Whether you are a one-person shop or large organization, planning your email newsletter is key. It will mean the success, ongoing and immediate, of your newsletter deliveries.

So first ask yourself, “What is my message?” and then prioritize your information. Designing professional, beautiful newsletters is a privilege, but simply placing designs within the newsletter can still lead to an ineffectual campaign.

Content is king. So think of your textual message, the purpose of the email newsletter, as the first item to be seen/read and then how to visually render your message to capture the attention and imagination of the audience in just a few seconds.

You may be in a hurry and just need to get out the first newsletter, everyone knows this feeling. But after meeting such a deadline, take a deep breath and consider the following questions:

1) Think about your audience and who you are sending the emails to. What is the best way to capture their attention with your newsletter?

2) What is your main reason for sending the email newsletter and how will that aspect determine your content? Then how should you develop your titles, subtitles, and body content to reflect this message?

To reiterate, you may only have your readers for a few seconds and they may be reading your newsletter within a viewing pane and only get the very top portion of your newsletters. So in addition to you header, have your main message at top. It doesn’t mean your images or titles have to be really big – too big and your readers may not see enough of it; just visually and relatively larger and at the top.

Remember, too, that most often, your readers will not see the images at first, so be sure to use image captions and text that will let your readers know who your are and the reason for your email without having to view the images. Then they will open your newsletter and allow images for the full visual impact of your newsletter.

3) What type of emails are you planning to send – all catalogs, or relevant news features, or announcements, or a combination of email types? You also need to determine your timing, which ones to send and to whom (should you segment your audience) and how often?

Too many newsletters and you’ll lose subscribers, too few, and they will not feel they have a relationship with you. It all depends on your message and the type of email newsletter you plan to send.

Testing a combination of email types may be necessary at first, and discovering more about how your audience responds to the type and frequency of your email. This process is key, too; it is an effective way to learn about your audience thinks is important.

You may strike it rich first delivery. But most often you, the business owner, are part of the process of getting to know your customers through email.

4) If you have existing visual designs relevant to your email campaign, how do you incorporate those images for consistency and to support your message? Your email is not your website or your entire corporate book or catalog. So use your existing images and content in a way that is representative, and send your readers on to your website for further information.

5) And finally, if you see examples of other email newsletters you like, what is it you like about them and would they apply to your current needs in getting across your message?

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Molding my "Approach to Art and the Written Word" by observing color and following light, form, and time. Always learning new ways of working and interacting within local and online communities. Taking in the sights and sounds and making notes.