We all get a ton of email newsletters in our inboxes every week. Every time you sign up for a new product, service or online personality, you’re likely to get some form of email response. We talk a lot about engagement, conversion and open rates – but few people address usability & functionality. I love to be inspired by great design — but there are a few things that just drive me batty about the typical email newsletter.
Pet peeve #1 – all image emails.
Recently I got a newsletter from a local studio that looked like this.
This studio may not be aware of it, but many email users have images turned OFF by default. There’s nothing compelling me to take the extra step to view the images. Why are you instantly turning off your audience by making them click one more thing?
Keep images to a minimum and make sure you have some default text that displays in place of the graphic.
Keep it simple, keep it clear — you want the email to load quickly and get your message to your viewers. Keep in mind that a large majority of your users will also be opening emails on their phones – and they don’t want to wait to download the image of your holiday sweater.
Quick Tip: Going to use an image?
Make sure you use descriptive text in your images “ALT TAG” to prompt your audience to view the pic — and make sure it’s worth their time and bandwidth!
Pet peeve #2 – really small fonts.
I’m on the computer, iphone & tablet all day long (as are most of you!)
And my eyes are shot. Do us all a favor and use larger type.
Please don’t use 10pt font for your newsletter.
14pt is ok.
16pt is better.
But by the same token, don’t use super large type for every line.
Then I feel like you’re shouting at me.
Set-up several email testing accounts to get a good representation of what your email will look like in different email clients. I like to test (at a minimum) gmail, yahoo and outlook. Want to do heavy testing? Check out email testing services such as Litmus.
Pet peeve #3 – no clear way to unsubscribe
Occasionally I’ll get put on someone’s list (without my permission) or I find that a newsletter just isn’t providing me value anymore. If I have to hunt down a way to get of a list, you can bet I’m not going to be happy about it. Just because I get off a list doesn’t mean I won’t buy from you…but if you frustrate me, I will remember it.
p.s. You MUST provide this opt-out by law.
For more info, check out the CAN-SPAM act.
Pet peeve #4 – no way to opt-out of certain communications
I get that you’re excited about your launch or special offer. But make sure to give your users an EASY way to opt-out of certain promotions – without unsubscribing from your main list. I use ConvertKit to set-up “triggers” inside of emails to let people “opt-out” of promotions. That way I’m talking to the segment of my audiences that’s into what I’m selling. Want
Does your audience really crave a daily email from you? If so, great! But do consider setting up an option for your viewers to choose how many communications they get from you – a weekly digest might get a better response. Using ConvertKit? You can easily “tag” customers with how often they’d like to hear from you.
Pet peeve #5 – way too long
Length really depends on your market – I find it all depends on the quality of the content and the type of audience. If you are really providing valuable information (and not one long sales letter every week) people will read it.
My personal preference – keep the email scannable and easy to read.
People have short attention spans and are searching for that quick nugget of great info. It’s better to email more frequently.