Most read articles
7 tips on how to price your paid email newsletter
How do you price an email newsletter correctly? It’s a good question with no simple answer - here’s a few things to consider when pricing yours.
The Blog Team
Jul 29, 2022 · 6 min read
7 tips on how to design a great newsletter
Newsletter design is a tricky process, full of pitfalls that could have a serious impact on your success. As a writer, your goal is to produce content of the highest quality. But ensuring that content is delivered in a visually pleasing and functional way is just as important. You can have the best content in the world, but if it’s buried under bad design, it won’t be read. To help budding newsletter writers through this process, we sat down with the Scriber design team to get their top tips on how to design a great newsletter for your readers. 1. Use responsive design Responsive design really is a gold standard of any website or email newsletter. Over the past decade, mobile phones and smart devices became a staple of modern life. As a result, designers recognised that web and email content needed to be consumable on smaller screens. Initially, “mobile friendly” design was the way forward. This ensured that content could be viewed on mobile without changing the structure of the webpage or email. Today, as web design has evolved, responsive design is the go-to. The key difference here is that responsive design responds to the device on which it’s being viewed. This means your email or webpage literally changes and re-orders to suit the reader’s screen. It’s the best way to ensure a good user experience for your reader. If you’re designing a newsletter yourself, we definitely recommend contacting a seasoned designer or developer to help you integrate responsive design into your templates. Alternatively, you could just use Scriber – all our newsletter and web post templates are responsive as standard. 2. Stick to a limited colour palette When you’re not a designer, it’s very easy to end up using too many colours throughout your newsletter to highlight different sections. As a result, there are plenty of newsletter examples out there that end up looking like a kaleidoscope and drawing the reader away from the content itself. Colour can also reflect the type of newsletter you want to write. Consumer newsletters tend to use more vivid colours to help evoke different feelings. Professional newsletters tend to stick to 1 or 2 colours and use a lot of white space to keep the reader focused on what’s important. In any case, here’s our advice: You don’t need to use a different colour for every link, section or chart. Pick a primary colour and a highlight colour, like we do on Scriber. That way, you keep things simple and avoid newsletters that look like this: 3. Choose web-safe fonts If you’re not a designer, you’ve probably never heard of web-safe fonts. So, here’s a brief explainer. Web-safe fonts are fonts that are pre-installed on all devices, everywhere. This means they can be displayed without having to be downloaded from a website server like other visual assets, such as images or charts. This offers two key benefits for budding newsletter designers: The downside of web-safe fonts are that your font choices are limited, and you may not be able to fully realise the visual identity that you want. However, the positives do far outweigh the negatives. So, what are the web-safe fonts you can choose from? Check out this great list from CSSFonts . 4. Keep your branding simple and consistent Branding is important. Good branding means your readers will recognise your work instantly when they see it, and associate it with positive values – quality, truth, genuine etc. When you’re starting a newsletter from scratch, your logo and branding should reflect the type of content you are creating. Light-hearted publications tend to be more illustrative with their logos and branding, whilst professional publications tend to rely more on typography. Figure out what works for your newsletter, and what image you want to convey to your potential subscribers. Once you’ve got your branding nailed down, be sure to use it consistently. Not just in your newsletter or website header, but in your email signatures, letterheads, social media accounts and more. Everything you produce is an opportunity to showcase your brand and gain exposure. 5. Be sparing with calls-to-action It can be really tempting to include calls-to-action throughout your newsletter. After all, the name of the game is to get people to take action and subscribe. But overloading your readers with too many buttons or differing calls-to-action can be confusing and off-putting. Use your CTAs sparingly, and only place them at the points in your newsletter where they would naturally fit – at the end of key sections, and at the end of the newsletter itself. It’s also good practice to keep your CTAs consistent & clear – not just in terms of the message, but also where you are sending people. Don’t use vague language or send people to dead-end web pages. For example, if the goal is to get people to subscribe, make sure your CTA explicitly mentions the word “subscribe” and that it points them directly at your subscription page. 6. Use high quality images only Blurry, pixelated images can really leave your readers with a bad impression. Not only do they look unprofessional, but they also smack of a post that’s been rushed out the door. If you’ve spent time writing brilliant content, spend some time producing or researching some high quality images that match it. And that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on officially licensed images – check out some of the many free image providers out there such as Pixabay or Unsplash to add some visual flair to your newsletter. 7. Make it skimmable According to Statista, we spend an average of 10 seconds reading a branded email after opening it. That’s 10 seconds in which your reader skims your email content and makes a decision as to whether or they want to read more. Ensuring your content is skimmable has two real benefits. First, it helps new readers make a snap decision on whether they should be reading more of your content. Secondly, it helps avid readers navigate to the content they are really looking for. As we’ve mentioned in our previous post on how make your email newsletter more mobile friendly , headings and sub-headings are your friend. Use them to highlight the most valuable pieces of content in your newsletter, or signpost regular sections that you know your readers enjoy. BONUS: Always send yourself a test email Ok – we know we’ve already said this in previous blogs. But it really is one of the most low effort, high rewards tests you can do to ensure your newsletter design works. If you’ve followed all the advice above, you’re probably already in a good place. But seeing your newsletter design and content in-situ will give you vital insight into how your actual subscribers will see it. Not only do test emails help you spot the odd typo, they also help you see any design rendering errors that might occur on smaller screens. Always. Send. Yourself. A test. Got your own tips to share? If you’ve got your own tips to designing a great newsletter, let us know at email@example.com and we’ll add the best ones to this post.
The Blog Team
Jun 10, 2022 · 7 min read
5 easy ways to get more subscribers for your newsletter
When starting a newsletter from scratch, self-promotion is key. In almost every case, your first subscribers are going to be people you know - so leveraging your personal and professional networks is important. How do we know this? Some of our most-read Scribers began their journey with just their friends and family as their audience. But to get more subscribers for your newsletter, you'll need to identify your target audience and spread your message beyond your personal circle. That means direct outreach, networking and of course, social media. Here's a few pointers on how to effectively get more subscribers for your newsletter. 1. Start with your own network Your first subscribers will likely be people you know – friends, friends of friends, your parents, etc. Talk your newsletter up every chance that you get. You’re the best spokesperson for your content, and no amount of marketing can replace that. Reach out to your network: friends and family, alumni and professional networks, or other writers that you follow. Then ask your network to share your newsletter – either a specific post, or your home page – with their network via email and social media. Just make sure that any page you share has an easy link to subscribe to your newsletter - just like every page on Scriber does. 2. Reach out to potential subscribers Next, think of ways on how to widen your personal circle, within your comfort zone. This will be different for each individual depending on what you’re comfortable with, but an easy way to start is by attending professional networking events, social hangouts and meetups. Alternatively, simply logging on to Twitter and interacting with relevant users or conversations to promote your newsletter is another way to get started. As well as the obvious networking benefits of engaging with people directly, taking part in conversations also boosts your visibility to their followers, too. Which brings us neatly on to… 3. Make the most of social media One of the best things about Social Media is that it's free to participate. If you don't yet have one, it costs nothing to create an account on one of the big three networks: Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Twitter is especially powerful for audience building as it allows you to engage in conversations relevant to your topic, follow relevant hashtags and create lists of potential subscribers. Twitter tends to move fast, so it’s one of the most difficult networks to keep on top of – but, do it well, and you will reap the rewards. LinkedIn is all about building your professional network. More serious than other social media networks, it’s a great way to identify both potential subscribers or external contributors for your newsletter. These connections can really make a difference in the early stages of your newsletter. Facebook's global reach is unrivalled. According to SproutSocial, Facebook now boasts over 2.89 billion monthly active users . That’s a lot of potential subscribers for your newsletter, but be mindful of your audience. Facebook is decidedly less professional than LinkedIn, and less restrictive in its approach than Twitter. Whichever networks you choose, remember to post frequently and consistently. Build relationships by tagging and mentioning the people you follow and work with. And don't forget to include a link to subscribe in your bio. 4. Be guided by the data When building a newsletter, being guided by your engagement data is key. On Scriber, you can access all the important metrics such as open, click and unsubscribe rates, via our easy-to-understand dashboard. You’ll know exactly how many people have opened your email, how much time they spend on it and how many click-throughs you get. Watching this data closely over time will tell you what’s really working for your audience – and, more crucially, what’s not. It will enable you to refine the content of your newsletter, help you to better structure it for your audience and more. You can also check out our previous blog post on how to improve your newsletter for more tips. 5. Change your email signature And finally, one of the easiest things to do to get more subscribers for your newsletter – and often overlooked by many – is to change your email signature to include a subscription link. It’s the ultimate low effort, high reward activity to grow your newsletter list. It's a great way to signpost your newsletter to your existing network and new contacts alike, and the gains are multiplied when somebody forwards your email to contacts outside of your network. You can also add extra information such as social handles, or other ways to contact you directly - but don’t go overboard... Got your own tips to share? If you’ve got your own tips on getting more subscribers for your newsletter, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add the best ones to this post.
The Blog Team
May 20, 2022 · 5 min read
7 tips to communicate complex information effectively
Email newsletters offer a way for subject-matter experts to share their insights with people who genuinely want to know more about a topic. If you're the expert, it can sometimes be challenging to convey your insights, in all their complexity, to the average reader. This is why it really pays to become skilled at communicating complex information effectively. Few of your followers will be as expert as you are on the topic on which you are commenting, and most will be time-poor. You will be competing against many other claims on their attention. Moreover, your followers might not all be native English speakers. To help you master this trickiest of skills – and straight from our team of expert editors – here are some tips to help you communicate complex information effectively. 1. Be concise. Using as fewer words as possible is key to communicating complex information effectively. We wrote about the value of keeping things concise in our very first blog post on how to write a good email newsletter . Though your subscribers want to hear from you, they don’t want to have to hunt through a long email newsletter to find what interests them. Recognising that your followers may not be able to devote as much time to your email newsletters as you would ideally like is half the battle. Pare down your introductory messages to the most compelling words and phrases to draw your audience in. 2. Avoid jargon. Always remember that your reader will likely not be as expert on your topic as you are. As the newsletter author, it’s your responsibility to communicate complex information and your substantial expertise to your audience in language they understand. Steer clear of jargon altogether . If it’s unavoidable, use clear terms to explain your meaning shortly afterward. You will not lose followers by avoiding jargon , defining potentially unfamiliar terms and reiterating contextual information, but you may gain some. 3. Tell a story. More and more, storytelling is becoming a critical skill for content writers to master. At Scriber, we have learned that our most compelling content tells a clear story , often with a personal angle. Perhaps you have travelled to the country or have used the product about which you are writing. Don’t be afraid of the personal touch – adding personality to your writing is a great way to engage your readers. 4. Use hyperlinks Hyperlinks are a writer’s best friend. They allow you to signpost your own content within an email newsletter, or provide readers with additional, external information that is relevant to your topic. They also allow your audience to choose (or not) to delve deeper into background articles, explainers, videos and other related material. Plus, it’s far easier to link to existing content than trying to re-write it all over again. Just don’t over do it. 5. Use relevant images and charts Another tip from our first blog post on how to write a good newsletter is the effective use of imagery and charts. Complex information can often be communicated very powerfully in chart form. Visualising your data sets not only make that data easier to understand, but also give the reader welcome relief when scrolling through large blocks of text. Likewise, high-quality imagery can also illustrate your points and help break up a sea of intimidating text in written content. But don't go overboard – keep your images relevant and of a consistently high quality. Online image repositories like Unsplash or Pixabay are a great way to get started with free imagery. Looking for a good way to visualise your data? Try Datawrapper . 6. Use sub-headings and bulleted lists A key part of communicating complex information effectively is to make sure your writing is easy to read. Break up long and complex text passages with sub-headings and lists wherever you can. They can help you make your points more clearly and make it easier for diverted readers to return to a half-consumed piece. This is also a great way to make your newsletter more mobile friendly , and easier to skim-read (for subscribers that don’t have enough time to read your newsletter top to bottom) as discussed in our earlier blog post. 7. Return to your key points. When communicating complex information, repetition can be a powerful tool. Reiterating your key points throughout the piece can be especially useful to consumers of content on mobile, where screen real estate is smaller, attention spans can be shorter and competition for that attention more intense. Do you have your own tips? Let us know. If you have your own tips on communicating complex information effectively, let us know at email@example.com and we’ll add the best ones to this blog post.
The Blog Team
May 13, 2022 · 4 min read
How to find the best time to send a newsletter
Finding the best time to send your email newsletter can have a real impact on its success. While you should always be trying to optimise and improve your newsletter through rigorous testing (see our previous blog on improving your newsletter ), finding your best send time might be the most test you can run. There’s a lot to consider when trying to find the best time to send a newsletter – a publishing schedule, the location of your readers, various time zones etc – and it may be that you cannot find one specific time that works for everyone. But what you can do is find one that works for the majority of your readers. Why it matters when you send Ensuring that your email newsletter arrives in your readers inbox at a convenient time is perhaps the most critical part of your sending routine. Send it too early, and your email could get buried under dozens more emails sent later on. Send it too late, and your reader may already have checked out for the day. To give your email newsletter the best possible chance to succeed, you need to find the right balance between ease of publishing and convenience for your reader. To find the best time to send an email newsletter, you'll need to test different days and time slots and be guided by your key metrics: open, click and unsubscribe rates. How to find the best time to send your newsletter Once you've sent a few dozen editions and collated some substantial engagement data, you can begin to make informed decisions on when is the best time to send your newsletter. But before you do, here are a few things to consider. 1- Consistency is key Consistency is very compelling. Your most ardent followers will come to look forward to your content on a certain day or at a specific time. The sense of satisfaction when your audience expects something and it is delivered to them is a powerful force, and you can get that force to work for you! For example, if you publish a weekly email newsletter, you should ideally send it at the same day and time each week. It might sound like an obvious thing, but being consistent builds trust with your audience and increases the chances of your newsletter becoming part of your readers’ weekly habit. 2- Think about your audience's routine Imagine the daily habits of your typical subscriber. Where would they be when your email newsletter lands in their inbox? How much time would they have to read it? Do you want your newsletter to be a part of their morning routine, a weekly dose of inspiration ahead of the weekend, or a deep read for a Sunday afternoon? Are you writing for people who have subscribed via personal or professional email addresses? A professional address means they will be more likely to read it during working hours, while a personal address means they are more likely to read it alongside their morning coffee, on their lunch break, in the evening or over the weekend. If you can answer these questions properly, you’ll begin to understand who it is you are writing for and how best to make your newsletter one of their daily habits. 3- Think about where your audience is Where in the world do you readers live? Are they predominantly in one country, or scattered around the world? Are there multiple time zones to consider? If your audience is based in one country and one time zone, you can find the best time to send a newsletter by experimenting with different local time slots. However, if your audience is spread across multiple countries and time zones, you’ll need to be more mindful about when you hit send. If you’re writing for a global audience, a common tactic is to target early morning New York time. This is roughly lunchtime in the UK and Europe, mid-afternoon in the Middle East and early evening in Asia. If you need to keep an eye on multiple time zones, check out one of the many free online date/time converters, such as this one . 4- Find a writing schedule that works for you While your subscribers should always be your key concern when finding the best time to send a newsletter, you still need to find a publishing schedule that works for you, the content creator. If you’re based in the US and writing for a majority European audience, you don’t want to run yourself ragged by writing in the very early hours of the morning when you’ll be tired and prone to errors. It’s really important to find a publishing schedule that works for you so that you can deliver high quality content consistently, but also ensures you don’t commit to deadlines that might be difficult to keep in practice. 5- Be guided by your engagement data Ultimately, finding the best time to send your newsletter comes down to a few key metrics: It goes without saying that you should always keep an eye on your engagement metrics – they measure your success and can help you make adjustments should numbers start to drop. Fortunately, you can find all your key engagement metrics on one screen with Scriber’s simplified dashboard. It’s also good to find baseline figures for each of these metrics. According to a report from Campaign Monitor , a healthy open rate can be anywhere between 17-28%, depending on your audience. Once you’ve sent a few newsletters of your own, you’ll be able to work out averages specific to your audience. 6- Keep improving your newsletter Once you’ve taken into account all of the above and found the best time to send your newsletter, it’s not a time to rest on your laurels. Timing is just one factor in the success of your newsletter, so keep testing other factors – subject lines, from addresses, sender names etc – to find what really works for your subscribers. Consistently delivering high-quality content will give you the best chance of success. Find the best time to send your newsletter with Scriber Through our simplified dashboard, you’ll be able to keep an eye on all key metrics for each newsletter on one screen. Sign up to try it for free today.
The Blog Team
May 6, 2022 · 6 min read