Writing Email Newsletters

We send a lot of email ourselves, and we follow our own best practices to set an example for users. But as devices shrink and the inbox evolves, our oldest tip is still the most important: Only send when you have something to say.

Basics

Our email newsletters help empower and inform MailChimp users. Here are the most common types of content we send by email:

  • Product and feature announcements
  • Tips for getting the most out of existing products and features
  • Regular monthly newsletters
  • Automated series (Getting Started with MailChimp)
  • Event invitations and information about online courses
  • System alerts about changes to functionality or scheduled maintenance
  • Internal newsletters

Guidelines

Email newsletters generally follow the style points outlined in the Voice and tone and Grammar and mechanics sections. Here are some additional considerations.

Consider all elements

Every email newsletter is made up of the following elements. Make sure they’re all in place before clicking send:

From name

This is usually the company or team’s name. It identifies the sender in the recipient's inbox.

Subject line

Keep your subject line descriptive. There's no perfect length, but some email clients display only the first words. Tell—don't sell—what's inside. Subject lines should be in title case. (Note that this is different from a headline, which you may want to include in the campaign itself.)

Preheader text

The top line of your campaign appears beside each subject line in the inbox. Provide the info readers need when they’re deciding if they should open.

Body copy

Keep your content concise. Write with a clear purpose, and connect each paragraph to your main idea. Add images when they’re helpful.

Call to action

Make the next step clear. Whether you’re asking people to buy something, read something, share something, or respond to something, offer a clear direction to close your message so readers know what to do next.

All campaigns follow CAN-SPAM rules. Include an unsubscribe link, mailing address, and permission reminder in the footer of each newsletter.

Consider your perspective

When sending an email newsletter from MailChimp, use the 3rd person “we.” When sending a newsletter as an individual, use the 1st person.

Use a hierarchy

Most readers will be scanning your emails or viewing them on a small screen. Put the most important information first.

Include a call to action

Make the reader's next step obvious, and close each campaign with a call to action. Link to a blog post, event registration, purchase page, or signup page. You can add a button or include a text link in the closing paragraph.

More than 50 percent of emails are read on a mobile device. Limit links to the most important resources to focus your call to action and prevent errant taps on smaller screens.

Use alt text

Some email clients disable images by default. Include an alt tag to describe the information in the image for people who aren’t able to see it.

Segment your audience

It’s exciting to send to millions of users at once, but it’s doubtful that every subscriber is interested in every topic. Segment your list to find a particular audience that’s likely to react.

Once you've selected an audience, adjust the language to fit their needs. For example, users who developed custom integrations are more likely to understand and appreciate direct, technical terms.

Test your campaigns

Use the preview mode to begin, and run an Inbox Inspection to see your newsletter in different email clients. Read your campaign out loud to yourself, then send a test to a coworker for a second look.