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Effective B2B Email Newsletters: Part 2 – Email Design

Jacob Brain


In this series, we are focusing on helping you create the most effective B2B email newsletters to help grow your business. To read Post 1, click here. In this post, learn how to design your email newsletter for greater impact.

Are we still calling it an email newsletter?

So, one of the bigger challenges for email newsletters is all the baggage that comes with the word “newsletter”. The perception for many of our clients is that this piece of marketing is about them, not the client. Your clients do care about you company. They want to make sure you are alive, well, and growing to serve them better. They rarely care about the office dog, new hires (unless they have served them), or your opinion on the next political season.

Point being, we need a fundamental shift in what we are thinking when we say newsletter. We need to think of them as thought leadership vehicles, serving up your best thinking over the long haul. Building relationship as a mentor, sage and guide who is further down the road than your customer.

So as you frame up the content and design of your ‘newsletter’, you need to focus on what your customer really needs as it pertains to what we just talked about. How can you shed some light on their pains and challenges from your expertise?

You’re going to need more time than that to figure out the answer to that question, but here are some helpful tips towards answering that question.

  1. Ask your customer directly. Ask them what you could be helping them with more, or areas they really use your help constantly.
  2. Doing a survey, which is like #1, but a little more informal.
  3. See what your competition is doing. In this age of individualism, we sometimes think we are better than our competition, without even seeing what they are doing. As they saying goes, keep your enemies close.

Design & Format of Email Newsletters

So the reason we start with content, is that your email design is simply based on your content. If you need to be showing lots of photos to your clients, you’re format should be very image based. If you have lots of written words, you need to find a way to make it digestible for a culture that is increasingly reading less.

Yet a word on Goals before we get into the nuts and bolts of email design. What is the goal of your newsletter? A bit of a loaded question, and I’m going to give you the answer – its for them to click over to your website.

The newsletter in itself is a way to bring your content to your customer. Most transactions and deeper engagement will happen on your site, so as you look at design, your call-to-actions and graphics are focused on bring your reader to you site.

So, as you start out on your design, consider the following:

  1. Your template must be responsive, meaning look good on mobile phones. 60% of email is read on phones, so don’t bother unless its mobile friendly.
  2. These customers typically already know your brand, so keep your logo and other aspects of your brand minimal. Keep your content in front of your customer.
  3. Use Images. Images are what people are attracted to first before words. Striking images can make a huge difference in your campaigns.
  4. Give them a taste, if you have multiple content pieces. If you are sending a few articles or posts in your newsletter, give them a nice summary of each one, not the full article. Entice them for the bigger nugget on your site.
  5. Have clear buttons and phone numbers so they can react to your call-to-actions.
  6. Have all your can-spam requirements on your template.

Also this is the one place that I do have to mention talking to a professional email marketing firm to help with your design.

Ready for the last step?

Click here for part three in the series about metrics and how to measure success in your newsletter campaign.


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