Formatting an email with multiple items

I’ve written before about how promotional emails shouldn’t “contain everything and go to everyone”. Instead, the distribution list should be segmented, and each group of people should only get content that’s relevant to them. However, if you do need to send out an email with multiple items, is it better to send out all of the content, or just a summary of each item and links to the full thing?

If you send out the full content of all the items, readers will have to scroll down to see the second and subsequent items. If you just show a summary, you can get everything into the initial view, but you’re assuming people can – or will – click through to the full article.

There’s no right answer of course, but you can test it out. Assuming you have a call to action at the end of each full article, you simply divide your mailing list in half, and send out two versions of the mailing, one with full content and one with summaries. Then you count how many calls to action were followed up from each version to find the most effective presentation. Easy.

Discussion

  1. Simon Brandon

    I would agree with this on the vast majority of occasions. However, some emails are great when you can just read them without needing multiple clicks. Your weekly roundup emails are a classic case, since you changed their format. I used to read everything – now I click occasionally and probably miss out on a lot of great content. Never forget that people like me are fundamentally lazy!

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