Email, it was supposed to die out with the growth of social media right? Apparently, that is not the case. In fact, say nearly 68% of teens and 73% of millennials said they prefer to receive communication from a business via email…


So, is email marketing – like sending newsletters – still effective? Absolutely.

 “Email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.”

- McKinsey & Company

The New York Times even titled one of their articles, For email newsletters, a death greatly exaggerated. Email isn’t dead, it is alive and email newsletters are effective… as long as you do it right.

The why and the how

Creating your email newsletter the right way comes down to one big thing – readability. If you can’t read it quickly, there is no point in sending it.

Here are some of the reasons why readability is so important to your email and tips on how to do it.

1 | email is a quick and easy read

The biggest benefit to good readability in a newsletter is that it can be read quickly.

People don't have a lot of time to read an entire newsletter to find information, they're too busy.

A quick to read email newsletter will improve readability and the effectiveness of the newsletter. This saves time and increases the chances that someone will read the message.

Use shorter words and shorter sentences

Text for the general public should be around a grade 8 reading level.

Use tools like and spell check

These tools will help you create clear and easy to read newsletters.

2 | be understood

Good readability basically translates to a good understanding. Being understood means there is a better chance that your readers will agree with and act on what you are sending.

write great content

The biggest adversary against understandable content is long, tedious, and boring text. Write something that will make your readers excited and anxious to act.

“Figure out what you want your newsletter to achieve and then write clear, concise, and compelling content to make that happen. Your newsletter content should be just as high quality as your best blog posts.”

- Salesforce

less is more

Email newsletters are skimmed, not read line by line, so make sure you write short, sweet, and clear sentences. Remember less is more when it comes to newsletter readability.

  • create one big and easy call to action

Make sure your readers understand your call to action. You send an email newsletter for a reason - if your readers do not understand that reason then your newsletter will fail.

3 | utilize design for easy reading and interest


Use lists and bullets to create distinct sections of text and a hierarchy.

  • this will make your newsletter text easier to read
  • there are pauses with white space for the eye to rest
  • you can scan the email and still be able read key points


A newsletter should look and read like a professional marketing piece. Use white space, margins, great photos, and interesting graphics to draw readers in and keep them reading.

Remember, you need to have permission to use photos online. Great stock images can be picked up from:


Using bolded text and headings is another way to separate content and create readability. But, don't overdo it. Bolding too much will take away its impact.

Less is more.

4 | avoid being sent to the SPAM folder

Your newsletter readability is greatly inhibited when it is automatically sent to the SPAM folder. Avoid this tragedy with some of the following tips:

HTML code

Using Microsoft Word is great for so much of the written word. But if you try to copy text from Word and put it into an email, it won’t work well. You may want to consider using a professional coder to avoid being sent to the SPAM folder.

Write like a real person and not a spammer

We have all received SPAM email before – avoid being a spammer by not sounding like a spammer. Avoid things like:

  • Colored fonts
  • Using the word ‘Free’ too often
  • !!!!!

The best way to avoid the SPAM folder is by sending worthwhile, interesting, engaging, and readable content. Get help if you need to, but make sure your email newsletters are worthwhile.

Do not be misleading or tricky

A lot of spammers will try to fool you into thinking you have an ongoing communication by using subject lines with “Re:” or Fwd:” Don’t be misleading.

Use a trustworthy field name

Before opening an email you take a look at who sent it to you. You can avoid getting sent to the SPAM folder by using trustworthy field names like “newsletter@”.

If you use a trustworthy field name, you better deliver some worthwhile and trustworthy content.

Better yet, make it personal and come from a real person.

For another straight forward guide on how to create fabulous newsletters, take a look at Campaign Monitors anatomy of a winning email design infographic.

Readability – the key to effective newsletters

Email is still alive and kicking! In fact, it is thriving and you can benefit from that by sending email newsletters that deliver clear and readable information.

The purpose of an email newsletter is to develop a conversation and a trustworthy connection with your readers. Don’t let them down with unreadable content.

Follow the above tips to send readable and effective newsletters that work.

Dave Child

Dave is the founder of Readable and has been building websites since the early 90s. He’s one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.