The company newsletter template is just as important as the content you include in the newsletter.
Companies spend $1,000ís on design and development to get their company newsletter template right.
Only for marketers to struggle to actually use it.
Luckily there is a simpler way.
This chapter breaks the newsletter down into itís key components, gives design and content best practices for each and most importantly suggests tools you can use yourself to get your company newsletter template just right.
There is no one size fits all for company newsletter templates and design. There are however some key best practices that will help you to get the best results.
As weíll see in the rest of the best practices, this applies to most aspects of company newsletter template design. Itís also why it is important to understand the purpose of your company newsletter. Helping you to keep the content and call to actions focused.
If the content or design doesnít add value to the overall purpose of the newsletter then leave it out.
Colours can be a great way of defining sections and making call to actions and information stand out in your company newsletter template.
The key is not to use too many different colours, with one main contrasting colour, not multiple. For instance if your company colors are mainly blue, white and grey, you wouldnít want to use both orange and red as the contrasting colours in the same newsletter.
Generally the colours you use in your company newsletter template should be aligned with your brand colours, to keep consistency and familiarity with customers.
It also helps to select a colour pallet that is consistent across issues. It will create learnability, and make it easier for your customers to know that orange is a call to action, blue is a title etc. Itís all part of not making people think.
For colour pallet inspiration and best practices, this post from the folks at Canva is a good place to start.
If you want to take colour consistency to the next level with your company newsletter, you may also want to consider applying a colour filter to any images you add. Most design software will let you do this, and we would recommend Canva as an excellent free tool for just this.
There are endless layout possibilities with company newsletter templates.
The layout you use, the sections you include and how you use spacing, are all considerations that should be made with the view of using them to support the content within.
Appropriate use of these elements will help to create focus and increase the readability of your company newsletter and click through rates.
There are ultimately only 8 major content layout combinations for any section of your company newsletter template. Which over multiple sections can then create endless variations of text and text and image combinations.
Choosing the right one just depends on how you want to present the content within the section and where you want to position the text and images.
A good place to start is with the content you know you are going to include, and then how you best want to lay it out so that it is visually appealing and easy to read. I sometimes sketch out on a piece of paper where all of the content will go before creating the layout.
As mentioned sections help to clarify different areas within your company newsletter and break it up from being one solid block of content. Which is particularly important if you have multiple topics or categories that you want to cover in the same newsletter.
Using coloured backgrounds, titles, dividers and images are a great way of defining sections and grouping the relevant content within.
Using spacing appropriately can help to stop your company newsletter from feeling cluttered and overwhelming. In this case more is actually more. Adding space between sections and content will help the content in your newsletter breath and make it easier to read.
We all know that feeling when we open a newsletter and are greeted with lots of information packed into a small space. It stops us from reading more as we just donít know where to start.
Use appropriate spacing to lead the reader through the newsletter, breaking up sections and content so they donít merge in a blur of information.
Too much space however, can make it unclear which content is related to which. So as you're adding space, just make sure it isnít confusing the relationship between the content within sections.
Generally though, unless we are designers we are normally shy to add enough spacing and have a tendency try and cram too much in. If youíre finding yourself cramming too much in, review if all of the content is really necessary and go for a quality over quantity approach.
Make your call to actions clear and relevant.
You should also try to focus on one main call to action per company newsletter.
What is the one key thing you want the reader to do from reading this newsletter? Focus on that and then ensure that the surrounding content and layout supports this. Studies show that adding too many main call to actions to one newsletter can result in no action at all.
As with the examples earlier in this guide, using sections can help to visually split your company newsletter up and make each call to action clear and relevant, for when multiple call to actions are needed. Just remember the less is more rule and make sure all are really needed.
There are a number of ways to add branding to your company newsletter.
As we covered previously, use of colour can be an instant way to achieve brand recognition. The other most common is to add your logo to the header and/or footer of the newsletter.
Itís important that your brand is reflected in the company newsletter, so that readers are reminded of your business, but I would use a subtle approach. Let the content do the talking rather than make it an advert for your business.
Think about creating a branded header that adds to the newsletter. You could include the name of the newsletter, an emotive image and then think about how and if your logo works with it.
Thereís lots of software that can help you to easily create branded images for the header of your newsletter, like Canva, which has 1000ís of stock images, layouts and icons to get you going.
Apart from including content from your social channels to foster a community spirit, the company newsletter is a great place to link to your social profiles so that people can find you elsewhere on line.
You can also add social share buttons to your newsletter to encourage readers to share it with their networks. Increasing the number of eyeballs and reach that your company newsletter receives.
There is a lot of debate about the use of images in company newsletters.
Are they engaging or distracting? Do they result in higher click throughs or less? What is there impact on analytics?
There are arguements for both sides, and I believe that ultimately it comes down to the purpose of your company newsletter and the content you are including in it.
It is a fact that images are more engaging than just text alone and can increase click throughs, but too many images can be distracting and result in too much choice, leading to indecision or a blur on what the real focus is.
When finding and including images, ask yourself, does the image enhance the content and add to the message of the text or call to action, or does it confuse and busy the content.
If the purpose of the company newsletter is to advertise 1 report, or drive 1 specific action, then there shouldnít be lots of other image rich content that doesnít support the main message.
If however your company newsletter is a roundup of valuable articles and customer or team content, then images can be appropriate. As above, ensure your images enhance the content not distract from it and they will help to increase engagement.
The popularity of GIFs, and their success in marketing has increased massively over the last few years.
As with images thereís a lot of talk about the benefits of using GIFs in email newsletters. And as with images, if used appropriately to support the content and call to actions they are proven to increase click through rates and revenue.
Their main value lies in how well they capture attention, and the amount of information they can communicate vs just text or static images.
The golden rule is relevance, and using them to support and amplify content, not distract or detract.
Iíve created a detailed how to guide on using animated GIFs in email newsletters with some best in class examples
Video is becoming ever more popular in company newsletters, because of how engaging and informative it is as a medium.
Again itís something that should be used appropriately, and does have some downsides.
Downsides like the fact that it is very expensive to create and people have short attention spans, so you need to really grab them in the first few seconds.
Most importantly to point out though, is that few email service providers actually support video in email (yet). In fact only 4 of the major email clients will support video play in email.
Which is another reason why GIF is so popular, as it is supported by pretty much all clients.
Whilst not all email clients support video, you can still create the impression of including a video in your email by adding the play icon over an image. Then just hyperlink the image to the original video. Which is actually how most email service providers like Mailchimp, get around this issue.
Simple is often the best with company newsletter footers. There purpose is more about formalities then enhancing content, so only include things that are really needed to avoid distraction. There is nothing worse then a huge block of text explaining your legal rights and obligations of receiving this newsletter - unsubscribe, delete.
Speaking of unsubscribe, make it obvious and friendly. You donít want people subscribed if they are not interested in what you are sending out. It will just result in poor analytics and being marked as spam, creating a negative impact instead of a positive one.
The footer is definitely the best place for the unsubscribe, and can also be a good place to add subtle branding and any other important company information, like contact details.
Quite simply, it needs to be.
Over 50% of email is read on a mobile device.
Make sure the platform that you are using to create and send your company newsletter from is mobile responsive.
If you are looking to create a fully mobile responsive HTML email newsletter template, or are sending your company newsletter through Outlook or Gmail, then you may want to consider using Publicate. Everything you create in Publicate is automatically fully mobile responsive and can be sent through any email service provider.
There are a myriad of email newsletter tools to choose from, and most offer similar functionality;
You can find a great review of 25 of the best email platforms here.
The main difference between them is generally niche functionality and price. Unless you are talking about specialised email marketing software or event based messaging.
All however have one main thing in common. For most people creating the company newsletter is a laborious task, wrestling with cumbersome editors, uploading pictures, adding links and struggling with alignment. This leads some businesses to enlist the support of design and development to create them a costly template. Which then still suffers the same laborious issues of having to individually upload an image, add a title, a description and hyperlink everything for each piece of content they want to add.
All in all the time taken to create a newsletter puts a lot of people off, and means that we lose focus on the most important part of the company newsletter, the content within.
Which is exactly why we created Publicate. As a tool it means that anyone can create a beautiful mobile responsive newsletter template, without the need for design or development. It also has a conent library built in to collect all of the content you want to add to your company newsletter, so all you have to do is drag and drop to add. No need to upload images, titles, descriptions and hyperlink, all of this is taken care of as you add content to the template.
It also works with all of the major email service providers, so you still get the powerful functionality of subscriber collection and management as well as deliverability and analytics. Without having to change providers, Just use Publicate with your existing platform, even Outlook and Gmail.
Throughout this guide you hopefully have gotten some useful information and ideas about what a company newsletter is, why itís beneficial to have one, what should go into your company newsletter, how to start one, list building strategies and finally how to create one.
If you didnít have chance to read the full guide yet, donít forget to download it below so you can read it any time. Iíd also strongly suggest that you give Publicate a try free for 14 days. It will save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to creating your company newsletter.