Email Newsletter Design

How taking 30 minutes of prep. time could increase the individual readership of your articles (from email campaigns) by nearly 200%…

Let’s paint a very simple picture: You’re getting ready to announce to the world the release of your new online magazine/newsletter. It’s filled with dedicated articles on several topics and you’ve decided that a simple email will be the way you announce it’s online release.

So, you draft up an email message and hit Send All to your list. Let’s pretend your email message looks something like:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec posuere ipsum ac ante fermentum condimentum. Morbi vehicula fermentum nisl, venenatis condimentum quam auctor a. Nunc aliquet dui at massa iaculis sed ultrices justo ullamcorper. Suspendisse nulla ante, bibendum vitae auctor non, faucibus vitae libero.


Nam libero nibh, tincidunt quis porta id, venenatis ultrices est. Aliquam interdum diam et nunc volutpat quis condimentum nunc dictum.



…the Latin is on purpose, but you get the idea: it’s just a small paragraph or two in a narrative style inviting users to read your new newsletter.

How about instead of a couple of paragraphs, you create something that looks more like this:

It’s not a revolutionary design. In-fact it’s down right ancient. A small thumbnail, a headline that behaves as a direct link to the article, and a brief excerpt about what the article is about. However, what this little bit of extra work resulted in was impressive:

  • Overall traffic was unchanged by the format change. That is, just as many users in total visited the homepage of the website from the simple style of announcement as compared to the expanded style, so there’s not much change here, however…
  • Individual article readership increased by nearly 200%! This is not a typo. Each individual article’s statistics soared by simply providing a basic thumbnail and paragraph teaser to the article itself.

Here’s a rough breakdown of the old vs. new:

Rank of article Unique pageviews (simple layout) Unique pageviews (expanded layout) Percentage increase
1 61 162 165%
2 47 156 230%
3 34 118 247%
4 27 100 270%
5 21 45 110%
6 18 39 120%

The data speaks for itself, but it paints a simple picture: while people like to click links in emails, they really like to be teased ahead of time to know just what it is they’re reading about.

About the Author


Jeffrey Stevens

Jeff Stevens is the Assistant Web Manager for UF Health Web Services. He focuses on user experience, information architecture, content strategy, and usability.

Read all articles by Jeffrey Stevens