06-06-2011 09:22 AM
Hi everyone, my name is Bob Barton and I am a consultant in the Custom Services department here at Constant Contact. Our group is primarily involved in the creation of email newsletters for our customers. We also receive a number of questions on how to customize the look of a newsletter using Constant Contact standard templates. While getting a newsletter to look exactly the way you like can sometimes seem challenging, here are five steps that can help you along the way:
1. Use Consistent Fonts for Headlines and Paragraph Text
By using consistent font sizes and colors you can achieve a clean and professional look for your newsletters, while also making them easier to read. Ideally there should be a distinguishable size difference between article headlines and your text, but try to refrain from using multiple font colors.
2. Keep Spacing Uniform Between Blocks
I recommend addressing spacing after all your content has been inserted. After you have finalized your layout, go back and visually inspect the distance between each block. If there is a noticeable difference between blocks you can either add or remove space beneath the last line of text or image.
3. Add Your Brand or Logo Colors
Your newsletter’s colors should resemble your company or organization. This simple step often goes a long way in ensuring that your recipients recognize you the moment your newsletter is opened.
Alternate colors can still be used, but only on a limited basis. For example, need to highlight a particular article for a special announcement? You can change the background color for that specific block. Remember, a lighter background color with darker text will generally make your content easier to view on a screen.
4. Use Images Provided with the Templates to Your Advantage
Default images provided in Constant Contact templates are coded with precise settings. Instead of removing the image (and its settings along with it), right-click (for MAC users hold the Ctrl key and click) to “change”, or replace, the image. This way, your new image will retain the convenient spacing around the sides that it could inadvertently lose if you immediately delete the placeholder image.
5. Pay Attention to Length
"How long should my email be?" This is a frequent question often heard in Constant Contact’s Custom Services department. I recommend using your own discretion. However, the longer your newsletter the more of a chance your content can go unread.
If you find your articles to be lengthy, try using a teaser or a lead-in with a "read more" link to a website or a document you have uploaded into your Constant Contact account. Not only will you reduce the length of your newsletters, you will also be able to see which article is most interesting to your readers through the email’s click-through report.
Ready to take action? Check out these related resources for help getting started:
- Support Blog: Matching Colors for Great Looking Emails
- Free Webinar: Newsletter Makeover
06-06-2011 03:16 PM
Great post. Thanks. I will be sharing this with my clients.
Wishing you awesome and continuing success,
Niche Marketing Strategy, Solutions & Support for the solopreneurs; small and mid-sized companies.
Publisher, Author, Speaker
Solutions, not just answers.
One Size does NOT fit all.
Solutions to fit your niche, your business and your budget.
07-11-2011 12:30 PM
Great tips, Bob! Thanks for the reminders on key elements in a newsletter. Always good to keep these in mind.
I often use the "click to read more" to send readers to the rest of the article on my website. This reduces the length of the newsletter. I have other links at the top of the issue and in the introductory paragraphs so readers can go directly to a tip or article they are most interested in.
Another step I recommend is to take full advantage of the Preview area and to send test mailings out to a small test list. I have gmail, hotmail, yahoo, and Outlook based e-mail accounts specifically so I can view the layout, text, fonts, colors, etc. from those different platforms. As some of my business clients also have very restricted, text-only e-mail programs, I also include a link for the "Can't read the graphics?" people.
The Software Pro
Microsoft Certified Trainer & Microsoft Office Expert
Software Tips, Tricks & Techniques e-zine at http://www.softwarepro.com/subscribe.htm
Constant Contact 2010 All Star