How to Create E-mails that Will Actually Get Read

July 29, 2016


Email Marketing

Hi all, I’m Simone! I’m an independent working with Jelly on creating really awesome emails and campaigns in MailChimp. When creating these e-newsletters, I have important elements and guidelines that I follow for the newsletter to be readable, enjoyable, and interactive for audiences. Keeping newsletters fresh and fun is super easy with Jelly’s upbeat vibe! Here’s how I whip up wicked emails:

3 Great Elements of an E-Newsletter

1) I subscribe to quite a few e-letters, and one of the things that always catches my attention–maybe due to my artistic background–is striking imagery. In this respect, the organization that consistently blows my mind is Charity:Water. They’ve built a brand around using really powerful, moving images in all their material and it draws you in for more. They also use a mix of illustrative elements and photos which I personally love.

2) I’m also a sucker for a story and for humour. If a subject line is ridiculous, or says something like “Maria’s Story of Hope” you’d better believe I’m clicking on it. A story gives a human face to the company, and in many ways lends credibility to the success of their work. Charity:Water is another leader in this facet of email marketing.

Using humour depends on the voice and target market of the company. I feel like it would be incongruous and awkward if TD Bank started cracking jokes and using emojis, but something like an amusement park could (and should) absolutely use it to their advantage.

3) Finally, keep it concise. It’s really easy to lose people if there’s a daunting amount of text. Most people are likely going to be opening these emails in the morning and skimming them; their attention span is short. They just got out of bed, don’t make them want to get back into it.

Design for Dummies

While MailChimp is great, and they do provide several template options, my secret weapon to make an email look great is Canva–or as I call it, “Illustrator for n00bs”.

As I’m not a trained designer, Canva makes putting together beautiful headers and visual assets really easy. It’s a very intuitive drag-and-drop system, and they have really stylish pre-designed assets, everything from Facebook headers to infographics. They also have preset sizes, which is a huge time saver. Getting dimensions right is notoriously tricky, and Canva cuts that problem right out.

My Best Tip: 

There are a lot of components to what makes a good newsletter, a lot of moving parts. But if I could recommend one thing, it’s to not neglect the visuals. In fact, make them a key component.

Proven Results 

I’m actually really proud of the first e-newsletter I sent out for Jelly. It was my first real crack at being fully in charge of every part of an email (at my previous job we had designers and coders and a data person so I was pretty much just doing copy) and I was a bit nervous! I focused on making it fun to read, upbeat, and colourful, in line with the Jelly brand.

We got an open rate of 44.9% and a click rate of 5%, which doesn’t sound like a lot but for a large list is pretty exciting. Also the fact that Darian and the folks at Jelly liked it so much made me really happy.

by Simone Littledale