How to Update Your Email Newsletter Design to Increase Clicks

ADAM ROGERS - NOV 10, 2017

Email newsletters are the perfect way to stay in touch. After all, people skim their emails on the bus, during their lunch break, and while they’re watching TV.

Even though email marketing delivers an ROI of $44 for every $1 spent, an individual’s email inbox is a competitive environment. According to Emfluence, the average click-through rate on B2C emails is about 4%, versus an open rate of 22%.

How can you encourage more people to take action when they receive your email newsletter? The answer is design. If you’re not using the best design for your emails, you might be disappointed by your results.

Today, we’re sharing how you can update your email newsletter design to help increase your click-through rate and get better results.

Reducing options increases action

Ever heard of Sheena Lyengar’s famous jam study?

In the study, one group of shoppers were given a choice of 24 different flavors of jam, and another group had only six flavors. Amazingly, 30% of customers bought jam after seeing only six flavors, while just 3% of customers purchased after viewing 24 flavors.

This study illustrates how human beings can become paralyzed in the face of too many options. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, offering more choices can be overwhelming.

It turns out that you can apply this principle to your email newsletter design to increase clicks.

The ideal way to do this is to drastically limit the number of choices you offer your subscribers. This tactic can work for all types of emails, whether it is a direct marketing campaign or weekly newsletter.

Ascend2 cites including a meaningful call-to-action (CTA) — rather than a generic one — as the most effective way to improve click rates.

Limiting the choices you offer is a sure-fire way to power up your CTA, so it packs a bigger punch. Rather than offering three different CTAs, why not offer only one?

How to update your email newsletter

Switch up your email templates

Your email template also has the potential to help you increase clicks, but you may be susceptible to becoming over-reliant on the same templates.

Once you have effective email templates, it can be tempting to send the same types of emails over and over. That’s one reason for disappointing click-through rates. Email subscribers are tired of seeing the same email over and over again.

There’s a typical format that most brands use in their email newsletters. It goes something like this:

As we’ve discussed, email marketing is extremely valuable for engaging and converting your customers, but many companies still aren’t doing it in the right way.

Send more emails with less content

The team at Kayako overhauled our newsletter design and gained some interesting insights.

We went from a bi-monthly plain text email with three links to the blog, to a much more visually appealing weekly one-shot format.

The new design directed our subscribers to just one article we thought would interest them most that week.

Notice how we’ve gone for:

When we changed our email campaign design like this, the results floored us.

Click rates doubled in that month’s newsletter– we saw an increase in click rates at 97.03%. It was a huge success.

A/B test your email newsletter design

But what content should you include in your campaign? Rather than simply hitting send and then waiting for results, you can A/B test your campaigns to find out what works.

In our case, we already knew our subscribers responded better to our weekly campaigns than our bi-monthly ones because they were emails containing just one choice of content. The next step was finding out just how significant choice was in determining click rates.

Building on our earlier success with changing our newsletter design, we came up with two alternative designs to test against each other:

Our hypothesis was that to get more bang for our buck with each email we should include three further reading links. This was in case the main content post didn’t catch a reader’s interest.

Check out version A:

With version B, we stuck to just one featured post and no more links.

We ran our A/B test for 8 weeks using Kayako data, and guess what?

Version A performed only slightly better than Version B, with a total of 13 more clicks. Our subscribers weren’t clicking much more on our further reading links, but the extra choices were also not putting them off clicking anything at all.

So our conclusion was that choice is not always demotivating, but you should be wary. Having a clear purpose to your emails, and sending them regularly, is also important.

Your email marketing software should enable A/B testing for your campaigns. The way this works is usually by sending each version of your email to a different segment of your subscriber list.

Keep your content laser-focused

B2B emails tend to follow the same format and often fail to inspire readers. On the other hand, B2C emails have to be incredibly high quality even to have a chance of making it into a subscriber’s inbox. The competition for your audience’s attention is much fiercer.

Too many emails have too many choices– avoid this problem by keeping your marketing emails laser-focused. Don’t confuse your readers by offering them all the content you published last month.

Tell subscribers exactly what to expect in your email subject title (don’t overdo it!), and keep your email body strictly limited to that one topic.

Remember, most of your readers will be viewing your email on their smartphone. It’s much harder to concentrate using such a small screen. Your subscribers are also pushed for time. That’s more incentive to keep your marketing emails short. A focused, regular, one-shot email can achieve that.

Wrap up

The reason you want more clicks in your emails is that you’re trying to improve conversions and ultimately make more sales. Ideally, every piece of content you include must contribute towards achieving your strategic goal and be something your subscribers will be genuinely interested in.

You may think you’re giving your subscribers more incentive to click through your emails by including as much content as possible, but you could be demotivating your audience with excessive choice.

Try simplifying your email newsletter design, A/B testing different content, and see if your results improve.


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