4 Reasons Your Email Newsletter Template Sucks

Your email newsletter design is similar to your business card design. You need it to grab attention, deliver information and make the person looking at it want to know more. While I am a writer, not a designer, I have looked at hundreds of email newsletter templates, and I’ve seen some really bad ones. Here are a few reasons your email newsletter template sucks:

1. It’s ginormous. If all I see on the screen when I open your newsletter is the name of your company in five-inch-tall bold lettering, I’m annoyed. I have no idea if I want to even make the effort to move my finger and scroll down. Usually, I just hit delete. Sorry.

If I do go to the trouble of scrolling, and your font is so big that I have to keep scrolling and keep scrolling to read your content, I’m going to be annoyed. Annoyed prospects are less likely to buy from you. I know how to adjust the size of the text on my screen, so you really don’t have to make the text of your newsletter huge.

2. The colors are painful. Just because you can make the background orange and the text blue, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, when you do those kinds of things, your newsletter appears unprofessional. Color is fun. Fonts are fun. But they are also dangerous.

If you want orange in your newsletter, try using it in a border. If you want to use a “fun” font, use it in a title. Otherwise, you risk making your message harder to read, and people are busy. They are not going to put in any extra effort to read something that makes their heads hurt.

There are people who will help you design a template for future use, and their services are often reasonably priced. Get in touch. I’ll be happy to help you come up with something functional that won’t cause your prospects pain.

3. Your images are weird. If you don’t know how to manipulate images so that they don’t appear flattened or stretched when you put them in your newsletter, you might want to consider leaving them out. The best thing to do is invest a little time in learning how to make them work. Most email distribution services have great tutorials and help sections on their sites, and quite a few have really good customer services reps who will help you by phone.

4. Columns. Or lack of columns. Personally, I like two columns, but personal preference varies. Some folks don’t like columns at all, and that is fine, though a table of contents or a “what’s in this issue” section is nice. However you decide to go, make sure it’s easy to navigate your newsletter and that it’s easy to see whatever you want recipients to see.

Do you want people to click through to your site? Then make sure the link is obvious. Want people to “like” your page on Facebook? Then don’t bury a link to your page at the bottom of your newsletter. When you have too much “filler,” you end up with clutter, and then people don’t even see your wonderful offer or your excellent article.

There are lots of reasons to market by email. There are not many excuses for sending out horrible newsletters. Before you even begin putting together a template, you should think about your reasons for sending a newsletter at all. What do you want to accomplish? How can your template help you achieve that goal?

Of course, all of this ranting could just be evidence of my steadily increasing crotchetiness. Do you find horrible email design an assault to your inbox? Maybe other people love seeing all the bright colors and nifty fonts. Please, chime in. I’m curious if this bugs other people, too.

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