Email Marketing: Newsletter Design & Layout

Waterstone Email Marketing

The following questions we want to ask ourselves as we maintain the current trends of Email Marketing and receive the best results.

Does presenting the content in your email newsletter impact the results you receive?

What should an email newsletter look like?

How do you arrange it so that the newsletter draws customers to your site?

Does the layout depend on the topic and target market you are trying to sell your product to?

Email Newsletter vs. Website
The first concept to grasp is that email newsletters are not websites! When you send a newsletter, customers are not expecting your website. Obviously, you want your newsletter to continue branding your website, remaining strong with the overall image, but a newsletter should have a very different layout from your website. Think about the word Newsletter, what other forms of news do we look at and how do they draw us in? Newsletters should have a similar feel as a newspaper or a magazine. Newspapers always give you the main topic of the article first. Your reader should be able to figure out the main idea of your email newsletter from the first glance at the top of the email. Think about how a magazine or a newspaper pulls you in with headlines and teasing featured articles. You want to do the same as you setup your newsletter. One idea to consider is to bullet point the main topics of the newsletter at the top of the page. The bullet points can also work as a table of contents linking to different parts of the newsletter. Remember to draw your readers in with key points, maintaining a layout of news and not a website.

Email Blasts vs. Full Articles
Deciding what your content is about is influential to formatting the newsletter layout. You want to have a clear goal whether your newsletter will drive traffic to your site or build your reputation and relationship with the reader. If you want to drive traffic to your site, don’t give the complete information in the newsletter. Build links to your website that will tease readers to click on them. Skillful ‘teasers’will drive traffic to your site. If you decide your newsletter is more about relationships and reputation, then your newsletter should provide the complete information, giving the full content to the reader.

Prioritizing Content
To organize content, you want to target the reading styles, putting more emphasis on certain areas of your newsletter. Some readers skim subject lines and may never look at the email, others will skim the main headers and key bullet points of the newsletter. The following are the areas that are important to emphasize in your newsletter:Catalina Email Marketing

  • Dynamic Subject Lines

Some readers look at the subject lines of their emails, if it doesn’t appeal to them, they will delete the email without opening it. Making your subject line dynamic is a crucial aspect to bringing results.

  • Call to Action

You always want to make it easy for your reader to take the actions you are wanting; in your newsletters have a primary place for the reader to click your call to action.

  • Sectioning your Newsletter

Placing your content in sections, help readers gain the main points, and makes it simple for readers to quickly find the area of the newsletter they are most interested in.

  • Headlines

It is easier for readers to get the main point of your newsletter, if they have headlines to outline the key points. Headlines go along with sectioning your newsletter, helping to organize the content for readers.

  • Image Blocking

You want to make sure your newsletter can be read even if the pictures are not displaying. Make sure your layout allows for this aspect, readers can still read your newsletter even without the pictures.

Conclusive Testing
Remember the above key points as you think about the layout of your next email newsletter. You may want to test different layouts to see what works best for your. This will help you see the impact layouts have on your results. With tracking programs, you can try different types of newsletters and track the actions of your readers.

There are many different ways to layout a newsletter; however here is example template highlighting placement and key attributes discussed in the article:

Gloria Layout


  1. henrry134 says:

    This helps me to test different layouts and of course to see what works best for me. This will help me to see the impact layouts on your results. Definitely help this information to stay longer in the internet marketing world.

  2. Do you have a recommendation for an easy to use email newsletter service?

  3. Thanks for the recommendations. This article is most helpful.

  4. Mike,

    My recommendations for email newsletter services include:

    Constant Contact
    Vertical Response

    Here at Blizzard Internet Marketing, Inc. we offer email marketing for ‘hospitality websites’.

  5. Nice post! The ideas and insights are very worth reading. You really gave valuable information. Thanks for sharing it!

  6. Is there an industry standard as to how many words should go in a typical e-newsletter?

  7. Hi Kate!

    It really depends on the subject of the newsletter. In the article I talk about blasts vs. full articles. If you are just sending out a quick blast about a special going on or some current event, then your content will be quick and short, maybe some bullet points and a link to more info on your website. However, a full article is going to be more detailed with news and information. On a full article I would say a minimum of 250 to 300 words with the nature of the article being detailed and news oriented. This is the standard for a homepage on a website.

    I hope this is helpful!

  8. Great point when it comes to Prioritizing Content.

    I can think of several occasions that I sent a newsletter that included multiple topics. Ends up. the only topic people were interested in was whatever the subject indicated the email was about and I would hardly get any clicks on anything else in the email!

    So I must agree that when sending a newsletter make sure you include your most important information first!

    I may not completely agree with the use of too many images though. In my experience images are exploitable by spammers (eg, pharmaceutical ad’s as an image.) I think the quantity and size of the images may be what keeps HTML emails from getting through at times.

    Thanks for yet another great article! Keep em’ coming!


  9. Mike,

    You can also try i use them and its very easy to compose both html and text newsletters. i like bigresponse because they have a feature where you can conduct multivariate testing on your campaigns so you can really hone in on optimizations.

    this is a great post. you really gotta test and keep testing as far as design and content. value should also always be delivered in some form with each email…

  10. In many cases it will depend on the product or service that you are advertising with an email program. Most of us I am sure receive promotional marketing via email, some of it will be read, others will only be viewed if the initial subject heading or first line of the email gives the right impact. While the content and information inside the entire email must be great it is really important to get that subject line or first sentence grabbing attention.

  11. For any email marketing campaign to be successful, you need to have a list of responsive buyers. Great care needs to be taken when building a list of prospects.