happykey200What 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. 

Published On: March 5, 2014|Categories: Email Marketing|