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Email newsletters that get action

The science behind email newsletters that get action

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Do you wish you could get better results from your email newsletters? What if I told you that there’s a bit of science behind building a newsletter that gets action?

Don’t worry, it’s not that hard! In fact, in this blog post, I’m going to reveal to you the exact science behind a newsletter that will get your business results, by breaking down what your email newsletters should include.

The header

This is your calling card. It’s what tells people looking at their inboxes who you are and what you’re emailing about. It’s the difference between your email being opened or not, or worse still, being marked as spam. So, what does your header need to make sure your email gets read?

  • Being instantly recognisable. Pick a display name that will instantly show your readers who the email is from. Emails that are sent from a named person are opened more often, so consider using your name in the ‘From’ field. Nothing says ‘I don’t care about you’ more than a noreply@xxxx email address.
  • Using eye-catching subject lines. I’m afraid ‘weekly news’ or ‘monthly newsletter’ won’t’ cut it. That type of subject line is destined to put your email in the read-later pile. Your subject line should ask a question, make a bold statement, give your readers an action to complete, or even be a bit mysterious. It should make the reader want to open and read your email.

The pre-header

If you’re not using a pre-header, you’re really missing out! It’s a valuable space in a person’s inbox and acts as a second subject line on all mobile phones and in some desktop email software, such as Microsoft Outlook. What do you need to think about when using the pre-header?

  • Think about how you can use the pre-header to extend your subject line. If, for example, your subject line is too long, it will get cut off in email previews. You can use the pre-header as a continuation of your subject line.
  • What action do you want your readers to take? The pre-header can help you to direct your readers into taking the next step you want them to take. For example, you might use the words ‘shop now’ or ‘read today.’

Email newsletters that get action

Logo and colours

Just as your ‘from name’ needs to be instantly recognisable, so, does the email itself. Once your readers have opened it, they need to see a link to your brand. One great way to do this is to use your logo and your brand colours in the email. Here’s what you need to think about:

  • Pick one colour that you will use as your main colour. My main colour is purple.
  • Think about how you can use other colours. For example, my secondary colour is a lime green, which I use for links, buttons and text I want to stand out.
  • Keep the number of colours you use to three as a maximum. You don’t want your email to look like it ‘just threw up a rainbow,’ as someone once so eloquently said to me!

Email newsletters that get action


Using an image will break up the text in your email, and it will also give you another, more visual, way to talk about your key message. Make sure it’s a clear image that is related to the content of your email. Some other things to remember to do:

  • Overlay some text on the image to create an additional place to put a call to action or succinctly talk about the content of your email.
  • Make your image clickable because it’s an extra opportunity to get people to the place you want them to go to. Make it specific to the action you’re asking your readers to take. For example, if you want them to read your latest blog post, link the image directly to it.



The text you use in your email is important. The email needs to sound authentic, and it needs to sound like it really is from you. As a small business owner, try to avoid the words ‘we’ and ‘us’, particularly if it’s just you in your business. Write as if you’re talking to one person and make the person reading feel like they’re hearing from one person. Other things to remember:

  • Keep it short. People are busy and have a short attention span, so get to the point quickly. You want your readers to take action, so tell them as soon as possible what that is.
  • Make sure your text is readable, particularly for those reading on a mobile. Make your text large enough: 22 point for titles and at least 14 point for the main text.
  • Personalise your email by adding a greeting at the beginning and using the recipient’s name.

Email newsletters that get action

Call to action

I’ve talked all the way along about you wanting your audience to take an action. This is where you tell them exactly what you want them to do. One of my favourite sayings is: ‘You don’t ask, you don’t get,’ so make sure you ask! What to remember:

  • Make your call to action clear. Most people use a button with lots of white space around it.
  • Use action words to help your readers, i.e. ‘read now’ or ‘reserve your place now.’

Email newsletters that get action


I like to finish off my emails with a signature. Just as I personalise my emails with my readers’ names, I like to personalise with a signature. But, it does more than that. I also have a smaller call to action under my signature.

  • Don’t use your real signature. Sign off with just your first name. In my case, one of my company fonts is a script font, which I use.
  • Think about what call to action you’d like to put under your signature. You can change it every time.

Email newsletters that get action

The footer

Just as you use the header to get your foot in the door of your readers’ inboxes, the footer should be an open invitation for your readers to connect with you in other ways, such as social media.

  • Include a link to your social media accounts. Make sure your readers know you’re inviting them to join you there.
  • Include a link to join your mailing list. Yes, I did mean that. If your email gets forwarded, give the person who receives it the chance to join your mailing list.

Email newsletters that get action

Email marketing is one of the tools you should absolutely be using to market your business. As a solo business owner, you have so much to learn. That’s why I decided to take the hassle out of learning how to do email marketing. My online course, Small Business Email Marketing, is available now. I created it for people like you, who want to get started but don’t know how. Go and explore how it can help you!

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