Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

February 10 2014


How To Create A Self-Paced Email Course


When I realized I had written what seemed to be a course (i.e. not my usual article or book), I was left with a sense of panic. There are so many options for running an online course, and all of them seem slightly confusing or time-intensive to set up.

Then I remembered the autoresponders feature in my newsletter application (I use MailChimp, although every newsletter software has it). I could trigger lessons with autoresponders and deliver course material to where most people spend most of their day: the inbox.

Another problem was that the course was about writing a book, and some of the lessons were slightly onerous — like “Write a first draft.” So, setting a fixed time delay wouldn’t work because some people complete things like that much more quickly than others.

Instead of automatically firing off each lesson after a set amount of time, I created a series of lessons via autoresponders that fired only when the previous lesson was marked as finished. That way, I got to deliver each new lesson only when the student had finished the previous. This method does not require you to configure any website, plugins or additional software (beyond setting up a mailing list and creating pages on your existing website, which you probably already know how to do).

I made my own course, Write and Sell Your Damn Book, free for a few reasons. First, I was able to bring some sponsors on board to give me enough money to make it worthwhile to create and set up. Secondly, I felt that the course material should be available to anyone, on any budget, who is writing a book.

Thus, the course made money before it launched, but the downside is that it made a fixed amount of money. I set up additional (albeit minor) revenue streams for it — affiliate links on Amazon to recommended books on the same subject, links to my own paid books, as well as the course in Kindle format, just in case people wanted to read the material all at once.

Using the method outlined below, I created a self-paced email course that had over 1,000 registrations in the first 24 hours, and almost 2,500 in the first week. There are other ways to do this using MailChimp, such as triggering the completion of a course with a URL, but this is how I set up mine.

1. Create A List

This list is only for people who will take your email course. Make sure the publicity settings are set to non-public and non-archivable (otherwise, people will be able to share the lessons with whomever they want).

Check “No, my campaigns are not public,” and uncheck “Activate the archive bar.”

When creating autoresponders, ensure that you remove the “View this campaign in a browser” link, to further discourage shareability. To take things one step further and make sure only subscribers see some or all of the course’s content, read up on conditional merge tags.

2. Match The Colors And Fonts In The Course Material To The Registration Process

You’ll find these by going to “Signup Forms” and then “General Forms.” Match the fonts, colors and logo of the course’s website for a consistent user experience.

3. Select “Send A Final Welcome Email”

You’ll find this option in the drop-down menu on the “Create Forms” page; it will be automatically selected, unless you’ve unchecked the box. Add text to this email (scroll down to edit the contents), informing users to “Click the completed lesson” button in each lesson to get the next lesson.

Later, we’ll get into how to set this up, but essentially each lesson’s email will have a link that users can click when they’re finished to notify MailChimp to deliver the next lesson.

Also, in this final welcome email, let users know when the first lesson will be delivered.

4. Set Up The First Lesson And Autoresponder

Go to “Autoresponders” and then “Create autoresponder.” Select the entire list to be the recipients. On the next page, the event that triggers this autoresponder is “Subscription to the list.” Make sure that “Also trigger on list import” is checked if you want to use Twitter cards or if you will be charging for the course (more on this later).

Lesson One
(View larger version.)

Choose whether to send it within the hour or at another time and date. On the set-up and campaign information page, give the campaign a subject line and make sure that, under “Tracking,” “Goal Tracking” is checked — this is important because it will trigger the next autoresponder lesson.

5. Set A Goal For Your Campaign

A goal is simply a URL that you add to the lesson. For my own email course, I created a few pages on my website that thanked the user for completing the lesson. For example, I added a button to the campaign for lesson 1, reading “I have completed this lesson” and linking to

The URL may be anything, but if you are setting a reminder email (more on this later), then the URL must contain the same folder — in this case, lessons. If you use WordPress, this is simply the parent page, and each individual lesson would be a child page of the parent, /lessons/.

These pages that live on your website are important for firing off autoresponders, as well as for letting the user know that a lesson has been completed and that a new one is on the way.

A good marketing strategy is to add some social engagement to the completion page for each lesson, such as “Tweet that you’ve finished lesson 1,” with a hash tag for your course or sharing buttons, so that users can let others in their network know about the course and where to sign up.

6. Set Up Subsequent Lessons By Creating A New Autoresponder

Set the entire list as the recipients. On the next page, set “Specific link in the campaign is clicked” as the event to trigger the autoresponder.

Lesson Two
(View larger version.)

Then, select the previous lesson. If you’re creating lesson 2, then select lesson 1’s autoresponder from the drop-down menu. Then, choose “Select a link from your campaign” and select the URL that you used for the button that tells the user they have completed that lesson.

Set the autoresponder to send either within the hour or at a time and date of your choosing. I always pick “Within the hour,” so that the user gets the next lesson fairly quickly.

Make sure to track goals for every lesson you create (otherwise, the URL clicks won’t be tracked by the following lesson).

To create lesson 3, you’d follow the steps above but would select lesson 2 from “For what campaign” and the lesson 2 completion URL for “Select a link from your campaign.” And so on, until you’ve added all of the lessons.

7. Set Up Additional Emails (If Needed)

In addition to the lessons, you may want to send out a different type of email a day or two after the final lesson has opened. The email could include additional resources, an “About the author” section, or perhaps a review of the course (if you’ve got one).

Select “Send to the entire list” for the recipients.

For the autoresponder, select “Campaign is opened” as the event to trigger the follow-up email, and select “For what campaign” as the final lesson (via the drop-down menu). Then, select the amount of time for “When the autoresponder should be sent.” If the email is a review or list of resources, then sending it a day or two after makes sense, while the lessons are still fresh.

8. Set Up A Reminder Email

Because the course is self-paced, people won’t get the next lesson if they forget about the email for the current lesson, so setting up a course reminder autoresponder is another good idea.

From step 5, if the same folder is in the URL for each lesson (in this example, /lessons/), then it’s simply a matter of creating a new reminder autoresponder that sends to a new segment of the list.

(View larger version.)

To do this, start an autoresponder, select “Send to a new segment,” then pick “Subscribers match,” and then “Any” from the drop-down menu.

In the next drop-down menu, choose “Goal Activity,” then “Doesn’t match,” and in the field type in the folder URL of all lessons (in this case, lessons) (don’t type the full URL or any slashes).

On the next page, select “Subscription to the list” as the event to trigger the autoresponder.

When setting the autoresponder, estimate a reasonable time which people would take to complete a lesson. For my own list, I’ve set the reminder to “45 days” after a user has stopped clicking anything.

Remind people that they’ve signed up for the course and, if they’ve forgotten about the lessons, to go back and read the current one (and click that they’ve finished it once they have). I also offer helpful suggestions on how to get over being stuck in the writing process.

Integrate With Payment Solution (Optional)

If you want to charge for the course, you will need to collect the user’s money before the course lessons start firing. I use Gumroad to sell items online; while it doesn’t directly integrate with MailChimp, one easy additional step makes it happen.

Giving your course a price can be done in one easy step. (View larger version.)

In your Gumroad account, click “Add a Product,” and then select the product. Where it asks for a file, create and upload a PDF of the text in your “Final welcome email” that tells people they’ve successfully signed up for the course and will get the first lesson within an hour.

Give it a price, and then “Add” the product. The next screen lets you upload a graphic (or video) and a description of the course. When it’s ready, click “Publish.”

To add an incentive (for example, to reward users with a discount for signing up early), click on the “Options” tab and create an offer. Otherwise, you’re done!

To integrate with Zapier, create a secret “free” offer, which you can use to finish the process, and delete it when you’re done.

Next, to connect Gumroad to MailChimp, sign up for an account with Zapier. Free and paid options are available. If you expect fewer than 100 users, go with a free account. Otherwise, it’s fairly cheap, and it scales. If 50,000 people are signing up a month, then the $99 per month price tag is well worth it.

By connecting Gumroad to MailChimp you can automatically add purchasers of your Gumroad product to your course’s mailing list. (View larger version.)

Once you’ve got an account, click “Create a Zap.” The trigger service is Gumroad, and the action service is MailChimp. For “Choose a trigger,” select “New sale.” For “Choose an action,” select “Add subscriber,” and then continue. From there, follow the steps to connect both your Gumroad and MailChimp accounts to Zapier.

Next, choose your “Product” (which would be your course if you have more than one product in Gumroad), and then continue. Then, choose which MailChimp mailing list to put subscribers in. When you click on “Insert fields” in the email section, Zapier will ask you to create a new purchase of your product. Go back to Gumroad and do that (using the free discount code), and continue with the process. Make sure to select “Email” in the email drop-down menu.

Also, select “No” for “Send a welcome email” because subscribers will get the PDF as a download immediately upon paying. Click “Continue,” name the Zap whatever you’d like, and turn it on!

Now, whenever someone purchases the Gumroad product for your email course, they will be automatically added to the course’s mailing list and will start receiving lessons.

And that’s how you create a self-paced email course using MailChimp, Gumroad and Zapier.

(al, il, ea)

Credits for the image used on the front page: zapier.

© Paul Jarvis for Smashing Magazine, 2014.

September 06 2013


Value for Free: What to Give to Get Peoples’ Email Addresses


Your blog’s email subscribers are the life and blood of your online business. Your blog is, quite rightfully, judged by the number of subscribers it has. There are many ways to get more email subscribers. One of the most important one of them is giving away something in exchange of peoples’ email IDs. But the question is – what should you be giving?

Sponsored post

May 27 2013


How to Move From Feedburner to a Newsletter Service

Things are going downhill fast for RSS. First Google shut down Feedburner’s API in 2012, then they announced the closure of Google Reader earlier this year (2013). The future isn’t looking too bright for the Feedburner service as a whole and chances are it will also be completely shut down sometime in the near future. In today’s post I’ll show you how I’ve personally prepared for doomsday and gained a bunch of new subscribers in the process by migrating from Feedburner to an email newsletter service.

The future of Feedburner

If you’re a long time blog owner you’ll likely have used Feedburner since well before it was acquired by Google. By burning your original feed with Feedburner you gained a bunch of handy features such as user friendly subscribe pages, subscriber counts & stats and the all important email delivery option. Google bought Feedburner in 2007 then shut down the API in 2012. Feedburner’s interface has remained unchanged in that time and with the recent demise of the popular Google Reader you would be wise to expect the same fate for this small niche service.

How to prepare for doomsday

Every blog will see a dip in readership after 1st July 2013 when Google Reader is officially laid to rest. Google Reader is the tool over 94% of my readers use to stay up to date with my content. Even if you publicly prompt users to switch to an alternative service such as Feedly, you can bet that a substantial proportion of your readers will be lost. We’re just going to have to take that one on the chin, but the knock out blow will come if Feedburner is shut down too. The second largest group of subscribers after Google Reader users, our Feedburner email subscribers, will then be lost too. Therefore, it makes sense to start building a reserve readership today and rescue our Feedburner email subscribers from their potential doom by creating an alternative email mailing list with a newsletter service.

To me, email newsletters seemed a little outdated compared to RSS. I personally use email for emailing and RSS for content reading, but email newsletters are still really popular and bring along some new opportunities for your blog. Here’s a few pros and cons:


  • Customise the appearance of your email updates
  • Allow users to sign up using forms on your site
  • Stay in touch with readers with follow ups & updates
  • Run much more detailed reports on delivery and readership


  • It takes a fair amount of time to set up
  • You pay a monthly fee for the service

The three big names in the email newsletter business are AWeber, MailChimp and Campaign Monitor. Comprehensive comparisons of all three can be found elsewhere on the web, but I chose AWeber for my own mailing lists.

How to migrate your Feedburner email subscribers

We already have a core bunch of subscribers who signed up to receive our content by email, so rather than start from scratch with a newsletter service, we might as well migrate our users over.

To begin, you’ll need to export your subscriber list from Feedburner. Log in at, head to Subscribers > Feedburner Email Subscriptions. In the fly out options select Manage Your Subscriber List then export as a CSV.

Your Feedburner list contains both verified and unverified addresses. Some newsletter services may allow you to import your unverified users, but AWeber in particular request that these entries are removed, seeing as they didn’t go through the complete double opt-in process. You can do this with some spreadsheet trickery in Excel or Open Office by filtering out the rows with the word “Active”. Save your edited list as a new CSV file.

I know MailChimp allows you to import lists without the subscribers having to opt-in, but AWeber will send out a confirmation to everyone (again). However, seeing as our Feedburner subs have already confirmed their subscription and we’re providing the same kind of newsletter service a quick email to AWeber’s support team will mean you can import your lists without the second double opt-in after a few quick checks.
Once your subscribers have been imported it’s time to create your newsletter template designs and set up your broadcast messages. AWeber’s templates are pretty ugly, whereas MailChimp and Campaign Monitor offer some really nice off the shelf layouts. Being an AWeber user myself this article is going to focus on their features, so I’d advise finding a ready made newsletter template elsewhere on the web and customise it.

To replicate Feedburner’s functionality of sending out an automatic email copy of your RSS posts you’ll need to head to Blog Broadcast in AWeber’s menu structure. Seeing as Feedburner is still alive and kicking you can safely enter your FB feed URL, this will mean your newsletter subscribers will be added to your total RSS subscriber count. If Feedburner is ever shut down, just change this to your original RSS feed. Use AWeber’s RSS tags to specify where it should inject the relevant content into your newsletter layout. For the full blog post, make sure you use {!rss_item_content}, for the excerpt use {!rss_item_description} (their templates seem to use the description by default).

Set the option to send updates when the number of items reaches 1, then disable Send Automatically for now (so you don’t end up spamming everyone while setting things up). AWeber’s process is a little confusing, it “sends” updates to your Broadcast page where these entries will wait until you press the Queue button, unless you check “Send Automatically”. The problem is when you save your Blog Broadcast it generates 10+ emails from your RSS feed. You definitely don’t want these being sent out to your entire list, so delete them, test your setup then turn on the Send Automatically option when you’re confident it’s all working correctly. This will set the process to autopilot when new content is posted and work just like Feedburner did (but with much prettier emails!).

Once your new AWeber mailing list is set up with an automatic blog broadcast you’ll want to head back into Feedburner and turn off Email Subscriptions, otherwise your readers will receive the same update twice from the two separate services.

In order to continue growing your list, make sure you add sign up forms to your website. Don’t forget you also have all kinds of options and features at your fingertips. Set up a welcome email and a follow up series to interact with your readers and provide additional content; send out standard Broadcast messages to spread the word about new updates and news; or use marketing strategies to dramatically increase your subscriber count such as providing a free gift or a sign up incentive.

Now you’re paying for your newsletter service you’ll want to give it a spring clean to keep the costs down. All services charge based on the total number of users in your list, but sometimes these users aren’t even receiving your messages. Run searches and remove any entries that have never opened an email to decrease your bill and increase your performance stats.

March 20 2012


Email marketing gone wrong

I’m having a particularly bad day with spam email levels, hence the rant.

Image copyright Elvis Kennedy

Two companies getting it wrong: Web traffic provider MGID and website builder Wix. I had no prior dealings with either until during the course of the year nine representatives from Wix chose to send me unsolicited emails, and 10 representatives from MGID.

For me, a couple back-to-back messages from the same company won’t affect its reputation, but there’s a line between persistence and annoyance, especially when the “messages received” count reaches the twenties and thirties.

Austrian artist Manfred Kielnhofer is another taking it too far. I’ve received 20 of his emails during the past few months. Removal requests count for nothing. He could be a hugely talented bloke, but for all the spam he sends he might as well be touting Viagra.

It should be mandatory for all mailshots to have an unsubscribe link at the bottom. I don’t mean a sentence that reads, “To unsubscribe reply with ‘remove’ in the subject field” or a link that creates a new, blank email. Some companies don’t have a problem with impersonal emails. I do.

Too much to ask, though.

Definition of spam: disruptive messages, especially commercial messages posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail.

Here’s a quote from the USA’s CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

“Each separate email in violation of the law is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, and more than one person may be held responsible for violations. For example, both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that originated the message may be legally responsible.”

Most spammers pay no attention, and the onus seems to be on the recipient to opt-out, but it has been criminally enforced, both inside and outside the United States.

Two of the main perpetrators of spam in my inbox are Cision and PR Newswire. I’ll ask companies who send press releases where they got my address, and these mailing list suppliers are often mentioned. A couple of years ago Beth Blanchard of Cision told me my details were removed after my request (I never opted-in, of course), but some bright spark has re-added me.

Email marketing 101: Don’t spam.

Update: 21 March 2012
A received an email today from Cision’s UK office. All three of my blogs were listed on their media database, and I was asked if I wanted my details removed. So that’s at least something. For now.

Published on David Airey, graphic designer

Logo Design Love, the book

Related posts on David Airey dot com

July 25 2011


Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why

Advertisement in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why
 in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why  in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why  in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why

Social media is more than a buzzword. It’s now a lifestyle decision for a lot of companies. Many individuals and organizations have abandoned a traditional Web presence (which used to mean a website and email address) in favor of a Facebook page coupled with a Twitter account.

So, where does this leave email? Has the @ symbol lost its meaning as an address, and instead become the signifier of a Twitter name? I think that we need to radically reconsider our approach to email in this changing landscape and understand that it can be a powerful tool when leveraged correctly.

Love-for-email in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why
Have we lost our love of email?

Changing Habits

While I disagree with the assertion that “social is killing email,” evidence shows that email use among the younger generation is declining: a 59% decline among US teens between December 2009 and 2010, according to comScore. In the same study, only the over-55s had increased their use of email. This is especially significant if it represents a long-term shift away from email and towards social media and SMS as preferred methods of communication.

Losing Faith In Email

Email has been around forever (it predates the Web), so it’s not surprising that, for some, it has lost its lustre. For one, it’s not exciting enough; other social media platforms have come with fanfare. Twitter has hosted world headlines, and Facebook has been the driving force behind many campaigns. In 2009, a Facebook Group even succeeded in getting Rage Against the Machine’s single “Killing in the Name” to the UK’s “Christmas number one” spot ahead of the X Factor single.

This level of drama appeals to business types who like their social media “sexy,” and for this reason Twitter and Facebook push all the right buttons around the boardroom table. By comparison, an email marketing campaign may seem tired and old fashioned.

Email4 in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why
Email in a social media landscape.

For another reason, it lacks tangible value. Valuations of Internet companies (and particularly social media giants) have skyrocketed. In May of this year, LinkedIn was valued at $10 billion (roughly 41 times its 2010 net revenue). Facebook is still a private company, but rumors of a public offering in 2012 include a valuation that could reach $100 billion. While many in the industry see this as a portent of a second dot-com bubble, for a lot of businesses it is simply a compelling reason to invest in these services.

Email is non-proprietary, which means that no one is pushing its agenda, and, unlike the LinkedIns, Groupons and Facebooks of the world, it cannot attract a market worth. Value theory tells us that if something has no market value (such as air, water, etc.), it is often taken for granted. I think email has suffered a similar fate.

Finally and perhaps most significantly, it lacks the pack mentality that most of social media thrives on. Despite the growth of marketing, email is still mostly private. No one knows which lists I am subscribed to or who I write to from the privacy of my inbox, even if by virtue of Facebook they know what I ate for breakfast. In stark contrast to the insidious evils of “like” culture, my email behavior does not broadcast itself all over the Internet, which for marketers is a decided disadvantage.

Email Is A Currency

Email3 in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why
The currency of email.

Everyone Has It

It’s true that email is fighting with other services for online communication, but it is still ubiquitous in a way that other social media networks are not. As of May 2010, 39% of US Internet users had never used a social network, compared with only 6% who had never sent or received an email. If you want to reach the majority of your audience, email is still the safest bet.

It’s a Unique Identifier

It’s worth noting that people tend to be members of multiple social media websites simultaneously, with varying degrees of involvement, but they usually have only one or two active email addresses. The email address remains the unique identifier online; you use it to log into almost everything, so it would take a lot for it to become obsolete.

It’s a Coveted Resource

According to research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing is expected to generate an ROI of $44.00 for every dollar spent on it in 2011. This is due in part to the fact that more customers are engaging via email: 93% of email users have opt-in relationships with a consumer brand, as opposed to 15% on Facebook and 4% on Twitter (according to Chris Brogan, president of New Marketing Labs).

This value has been recognized by most social media networks. Facebook launched Messages, which provides each user with an email address, because it understands the importance of email in the social graph. Google+ is also tying email more directly into social media activity, blurring the distinction between the two.

Overcoming Obstacles

I hope I’ve managed to convince you that email is still a powerful part of your social media arsenal. But before you leverage it to the best of your ability, let’s understand some of email’s most notorious limitations.

Email2 in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why
Understand the limitations imposed by email.


This incarnation of junk mail is relentless. It plagues users, who must be cunning to distinguish genuine mail from hoaxes. Email clients require elaborate algorithms to sift the wheat from the chaff. And perhaps most vexing, Internet marketers have to struggle to get anything commercial through to their subscriber lists.

Unfortunately, Twitter and Facebook are not safe havens either. Business folk are not the only ones taking a bigger interest in social media; scam artists are, too. As of April 2011, spam alone occupied seven full-time employees at Twitter. This is a drop in the ocean compared to email (over 73% of all messages sent are spam), but it might be a relief to hear that we are experiencing the lowest levels since 2008; at least things are looking up!


Social media networks encourage multi-way conversations between many users. Even those who are not involved directly in the conversation can often “overhear” what is happening. Email is much more direct; it is usually between just two people and does not invite additional participants. Understanding this limitation of email will make it your greatest ally. Unless an email is personal, it will not get a response; however, it is one of the best ways to deliver direct messages, such as newsletters and alerts, which do not invite discussion so much as action.


HTML email is far more effective than plain text for marketing, but you’ll need to know the tricks to make it look good across different browsers. Writing code for email usually means going back to 1998, which is enough to put most people off it entirely. Luckily, Campaign Monitor and MailChimp offer some great templates to get you off on the right foot. But make sure to use a tool to test the email across different clients before clicking the “Send” button, or else you could do more damage than good.

Making Email A Part Of The Conversation

Bonnie Raitt once sang about giving people something to talk about, and that’s what you have to do with email marketing! Spark that discussion and keep it going on your blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Rien van den Bosch

Email is difficult to ignore. Unlike social media streams, in which content is disposable, an email demands your attention until it is read. Use this to your advantage: write newsletters; push your most engaging content in front of your users; adapt your offers so they match your audience.

Email1 in Email Is (Still) Important And Here Is Why
Use email to provoke conversation.

Also, email is a much calmer medium. Inbox zero is a difficult (yet achievable) goal, whereas staying on top of every stream, tweet and status update is not only stressful, but well nigh impossible! With email, you can take time and give thought to your words; you can dedicate some time to the person you are communicating with. Email not only gives your thoughts some room, but gives you time to write them down clearly.

If you’ve heard of the Slow movement (which advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace), then you might want to consider how email fits into Slow Marketing. Is it possible that cultivating brand advocates over time who have more than a fleeting interest in your product could bring long-term benefits? Could you talk to these customers in a more respectful way, one that leads to substantial, meaningful conversations?

Think Twice Before Hitting “Send”

If you’re not put off by the shortcomings of email and you find 140 characters more limiting than liberating, then you’re well on your way to incorporating email in your social media campaigns. Chances are your email subscribers are your most loyal audience, so treat them with respect (which means offering valuable content, and not too often), and they could become your greatest advocates.

While reams of articles are devoted to creating social email campaigns, here are just a few tips to get you started:

  1. Have something to say.
    Sounds simple, but while your daily musings are permissible on Twitter, your email audience will be less forgiving.
  2. Make it digestible.
    Email doesn’t limit your word count, but you’ll need to apply some editing of your own. If it’s a long article, include an excerpt and link through to the website for the full story. This has the added bonus of enabling you to track the most popular items.
  3. Be regular.
    Set a schedule of emails that you know you can keep to. A monthly or quarterly newsletter can be a good guide.
  4. Be personal.
    Tailor your tone to the audience. Most email services offer invaluable segmentation tools. You wouldn’t speak to your spouse the way you talk to your bank manager; neither should you address your entire audience the same way.

Don’t forget that email is only half of the conversation. Find out where your readers hang out (you can use their email addresses to locate them), and continue the discussion there!


© Felicity Evans for Smashing Magazine, 2011.

December 15 2010


Popup Domination Software Review – Revolution In Email Marketing

In internet marketing it’s all about the traffic and the people you can reach. One of the best ways to reach people is by having an email newsletter. But how to make people willing to subscribe to your newsletter? One of the ways is to offer a high quality product in exchange for their email addresses. This is where Popup Domination comes handy.

Continue reading to find out what is this WordPress plugin (actually it works on all sites) about, what it does and why do you need it.

So What Exactly Is It?

Popup Domination is a powerful WordPress plugin for attracting email subscribers. It creates a lightbox based pop-up window which helps to increase opt-in email list conversion on your blog. Popup Domination installation comes together with 4 beautiful high converting themes, 15 different colour combinations and 8 button variations.

The good thing is that you don’t need any knowledge coding at all. Just like most of the WordPress plugins this one ain’t no exception and does all the work for you. Simply customize the settings and with a click of a button, your interactive plugin is ready.




Why Do I Need It?

If you want your online business to be successful, having a large audience is crucial. And as you may know, reaching and building trust to your audience isn’t an easy job. One of the best ways to do build it is to have a mailing list. This is where Popup Dominations comes handy. The principle is that you have to be able to give something to your readers, so they would be interested in sharing their email with you.

Here are some of the features you’ll find on Popup Domination 2.0:

  • It will work on any website

Unlike 1.0 version, in this one there are included both a WordPress plugin and a brand new standalone version which means you can enable PopUp Domination on any website.

  • 7 themes and 15 different color options

The standard Popup Domination installation comes with 7, yes 7 themes and 15 different color schemes. All of which are unique and fully customizable.

  • Works with any mailing list provider

All you need to do is input the HTML generated and you are good to go.

  • Works with any caching software

Developers had listened to feedback and worked hard with this feature.. Theres more themes, more options and more functionality. You can check out the video on their homepage for a complete run down of the new features.

  • Page Selection

Within the WordPress plugin you can choose exactly which pages and posts you want PopUp Domination.

  • Impression Counter

Only show PopUp Domination once you have receive a certain number of impressions from a particular user.

It’s really easy to set-up and customize. You can fully customize this plugin without leaving your WordPress admin panel. Templates, colors schemes and text fields are easily editable. If you’re more experienced user, you can access to CSS files and edit the plugin beyond recognition.






Briefly, I want to say that Popup Domination is a great and worthy plugin which will be appreciated by marketing veterans and rookies as well. Easy customization and user-friendly design makes it one of the best this kind of plugins in the game. It can be priceless investment to your online business. So whether you are an online marketing expert with years of experience or just a newcomer, Popup Domination is the must have a thing for your toolkit.

I have bought and tested Popup Domination myself, not using for 1stwebdesigner yet because still I think it’s a bit too proactive way for getting subscribers, but very effective one, I think it would be good to not receive this pop up once you’ve subscribed, but I don’t know if there is any chance to recognize already subscribed person. But for short time effective marketing definitely must have plugin in your toolbox.

If you want to get Popup Domination and learn more about it, you can do it by clicking here. It’s not a cheap plugin though, now it costs 77$, but true marketers will evaluate its functions and will do anything to increase their mailing list to eventually increase their own earnings.

If you have a bigger subscriber count, usually it also means better chance to actually sell something to them. The same is with website –  if you have a great website but no one knows about it, you don’t earn anything and don’t have any exposure. Do something about it and convert your loyal readers to even more loyal followers in your mailing list.

I hope this informative promotional article helped you to evaluate good plugin and email marketing at all! Take care!

April 05 2010


25 Premium Email Newsletter Templates For Successful Marketing

Title-themeforst-html-email-templateEmail newsletter is really underestimated and I rarely see websites, blogs using it as marketing and communication tool. Everyone knows he should offer option to subscribe by e-mail, but how to use those e-mails powerfuly to strenghten your relationships and maybe even promote your own products? For that topic we should even create dedicated article, but I will start with just showcasing really well designed premium e-mail newsletter templates this time.

Sometimes it is worth spending little cash to get advanced and tested features without any efforts so you could focus on more important topics.

Too many people don’t evaluate highly good design and typography, but no matter how good your product,site is – if design will be terrible, it will turn people away!

And yes, by the way soon you will see e-mail newsletter from 1stwebdesigner as well, I have reason myself to investigate those topics, so I invite you to join me in this process!

1. Airmail! – Customizable Email Template

Airmail is a professionally built and designed custom HTML email template! Perfect for just about anyone – usable for everything from newsletters to eFlyers to whitepapers.

Airmail comes with 5 pre-built color options (white, green, blue, black, light blue) as well as 4 different layouts.


View Live Demo

2. Versatile Email Template – 7 layouts + 5 colors

Versatile is a professional HTML email template!

It’s versatility is due to the:

  • wide usage thanks to the 7 pre-built layouts
  • 5 color schemes
  • fast and intuitive system of creating new layouts.
  • layered png source files for each separate item included for easy editing
  • extensive documentation
  • consistent look in major email clients.

Works in:

  • Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail
  • Thunderbird, Outlook 2003 & 2007
  • MailCHimp, CampaignMonitor
  • Apple Mail


View Live Demo

3. Modern Business 4 HTML Email Template

Modern Business 4 is a professional HTML email newsletter template. If you need a vibrant, strong and clean looking solution for your email campaigns to promote your latest product or service, this is the solution for you. With 3 different colors and both single and double column designs, you have many options.

With attention to detail, fantastic use of color, table based design and fully tested using a 3rd party service for email client compatibility this template is ready for your information to be inserted and sent.


View Live Demo

4. Cielo Newsletter

Cielo is a stylish custom created HTML email newsletter. It can be used for a wide range of purposes and will help both the freelancer and the businessman in their communication with clients, partners or friends.

This newsletter was tested in many online mail clients like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. Also offline clients like Outlook 2007, Outlook Express and Thunderbird. It is possible however to have some layout issues on some mail clients – it is impossible to test all of them.


View Live Demo

5. iNewsletter

iNewsletter email template for web development / software companies that want to give their clients an update on their new products and latest news.

There are 2 designs samples, with 2 different content arrangements, each having 2 different backgrounds, so you’ll get 6 different layouts.

The HTML Templates have been tested on GMail, Yahoo Mail and Thunderbird. Update: Works on Apple Mail, Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook as well.


View Live Demo

6. BoldMail – Email Template Pack – 9 Colors!

BoldMail is a simple and sexy email template pack featuring 9 different color schemes!

  • You get 9 different color schemes: Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Cyan, Maroon, Black and White.
  • PSDs included for every color scheme.
  • Email-ready templates, fully tested!
  • Email templates are something that’s always overlooked, so make a BOLD impact with the BoldMail email template pack!


View Live Demo

7. Elegance – HTML Email Template

Send beautifully simple and elegant emails with Elegance, a template focusing on clean typography, grid layout and balanced negative space. This template is available in three colors and two different layout options.

Tested in all major email browsers for form and functionality. Customization is very easy and instructions are well documented!


View Live Demo

8. TechOffers – Multipurpose Minimalist Newsletter

TechOffers email template has been specially crafted with a clean and neat newsletter template in mind.

Although its presented as a tech / electronics email template, it can be used as a e-commerce, shopping, corporate newsletter or for any offers or products that your company may promote.

In the included documentation you will find graphical representation of the structure. Based on this you will be able to easily modify the email template.


View Live Demo

9. CleanMail – Email Template Package – 5 Colors!

CleanMail is a simple yet sexy email template package with 5 different color schemes!

Email templates are something that’s always overlooked, so make an impact with the CleanMail email template package!


View Live Demo

10. Atlantica Mail Template

Atlantica Mail is a professionally built and designed custom HTML email template; perfect for just about anyone – usable for everything from newsletters to eFlyers to whitepapers.

Atlantica comes with several pre-built color options (including both Dark and Light versions!!) as well as 4 different layouts (click below for samples);


View Live Demo

11. Corporate Communication

Corporate Communication 1 is a premiere designed and built html email template for corporations and business. The design allows for a large product image, 3 smaller products, lots of text, links to your website, social media and so much more.

Customization could not be simpler with the added benefit of quick edit photoshop files for all the major elements used in the design – simply open, edit and save.


12. Innovative – Product Tour HTML Email Template

Innovative – Product Tour is the perfect email template if you’re looking to announce a new product to your audience or if you simply want to introduce new features.

While this template was specifically designed for new product announcements, it can easily be updated with a few copy changes to fit any type of email blasts.


View Live Demo

13. Rich Typography Email Template

RichType is a bold, clean, and ultra customizable email template. It’s perfect for a wide variety of uses, from corporate newsletters to product advertisers. Best of all, the colors and layout are completely customizable using pre-built layout elements – simply copy and paste!


View Live Demo

14. Corporate Newsletter Template V1

Elegant and ultra-clean email template in 6 different colors and 4 layouts for your newsletter. This is an ideal solution for your email marketing campaigns, event invitation or periodical news.

View Live Demo

15. PhotoMail – 2 Styles, Endless Color Possibilities

PhotoMail is a simple and sexy email template for photographers and designers featuring 2 styles and endless color possibilities.

A great email template is something that’s always overlooked, so make an impact with the PhotoMail email template!


View Live Demo

16. Communiqué – Premium Email Template

Communiqué is a premium email template suited for just about anything from new product announcements to weekly newsletters. It’s been thoroughly tested and is compatible with all major email clients.

View Live Demo

17. Postman

Postman is the stylish solution for your email marketing, newsletters and advertising. It comes with multiple layout options.

It is also cross browser compatible, so you dont have to worry about different rendering engines of mail clients.


View Live Demo

18. Blog Mail

This advanced email template cames with a lot of great features:

  • 14 customizable skins
  • Tested In mayor e-mail apps
  • Very easy to modify and add videos


View Live Demo

19. Structured Mail

If you are looking for a neat and structured way to send information to your clients and subscribers then Structured mail may work for you.


View Live Demo

20. Modern Business 3 DARK Email

This premium HTML email template is a perfect solution for photographers anywhere. Designed to compliment the ultra successful Modern Business 3 template available here – it echos the styling, buttons and even all 8 colors in 3 different layout styles, and includes Campaign Monitor ready versions of all the templates.


View Live Demo

21. Our Community Mail + Customizable Email Template

Our Community Mail comes with 4 pre-built color options (default, green, blue, black) as well as 3 different layouts (check screenshot) and 3 different styles (default, general and galaxy black). There is also an extra general template for general use. It is extremely easy to customize and use.


View Live Demo

22. Platnum Email Template

Platnum is a modern and stylish newsletter template, suited for any business that wants a solid newsletter.


View Live Demo

23. BizLetter – E-mail Template

BizLetter is easy to customize and easy to edit e-mail newsletter, comes with 2 layouts:

  • Full-width one-column;
  • Right-sidebar two columns layout.


View Live Demo

24. i-Elegant Newsletter Template

i-Elegant is clean, multi usage, and elegant newsletter solution. It comes in 10 themes : gray, black, brown, green, orange, light blue, light and dark blue, blue and green, orange and gray, light and dark gray.


View Live Demo

25. MyMemo – Clean 1 Column Email Template

  • Works In All Major Clients
  • Logo PSD included
  • Single Column Layout
  • Original and Inline CSS
  • Easy to Customize

With this template, you get the original CSS as well as the ready-to-mail inline CSS.


View Live Demo

Which one is your favorite? You need to pick just one out, I know each one is amazing design and code work.

February 15 2010


Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Smashing-magazine-advertisement in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
 in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples  in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples  in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

The email newsletter is a powerful marketing and communication tool that has various useful functions. It reminds your users about you; it informs users about your products; it tells them what you have been up to; and it helps you build a unique relationship with them. Users like email newsletters if the newsletters bring them value.

The fundamental rule for creating an email newsletter is to give it interesting, relevant and up-to-date information that is enjoyable to read. Users sign up for newsletters hoping be informed about things that they would not otherwise be able to find out about. In this article, we’ll discuss some guidelines for designing and distributing email newsletters. Each point will be accompanied by both good and bad examples.

Please notice: in this post we features both good and bad examples of newsletter design, so you can get a better understanding of the problems to avoid and good design decisions to make.

You may be interested in the following related posts:

[Offtopic: by the way, do you know the Smashing Network has its own Smashing Network RSS Feed? Only excerpts are displayed in the feed.]

Signing Up For A Newsletter

This is an important step in convincing users that your newsletters are interesting and that they would benefit from signing up.

Tell Users What They Will Get

Before asking users for their details, tell them what they will receive, and identify the benefits of signing up. If you mention that the newsletters will include exclusive offers and deals, make sure to keep the promise. In addition, let users know how often they will receive the newsletter: weekly or monthly.

On the Mulberry sign-up page, the company promises to send users exclusive updates and offers. The Marie Claire UK subscription page clearly states that its newsletters include news, beauty buys, competitions and offers.

Newsletter11 in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Marie Claire UK subscription page

Reward Users for Signing Up

You may want to consider giving some reward to users for signing up; for example, a free gift, voucher or discount. To encourage users to sign up for his newsletter, Jamie Oliver offers a free £25 wine voucher that can be claimed after subscribing (on the condition that users spend £64.99 or more on the wine).

JamieOliverRewardShot-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Jamie Oliver sign-up page

Newsletter2 in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Jamie Oliver reward page

If you will give rewards, let users know as soon as possible in the process. James Perse gives users who subscribe to its newsletter a $15 online gift card. However, the reward is not mentioned on the subscription page, and the promotion code is sent via a confirmation email only after the subscription has been received. You would not have known that until you subscribed. The company is clearly missing a great opportunity to get people to sign up for its newsletters.

JamesPerseConfirmation-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
James Perse subscription confirmation email

Preview Your Newsletter

One way to let users know what they will get is to give them a preview of your newsletter. Hershey’s Kitchens has two different newsletters, and it offers examples of both types. The company even gives each newsletter a name and clearly indicates how often it will be sent out.

Newsletter3 in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Hershey’s Kitchen sign-up page

Keep Questions Short and Simple

Users avoid filling out forms and submitting their details if possible. For a newsletter sign-ups, all you need is their email address.

Hersey’s Kitchens has 10 mandatory fields. has 8 fields, but only the email field is required. We have found from our studies, though, that people often miss the asterisk or do not know what it means. Users who are reluctant to fill in many details may well refuse to sign up in this case.

HersheysKitchenFields-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Hershey’s Kitchen sign-up page

Content Of Newsletter

Based on our user testing, we found that people look at three things when they receive a newsletter:

  1. The sender, to see if it is from someone they know.
  2. The subject line, to see if it is of interest to them.
  3. The date, to see if the communication is up to date.

Write an Attractive Subject Line

One way to encourage users to open your newsletter is to write a subject line that grabs their attention.

If you are offering some sort of deal in your newsletter, try to avoid generic appeals in your subject line (for instance, Game July newsletter subject line: “Sizzling Summer Deals”). Instead, mention specific offers, such as Dorothy Perkins November Issue: “25% Off Just for You”. Also, be realistic about your offers, and avoid making them sound too good to be true. Users are skeptical about subject lines like “Get 1000 Extra Points” because they know they will often have to spend a lot to get those points.

Provide Useful and Well-Written Content

A newsletter should contain information that users would not normally research on their own. Users take seconds to scan for topics of interest to them before deciding whether to spend more time reading the newsletter. If your newsletter, like Forrester’s, shows only one or two topics, users would less likely to find something of interest to them.

Forrester-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Forrester newsletter

Furthermore, including links to your website in the newsletter is crucial.

Make Content Relevant to Your Readers

Make your newsletter’s content as relevant to your readers as possible, whether through offers, products or images. Superfluous content will add no value and simply be ignored. You could also provide customized content. Personalization can be done in one of two ways:

  1. Asking users for more (optional) information when they sign up.
  2. Implicitly recording what they buy and view on your website.

For example, Amazon sends newsletter with recommendations based on what its users have purchased. Recommendation-based newsletters can be highly useful, provided that your analytics are accurate.

AmazonCustomisedShortern-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Amazon’s customized newsletter

Offer Exclusive Deals

You could always offer subscribers special deals or freebies. There are a few ways to go about this. H&M and Photobox ask users to present their newsletters at the point of purchase in stores to receive discounts. Clinique and Airparks include a promotion code in their newsletters that users can redeem when checking out online.

HAndM-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
H&M newsletter

PhotoboxBlurred-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples Photobox newsletter

Airparks-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Airparks newsletter

Avoid putting these benefits so deep in the newsletter that users miss them. For instance, Clinique (above) puts its code at the bottom of the page, whereas Airparks puts its at the very top of the page.

In addition, make sure the rewards are relevant to your product and target audience. Take Inkclub, which gives out a free blusher to customers who shop via its newsletter. Not only does this item have little relevance to Inkclub’s product line, but it may not be very attractive to the company’s target users.

Inkclub-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Inkclub newsletter

Newsletter Design

Design your newsletter to suit its chief purpose. If the main objective is to announce a new product or promote a particular service, you may want to focus the newsletter entirely on this product or service. Good examples are Apple in promoting its new iPhone 3GS.

AppleiPhone3GS-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Apple newsletter promoting its new iPhone 3GS.

To promote its latest exclusive offers, Ted Baker takes an easy and rather lazy approach: the whole newsletter consists merely of one big banner showing offers of 50% off, in the hope that users will click to the website to find out more. By contrast, showcases a number of its latest deals in its newsletter, giving users a rough idea of its product line and sale prices.

TedBaker-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Ted Baker newsletter

Dabs-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Dabs newsletter

You could also adopt a catalogue style, like IKEA, or create a summary of your e-commerce website, like Audible, which teases users to visit its website with prices and a clear call-to-action button.

IKEA-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
IKEA newsletter

Audible-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Audible newsletter

Keep it Simple and Straightforward

As reported by the Nielsen Norman Group in its Email Newsletter Usability Report, the average reader skims a newsletter for 51 seconds. People never read: they scan for content that is of interest to them. So, don’t overwhelm them by squeezing too much information on the page. Make sure your content gets straight to the point, and write short paragraphs and bullet points.

The main purpose of Flybe’s newsletter is to present an exclusive offer on family trips to Disneyland. The value of this deal is lost among the long paragraphs. The message could be conveyed more effectively in bullet points for quick scanning.

Flybe-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Flybe newsletter

Make Good Use of Images, Numbers and Colors

Users are drawn first to elements that are visually simulating, such as graphics. Use images to guide users to the most important content and messages.

Numbers also grab attention. Users tend to associate them with prices and savings. Use percentages and dollar values to show concrete offers. For example, Pixmania newsletter has a big “49% off,” showing how much savings are available: clear and appealing.

Pixmania-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Pixmania newsletter

Color adds interest, too. But be careful, because inappropriate use makes for a messy, confusing newsletter. Take Rimmel London’s newsletter.

RimmelLondon-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Rimmel London newsletter

Tailor the Layout to the Content

A newsletter can be designed in a one-column or multi-column layout or a mixture of both. A one-column grid is easier to skim but might take up more space and increase the length of the newsletter. While people do skim email newsletters, that’s no reason to make them overly lengthy. However, some exceptions are the Design Hotels newsletter, which is long but well organized. Hotels are shown based on location, with attractive photos and deals.

DesignHotels-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Design Hotels newsletter

A two-column layout is common for newsletters. Narrower columns is usually used for the table of contents and upcoming events, while the main content is given a wider column. Etsy uses a two-column design for its newsletter, but both columns contain photos and links, and the sections have no prominent divisions. The design makes the page look messy and it lacks focus, making it hard to figure out where to look on the page. By contrast, iStockphoto’s clear division between sections and grid design help guide the user’s attention to the left or right column.

Etsy-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Etsy newsletter

IStockphoto-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
iStockphoto newsletter

Be Creative

Creativity in a newsletter is always welcome. Both First Great Western and Southern present their content using fictional characters, Bob and Loco respectively, who users can easily relate to.

FirstGreatWestern-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
First Great Western newsletter

Southern-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Southern newsletter

Giving each edition of your newsletter a different layout or design is okay as long users can easily recognize your brand. Despite STA Travel using various styles for its weekly newsletter, certain elements follow their branding guidelines, allowing users to quickly identify it.

STATravel254-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
STA newsletter, issue #254

STATravel255-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
STA newsletter, issue #255

Unlike the rather uninspiring Tripadvisor newsletter, Top Gear gets creative with its hand-sketched design, which makes the newsletter fun to read and explore.

Tripadvisor-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Tripadvisor newsletter

TopGear-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Top Gear newsletter

Be Wary of Table of Contents

Some newsletters include a table of contents at the top of the page, which can help users quickly scan for items of interest. A table of contents can be especially helpful in lengthy newsletters that have a lot of content, such as the one from MoneySavingExpert.

MoneySavingExpert-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
MoneySavingExpert newsletter

Previous experience tells us, though, that some users do not understand that the links in the table of contents navigate within the newsletter. Assuming that the links take them to a website, they avoid clicking them altogether. One solution is to avoid placing the links in the left or right columns, as Foodepedia does, which is where external links and ads are often found.

Foodepedia-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples
Foodepedia newsletter

Be Wary of Ads

If you have to include ads in your newsletter, make sure they blend in with the content. A good example of this is, and a bad example is which merely copies Google AdSense code directly into its newsletter, making the page look messy and the content unconvincing.

Lastminute-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples newsletter

PCMag-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples newsletter

Tools And Features

Make it easy for users to unsubscribe, but don’t remind them how to all the time. Also, tell users how they can change their email address, view the newsletter in a Web browser and quickly share the newsletter with their friends. Other useful features include: “Follow us on Twitter,” “Be Our Fan on Facebook” and “Watch Us on YouTube.”

After Sending Out The Newsletter

After sending out your newsletter, use an email marketing tool and list manager to track, monitor and measure the performance of your campaigns. Many email service providers are out there, such as MailChimp, iContact, Mailvivo, Mailing Manager and Atomic Email Tracker. The majority of them also provide templates to help you create your newsletter if you don’t want to get your hands dirty.


MacHeist’s Directorate newsletter grabs its readers’ attention with the price of its iPhone apps (£0.99). Then, it tells them what MacHeist does in a short paragraph and presents its features in a clear and appealing way via icons. Simple, interesting and effective.

MacHeist-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Headscape’s newsletter with large headlines and nice illustrations.

Headscape in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Muji’s newsletter has a tidy layout that allows for quick scanning. Each section is accompanied by nice product images and prices.

Muji-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Howies might have a bit too much text in its newsletter. However, it organizes the content into different sections with big clear headings.

Howies-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Apple’s Christmas newsletter has a photo-related theme promoting its digital photo organizer software, iPhoto, and its photo books and calendar printing service.

AppleXmas-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples gives its users an exclusive offer with a code. It not only emphasizes the word “FREE” but makes good use of the model to draw attention to the offer.

HQHair-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Bluefly cleverly divides its newsletter into two sections: “Offers” (the main section) and the right navigation section, using beautiful imagery in the process. Also, notice how it emphasizes the 80% offer and word “OFF” (in large font).

Bluefly-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Ambiance San Francisco takes a creative drawing-based approach to encourage users to shop with it.

AmbianceSF-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Disney Adventures‘ newsletter is another good example. Its beautiful picture gives users that holiday feeling.

DisneyAdventures-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Good Life Garden’s newsletter effectively uses the word “Free” to grab the user’s attention. The design is simple yet visually pleasing. Unfortunately, the content is repeated in the same newsletter.

GoodLifeGarden-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Bite Card’s newsletter has festive background imagery to evoke the winter season. It is simple, with a big banner at the top showing the product price, followed by cocktail choices and ingredients.

Bitecard-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

The Squawk’s newsletter attracts users with the beautiful book cover on promotion for that month.

TheSquawk-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Cauldron’s newsletter also has a tidy layout and clearly defines the purpose of each section. It tells users the subject of its next issue in the “Coming Next Month” section at the bottom, a nice tease.

Cauldron-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Mango’s newsletter makes good use of bright, attractive colors.

Mango-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

iStockphoto’s uses a gallery to present its top eight photos of the month: neat and easy to scan.

IStock-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Threadless‘ newsletter offers “$10 per tee” in big clear type at the top of the page.

Threadless-e-mail-newsletter in Email Newsletter Design: Guidelines And Examples

Further Resources

You may also be interested in these additional resources:

About the Author

Chui Chui Tan is a User Experience Consultant at cxpartners, UK. She loves being creative. Chui Chui has spent over seven years conducting user evaluations and designing usable and accessible user interfaces. She previously worked as a Mechanical Designer and received her doctorate in Human Computer Interaction. You can follow Chui Chui on Twitter.


© Chui Chui Tan for Smashing Magazine, 2010. | Permalink | 41 comments | Add to | Digg this | Stumble on StumbleUpon! | Tweet it! | Submit to Reddit | Forum Smashing Magazine
Post tags: email, marketing, newsletter

February 04 2010


The Art And Science Of The Email Signature

Smashing-magazine-advertisement in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature
 in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature  in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature  in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature

Email signatures are so easy to do well, that it’s really a shame how often they’re done poorly. Many people want their signature to reflect their personality, provide pertinent information and more, but they can easily go overboard. Why are email signatures important? They may be boring and the last item on your list of things to get right, but they affect the tone of every email you write.

Email signatures contain alternative contact details, pertinent job titles and company names, which help the recipient get in touch when emails are not responded to. Sometimes, they give the recipient an idea of who wrote the email in case it has been a while since they have been in touch. They are also professional: like a letterhead, they show that you run a business (in some countries, you’re required to do so). Here are some tips on how to create a tasteful signature that works.

[Offtopic: by the way, have you already visited Smashing Magazine's Facebook fan page? Join the community for a stream of useful resources, updates and giveaways!]

Be Concise

First and foremost, the sender’s header (the “From” field) should have a name, and you should use a company email address if you can. If someone sees, they’ll suspect it’s spam. If the sender’s header reads, “Steve Stevenson – Mister Stevenson Design Company” <>, they’ll know it’s a professional email from Steve, their trusted designer.

Start by making your website a link. Many email clients convert email addresses and websites into links automatically, but not always. When you’re creating the HTML for an email, make sure the link will appear by adding writing it in HTML. And instead of linking text like “My website,” type out the URL, which will be useful for those who want to copy and paste the address.

An email signature shouldn’t double the email’s length, so make it as short as possible (three lines is usually enough). Don’t get into your life story here. The purpose of a signature is to let them see who you are and how to get in touch with you.

Make Sure to Include…

  • Your name,
  • Your company and position,
  • How to get in touch with you.

No need to include 10 different ways to get in touch with you. As in website design, less is more; and then they’ll know which way you prefer to be contacted. Go to two or three lines, with a maximum of 72 character per line (many email applications have a maximum width of 80 characters, so limit the length to avoid unsightly wrapping). An optional fourth line could be your company address, but use caution if you work from home.

Steve Stevenson, Web Designer

Short and Concise, but Check the Rules

In some European countries, laws dictate what items you must put in your email signature if you are a registered company. For example, UK law requires private and public limited companies to include the following:

  • Company number,
  • Address of registration,
  • VAT number, if there is one.

You can be fined for not including this information on all electronic correspondence and on your website and stationary. Many freelancers and small businesses have ignored these rules since their inception, risking a fine. For more information on UK rules, go here. Do some research to find out what rules apply in your country.

Steve Stevenson, Web Designer |
55 Main Street, London, UK, EC2A 1RE
Company number: 12345678

Don’t Include…

  • Personal Twitter, IM or Skype details;
  • Your home phone number or address (unless you want to be called by international clients early in the early);
  • The URL of your personal website;
  • Random quotes at the bottom;
  • Your entire skill set, CV and lifetime achievements in point form.

Random quotes are fun for friends, but you risk offending business associates with whom you don’t have a personal relationship. Unless you want clients contacting you while you’re watching Lost, don’t share your home details far and wide. Also, don’t share your personal contact information with your corporate partners. They certainly won’t be interested in it, and you may not want them to know certain details about you. However, mentioning your corporate Twitter account or alternative means of contact in your signature might be useful, in case your correspondent is not able to get in touch with you by regular email.

Duck Stand Md Wht in The Art And Science Of The Email SignatureSteve Stevenson, Web Designer
email: steve@misterstevenson.comhome: 613.555.2654
home (wife): 613.555.3369
work: 613.555.9876
cell: 613.555.1234

55 Drury Lane
Apartment 22
Ottawa, Ontario

skype: stevie_the_man
messenger: stevie_mrstevenson

I specialize in:
Web design
Graphic design
Logo design
Front-end development
UI design

“Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is
worth the price.”
-Amelia Aerheart

Don’t do this.

Images And Logos

Let’s get this out of the way now: your entire signature shouldn’t be an image. Sure, it will look exactly how you want, but it is completely impractical. Not only does an image increase the email’s file size, but it will likely be blocked before being opened. And how does someone copy information from an image?

All Image in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature
This signature is too big at 20 KB and impossible to copy.

Any images should be used with care and attention. If you do use one, make it small in both dimensions and size, and make it fit in aesthetically with the rest of the signature. 50 x 50 pixels should be plenty big for any logo. If you want to be taken seriously as a business person, do not make it an animated picture, dancing dog or shooting rainbow!

Most email clients store images as attachments or block them by default. So, if you present your signature as an image, your correspondents will have a hard time guessing when you’ve sent a genuine attachment.

The best way to include an image is to host it on a server somewhere and then use the absolute URL to insert the logo. For example, upload the logo to And then, in your email signature’s HTML, insert the image like so:

<img src="" width="300" height="250" alt="example's logo" />

Don’t Be A Fancy Pants

Use vCards With Caution

While vCards are a great, convenient way to share contact information, in emails they add bytes and appear as attachments. It is often said that you shouldn’t use a vCard for your email signature, because as helpful as it might be the first time you correspond with someone, receiving it every time after that gets annoying. Besides, the average email user won’t know what it is. Look at the example below. Would an average user know what that is?

Steve Stevenson, Web Designer |

Vcard in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature

If you do want to provide a vCard, just include a link to a remote copy.

What About Confidentiality Clauses?

If your emails include confidential information, you may need to include a non-disclosure agreement to prevent information leaks. However, good practice is never to send sensitive information as plain text in emails because the information could be extracted by third parties or forwarded by recipients to other people. Thus, including a non-disclosure agreement doesn’t make much sense if you do not send sensitive information anyway.

Keep in mind, too, that the longer a confidentiality clause is, the more unlikely someone will actually read it. Again, check your country’s privacy laws. Some big companies require a disclosure with every email, but if you’re at a small company or are a freelancer and don’t really require it, then don’t put it in. The length of such clauses can be annoying, especially in short emails.

Warm Regards & Stay Creative!
Aidan Huang (Editor)
Showcasing Web Treats Without Hitch
web .
twi .
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely
for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have
received this email in error please notify the sender. This message contains
confidential information and is intended only for the individual named. If you
are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or copy this
email. Please notify the sender immediately by email if you have received this
email by mistake and delete this email from your system. If you are not the
intended recipient you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or
taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly
This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential. If you have received
this email in error please notify the sender and then delete it immediately.
Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Company.

The recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence
of viruses. Company accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus
transmitted by this email.

Company may regularly and randomly monitor outgoing and incoming emails
(including the content of them) and other telecommunications on its email
and telecommunications systems. By replying to this email you give your
consent to such monitoring.


Save resources: think before you print.

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Some Personality

Although your email signature should be concise and memorable, it doesn’t have to be boring. Feel free to make your email signature stand out by polishing it with your creative design ideas or your personal touch. Using a warm greeting, adding a cheeky key as Dan Rubin does or encouraging people to “stalk” you as Paddy Donnelly does, all show personality behind simple text.

The key to a simple, memorable and beautiful email signature lies in balancing personal data and your contact details. In fact, some designers have quite original email signatures; most of the time, simple ASCII is enough.


m: +1 234 567 8901
i: superfluouschat

k: h = home, w = work, b = blog, m = mobile, i = aim, k = key


The Site:
Stalk Me:

With optimism,
Dmitry Belitsky
/// Matthias Kretschmann     ///   krema@xxxxxxxx.xx            ///
/// freelance designer &     ///         ///
/// photographer             ///  ///
/// media studies / communication science & art history         ///
/// MLU Halle-Wittenberg                                        ///
With greetings from Freiburg, Germany,
Vitaly Friedman (editor-in-chief)
Smashing Magazine -
online magazine for designers and developers


If you can, stay away from HTML formatting. Every Web designer knows the pain of HTML newsletters, and while HTML is supported for email signatures, you’ll likely have problems with images and divider lines in different email clients. Some nice ASCII formatting may work in some cases.

carole guevin . editor
//// design + digital culture magazine
Adelle Charles // Designer // // RSS Feed // Twitter
Min, Tran Dinh
Chief Creative Designer - Frexy Studio

Website: | Blog: | Email:
Cellphone: (84) 012 345 678
- --
Rene Schmidt -- Berater für Web-Entwicklung & eCommerce,
Linux-Webserver-Systemadministration & Web-Programmierung
Vordamm 46, 21640 Horneburg;
Tel: 0123.456.7.890; Skype:
Steuernummer 43/141/09180; USt-IdNr 219014862
Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (MingW32)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla -

Geoff Teehan
Web Platforms  |  Digital Campaigns  |  Mobile Applications  |  Strategic Consulting

T: 416 123 4567 x 890  |  |
Dmitry Dragilev

ZURB | Marketing Lead

Follow our blog at:

Follow us on Twitter: @zurb

Check out Notable - Easiest way for teams to
provide feedback on websites.


Matt Ward
Echo Enduring Media

Web -
Blog -
Twitter - @echoenduring - Follow me!
Dan Rubin
Sidebar Creative { Director of Training & User Experience }

mobile: +1 234 567 8901
David Leggett
Tutorial9 Founder
Gareth Hardy
Graphic Designer | Down With Design
+44 (0) 0123 456 789
Grant Friedman

Follow me on Twitter!
Many thanks,
+44 (0) 1234 567890
skype: inayaili
Jonathan Cutrell, Editor | @FuelInterface | @jCutrell
All the best,

Rob Bowen
Copywriter | Designer | Creative Consultant

Co-Founder/Editor @ Arbenting
& Dead Wings Designs

Please consider the environment before printing this email.
Arseny Vesnin
Warm regards,

Dipti Kankaliya
{ }

Studio March Private Limited
12 Moledina Road Camp Pune 1 India
Phone: +91-20-26334002
{ }

MarchCast – The Studio March blog
{ }
This is an official email from Studio March Private Limited and is protected
by a disclaimer. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, please

Of course, if you’re really keen to use HTML, keep it simple:

  • Make sure it still looks good in plain text.
  • Use black and standard-sized fonts, and stay away from big, tiny and rainbow-colored fonts.
  • Don’t use CSS. Inline HTML formatting is universally accepted.
  • Use common Web fonts.
  • Including a logo? Make sure the signature looks nice even when the logo doesn’t load or is blocked.
  • Check how it looks when forwarded. Do all the lines wrap correctly?
  • You may want to load your company image as your gravatar from as Joost de Valk does.
  • Feel free to experiemnt with your e-mail signature: Jan Diblík uses a signature with dynamicaly changed promo image.

Misterstevenson1 in The Art And Science Of The Email SignatureSteve Stevenson, Web Designer |


Joost in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Invert in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Matt2 in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Maggie2 in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Lukew2 in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Fubiz2 in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Jad2 in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Caroline in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Chris in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Martin in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature


Nicola in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature

Separate Signature From Content

Your signature should clearly be a separate entity. Wikipedia explains the correct way to separate the signature:

“The formatting of the sig block is prescribed somewhat more firmly: it should be displayed as plain text in a fixed-width font (no HTML, images, or other rich text), and must be delimited from the body of the message by a single line consisting of exactly two hyphens, followed by a space, followed by the end of line (i.e., “– \n”). This … allows software to automatically mark or remove the sig block as the receiver desires.”

There are other less standard ways to separate your signature. While not automatic formatting, a line of —–, ======, or _______ or even just a few spaces will visually separate your signature from your email.

Dan Oliver (editor)
.net magazine (
Twitter: danoliver
Phone: 01234 56789
Address for deliveries:
.net, Units 1 & 2 Cottrell Court,
Monmouth Place, Bath, BA1 2NP
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Elliot Jay Stocks
Elliot Jay Stocks Design Ltd.
Registered in England & Wales #1234567

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Vennlig hilsen
Lars Bæk
Byråleder & Tekstforfatter
Storgata 15, 2408 Elverum
Mob (+47) 01 23 45 67 |
Information Architects Inc.
Tokyo Zurich

Oliver Reichenstein, Founder

Wrestling With Your Email Client

Tug Of War1 in The Art And Science Of The Email Signature

Offering general advice on signatures is easy, sure. But anyone who has tried to implement automatic signatures in Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo knows it’s not always that simple. Here are some resources to help you get yours right every time.

Changing Outlook’s signature is a real pain, but here’s a guide that teaches you a few things. If you use Outlook 2003, here’s another tutorial on custom signatures.

Want just one basic signature? Here’s how to change the text. You’d think Google would allow you multiple signatures, links and a bit of formatting. If you’re looking for something a little more designed or wish to choose between multiple signatures, here are five ways to do it in Firefox.

Tips on custom images and more for Hotmail (Oh my!) can be found here. If you use Windows Live, here is a tutorial on adding images and HTML. The detail is helpful, even if the images are awful.

After a bit of research, I found that Yahoo used to support HTML signatures, but no longer. Here’s how to change your signature using rich text.

Apple Mail
Here is a pretty decent tutorial, with some inline HTML for formatting. It then explains how to implement it in the application. You even get some hints on how it will look on the iPhone.

Palm Pre
Learn how to customize your message on your Palm Pre here.

Customize your “Sent from my iPhone” message here.

Some information on how to change your message on BlackBerry smartphones here.


Related Posts

You may be interested in the following related posts:


© Kat Neville for Smashing Magazine, 2010. | Permalink | 23 comments | Add to | Digg this | Stumble on StumbleUpon! | Tweet it! | Submit to Reddit | Forum Smashing Magazine
Post tags: email, signatures

December 10 2009


Your First Client Project: New Plus Tutorial

Once you’ve gotten a handful of client projects under your belt, you manage to forget just how difficult that first one really was! Even outside of the design/approval process, you must purchase the domain, purchase hosting, assign the nameservers to your host, upload your design, convert it for some CMS like WordPress, and then create custom email addresses – like If you’re doing it for the first time, it really is a confusing pain in the butt!

In this week’s PLUS screencast, I’ll take you through the process from scratch. Become a PLUS member!

Join Tuts Plus

NETTUTS+ Screencasts and Bonus Tutorials

For those unfamiliar, the family of TUTS sites runs a premium membership service called “TUTSPLUS”. For $9 per month, you gain access to exclusive premium tutorials, screencasts, and freebies from Net Plus, Psd Plus+, AE Plus, Audo Plus+, and Vector Plus! For the price of a pizza, you’ll learn from some of the best minds in the business. Join today!

  • Subscribe to the Nettuts+ RSS Feed for more daily web development tuts and articles.

November 17 2009


No More Ripping your Hair Out: New Email Templates Category

I’m pleased to announce the launch of our newest category on ThemeForest: email templates! If you happen to be in need of an email client friendly newsletter for your business, we’ve got you covered. For $8 – $10 dollars, you can avoid the hassles of inline styles, email compatibility, and tables! Why rip your hair out when a ten dollar bill can solve the problem?

The Initial Offering

We’ve launched with only a handful of beautiful choices; however, if you don’t find the one you need today, remember that we’ll be adding to this list on a daily basis (hint hint, authors).



“Airmail is a professionally built and designed custom HTML email template! Perfect for just about anyone – usable for everything from newsletters to eFlyers to whitepapers.”



“Atlantica Mail is a professionally built and designed custom HTML email template; perfect for just about anyone – usable for everything from newsletters to eFlyers to whitepapers.”



“CleanMail is a simple yet sexy email template package with 5 different color schemes!”



“theClub is a darker color two column template geared towards the nightlife! With this template, you get the original CSS as well as the ready-to-mail inline CSS .”

Quantum Email Newsletter

Quantum Email Newsletter

“A modern & clean HTML email template; comes in three colors: green, blue & pink.”

So if you Have a Moment…

Pay a visit to our newest category on ThemeForest, and considering picking up a new template. On the other hand, if you’re an author on ThemeForest – time to create some tables! There’s money to be made!

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.
No Soup for you

Don't be the product, buy the product!

YES, I want to SOUP ●UP for ...