Email newsletters are an important way to keep in touch with your customers and supporters, but a successful newsletter is about more than just what you say. The design and formatting can be the difference between a newsletter that engages your audience and one that has them heading for the unsubscribe button.
How to Design an Effective Email Newsletter
When planning your email newsletter, keep these best practices in mind.
Set a Goal
Before you sit down to choose a design, determine why you are sending it. What do you want your readers to gain or learn? Knowing your "why" will go a long way in helping you choose the best template for your needs. A newsletter intended to drive website traffic may need a different design than one that generates leads.
Keep Branding Consistent
When selecting an email newsletter template, make sure the design is consistent with your company's branding. Branding is about more than putting your logo on the top of the email. It's also about the way the colors, fonts, images, and other design elements make the reader feel.
For example, if your business presents itself with a professional, serious tone, you'll want to avoid cutesy fonts and cartoon images in favor of bold colors and clean lines.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
According to Hubspot, 46% of emails are being read on mobile devices. That means you want to avoid creating a huge wall of text that fills the screen and overwhelms the reader. Select a design that has plenty of white space and isn't too busy.
You also need to be sure the template you select is mobile-friendly and the design won't look jumbled when opened on a handheld device. Most modern designs will be responsive, but you should still test your email on a computer, smartphone, and tablet before sending it to your mailing list.
To get you started, we've selected nine of the best free email newsletter templates for you to try out. Once you've selected a design template that works for you, you're ready to write a newsletter that will excite your customers and drive growth for your brand!
<div class="tip">Pixpa offers a helpful article on design principles—worth reading before you settle on any newsletter design.</div>
The 9 Best Free Email Newsletter Templates
1. Kreative by ZippyPixels
The free Kreative template is a clean, responsive design that can easily be customized to your brand's branding and color scheme. ZippyPixels lets you customize the template in their online builder and then export it to use with your mail client. They even include a layered PSD source file to aid in future editing of the design.
2. Recast by MJML
MJML offers the full HTML code for its Recast template for you to edit and import into your own email service provider (ESP). This design is simple and straightforward, making it a great choice for brands looking for no-frills corporate email newsletter templates.
3. Passion by Pixelhint
If you're looking for a template that combines a great hero image, text, and lots of images within the design itself, then check out Pixelhint's Passion template. This is another template that allows you to download the full HTML file as well as the editable PSD source file.
4. Snowfall by Stripo
This Snowfall template by Stripo is great for businesses that like to create seasonally themed newsletters. This design is especially unique in that it offers an animated snowfall effect. Stripo's templates must be customized within their own email editor and exported to your ESP, but users can sign up for a free account.
5. Accessible Newsletter by Litmus
Sometimes stunning visual designs come at the cost of reduced accessibility. If making your newsletter accessible is a priority, the accessible newsletter template from Litmus delivers just that. This simple template incorporates accessibility best practices, including:
- Screenreader-friendly design, including alt-text for images
- High-contrast text for easy reading
- Simple layout with fewer images
Users need to create a free Litmus account to access the template.
6. Travel Guide by BEE
If you want your brand to stand out and make a statement, create your newsletter using a bold template like Travel Guide by BEE. The eye-catching fonts, dark background, and striking imagery work together to grab your reader's attention immediately. Create a free BEE account to use the template.
7. Every Drop Counts by BEE
If you want to branch out and include different types of media in your newsletter, incorporate video links with another template by BEE.
In its Every Drop Counts template, BEE uses very little text. Instead, it relies on strong graphics and focuses on a video that delivers the key message. Just like with the Travel Guide template, you'll need to create a free BEE account to use this design.
8. Wayfair by EmailOctopus
The Wayfair template from EmailOctopus is simple, yet sophisticated. This design would be appropriate for high-end and luxury brands or a company looking for a clean weekly newsletter email template.
As an added bonus, this design comes in a set that includes two other matching email templates, so you can stay on-brand no matter what type of email you are sending.
If you can't find a template that’s perfect for your business, or if you just want to flex your creative muscles, Mosaico.io offers a free email template builder.
The website’s intuitive layout means it doesn’t take much to learn how to create an email newsletter template. You don't even need any coding or design knowledge to get started—simply select one of two base templates and then use the drag-and-drop editing tools to make your own responsive design.
Don't let a lack of coding or design experience turn you away from creating a beautiful newsletter for your company. There are plenty of free, user-friendly templates available to help you get started.
Finding the perfect template is just the beginning, however. When you start building and writing your newsletter, be sure to follow best practices to ensure your content is eagerly accepted by your audience.
Always remember to test your design and then test it again (and then maybe one more time for good measure) before sending the newsletter out to your subscribers.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Whitney Hickerson.