What makes a good email newsletter? Of course, some of that depends on your specific goals. But here’s my standard checklist that I use when reviewing email newsletters for clients. I’ll be talking about this and much more during a two-webinar series for CharityHowTo on nonprofit e-newsletters this month.
1. Is the E-Newsletter Reader Centered?
- Highly relevant to the reader (not all from the org’s perspective)?
- Conversational – Using I, We, and You/Your
- A “gift” to the reader – something they genuinely want to receive; has value to them
- Sets and meets expectations, so readers anticipate something good (e.g. reliable content on a reliable schedule)
- Sent to a segmented list, if appropriate
2. Is the E-Newsletter a Fast Read?
- Length: If it’s more than 300-500 words tops, there’s a good reason for that
- Minimal scrolling on desktop monitor
- Table of contents for more than one screen
- Really good, sticky microcontent (subject line, headlines, and calls to action especially)
- Gives us the candy, not the wrapper (emphasize personal value over just presenting a “newsletter”)
3. Is the E-Newsletter Easy on the Eyes?
- Simple, clean layout, preferably one column, two OK
- Dark text on light colors
- OK without images; includes ALT tag so text appears when images don’t
- Images are engaging when turned on
- Links are underlined, perhaps bold
What else do you think belongs on this list? Share in the comments.