13 Newsletter Design Tips That Increase CTR by 200%

Newsletter_Layout1

The best newsletter design tips power up your click-through-rate (CTR). The ratio of clickers to openers, the CTR is the true measure of your newsletter’s success. While compelling newsletter content counts, it must have a visually engaging framework to motivate your subscribers to click.

Here’s the good news. You don’t have to master HTML or develop layout talents to spread your message. These 13 design tips give you everything you need to create an email newsletter that ramps up your CTR.

1. Build Design Around Your Intent

Successful email marketers start the design process by identifying how they want to interact with their target market. Take a cue from the pros by asking yourself these simple questions:

  • What do I want to communicate to readers?
  • How do I want them to feel about my content?
  • Where are their clicks most important?

This quick exercise jump-starts the way you think about designing your newsletter. It forms your foundation for building a layout strategy that appeals to first-time recipients and converts them into happy subscribers.

2. Avoid Newsletter Content Overload

A great newsletter serves up great content, but don’t let yours be too much of a good thing.

Imagine your newsletter with a newspaper-length story covering multiple important facets of your start-up. Or maybe you choose a layout that describes all the services offered by your nonprofit. You end with a strong call to action (CTA), and all you can do is hope for a good CTR.

Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to work.

Now, reimagine your presentation as several short pieces containing enticing information. See it through the eyes of someone who wants to click several links and learn more about your products and services.

When you visually separate your newsletter’s text with strategic design, you avoid sinking reader interest with content overload. Recipients are more likely to stay engaged when they aren’t overwhelmed.
Recipients are more likely to stay engaged when they aren't overwhelmed. #newsletterdesign Click To Tweet

Remember, too, that you need to ensure you’re using responsive templates, i.e., consider how your email will look on mobile devices.

3. Create a Clean Layout for Easy Scanning

Design professionals use the term “hierarchy” to describe a layout that effectively delivers information. This type of structure directs initial focus on priority messages “above the fold.” Recipients then naturally scan down the rest of the newsletter page as they continue reading.

A clean layout makes it easy to dig deeper into your message. Readers locate and click links that connect with additional information and downloadable resources.

templates
Pay attention to the visual hierarchy your templates create.

Design pros build brand recognition with consistent headers and footers. These layout elements give your newsletter a look that’s instantly recognizable. They also simplify updates.

Here’s some more good news. You can quickly integrate these tricks into crafting professionally designed layouts. You only need a user-friendly newsletter template.

4. Don’t Start Unsightly Font Fights

Keep your content readable by keeping your fonts from fighting. Contrasting fonts create interest. Too many styles and sizes result in hard-to-read chaos. Follow these simple font rules of thumb.

  • Limit yourself to three fonts and minimum formatting
  • Set off headers and footers with sans serif fonts
  • Consider serif fonts for large blocks of text

Use legible fonts optimized for accessibility. Don’t let them overrun your layout and run off potential subscribers.

Don't start unsightly font fights! #newsletterdesign Click To Tweet

5. Impress With a Powerful Header

This layout element’s position at the very top of your page commands attention. It’s the first thing people see. It has to impress. The header can be a stand-alone image or text. Strong headers combine both.

Choose your image wisely. If you repeat it with every newsletter, it will become your newsletter’s calling card. You might want to change it to reflect products, services or ideas. The header also serves as an ideal location for your logo.

Header text stands as your opening statement. Choose a font that complements the header image.

A powerful header draws people in. Its image and text generate real interest, and that results in a high CTR.

💡 Use these tips to write a compelling header that ensures reader engagement.

  • Start your header with an action verb
  • Keep words simple and on point
  • Make your statement bold
  • Craft it as a unique value proposition

6. Let Your Newsletter Breathe

White space gives your content and images room to breathe. Make the most of it. Try different layouts in different email templates. Pay attention to how white space keeps graphics and text visually balanced. This trick is especially important for story-heavy newsletters.

Use your template to try out varying margin widths. Play with wide gutters. Insert extra white space between text blocks, and keep blank spaces aligned.

White space makes sure important information stays front and center, inviting and easy to read.

kokedama newsletter template
Ample white space gives a template a sense of ease.

7. Use Images That Speak for You

It’s true. The right picture can be worth a thousand words. Newsletter images can be photos, artwork or infographics, but they shouldn’t clutter your layout. You want graphics that stand out without overpowering your message.

Keep their coverage to around 30% of your newsletter’s space. Templates let you rearrange image placement and find the ideal balance between graphics and text.

The best newsletter images do more than grab attention. They complement and support your content.

8. Give Content Visual Edges

Effective newsletter layout creates visual edges around content. It guides them from your initial message through your CTA. Think of it as a cross between a map and a floor plan.

Picture an inverted triangle over your newsletter. At its top and widest point, you establish your first connection. This area belongs to your header. The imaginary triangle acts like a funnel directing a reader’s gaze down and through content and images to your CTA.

Use white space and borders to organize layout hierarchy and set off text. Visual edges make content easier to navigate, and that holds reader attention from your newsletter’s opening to finish.

food newsletter template
Give content hard visual edges, even if just with white space!

9. Write Content That Ends With a Click

When recipients click, your newsletter wins. Whether they hit a link, a download or your CTA, your hard work pays off. Your message begins to connect with social media channels across all digital platforms.

Make it happen with these tips for writing conversion-centric content.

  • Engage readers with short paragraphs
  • Keep your text on point
  • Be sure every word counts
  • Offer something of real value
  • Explain how one click will make a difference for your subscriber

You don’t have to be a wordsmith to craft compelling content and ring up impressive CTRs. Believe in your product or service, and let that confidence be your guide.

10. Double Check Your Balance

As you develop your email newsletter layout, maintain a balance between text and images. Content editing changes paragraph size and length. Reworking white space and repositioning pictures affect page symmetry.

A good template previews your newsletter in progress. Don’t be surprised when changes result in big layout differences. Be ready to apply small tweaks that restore visual balance.

Colors count too. From graphics and borders to fonts, your color schemes should complement your overall design.

restaurant newsletter template example
Double check the text and image balance in your design.

11. Make Your CTA Stand Out

Your CTA is an essential element in conversion-centric design. This layout sweet spot generates the clicks that make your newsletter a success.

Create interest with different font shapes and colors. Frame the CTA, or give it a graphic background. You want it to pop, but you don’t want it to turn into visual clutter.

Keep the wording simple and compelling. Place your CTA directly below text that sums up the value of your newsletter’s offer. Make it a link or a button, but make sure it stands out.

Place your CTA directly below text that sums up the value of your newsletter's offer #newsletterdesign Click To Tweet

12. Finish With an Engaging Footer

A strong footer improves reader engagement by consolidating useful links. Finish your newsletter by anchoring the footer at the bottom of your layout hierarchy.

Always include an unsubscribe button in your footer. It’s legally required in many regions, and it demonstrates your commitment to best newsletter practices. It also conveys respect for your recipients.

💡 These are examples of connections that increase interest and invite valuable clicks:

  • Social media links that start conversations
  • Channels for asking for more information
  • A sign-up link or subscribe button
  • Special promotions like coupons and limited-time offers
  • Links to your email address, website and business location

13. Test for Email Newsletter Success

The newsletter looks great. From your point of view, it’s a sure winner. Are you certain that impressive layout will play well across all devices and email clients?

Multiple email clients serve subscribers around the world. How will your newsletter look when it hits those inboxes?

See for yourself with email client display testing. Take a look at how you look. Enjoy knowing your newsletter delivers your message across all email clients.

You’re finally ready to hit that send button and spread your good word.

In Sum …

Now that you have solid tips for designing a winning newsletter, make them work for you.

If you’re developing an email campaign for your school or non-profit, turn these design tips into your power tools. If you’re launching a small business, use them to streamline your layout process.

Your newsletter will engage recipients, hold their interest and convert them into subscribers. When you hit that send button, you know your newsletter design will increase CTRs. Congratulations on a job well done!

Now that you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve, how about creating your own newsletter in our software?

About the author

Mara Taylor
Online Marketing Manager at Newsletter2Go

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