2021 seems to be every bit as strange as 2020, with shopping habits changing constantly and newsletter design being in the front and center of many a marketer’s conversations. And with good reason:
The volume of emails sent per day says it all. 333,2 billion emails are expected to be sent in 2022 alone. This number shows just how important it is to be the one to stand out in a full inbox. And this has everything to do with newsletter design and the trends that will dominate it – which can, of course, change in the blink of an eye.
Being on top of trends and using them to your advantage isn’t exactly an easy task, as some trends are hard to master. Keeping up with the competition, digital branding, online marketing, and boosting engagement are tasks not easy to achieve.
However, none of the above is as lucrative as the engagement generated through email marketing, making newsletter design one of the things to look out for in 2021 and, of course, 2022.
But between interactive elements and hyper-personalization, what are the elements that will dominate email newsletter design?
Let’s find out!
Hyper-Personalized Newsletter Content
This is not exactly a trend. Hyper-personalization has become a staple that interests all marketers, mainly because of the way consumers view promotion nowadays.
Marketers know that after years of unsolicited emails, spammy offers, and non-segmented lists that resulted in content fit for email blasts, audiences have become more eclectic and clever in what they want from the newsletter of their preference, in terms of design and content.
The above statistic is usually reason enough for marketers to seek robust email newsletter tools that carry features like segmentation templates, dynamic content, and personalization tags that will help them create content to appeal to each recipient. As a matter of fact, those are pretty popular features amongst various Mailchimp competitors and some of the most valuable tools an email marketer could have.
In 2022, brands need to take personalization to the next level, as the “Hello, John” subject line just won’t cut it anymore. A great solution to that would be to implement features powered by AI and machine learning. AI-powered email marketing platforms can detect very small patterns and help with content that will correspond with each recipient on a one-on-one basis.
Of course, to do that, you need laser-focused segmentation first. After all, if you don’t understand your audience and don’t know how its members fit into your buyer personas, creating relevant content that stems from their actions will be that much more difficult.
Another thing to keep in mind is that segmentation is not set in stone. Sometimes changing segmentation options is the best you can do to achieve personalization. Use data such as location, previous purchases, or occupation to create something that will look and feel spot-on and to the point.
The first newsletter design element that goes way beyond design is creating quality content worth the recipient’s time. This content should be insightful, relevant, and able to showcase how the recipients can change their day-to-day lives for the better instead of just showcasing how good your product is.
After all, your newsletter design should aim to keep you top of mind by creating the perfect user experience. And this includes more than a name.
Typography That’s Bold or Mixed
Newsletter design doesn’t have to be either bold or elegant anymore. It can be both or neither, depending on your audience and what they love to see. Of course, your brand’s tone will determine that as well.
Your brand’s tone will determine the visual aspects of your brand’s and product’s representation. And this goes for your email newsletter design as well as your website’s visuals. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your brand’s tone is not adjustable.
More specifically, newsletter design can be perfectly aligned with your brand’s tone. If your brand is youthful and full of bold typography and colors, pick email newsletter templates that can do your brand, product, and audience justice. Like so:
Benefit is a makeup brand with young adults as its primary audience. Their objective is to promote how “Laughter is the best cosmetic”:
It only makes sense that the email newsletter templates they use and their newsletter design as a whole will be typography that’s bold but simple.
As I stated initially, though, brands don’t have to think in an “either-or” manner if their prospects love bold as much as they love mixed typography or calligraphy and abstract design. Here’s what I mean:
Illustrations like the one above could give your brand a unique, recognizable newsletter design and represent a fresh, new identity that your audience will most likely remember.
Super Pro Tip: This can be especially true for eCommerce email marketing, where brands can have a more playful voice and create diverse content. Use it to entice users that have completed a purchase with your eCommerce store as a hyper-customized form of a “Thank You” email. This little act of gratitude will definitely turn you into one of their go-to brands and increase their loyalty.
In general, newsletter design that contains illustrations, or is bold, mixed and/or weird, will work better than just using stock photos, mainly because it’s something unique that will make your email newsletter stand out in a full inbox.
Interactive Newsletter Design Elements
Interactive elements are always a great idea, but are you sure you know how to handle interactive content on an email newsletter template?
Let’s clarify a thing or two about content in general, first. According to Penji’s infographic:
Before going into the design process, you need to know the type of content you’re talking about and ensure that it’s what your audience wants. Here’s why:
Now, interactive content can be anything from complex and intriguing puzzles and digital scratch cards that lead to an optimized landing page that will be designed to convert.
Video in Email – Or What Looks Like It
Creating newsletter design that will be spot-on includes powerful videos and anything that could substitute video like GIFs or animation is one of the best marketing strategies to boost sales and increase your revenue.
There’s a very simple explanation for that:
90% of all information is not something marketing can beat, especially since the human brain is wired that way. All the more reason, therefore, to not only embrace but make video email marketing work in your favor.
There are some issues with that, though:
As you can see, not many providers support video fully. And elements that appear to be broken when the prospect opens your email can kill your conversion, send your email newsletter to the spam folder, and generally speaking harm your email marketing efforts.
So, for one thing, you need to filter your lists and see the device type and operating system your users prefer. If, for example, they use Windows 10, look into the best email client for this operating system.
After that, invest in an email marketing platform that can support video in email marketing. A Drag-and-Drop email editor that can help you add a thumbnail of your video and a “Play” button that will be linked to a landing page or one of your web pages would be a fantastic workaround.
The same goes for GIFs. GIFs are one of the most popular solutions to the video in email marketing problem, as they’ve been around for way longer; they are supported by most email clients and are pretty popular.
But there are some times that GIFs just won’t run smoothly. So, if you’re planning to include an offer in your email newsletter, make sure to make it visible straight on. To know what chunk of your audience loves GIFs and make sure that you’ve got everything in check, you can create a poll or a survey and share it through email or on your social media platforms. This will help you make data-driven decisions and not put your effort into something that your audience won’t love.
But let’s talk about animation. There may not be a significant difference between animations and GIFs since both have the same function at the end of the day, but they’re very popular and exciting. Not to mention that, since most email openers don’t bother with blocks of text and copy, animation can give a lot of engagement and showcase what the newsletter is all about.
Generally speaking, newsletter design that supports video can boost your engagement and the time the users spend interacting with your email.
Super Pro Tip: If you’ve recently launched a new product or need some UGC to boost your credibility, use an online video editor to create video testimonials and showcase what your users think about your product. Boost engagement with some “Beta Testing Contest” where you turn your users into ambassadors by holding a contest and sending them a sample of your product, or a free e-book or guide, provided they share their experience with your brand on their social media profiles. Lastly, create an explainer video that will showcase exactly how your product works and urge users to create their own content using branded hashtags.
All in all, video converts better than plain text, and even images and clever newsletter design. Make it shareable, spread the word around on your social media platforms, and watch as your brand goes viral. After all, when was the last time you saw something in plain-text form gain so much popularity?
Accessibility and Responsiveness Are a Necessity
No matter how good a marketer you are, your users will opt out if your newsletter design isn’t accessible and responsive. Your designs can’t be something to marvel at if a chunk of your audience isn’t able to perceive them the way they should.
An accessible newsletter design needs to have the following elements in check:
- A lot of whitespace that is easy on the eyes
- Alt-text on the images and links that can be read by screen readers
- Contrasting colors
- Large fonts and field text wherever it applies
- Don’t just use color to pinpoint an error. Describe the error as well
- Be mindful with your GIFs and videos. Images that change rapidly and flashing lights or colors that could cause a seizure
Super Pro Tip: Consult IAAP for more information on how to create more accessible marketing materials for your audience.
But accessibility is not the only thing that matters. Emails that are non-responsive are as bad as irrelevant emails or email blasts.
As you can see, email opens are more and more frequent on mobile devices, compared to previous years. This number is only going to rise from that point on, and as mobile technology takes over. Newsletter design that is not responsive can – and will – make your conversion marketing efforts plummet. This can be a waste of time and resources, but it’s also easy to fix if you know what to do.
Make sure to create single-column emails and check what your newsletter design looks like on your editor every step of the way. Like so:
This will help you create a design that will be responsive on all devices. Of course, you will need to tap into your data and make educated decisions before going forth with anything that could go against your audience’s likes and dislikes and not gravitate towards one device alone.
Newsletter design is, today, as relevant as ever. Especially seeing as email marketing has made the shift towards visual content, rather than blocks of text and endless forms of copy – however creative it might be.
Make sure to use bold typography, have a distinctive tone of voice, and personalize every step of the way. A/B test everything and look into your data to make sure you get all of the steps right.
Lastly, include video in your email marketing by using an email marketing platform that can boost your video marketing efforts.