• beehiiv Blog
  • Posts
  • Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Increase Your ROI With a Well-Formatted Email Newsletter

This article has been updated to maintain its accuracy and relevance.

It’s the 2020s and you want to keep your business and brand top of mind for your audience. 

Billboards don’t make sense and online advertisements don’t reach your audience the way you would like. Not to mention, these methods focus on reaching the masses, but not fostering relationships. To truly engage with your audience, we need to move beyond pure advertising and explore ways to build genuine connections.

Enter the email newsletter

Email newsletters are the perfect way of keeping in touch with your subscribers and giving them insight into your brand on a regular basis. Your audience gets to know you and your brand in a way that’s personal and direct. 

But what’s the best way to format an email newsletter, and why is it so important?

In this guide, we’ll be exploring the main three components you need to build into the format of every newsletter you write to ensure your content is clear, well-structured, and consistent for your subscribers. We’ll also share some of our top tips for email formatting, and explain why formatting is so important.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about email newsletter formatting!

Email Newsletter Format (Key Data)

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

So why are we talking about email formatting anyway? Surely the layout of an email is the least important part and we should be focused on the content… right?

Wrong. 

Of course, the content of your email newsletter is the main focus, but ultimately, if your email formatting is off, you’re going to fall at the first hurdle. 

Did you know that in 2023 alone, over 300 billion emails (Statista, 2024) were sent and received each day? 

There are over 4 billion daily email users globally (Statista, 2024) and that number is only projected to rise. Despite that, Hubspot Blog Research (Hubspot, 2023) shows that email is only utilized by 31% of marketers, highlighting how much opportunity there is to engage your subscribers. 

If your format isn’t quite right, you could be missing out on the subscribers who want to engage with your brand. Prioritizing format will help you cut through the noise and stand out against all of the other emails your subscribers are already receiving. 

Your email newsletter is an amazing opportunity to increase the ROI of your marketing budget as it’s often less expensive and more bang for your buck than other marketing ventures. When your format is optimized to make your newsletter stand out, you can take full advantage of the opportunity. 

Format Email Newsletter (3 Components)

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

There are three main components when formatting a newsletter. Let’s go through these below in some more detail. 

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

The first section that you should have in your email newsletter is a header. The header of an email should include the following:

  • Your company logo - This should be big and bold for all to see as it serves as the first touch point between the person who opens the email and your brand. 

  • A few quick links - Think of your email newsletter header as the navigation bar on your website. Input a few of your key website pages as links so your subscribers can easily navigate to your site.

  • Preheader text - This is a small line of text that appears at the top of an email, it may seem pretty insignificant, but it’s quite the opposite. This content provides a short summary of what your email is about and provides context for the email if it fails to load on certain devices.

Pro Tip: Ensure that your header is consistent in all your emails. With the beehiiv platform, you can create reusable templates, allowing you to use the same email header each time. 

This saves time, and keeps your newsletters consistent — double win!

Here is an exemplary header in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s newsletter, Arnold’s Pump Club

He uses his header to immediately provide value by giving two freebies to new subscribers.

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

10 Almonds takes a slightly different approach. 

They let you know that they have freebies to give you, but the freebies are further down in the email–”below the fold”– so you have to scroll to find them!

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Finally, The Town Crier keeps their headers super simple– and adds a GIF underneath for visual interest.

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Main Body

Next up is the main body of your email newsletter. This is where you can get creative!

Here are some key elements to bear in mind when formatting the middle section of your email newsletter:

  • Ensure content is clear and flows seamlessly - This could involve stacking content side by side or having elements flow one after the other. Whichever you choose, make sure your content is easily scannable, and links together well.

  • Consider background color and fonts - No one wants a fluorescent background on an email that’s going to make them wince every time they open it. Choose a neutral color that pairs well with the fonts from your brand guidelines to give your newsletters a professional appearance.

  • Vary the type of content you’re using - While the copy is the main event of the email, try to mix it up a bit with other types of content too. This could include video, graphics, or even interactive content such as polls - your audience will find varied newsletters more engaging, so keep yours fresh with different types of content.

Don’t be scared to get creative with this step. Remember how many emails we said were sent in 2024 alone? Remaining consistent with this body format will put you at an advantage to ensure your emails are always being engaged with by your audience.

Smart Nonsense is an example of a newsletter that gets inventive in their newsletter’s main body– with their art as the focus of their content.

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

According to research by Get Response, emails with graphics have almost a 10% boost in open rates (Get Response, 2021)! 

If graphics aren’t your thing, you can still keep your newsletter visually interesting with a captivating (and consistent) theme. 

Big Desk Energy gets creative by keeping their theme of retro PC present throughout their content. While there aren’t many graphics added to break up the text, the longer-form style works because of the old-school vibes. 

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

What Content Works in 2024 

Need help with what content to include in your newsletters? Here are some content ideas that can take your newsletter to the next level. 

Pro tip: beehiiv lets you put certain content behind a paywall so you can create exclusive content just for premium subscribers of your newsletter. 

The good news is that you may already be using some of these content types in your newsletter; many oldie-but-goodie styles you’ve been using for years are still effective in 2024. 

Here are some ideas of content to help inspire you: 

Video 

Short Form video has consistently been on the rise, but regional laws and restrictions pose threats to this type of content. The bans on TikTok in India in 2020 and the potential ban in the US in 2024 highlight how you don’t own your audience on social media platforms. 

Moving your video content to an email newsletter solves that issue as there is no risk of losing your audience to a circumstance out of your control.

Better yet, sharing your videos via email allows you to connect directly with your subscribers, put a face to the name behind the newsletter, and engage in a unique way that can’t fully be captured in words. 

10 Almonds uses videos in their newsletter in a “watch and learn” segment:

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Tell a Personal Story

An oldie but goodie, telling a personal story is a powerful way to improve your audience relationships. Your audience gets to know you, and your brand, and see behind the scenes who you are and what you have to offer. 

beehiiv CEO Tyler Denk tells a personal story every week in his newsletter Big Desk Energy, giving an inside look at what it’s like being the CEO of a startup. 

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Listicles

Listicle content is perfect for a daily newsletter. Not only is it an easy format to write, but it is also straightforward for your audience to read and digest quickly. 

A well-structured listicle is an excellent way to keep your audience engaged from beginning to end by providing what your audience is looking for: content that’s simple, short, and sweet. 

Check out how Adobe took their listicle to the next level with eye-catching graphics: 

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Curated Content 

If you create content, you likely also consume content. Why not share the great content that you found on the internet with your audience?

Not only does this show your subscribers more of who you are and what you’re about, but it also helps to highlight other creators in the same space as you (and hopefully, they’ll return the favor).

1AND1 curates a list of “only good news” from around the web in every email: 

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide
Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Last but by no means least is the footer. The footer is easily forgotten when it comes to email newsletters, but it’s super important for closing off your newsletter and directing users where to head next.

Here are the key points that every effective email newsletter footer should contain:

  • Social media links - Show your audience where else they can find you by linking out to your social media profiles.

  • Contact information - If necessary, include your phone number and address at the bottom of your newsletters. This makes it super easy for your audience to contact you if needed

  • Relevant terms and conditions/privacy policies - it’s important to be transparent with your subscribers, so make sure to include any terms and conditions or privacy policies you need to in this section. 

Scoops does an excellent job of delivering an informative footer. They even include their beehiiv Partner Program link! 

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Of course, you don’t need to include extra information. Just ensure you are providing all the necessary information.

Take Creator Spotlight, for example. Their footer is short, sweet, and to the point– and it gets the job done.

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

There you have it. A complete email newsletter with a header, main section, and footer! 

One last tip. It may seem counterintuitive, but make sure you include the option to unsubscribe at the bottom of your email. Providing a simple way for the subscriber to feel like they always have a choice in whether or not they receive content from you will subconsciously allow them to build more trust in your brand.

How To Format An Email Newsletter (Top Tips)

Now that you know the best way to format an email newsletter, we will go through a few top tips to bear in mind when you are creating these sections.

Clean Layout

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

We touched on this above, but we can not stress enough how important a clean layout is to an email newsletter. 

If your subscribers can not easily read and scan through your emails, there is no doubt about it —open rates on your emails will be affected.

Keep a clear structure to your emails including palatable colors and branding to keep your audience excited to receive your next newsletter.

Clear Focus and CTA

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

Another key feature that all email newsletters should have is a clear focus and a strong “Call To Action” (CTA) to match. Think about the aim of your newsletter before structuring it, as the focus of your email will inform its content.

Always include a strong CTA within your email template. This could be linking subscribers back to your website, encouraging them to sign up for your latest event, or booking an appointment. 

Whatever the action, make sure it is obvious to your audience what the aim of your email is and how they can act once they have read it.

Punchy Subject Line

Email Newsletter Formatting: Your Ultimate Guide

We know this comes up again and again, but it is just too important not to mention— When formatting your newsletters, always consider your subject line

This is the first impression your audience will have when seeing your newsletter land in the inbox, so come up with a punchy subject line that is going to get subscribers to open your emails and be excited to know what is inside.

The subject lines that you use can make or break your open rates. Research by Finances Online shows that 33% of users choose to open emails based on catchy subject lines (Finances Online, 2023). 

Best Format For Email Newsletter (Key Takeaways)

The three main components to consider when formatting your email newsletter, and some additional takeaways to inform your email strategy!

Let’s recap — all newsletters must have a header, a main section, and a footer. You should also carefully consider your layout, the focus of your newsletter, and the subject line when formatting your next newsletter.

Now that you are ready to get started, check out the free trial of beehiiv today. There are some fantastic email templates to get you started, along with custom fields, A/B testing for subject lines and so much more.

Sign up for free with beehiiv today and get your next newsletter out there!

Join the conversation

or to participate.