16 Tips to Designing a Newsletter and Pop-Up Forms

This week, I’m expanding on my last post’s newsletter basics and going a little deeper into designing a newsletter and its accompanying pop-up forms. (To reiterate, for beginners I would recommend using TinyLetter for your newsletter and MailMunch for your pop-ups. I use them both myself and love them!)

Types of Pop-Up Signup Forms

I chose a side-hugging scroll-down signup form, as pictured. (Tip: Even smaller popups will show up as full-screen pop-ups on mobile devices. For this reason, it’s good practice to set them so that when a given user closes them, they will not pop up again for a long time. There is an option for this in MailMunch.)

  1. Center/Full Page. These are immediate and more annoying. They can turn a lot of people off.
  2. Top-Hugging. These are usually the size of a search bar, and they hug the top of your screen.
  3. Side-Hugging. These pop up on the left or right of the screen, noticeable but without obscuring much text.
  4. Scroll-Down. These pop up after people scroll down your page. You can choose how far, by percentage of page scrolled through. These usually hug the sides.
  5. Exit. These pop up when people leave your page.

Designing a Signup Form

  • DON’T use these phrases:
    • Sign Up
    • Subscribe
    • Free Email Newsletter
  • DO give something away if you want to, but be prepared for lower quality signups if you do.
  • DO customize your confirmation and thank you messages.
  • DO put a link to your newsletter in your eBooks, if possible.
  • DO utilize the Facebook signup button, if you can.
  • DO use Bit.ly when linking to your signup – it will allow you to see how many people clicked it.

Designing a Newsletter

  • DON’T assume your images will load! (See images for examples.) Make a newsletter that can work without them. You can also write only in plain text, without images (easiest with tinyletter), in order to always know what your newsletter will look like to everyone.
  • DON’T over-complicate by having more than one “list” that people can sign up for (unless it is truly necessary). This generally only serves to confuse.
  • DO use headings and subheadings that pop out.
  • DO use a table of contents, with links, if you write long newsletters.
  • DO test your open rates between different senders (you can pick what they see as their sender; your name, your business, etc.).
  • DO write a good subject line. Ideas:
    • Be specific.
    • State the benefit of opening the newsletter.
    • Include numbers (e.g. 11 Ways to Write a Great Newsletter!)
  • DON’T take unsubscribes personally. In an exit email, you can always offer another social media they can follow.
  • DO put your name (or your book/business name) near the top of the newsletter, to remind them who you are so they don’t assume spam.
  • DO used a call-to-action in your newsletter, perhaps for buying your book. Make it a big juicy button.
  • DO consider using a separate email address for newsletter replies if they are getting numerous.

Ideas For Content

This list is SO useful for people just starting out with–or afraid of–their newsletters. I for one can’t wait to try implementing more of these little bits in the future! For original or automated series newsletters, here are a few ideas for creating great content:

  • QAs With Readers
  • Author Interviews
  • Behind the Scenes of Your Work
  • Funny Stuff (Entertainment, Cats, Etc.)
  • Quotes & Inspiration
  • Writing Prompts
  • Media Consumption Lists
    • Best Books You’ve Read Lately
    • Best Companies You’ve Used
    • Recent Movies You Loved
  • Book Launch Campaigns
  • Giveaways
  • Blog Content & Links

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