Features

Four Tips to Improve Your Email Newsletter Readability

Written on
May 8, 2012 
Author
Wikus Engelbrecht  |

GRAPHICMAIL – An email newsletter is a great way for a business to communicate with its customers. However, it’s always tempting just to dump a lot of content into the body of an email. After all, this way the message may appear to be more substantial and more authoritative.

What marketers need to grasp is that how well they present this content depends on the readability of the newsletter’s text. The easier it is to read, the better one can communicate with subscribers, increasing the value of each newsletter.

Some newsletters are very good in terms of having professional design and good copy — and yet since the content is too dense, the success rate of the campaign suffers. After all, what good is any marketing email message if people can’t read it and find the information they need quickly?

1. Break up paragraphs with white spaces. A white space in a newsletter is like a pause in a conversation. There are a number of important reasons for inserting such paragraph breaks frequently.

- It’s hard to read on screen. By breaking up newsletter paragraphs into little pieces, you make it easier for your readers to get through the copy in general.

- People like to skim, and studies have shown that they jump around the message without reading all the information necessarily in sequence. Having shorter paragraphs helps readers pick out things of interest to them.

- White space makes the text feel more conversational. When a promotional email uses the approach of having lots of short, one- or two-sentence paragraphs, it has a much more personal rhythm to it.

2. Use natural alignment. For some reason, there’s a tendency among some emailers to put all text in center alignment. It does depend on the rest of the design, but typically this just makes it difficult to read and to follow along with the structure of the newsletter.

Unless there is a specific reason for it, don’t try to get fancy — align all text to the left, since this is how we normally read.

3. Make the text scannable. To make their email marketing campaign have an eye-popping presence, there is often a desire to make all of the copy bold — but when this is done, it’s also true that nothing stands out. The effect of highlighting the most important lines is removed, because everything is the same.

So, only bold key information and headings. This way, when people scan, their eyes stop at the most crucial info that you want them to see.

4. Moderate line length for optimum reading. When the lines go all the way across the page, the text becomes less inviting to read, since it may look like there’s too much of it. It also causes eye fatigue, so even though people start reading, most of the time they’ll give up before they reach the end and skip to the next line.

Instead, lay out text to fit into skinny columns with fewer words per line, making it easier for subscribers to stay interested without skipping any details as they flick rapidly through the text, line by line.





Wikus Engelbrecht is a writer, journalist and digital poet at GraphicMail, an international email and mobile marketing service provider. His professional career in language and media has traveled the film, print advertising, magazine publishing, food theatre and online content industries since 2003.

Reader Comments.

Leave a Comment

Add a comment

Tags: , , , and
Article Sponsor

More Features