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Create mobile-responsive, cross-format enabled newsletter templates

The email "templates" (which in DonorView aren't actually templates, but are simply saved emails) are not sufficiently robust for newsletters.  Ideally, there would be a separate newsletter template -- which would be an actual template, not just saved newsletter back-issues -- which would allow users to create newsletter issues in mobile-responsive email format and to save them in other formats so they can be posted on the organization's website as HTML pages and PDFs.

Right now just over half of our audience is on mobile. But let's face it, mobile can be a really awful channel for reading newsletters, particularly on mobile phones. Crafting newsletters so that they are forced to be mobile-phone-readable is extremely restricting in terms of content length, graphics, and design.  To cater to phone users, you essentially have to short-change everyone else.

The best solution would be to allow users to define standard newsletter sections, then add text, graphics, and links to those sections.  These sections could then be rolled into a mobile format and separately into a webpage format which is PDF'able. Table of contents for each issue would be generated automatically and placed into its own standard section.

Thanks, Paul. This is helpful. Making content mobile-friendly is super important. Even if there was a separate editor for "mobile friendly content." You could select the regular "newsletter format" to start with and then select the sections you'd like to appear in the mobile version - could be great to highlight the important stuff and link to the other stuff via a simple link at the bottom... best of two worlds. At the same time, these days it seems that if it isn't seen the first time around, people don't go back to more/additional content - they forget about it and move on to the next thing that comes their way - it's more like people using information in a "grazing" way than a "sit down dinner" - but that's reality these days.

Yes, actually that's the model I came up with shortly after posting that reco.  I realized that our letter is going to have to have two components — full-length content on our website, and abbreviated content in the e-mail newsletter with links to the larger story located on our real estate.

Reading habits have definitely been altered by the Internet and mobile, but there's still a place for long copy. In fact, if you limit yourself to short form, you're definitely cheating yourself. The trick is to create a user experience where the casual reader can "graze" (I also use that term) and then drill down to a more immersive experience when something really interests them.  At my last job, I created many full-page ads, 8-page letters, even 52-page "bookalogs" dedicated to just one product.  We did extensive testing, and long copy beat short copy in almost every test.  IIRC, I was only able to get one 4-page letter to beat any 8-page letter.  And we used to produce 16-page magalogs until we tested the 52-page bookalogs which ended up with higher margins. For the full-page ads, I tried testing more readable fonts with less copy and they couldn't beat the "cramped" ads with more copy.

That's because your best customers (or donors) are the ones who are really into your product, service, or mission.  And they want a lot of information before they buy.  This is especially true of high-dollar products and services, and high-level donors.  So if you only provide short copy, you're bending your entire marketing program to your lowest-margin constituents!

There are several ways to get around this problem.  For instance, having a TOC in the bookalogs allowed readers to easily find the articles they were interested in, and every page had directional copy leading readers to the CTA.  We also used bound insert cards to make it impossible not to be able to quickly thumb to the response device.  In other assets, and in the bookalog articles, I would make sure that a casual reader could get the gist of the message simply by reading the headline and subheads. You can use YouTube this way as well, with teaser videos on your YT channel and longer form vids on your website with an effective CTA.

So what I've decided to do for our newsletter is to create a long-form version on our website and a short-form version for the email with "Read More" links in each story.

Is there a way to link an email template to my website?

@Trish Dye, I don't understand the question. Can you be more specific about what exactly you're wanting to do?

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