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email clutter

To capture your readers’ attention, and help improve click rates, avoid overwhelming your audience with too much information and clutter.

DO: Have a clear purpose for every email

Before writing an email, know why you are sending it and what action you would like people to take as a result. Ensure your email aligns with your purpose and desired action.

DO: Work hard on your subject line and preview text

Each day, the average office worker receives 121 emails. Grabbing attention in an inbox with a good subject line and preview text is the first step in getting a response to your message. Personalization can help.

DO: Use a one-column format

This simple format is easy to read on both mobile and desktop devices, plus it eliminates distraction and clutter.

DO: Limit cognitive overload

Your newsletter should require minimal brain power and time from your readers. Limit the number of articles to five or less, tell enough of the story to pique interest, and use call-to-action buttons to get people to click to the full version of a story, case study, etc. on your website.

Here’s what one client said to us after opening a vendor email with over 30 different articles: “I no more have time to read all this information than I do for a leisurely stroll around the plant.”

DO: Use annotated images to tell a story

To tell a story quickly, use images and words together. Below is an image from a newsletter produced by Urethane Innovators. The image and words tell the story, plus it combines a call-to-action button. Sweet!

newsletter photo story

DO: Use at least a 16 px font

Make your newsletter easy to read on smaller screens. Test readability on mobile as well as desktop.


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Rachel Cunliffe is the Designer and Creative Director for Huff Industrial Marketing. She draws on over 16 years experience of designing websites for companies and individuals around the world.

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