Writing an email newsletter can be tough, and working up the nerve to release it to your faithful subscribers can be even tougher. What if there’s a technical error? Will people open this? Did I spell everything right? Sit tight, we’ve got you covered.
Just keep this checklist handy when you’re ready to double check your newsletter. If you can say yes to these 7 things, you’ll be home free.
My newsletter is easy to read.
Online readers are fond of skimming and picking out only what is most pertinent to them to read in full. To optimize your newsletter content for easy viewing, paragraphs should be short, 3-4 sentences long. Huge blocks of text will lose readers, and no one wants that. Subheadings can break up different sections and make it even easier to skim through quickly.
Keep the most important information above the scroll line, in case someone does not scroll. Including too many different fonts and sizes can be visually confusing, so be consistent with style. And definitely don’t forget to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
My subject line works.
Subject lines are often the sole decision-making factor behind whether or not someone opens your email. You want it to be punchy and compelling, with a call to action that subscribers will follow. If that seems like too much to ask, take baby steps. You can experiment with different types of subject lines until you find the verbiage most subscribers are apt to open.
My content is compelling and relevant.
Your subscribers opted to receive newsletters from you because they are interested in your content and care about your mission. They want to hear what you have to say, so tell them in a way that piques interest. The content in your newsletter should apply to everyone you send it to. If the content is more specific, consider segmenting your subscription list to target different audiences.
The content should meet all the nonprofit’s goals for the newsletter with clear calls to action. You want to keep readers engaged and interested, but the newsletter does have a purpose beyond that. And you want to be sure you get there.
My newsletter is user friendly.
Include all applicable sharing buttons linked to social media and email to make the content easy for readers to share. Make sure everything that should be linked is linked. Those links are easy to click and when clicked open in a new window for seamless navigation. It’s also a good idea to have alternate text for all your images, in case the images don’t load for some subscribers. In the same line of thinking, the email should make sense without those images.
I performed tests to ensure the newsletter will display correctly.
Most email providers allow you to send out a test email. Some tests will automatically populate the line with ‘test,’ or you might put that in yourself just to keep track. If you do this, make sure you take ‘test’ out of the subject line before you send it. If you personalize your emails with names, dates or other data, make sure that data is complete and pulling in correctly.
Be sure to test all of the common browsers, email providers and devices, including mobile phones and tablets. Ensure everything displays the way you imagined and that it loads quickly. Following best practices, include a plain text version to optimize deliverability.
Everything checks out legally.
It would be unfortunate to get bogged down in legal fees and proceedings over something as silly as forgetting to include a footer. The CAN-SPAM law requires you to have a footer in the email with your nonprofit’s valid postal address and an easy way to unsubscribe from any unwanted emails, among other things. Double check to make sure everyone who unsubscribed is off the list. You want to be sure you have permission to send emails to everyone on the list.
I did everything I can to avoid the spam folder.
Write an interesting subject line? It’s honest about what the email contains, without being saturated with buzz words. Send the email from a trusted email, such as an account with your nonprofit’s name in it that subscribers will recognize as you. You can even include something in the newsletter reminding your subscribers to make sure you are not marked as spam.
If you can respond affirmatively to all of these things, you’re good to go. Go ahead and hit send!
How do you double check an email newsletter before you send it? Do you have any other suggestions to add to our list? Let us know in the comments.