Is your e-newsletter looking a bit dull these days? Check out GQ’s free daily e-newsletter for a few ideas on how you might simplify your design while maintaining reader interest and increasing opportunities for free-to-paid subscriber conversion.
When you sign up for GQ’s e-news, you might be a bit perturbed to find out it is a daily e-news offering. Do I really want tips on men’s fashion, sports, entertainment, and politics along with pressure to be uber-stylish nearly 365-days a year?! But the amazing thing about GQ’s e-news design is how simple and non-intrusive it feels.
We here at Niche signed up to receive the e-newsletter, as part of our ongoing e-news research, and while many e-newsletters have caused us to hit the “unsubscribe” button long ago, GQ’s e-news somehow manages to strike the balance between offering just enough interesting content to keep us reading, while not bombarding us to the point of unsubscribing.
So how do they do it? GQ utilizes three simple elements that accomplish everything they need their free e-newsletter to do:
Less is More: GQ’s e-newsletter opening page is strikingly simple. The “above the fold” section of the page always contains one large graphic with the title and a sentence or two from the featured daily article. Below the fold you’ll find four more article links on the left-hand side, designed with a single uniform-sized graphic for each article and only the first sentence of the piece, along with a “read more” button. This leaves the lower right-hand corner of the e-newsletter open for a large “subscribe now” button with a free gift offer.
Address Reader’s Diverse Interests: If GQ was only going for simplicity and counteracting reader burnout in their e-newsletter design, they might focus on just the featured article and the subscription offer—yet, by throwing in the four links to other articles they are able to draw in their reader’s attention and cover diverse interests. Just when your reader thinks “I’m not really into men’s fashion” and is ready to unsubscribe because the feature article is on how brown is the new black for Spring suits, he sees a link to an interview with Jeremy Lin and an analysis of the latest presidential debate and you’ve maintained a subscriber without adding too much clutter to your e-news format.
Plug Your Product with a Clear and Simple Offer: While your e-newsletter is always going to succeed or fail based on the quality and relevance of its content—don’t pretend to be too cool to sell your product while you’re at it. If you are delivering the content your readers want, then they won’t mind a simple and direct sales pitch along with it. GQ gets it just right, as they never fail to include a large and tempting “subscribe now” offer on the lead page of their e-newsletter, but it’s one simple pitch accompanied by quality content, so the e-news offering never feels like a sales-pitch-in-disguise. If you’re sending your readers free, quality content on a consistent basis, they’re sharp enough to know that your company is not merely offering a public service, but has a product to sell, and they won’t mind if your e-news contains that sales pitch—as long as it doesn’t invade the editorial message or take over your e-newsletter’s core content.
This originally appeared as part of our Vitamin E e-newsletter for e-newsletters. All the articles: