredible results with your open rates.

Single-Column Layouts

 

Emails need to be designed smaller because email readers like Outlook have more restrictions than web browsers. This means your average newsletter is rarely larger than 600px wide, so it’s best to use a 1-column layout or at most a 2-column layout.

 

When you plan your content it’s good to organize this into a single column format. Think about how you can organize your writing so it flows down the page and offers an easy reading experience.

Slanted angles and custom graphics help loosen up the stiffness, but ultimately it’s still just a one column layout.

 

You’ll want to be conscious of how your content is organized and how readers will consume this content.

 

If you use alternating patterns with a 2-col design you can split your layout into two columns as well. Take for example this design from The Short List.

The goal is to get people onto the website and you’ll want to send them to a place where they might actually buy.

 

All of these ideas are just examples so use your own best judgement and see what type of CTA works best for your newsletter.

Images Above The Fold

 

Since emails are so basic you can’t really do a lot with CSS3. They also don’t have a navigation since you just want to get visitors right onto your website.

 

Images are great for immediately grabbing attention and selling an idea. That’s why I always recommend adding a highly-engaging image right above the fold near in the header of your newsletter.

 

This image could be a stock photo or a illustration/logo for your company’s brand. It could also be a product photo like this one from the iPhone 7 red launch.

 

Box & Grid Lists

 

If you get a lot of newsletters then you probably recognize the box/grid layout design.

 

It’s very common with emails because they have a few distinct traits:

 

Narrow page designs

Short copy

Meant to be consumed quickly

 

Subscribers typically open your newsletter with only a few minutes(or seconds) to spare. Organizing the content into a nice grid is the best way to showcase everything you’re promoting.

When you design with boxes you’re trying to grab attention and clarify the purpose of your newsletter. High contrast colors have the same effect so they’re perfect if you can design such a layout.

 

Notice how the Bose newsletter also adds incredible photography into each box.

 

Combine all the techniques from this post into your design to further increase engagement.

 

You don’t have to look at these trends as separate items. They’re individual pieces that ultimately make up a great newsletter design.

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