If you have a good mailing list and you need to get your message out, email marketing is a cheap, effective way to go. It includes analytics that allow you to track your responses exactly. The disadvantage: Your email has to be instantly compelling or it’ll go direct to the spam folder.

Here’s how to create an email that people will actually read:

  1. Choose your weapon. Pick an email marketing tool with powerful drag and drop design features and easy-to-use analytics. A number of campus units use MailChimp or Constant Contact.
  2. Focus. Reduce the randomness of your email newsletter by keeping it to one very specific topic.
  3. Cut to the chase. Make your message balanced, with 90% information and 10% promotion. Stick to what, when, where, how and (briefly) why. Skip the flowery language about how great your event or initiative will be.
  4. Come up with a creative subject line. Make it a clever call to action.
  5. Edit for brevity. Organize your content before you begin to build your newsletter. Set up a headline and information hierarchy. Choose a template that fits your content.
  6. Less is more. The minimalist approach goes for design, too. Choose a simple template with that in mind.
  7. Use arresting photos. Many campus-specific shots are downloadable at gallery.berkeley.edu. Stock photos are another excellent option.
  8. You don’t have the right image?  You can still create a killer email newsletter using one of the recommended marketing tool templates. Without images, great copy and good design become even more critical.
  9. Make it accessible. Put alt tags on all images and use A.D.A. approved brand colors*. University policy states that all web applications should be accessible to people with disabilities, including email newsletters.
  10. Fly the Berkeley brand flag. Make sure the Berkeley logo has a prominent place on your email. Check out the banners on this page for inspiration, and contact us if you need advice or help putting together your banner image.

*Use text color options as directed on brand.berkeley.edu.