5 Fancy Content Ideas for Your Email’s Side Column

Many email marketers use side columns as a space for links, but these columns also offer some unique opportunities. Really, the beauty of these columns is that they are the perfect place for all the odds and ends – the things that may not fit anywhere else, but are essential to display in your email newsletter.

But what are those odds and ends? More importantly, how do you make them fancy? Coming up with the exact content for a side column can be tricky, because the information has to be scannable and laser-focused.

Here are five creative content ideas that might help fancify your newsletter’s side column:

1. Remind readers about services

Only sending sales emails is never a good thing if you’re trying to build a long-term relationship, but reminding email subscribers about your services doesn’t hurt.

Sunset Hills Automotive, a car service shop in Reston, Virginia, uses the side columns of emails to offer people the chance to schedule appointments and request estimates. And also shows off some of the shop’s awards!

2. Showcase customer testimonials

There’s no easier way to show off your product or service than showing a smiling customer alongside said product or service.

For Minnesota-based trumpet bag manufacturer Torpedo Bags, this is easy – after all, trumpet players who play for everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Beyonce use the bags – but any business can benefit from using photos to concisely show just how happy customers are.

3. Update donors on a nonprofit’s status

Fairy DogParents, a Massachusetts-based animal assistant organization, uses the side columns of emails to announce news and upcoming events, but also keeps a running tab on the impact of donations. This directly shows how much each contribution is helping with the Fairy DogParents mission.

4. Offer useful resources & articles

The San Diego French-American School has a staff that takes turns contributing content to each newsletter, so communications consultant Mim Britton keeps things organized with a number of quick links within the issue.

The newsletter also offers the opportunity for parents to get an inside glimpse of school materials and forms that may otherwise get lost on the trip home.

5. Provide bite-size tips

Whole Foods Penticton, a grocery store in British Columbia, occasionally uses the side column to share nutritional information. This is a trick that anyone can do – whether you find something interesting on Google or just think of something your customers may enjoy.

It’s all about the balance

Aside from the valuable, micro pieces of content that you can share within a side column, there are structural benefits: by spotlighting material in the column, you can provide an easily scannable email that helps readers find what’s most important to them.

Do your emails have side columns? How do you use them? Share your thoughts below! 


Leave a comment »
  1. I’ve used the side column to share our studio’s calendar and recommended reading on Ballroom Dancing. Students really liked it!

    • Blaise Lucey •

      Recommended reading is a great idea for side columns, thanks for sharing!

  2. we use the side for what is going on this weekend in the garden center.. Each week we have workshops and free talks so they all go there followed by our Quick links. Sometimes, depending on how long the right side is we will highlight a product or plant

  3. Corissa St. Laurent •

    Great advice Blaise. Just wrote my tip-of-the-week in the side column for my next newsletter! That area is also a great place for event news/updates and a quick poll.

  4. This is a great article I plan to share with my own subscribers. Everyone really should utilize the side column within their email campaigns.

  5. We use the sidebar column to share 2-3 of Etienne’s featured colored diamond fine jewelry designs that we feel will be trending for the season.

    You can see more of these beautiful featured bridal and fashion jewelry designs on our website or FB page:

  6. My newsletter’s side column stays consistent from issue to issue, although I have experimented with the order of blocks to see the effect. It’s where readers can go to the Archives, Forward to a Friend, go to website, as well as read a short explanation of why-the-name-of-this-newsletter.

  7. We have a newsletter that gives a few stories from our print edition, with additional links to dig deeper into the topics raised. Our sidebar includes “extras” such as a Mystery Link, one-question quiz, new web content links and polls.

  8. Blaise Lucey •

    Thanks, everyone! These are all great ideas. Ken, the “Mystery Link” sounds awesome!

  9. I use side columns to remind our readers of upcoming Broadway shows (with links to each show on our website), our AIE School-Time Program performances, membership benefits, and opportunities to volunteer at the theatre. I like the idea of a mystery link too! Thanks for sharing!

  10. The newsletter looks good when its balanced all the way down, the text in the event block is equal to the side bars. But what if the side bar stops and has no more information and the event block continues with more information. Can I make the event block bigger so that it runs all the way over and fills the side bar so that both the side bar and event blocks are equal. thanks


Tell us your thoughts