5 Ways to Create Visually Appealing Newsletters {and Why It Matters}.

Hey fabulous content creators!  I’m Kirsten from Sweet Tea & Saving Grace, and author of An Inbox of Opportunity.  I’m so excited to be here today talking about one of my favorite things – email marketing!  I’m a huge advocate for email marketing for content creators and small business folks in every niche.  With the ever-changing algorithms of social media making it less likely your actual fans will see your content, it’s of the utmost importance, now more than ever, to build and grow your email list.  While anyone can throw together a simple newsletter, today I want to share with you 5 Ways to Create Visually Appealing Newsletters {and Why It Matters}.

5-Ways-to-Create-Visually-Appealing-Newsletters-and-Why-It-Matters-Sweet-Tea-Saving-Grace

Visually appealing content is incredibly important if you hope to attract readers.  Let this infographic do you a favor and further illustrate the importance of visuals (source):

infographic power of visuals

 

How can you combine the importance of email marketing with the appeal of visualization?

NEWSLETTERS.

And not just any ordinary newsletter – visually appealing newsletters that provide valuable content.  

Here’s how:

1Create brand-consistent newsletter campaigns.

Your brand is created by the aesthetic of your blog or website, your color scheme, fonts, and visual imagery you use.  Your brand is also created by the language, or “voice” you use when you write.

Your brand should translate to everything you do, including your newsletter campaign.  Your readers need to be able to instantly recognize an email from you when it hits their inbox.

Allow me to give you an example with my own newsletter as compared to my blog:

http://sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com:wp-content:uploads:2015:06:1

Sweet Tea & Saving Grace Blog and Newsletter Header

 

As you can see, the color scheme and graphics are the same in both my blog and my newsletter.  If you read even one issue of my newsletter, you’ll also notice my voice is consistent across both platforms as well.

Bonus:  Give your newsletter a clever name that corresponds with your branding.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT:  Creating brand consistency in every aspect of your marketing helps build trust among your readers and establishes familiarity.  You want your readers to notice your brand, whether they see a pin on Pinterest, read a tweet on Twitter, or get an email in their inbox.

To help you get started, download this FREE style sheet that I use for all of my email marketing clients.  You’re welcome!  *wink*

2 – Include relevant imagery.

I’m primarily a DIY and craft blogger, so I always have multiple images in my blog posts to illustrate my projects.  However, not all bloggers create content that involves an image.

 

 

Examples of relevant imagery might include:

  • An infographic, like the one in this post
  • High-quality stock photos with your branding added to them for consistency
  • A text image – a colorful rectangle filled with a relevant quote from your post
  • A tweetable quote (be sure to include a link to tweet it!)

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT:  Images draw the reader’s eye further down the page. On average, we only read about 20% of the text on a page, so including relevant imagery, whether it’s in a blog post or in a newsletter campaign, you help to ensure that you get your point across to your readers and hold their visual attention.

3 – Use bullet points & lists.

Bloggers have a lot to say.  That’s one reason we blog.  However, newsletters are not the place to get as wordy as you might in a blog post.  However, you can still provide value to your readers even when you have a lot to cover.

Just like I did in point #2 above, bullet points are a handy tool for writers to keep on hand.  You don’t need to write elaborate sentences to make a point.  And, to be honest, most people won’t take the time to read those elaborate sentences.

Newsletters can be considered a shorter version of a blog post, or a summation of recent blog history. So if you have a lot to say, use bullet points or a numbered list to keep it succinct and keep the thoughts flowing.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT:

  • People like to skim.
  • Bullets & numbered items make heavy content easily skimmable…
  • …while still getting your point across.
  • Plus, who doesn’t like polka dots?

4 – Stop using FeedBurner.

Right now.  I mean it.

I get it – FeedBurner is a one-and-done RSS syndication that’s easy for you to set up, and easy for readers to get your posts.

But have you looked at a FeedBurner email lately?  They’re boring.  Nobody likes boring.  Nobody shares and interacts with boring.

I’m a MailChimp girl, and MailChimp makes it super easy to create customized and brand-consistent RSS-driven campaigns.  Want to see what a customized RSS-driven campaign looks like?

sweetteaandsavinggraceblog.com

RSS Driven Email Campaign

 

Well hello there beautiful!  So nice, right?!  Which one would you rather see in your inbox?  Better yet, which one would most likely entice you to click through to the post?

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT:  Branded RSS-driven campaigns are more enticing, drawing the reader in for more.  Plus, if you take the time to create a customized RSS-driven campaign, you’ll stand out from all the other FeedBurner emails that readers get in their inbox.

5 – Make your newsletters share-worthy & shareable.

Ok, this one isn’t specifically about the visual aspects of newsletters, but it’s super important so I wanted to make sure I talked about it briefly.

It’s one thing to invite your readers to subscribe to your email list, but it’s a whole other can of beans to figure out what to send them.  But if done properly, newsletters can be one of the best tools in your marketing toolbox.

Determine what your readers want, and give it to them.  When in doubt, ask!  I create surveys often and send them to my email list asking what content they want to receive in their inboxes.

Still not sure?  Check your analytics to see what your most popular posts have been, then create additional content based on those posts that is only available to newsletter subscribers.

Feel free to check out my list of 101 Newsletter Content & Opt-In Offer Ideas on my blog for even more help creating valuable content for your newsletter subscribers.

101-newsletter-ideas for bloggers

101 Newsletter Content & Opt-In Offer Ideas for Bloggers

When you provide valuable content to your subscribers, they are more likely to share that content with others, thereby helping you expand your reach.  Having a visually appealing newsletter also makes subscribers more likely to share what you send.

Be sure to make it easy for your subscribers to share your newsletter.  Include buttons allowing them to “forward to a friend”, tweet, or post to Facebook.  And don’t be afraid to ask them to share it, too!  You’d be surprised how many people will share something if you simply ask.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT:  When you start building your email list, you are gaining a targeted audience of VIP members – people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.  Chances are, they know other people who might also enjoy your content.  By consistently providing something of value, and making it easily shareable, you’ll have an entire marketing team ready and willing to help you promote your content to their friends.

If you have not considered email marketing, or don’t truly realize the potential for your blog or business, I’d love to help.  I work one-on-one with bloggers and small business owners to help them unlock the potential of email marketing, create awesome opt-in offers, and design killer newsletters.

inbox of opportunity. sweet tea & saving grace

I believe in the power of newsletters so much, I even wrote a book about it!  The MailChimp platform is my go-to resource for all of my own email marketing, and I highly recommend it for my clients as well.  My ebook, An Inbox of Opportunity, will guide you from account set-up, through all of the available design tools, all the way through creating your own unique and fully branded newsletter campaign.

Each section is concluded with an actionable assignment to further drive home the lessons learned throughout the book.  I’ve also designed accompanying worksheets and cheat sheets to help you work through with each lesson.

For more information on the ebook and course options, visit An Inbox of Opportunity’s landing page, or to work one-on-one with me, feel free to email me at sweetteagrace{at}gmail{dot}com with any questions you might have.

I’d love to connect with you!  Introduce yourself on social media, stop by my blog, Sweet Tea & Saving Grace, and, of course, subscribe to my newsletter!

 

Kirsten Thompson
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Kirsten Thompson

Kirsten Thompson is the Southern drawl behind the blog Sweet Tea & Saving Grace. Since 2012 she has created hundreds of email newsletter campaigns for both herself and clients like Yellow Bliss Road, Clean and Scentsible, Ella Claire, Domestically Speaking, Run to Radiance, and more.

When she’s not monkeying around in Mailchimp, you can find her enjoying a big ol’ mason jar of sweet tea with her husband and daughter in Georgia.
Kirsten Thompson
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    Comments

    1. says

      Hi Lillian and Kristen, Great article here. I love the infographics and have to admit I haven’t tried them yet. This whole aspect is very appealing. We do want people to love what they see and what better way to do it than this. Combining your combination of colors with similar aspects helps your brand to stand out and is definitely inviting. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a good day, Ladies.
      BG Jenkins recently posted…Making ConnectionsMy Profile

    2. says

      I LOVE Kirsten! I have personally done her “Inbox of Opportunities” course and it’s fabulous. I DOUBLED my newsletter following in one month because of her organizational guidance and support through that course. I loved her comment about “It’s one thing to invite your readers to subscribe to your email list, but it’s a whole other can of beans to figure out what to send them.” It’s so true, we can bring in the subscribers, but then making a subscribe worth newsletter, month after month, or even week after week is not an easy task. Kirsten has such a powerful way of bringing people together on such a personal and invested level. Her energy is truly contagious. Thanks for such a fabulous post ladies!
      Julie recently posted…How To Charge What You’re WorthMy Profile

    3. says

      This was a truly delightful post Kirsten… I love to use images and branding in my newsletters and I really like the idea of giving my newsletter a name.
      I have to say I don’t know much about RSS campaigns, but I love to use images and lists to keep attention, draw the eye and add interest!
      I’m working on infographics now 🙂
      Such a wealth of tips and genius ideas for newsletters, this will be saved to my Pinterest 🙂
      Thanks to you both
      ~Jacs
      Jacs Henderson recently posted…Are You Missing This Surprisingly Useful Branding Option On Your Facebook Page?My Profile

      • Lillian De Jesus says

        Hi Lesly,

        Isn’t the creative titles just genius?! Kirsten is really great at that type of thing. I’m so glad you liked this post.

        I’m in her Inbox of Opportunity course and there’s some really great content that I’m learning.

        Take care,
        Lillian

    4. says

      Hi Kristen and Lillian,

      What an eye opener this is! I love the idea of creating beautiful newsletters. Emails are the key to our business. And what we all want is to have people open them, read and even reply.

      I sure do think that having it done so attractive will enable our readers to look forward to receiving them.

      Thanks so much for these wonderful tips.

      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted…YouTube Marketing Drives Free TrafficMy Profile

      • Lillian De Jesus says

        Hi Donna,

        So glad you liked Kirsten’s tips! Isn’t it great when people reply to the emails? I love that and I wish it would happen more often. I’m taking Kirsten’s Inbox of Opportunity course so hopefully I’ll get more engagement and provide some beautiful newsletters.

        Take care,
        Lillian

      • Lillian De Jesus says

        Hi Andy,

        Glad you liked Kirsten’s article! She has some great nuggets in there.

        Take care,
        Lillian

      • Lillian De Jesus says

        Hi Erika,

        Isn’t Kirsten great?! I love her suggestions and I’m already putting some of the ideas in place.

        Take care,
        Lillian

    5. says

      Lillian and Kirsten
      I can’t thank you enough, both of you, so much .
      I want to do a new newsletter and brand it to my sites (3) of them.
      I wanted to change from aweber to cut down on costs but wasn’t
      sure if I could do a good job on Mailchimp.
      Now I know I can, with your help. From PAC rotator.

      • Lillian De Jesus says

        Hi Kathryn,

        I haven’t used Aweber however I do use Mailchimp and it’s been wonderful to work with. Any issues or questions that I have I know I can go to Kirsten. She is awesome!

        Thanks for stopping by & take care,
        Lillian

    Trackbacks

    1. […] When you have the opportunity to connect with a prospective client via email, you must make the best impression. If you use an email marketing platform such as: MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, etc there are so many visual aspects to create your business brand stand out. You can definitely create and build your business with visual marketing with an email list. If you haven’t seen the post from my friend, Kirsten Thompson, from Sweet Tea & Saving Grace she explains 5 Ways to Create Visually Appealing Newsletters {and Why It Matters}. […]

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