Our 2021 Tops Tips for Impactful Email Newsletter Design


Email marketing is an efficient way to stay connected with your clients while promoting your products and services. With email marketing, you can easily and quickly reach target markets without the need for large quantities of print space, television or radio time, or high production costs.

However, when it comes to newsletter design, there are specific requirements imposed by email clients and mobile apps that you need to keep in mind. You can spot a well-designed newsletter if it engages with the recipient and invites you to take action. A well-crafted newsletter will help you increase your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and Opening Rates (OR) to help you get more sales from your existing customers.

Today we will go over some of the best design practices for email newsletters that will help you out when you’re creating your own.


Make use of the tools available to you

Thanks to graphic optimization and responsive templates, making a visually appealing newsletter that incorporates design best practices is easier than ever. Services like MailChimp have done the research and know what it takes to get your open rates and E-mail key figures moving in the right direction.

→ Not to mention, with a responsive template, e-mails can be easily read on all devices.

Of course, choosing a great template is just the first step. Let’s take a look at how you can customize your newsletter to ensure the design highlights the content in a way that will let both shine.


Subject line

Here it is essential to keep things short, concise, and punchy. Test the length of the subject line, especially on the mobile version, and be sure not to exceed three punctuation marks. Use creative and informative subject lines to keep customers interested.

*Pro-tip: Do not use terms like “Urgent,” “Free,” “Winner,” etc., to describe the contents of your newsletter, or you could end up being filtered to spam. Use keywords that invite your customers to open and explore the content.

If you have personal data at your disposal, add their first or last name to the subject line. Incoming emails that are addressed to someone have a higher likelihood of being opened.

For upcoming sales, we have noticed that showing discounts with a negative value (e.g., €20) has a higher OR than sale newsletters with a percentage discount.


Header image

This is a vital part of your newsletter design that boasts a lot of potential. First and foremost, you want the subject of the newsletter to be evident in the header image. This could include highlighting a promotion—e.g., 3 for 2, New Products, etc.

Header images should ideally not be used multiple times. Instead, you want to integrate creative CTAs in the header image so that the customer can directly enter your shop, blog, or social media channel. The idea here is to attract attention with eye-catching buttons and call-to-actions that guide customers directly to the shop.

Test the size of your header image on mobile devices to ensure you are leaving space for more content to be seen above the fold.

newsletter design

Image source: eCoda Solutions



Don’t miss out on this critical opportunity to personalize your newsletter and give your content the reach it deserves! Optimization of a more personal salutation, e.g., “Dear dog lover”; First / last name given from the website.

Remember, to do this, you first need data, which can only be generated by an optimized NL registration. A personal approach can be the first compelling point of contact for subscribers, so they feel valued and are more likely to pay attention to the content.


Above the fold

When opening the newsletter on their devices, your customers should be able to understand the subject and objective of the newsletter without needing to scroll. This means that your header image, headline, text, and CTA should all be above the fold. As our marketing intelligence expert, Christopher Smid is quick to remind clients,

The attention span of users is shorter than ever, and if you cannot create a hook and an interest to read more, you will miss out on essential clicks to your content.

You can give more context to the subject of your newsletter after this first CTA above the fold. The truth is that most of your subscribers won’t read further than the first CTA. So you want to make sure you create that hook and fill out the gaps underneath.


Upside down pyramid focus

When designing your above-the-fold content, you want to have the picture of an upside-down pyramid in front of you.

  1. Start big with a header image that clearly shows your subject has a headline in it and also a CTA
  2. A headline stating your subject of the newsletter
  3. A short introductory text to the subject with salutation
  4. A quick and easy CTA to explore more on your website

With this technique, you can guide the viewer’s eye to the action you want them to take and increase your CTR to your store. Make sure you are able to quickly explain the reasoning for your mailing in that introduction part. If you are not able to break it up into 20-40 words, then re-evaluate your topic and if you should break it down to multiple mailings.

newsletter design

Product links

In every newsletter, you should focus on drawing attention to one of your products. This can be done effectively with a paragraph at the end of the newsletter, such as “Did you know …?” Here, you have the opportunity to deliver a positive message and draw attention to new products.


Give the reader more to explore

Never leave your reader hanging. An area where the reader can jump straight to the blog or website should be a fixed part of any newsletter. In this way, you allow customers to link directly to your website and automatically increase traffic to the content pages.

The social media content area where readers can read your Instagram posts is another area that should be worked into every newsletter. So get your Informative IG Posts a second life.



The footer is a fixed part of the newsletter and can remain unchanged across campaigns. This is where you should provide the option to unsubscribe (an important legal requirement for any newsletter!).


Other ideas for newsletter design success: Structuring and graphic elements

  • Use dividing lines to give structure: Headings in the text give structure and help readers orientate themselves.
  • Infoboxes help to highlight brief information.
  • Checklists are clear and make it easier to read.


Final checklist of what you need for your design to standout:

  1. Personalized- address the customer by name
  2. Responsive- Perfect display across different devices
  3. CTA above the Fold
  4. Linked Image in the header
  5. Shop Integration = clickable Products
  6. A Header that explains the content/Motivation of the newsletter
  7. Don’t put 2 CTAs in a row
  8. Properly sized Header
  9. Complete Preview Text

Ultimately, always be mindful of the fact that your email newsletter design should inspire your users to take action, generate revenue, or increase customer loyalty and awareness. By following these best design practices, you will ensure that your emails look great across all devices and get the kind of attention that they deserve.

Ready to dive deeper into strategies for taking your email newsletter to the next level? Get in touch to book a free appointment with one of our experts.