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Formatting Email Newsletters

Email newsletters are a great way to keep in touch and build a relationship with your customers. It is important to make your customer want to open and read your newsletter. Here are some tips to help you achieve your objectives.

Make your customer want to open it

The subject line of an email determines whether the email is opened or not. It is important to have an appealing and interesting subject line that stands out and shows the recipient that reading the email is of benefit to them. Rather than just a boring subject line, "News from Your Business", tell the reader what you can do for them, "50% off New Your Business Products". The subject line can make the content of the email appealing and worth a read.
Once the reader has opened the email they should see the information of most interest in the top section of your newsletter on the first computer screen (above the fold). Give the reader the information first so they know that it is worth scrolling down through the rest of the newsletter.
Customer Community tracks the number of emails that have been opened from the number that you sent out. This tool can show whether or not your subscribers felt that the email was worthy of being opened.

Build relationships between you and your customers

Emails are great for relationship building between you and your customers. Make your email stand out from others trying to do the same by making yours personal.
One option is to personalise the email subject line with the recipient's name. The personal aspect of this helps build the relationship between the business and your customer.
Customer Community allows you to easily personalise each newsletter with a custom greeting. It can also use the information collected on the sign-form to personalise the email, eg. Dear {First name}.
People are more likely to delete or ignore an email if they do not recognise the sender's name. Have the FROM field show a name (e.g. your business name) as opposed to just an email address and be consistent - don't keep changing the sender. Continuity will help build a relationship between you and your customer.
Through email newsletters small businesses can shine over larger ones by distancing themselves from cold and unfriendly corporate-talk. Write your emails in the same way you would to a friend. Write personally but ensure that you remain clear and concise.
Include full contact details at the end of the newsletter so your customer can contact you as soon as possible. This also helps build a relationship as the customer can interact with real people as opposed to only through email.
Customer Community templates can ensure your full contact details are always included when you contact your customers.

Send HTML newsletters - but let them choose

There is a choice to the format you choose for the email newsletter - text or HTML. Most newsletters today are in HTML format and there are a number of benefits to this format.
HTML newsletters are attractive and easy-to-read thanks to colour and images. The click-through rate (the number of people who click on the ad compared to the number of people who received the email) is almost twice that compared to text emails. In HTML newsletters you can include product images and these are great for producing catalogues of your products to email out to customers.
Text newsletters however should not be ruled out. They are more likely to reach their inbox destination as HTML is often considered to be spam and sent to the junk box. Text newsletters also offer consistency. Some companies will automatically strip out HTML when sent to an inbox to protect against viruses and people who use mobile phones to view emails will prefer text.
The best decision is to let the reader decide how they would like view the newsletter. Customer Community automatically delivers both HTML and text versions and auto-detects which version to display to each recipient.

Consider design and layout carefully

If your newsletter looks attractive and easy to comprehend your reader will have a better impression of your company.
Use 10pt text or larger to make text readable. Use high contrast text and background on your newsletter to make it as clear as possible - black on white or very dark on very light works best.
Using big blocks of text looks cluttered and runs the risk of the reader getting bored halfway through your email. The best length of text is about 50-55 words per line.
Your newsletter will not always be viewed in a wide window that fills the entire computer screen. It is therefore important to make the newsletter flexible and compressible.
A good tip is to send yourself a test newsletter before you send it to customers to ensure that the newsletter looks good and all the images open correctly.
Establish a format that you can use with each email. This will not only be easier for you but will also build expectations with your readers and a recognisable brand style.
Customer Community allows you to create professional newsletters quickly and easily without needing any HTML or design skills. Newsletters can be customised with your company colours and logos. Templates are provided and content and images can be easily added.

Don't use too many graphics

Graphics and images look great so do include them but do not rely on them.
If the reader has set their inbox to automatically block images, or if the images fail to download properly, rather than having a vibrant newsletter you are presenting the reader with a blank page.
You should ALWAYS feature your offer in text rather than graphics. Therefore, if the images do not download the reader will still see the main objective of your email.

Don't bombard your customer with information

Although it may be tempting to put lots of information and images in a newsletter don't overdo it - the newsletter will look cluttered and unreadable. You should also refrain from sending your subscribers too many emails.
Customer Community allows you to control who receives the emails you are sending out, whether it be to all or some of your community. For example, you can choose to send a certain offer or piece of relevant information to only one section of the country or segment. This avoids bombarding customers with irrelevant information and provides a personalised service to those who will benefit from this information.

Provide the opportunity to unsubscribe

Although you want as many subscribers as possible it is important to let customers unsubscribe - otherwise you will create angry customers who will pass on their bad impression of your company to others.
With Customer Communityevery piece of subscriber communication includes an unsubscribe option. This ensures that those who receive emails have legitimately given their permission and keeps your records up to date. Customer Community is SPAM Act compliant.
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Formatting Email Newsletters