If you’re going to invest the time to create and curate an email newsletter to send to subscribers that want to hear from you, then read this list of best practices. These essential concepts will get your content read and shared.

Email Bits

Let’s break down an email into chunks.

Subject Line

The first bit of text a subscriber sees in their inbox.

  • 45-51 characters is the average length of a subject line but even shorter is better
  • be specific, especially if there’s a benefit to the reader
  • create urgency but avoid spammy or promotional speak (!, all-caps, percent off)
  • avoid these three words — Help, Percent off, and Reminder
  • timely — if you send a monthly basketball newsletter, having ‘Your March Madness Basketball Stats’ in the subject line (when it’s March), will let people know it’s current
  • when in doubt, A/B test subject lines and see which one delivers a higher open rate


Content is key to grabbing a subscriber’s attention and holding their interest. Readers take 3-4 seconds to figure out whether they want to read the email in its entirety so you need to make sure your newsletter has info that the subscriber has signed up for. This will decrease the likelihood that your email will be ignored or trashed.

Keep all relevant content ‘above the fold’. This means anything the reader sees at first glance when they open your email and don’t have to scroll down is your Boardwalk of real estate. Have social share buttons visible, your call-to-action visible and that catchy content that makes people want to read more.


Images help break up text in an email. They should add embellishment and reinforce the copy you’ve created or links you’ve collected. Don’t add images just to add images. If subscribers can understand the context of the email just by looking at the images, then you’re doing a great job!



Start sending your emails at the same time, on the same days. Setting an expectation for readers of when to expect your emails will increase your open rates. This will also help you with organizing your time! Additionally, it allows email filters to get familiar with your schedule.

Social Sharing 



Like I mentioned earlier, try and include social share buttons ‘above the fold’. If your template does not allow this then just make sure these buttons exist somewhere on your newsletter. Make it dead simple for your readers to share your awesome content.


Having a footer allows the email recipient a way to communicate with you or opt out of your list if they choose. This could also be a place where your social share buttons live. Giving the subscribers these options makes your email newsletter more reputable.


Start regularly checking the stats for your engagement rate. What are people most interested in? Use these numbers to your advantage. Which recipients aren’t even opening up your emails?


Added Benefits

Asking your subscriber to add your email newsletter’s “from” address to their address book is the easiest way to increase email delivery rate. 

Easy Unsubscribe

Make it super simple for subscribers to opt out. There’s nothing more infuriating then to unsubscribe from a newsletter and then get taken to a page where you must login again to manage your preferences or get taken to a survey to answer why you’re leaving. And then receive a couple follow-up emails stating you’ve unsubscribed — ugh!




60%+ people are using their smart phones or tablets to open up their emails. Make sure your newsletter is responsive. If it’s not, you run the risk of poor engagement rate.


Are people opening your email — no? Work on your Subject Line. Work on the consistency and frequency of your email newsletter. Provide a way to easily unsubscribe.

Are people clicking your links? — no? Work on collecting more relevant content. Add images. Does your letter work on mobile? View your analytics’ history and see what links received the most clicks.

Are people sharing your content? — no? Provide social share buttons or be blunt and just encourage your readers to share.


And ummm, do you mind sharing this post?