Employee Newsletters

15 Email Newsletter Best Practices To Boost Engagement In 2024

By Alex Cleary

Updated:

Whether you’re sending an external email newsletter for customers or an internal newsletter focused on employee communication, our email newsletter best practices will help ensure your content is the best it can be.

Reviewing your emails according to a checklist and testing them can save you time, money, and loads of headaches. A broken image, bad link, or incorrect layout can significantly affect your email engagement – causing your open rates, click-through rates, and email ROI to plummet.

To ensure your employee newsletter ideas flourish, make sure you check over your emails before sending.

Whether you’re an internal comms pro or just learned how to make a newsletter, take care to follow these 15 crucial email newsletter best practices before you hit send.

Send newsletters your employees will love

Solve modern communication roadblocks with your organization by sending these types of emails.

1. Use Email Templates for Easier Email Creation

Most email newsletters are sent on a regular basis, from daily to weekly to monthly and everything in-between. An internal communicator could spend the equivalent of days per year solely designing and creating email newsletters.

This is where employee newsletter templates come into play. An Outlook or Gmail email newsletter template can save you days of work on newsletter design, allowing you to select a model on which to build your latest communication.

Using email templates is one of the most important email newsletter best practices. Templates enable speed and efficiency when building your newsletter. ContactMonkey’s drag-and-drop email template builder makes it super easy to build beautiful and responsive email templates. ContactMonkey can also track employee engagement with your newsletters so you can hone in on what works and what doesn’t.

Not the most artistic person? No worries! ContactMonkey’s email template builder comes equipped with professionally-built templates for every type of internal communication. From new employee announcement templates to monthly newsletter templates, we’ve got you covered!

Image of newsletter templates found in ContactMonkey's email template library.

You can also check out our template library for a wealth of professionally-designed templates and sample email copy for every occasion that you can use to inspire your future communications.

Save time with pre-built email templates

Check out our library of helpful sample emails and internal comms templates today.

2. Ensure Your Email Address Is Recipient-Friendly

What will your subscribers or employees see when they look at your email’s “from” field? Is it a generic “no reply” email address? If it is, it could negatively affect your email open rates and engagement.

Make sure you’re using your company name or, if appropriate, the name of someone from your organization. For example, a content-specific email could come from your Content Manager, such as “Melanie at Email on Acid.” A personal message about a product or pricing change could come from your CEO or COO.

“Once I started using ContactMonkey, I realized I was able to save 4 hours of work a week, which translated to 25 days saved per year! ContactMonkey has helped us understand what employees are interested in!”

Kate Kraley

Marketing Communications Specialist at Mettler Toledo

However, remember that if you’re sending from a specific person, keep it consistent across those types of messages. Otherwise, your subscribers or employees may get confused and become disengaged. This email newsletter best practice is super important.

3. Get More Opens With an Appealing Preheader

The email preheader is quite possibly the most overlooked part of internal communications best practices—and it’s a huge missed opportunity! The preheader displays after the email subject line and is easy to code.

It helps give additional context to your subject line and can make a huge difference in open rates, and is a email newsletter subject line best practice.

Image of email missing pre-header image.

Not the best preheader, am I right?

Not sure how to write appealing email copy? ContactMonkey has you covered with our OpenAI ChatGPT integration. You can ask our AI integration how to write appealing email copy and it will provide you examples that you can build on.

4. Always Verify Your Email Links

If you have broken or misdirected links in your email, you could wind up with some confused or unhappy subscribers – not to mention, your email marketing ROI could take a dip. Thus, this is a super important email newsletter best practice.

Email tracking tools can be used to measure your internal communications’ Click-through Rate (CTR) over a period of time. If you notice a dramatic dip in CTR for a particular email, you can bet there was a major problem with it, like a broken link. Your email newsletter pre-send checklist should include a check for broken links.

ContactMonkey’s Data Overview page visualizes your email engagement—including CTR—in real time. Watch as your internal communications reach different members of your organization and track how well it performs and how it engaged your employees.

Screenshot of ContactMonkey's email engagement distribution timeline.

If your organization has internal or external regulations around email privacy, you can use ContactMonkey’s anonymous email tracking feature to gather email metrics while maintaining your employees’ privacy.

20 fresh content ideas for your next employee newsletter

Keep your workforce engaged with relevant and captivating emails.

5. Double-Check Your Distribution Lists and Email Recipients

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but how many times have you sent (or almost sent) an email to the wrong group of people? It’s easy to do! And there are tons of horrifying examples of accidental emails sent at work out there. Be sure to avoid them! 

Before you hit “send,” make sure your message makes sense for the segment you are sending it to. And if you can, don’t forget to add some personalization to give your employee engagement an extra boost.

Want to ensure your distribution list is formatted correctly? ContactMonkey’s internal communications tool includes a CSV checker that will highlight specific errors with your distribution list.

6. Know When to Use an Unsubscribe Button

If you’re an external marketer creating newsletters for your customers, not including an unsubscribe link is one of our biggest email pet peeves. These links should be easy to find and easy to use. 

Plus, not including an unsubscribe link is against the law in the U.S., Canada and all the European Union countries covered under GDPR. This is email newsletter best practices 101.

HOWEVER…

If you are an internal marketer, having an unsubscribe button in your communications—for example your employee newsletter—can have catastrophic repercussions.

This is a crucial difference between internal vs external marketing, and that’s why ContactMonkey makes a point not to include an unsubscribe button on any of your communications sent with us. You won’t even see our logo!

7. Personalize Your Email Newsletters per Your Recipients

Nobody likes receiving an email that was obviously sent to thousands of other recipients. They feel impersonal and can send the message that the information contained within the newsletter isn’t particularly important.

Personalizing your email subject line and body text is a great way to counteract these feelings. And though creating custom emails for each of your recipients may sound like an arduous task, there are tools you can use to make this process fast and easy.

Using ContactMonkey, you can use merge tags to add your recipients’ first and last names and email addresses to the subject line or body copy of your email newsletter:

Screenshot of merge tags for personalized email text using ContactMonkey.

As countless studies have shown, personalized email subject lines have tremendous benefits for your email open rate, and is one of the best practices for email newsletters.

8. Make Your Email Newsletter Mobile-Friendly

With the rise in popularity of mobile devices, some email designers have embraced “mobile first” design. This means that they design the email with mobile clients primarily in mind, and then make sure it also looks good on desktop.

By putting mobile users first, designers hope to increase engagement and click-throughs on mobile devices. We recommend this approach especially for simpler emails like password resets, transactional emails and account updates.

When you design your email templates in ContactMonkey’s drag-and-drop email template builder, you have the option to preview how your communication will appear on Desktop and Mobile. No more hoping that your images and buttons don’t break when viewed on a mobile phone! With ContactMonkey, this email newsletter best practice becomes a simple task.

Image of email template viewed in mobile view within ContactMonkey's email template builder

9. Balance Image and Text in Your Email Newsletter

The most common guideline you’ll hear for text-to-image ratio in email is no more than 40% image coverage and a minimum of 60% text. While there are exceptions, this rule will generally keep you out of any deliverability issues. An all-image email will likely land in the spam folder.

Make sure you have the right balance between newsletter images and text that makes sense for the type of devices you’re sending to. If you’re mostly looking at mobile clients, focusing on images is a good idea. If you’re going to be sending email in Outlook mostly, you may want to focus on the text more.

10. Analyze and Improve Your Email Newsletter Content

We’ve already spoken about how you can use click-through rate to measure the engagement your email newsletters generate, but internal email analytics can tell you so much more about both your audience and email content.

If you’re sending internal email newsletters to your employees, you can learn a lot about how your specific content performs. ContactMonkey’s segmented reporting feature lets you see how different parts of your company engaged with your email, using filters like department, job title, and location.

The information from your segmented reporting can be cross-referenced against information about your individual email newsletters. Using ContactMonkey’s compare campaigns feature, you can analyze up to 10 email newsletters simultaneously:

Screenshot of ContactMonkey's Reporting feature where users can compare different email campaigns.

ContactMonkey shows you a breakdown of email stats across your email campaigns, to let you see how your recipients engaged with each one. You can easily see what content has resonated with your audience the most, and which audiences were most engaged by it.

You can also use ContactMonkey’s click maps feature to optimize your email design. Click maps let you see how your recipients are engaging with your email content, so you can improve your email design to ensure employees see important information. Do not miss this critical email newsletter best practice. Be sure to do a performance analysis so that you know what content your employees like to consume.

11. Include Alt Text With Your Email Newsletter Images

Some email clients will block images by default, and some users will change their settings to block images so that they can use less data. If you rely on images to communicate your message, your subscribers may miss out if images aren’t downloaded. This is why it’s important to include descriptive alt text for your images and style the alt text to improve its appearance.

Alt text is also important for email accessibility; setting the right alt text will enable screen readers to describe images accurately. However, not all images need alt text. If you’re using an image purely for the aesthetics of the email (such as a spacer GIF or shadow), be sure to set an empty alt=”” on the image. This tells the screen reader to skip over these images.

12. Include an Effective CTA

Depending on the type of newsletter you’re sending, you will have different objectives you’d like your recipients to achieve. Sometimes this is just informing them of information they need to know. But other times, you want your recipients to take some kind of action.

How you position your Call to Action (CTA) has a big influence on how your recipients react to it. A hard-to-see CTA placed at the bottom of your newsletter is unlikely to produce the same results as one that is prominently featured above the fold on your email.

To maximize the engagement with your CTA, we recommend using clear language both in and around the CTA to contextualize it. You don’t want your recipients guessing as to what the CTA is for, so state clearly what will happen after they press the button or link. Ensure that the text on the CTA itself is a clear and easy-understandable statement. For example, “Sign Up Now” lets recipients know the purpose of the CTA much better than “Click here.” This is another email newsletter best practice that shouldn’t be forgotten.

13. Keep Your Email Newsletter Size Under 100KB

There are a couple of good reasons to keep your email under 100kb. First, it will pass through more spam filters by staying light. Keeping your email under 102kb will also prevent Gmail from “clipping” your email.

To keep your email under the limit, consider removing redundant or unused styles, moving some of the content of the email to a landing page, or removing any unnecessary characters from your code. Just make sure to test any changes before the final send!

14. Preview Your Email Newsletter on Different Email Clients

As an email marketer, internal communicator or developer, you probably know about the fickle world of email clients. What looks great on one client could look terrible in another. Some clients – we’re looking at you, Outlook and Gmail—are more troublesome than others.

Because of the lack of standards across email clients, it’s crucial to test your email newsletters before you hit “send.” By testing first, you can find and fix problems before your email lands in subscribers’ or employees’ inboxes, so you can make sure your message looks perfect every time.

15. Target Your Newsletter to the Right Employees

Your employees get a lot of emails, and it’s easy for them to get overwhelmed and start to tune out. Combat email fatigue by your targeting emails to specific groups of employees to exclude those for whom the information is not relevant.

Distribution lists and CSVs are great ways to organize your email campaigns. They can be created based on different criteria like department, seniority, location, and even language spoken.

But creating distribution lists and CSVs can be a lengthy process if your business’s IT is responsible for managing them. However, if you use ContactMonkey’s List Management feature, you will be able to create and manage your distribution lists and CSVs without needing IT approval:

ContactMonkey's list management feature.

ContactMonkey’s list management syncs with your human resources information system (HRIS) so your list will be automatically updated as employees arrive and leave your company. Email targeting has never been easier with this email newsletter best practice.

Get More Engagement with Better Email Newsletters

Now you’re familiar with email newsletter best practices, ready to send excellent email newsletters, and confident that they will be perfect every time!

These tips, combined with innovative internal communications ideas, will help you put your best email foot forward and help you find the best time to send an email.

Are you looking to start sending your employee newsletters from Outlook? Sign up for your free demo of ContactMonkey to start creating, sending, and tracking all your internal emails from Outlook to your Outlook distribution lists:

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