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How many links should my marketing emails have?

Actions in marketing emails: what’s the right number? Of course, there’s no straight answer, but there are couple of considerations. While the more links you give people, the more likely they are to find something of interest, there’s obviously a level above which the choice would be overwhelming. And it’s common sense that although more links might give you more clicks in total, the response to individual items would be reduced. Maybe separate emails might be a better idea. So while there are good arguments for just having one focused call to action, there are also good arguments for offering a selection.

The second consideration is deliverability. Getting through spam filters is hard, and there’s no doubt that an increasing number of links does steadily increase your spam score. If I go through my spam folder, I know I’ll see a bunch of ‘magazine’ emails, with a dozen stories or more. But reducing the number of links in an email (a sensible move) doesn’t necessarily mean reducing the number of profitable calls to action. So many emails are just full of links that nobody ever clicks on: Facebook and Twitter, the sender’s home page (via a logo) …the list goes on. Strip these out before you do anything.

Most importantly, keep your emails targeted. So many marketing emails feature half a dozen offers in them because the sender has half a dozen categories of prospect, and can’t be bothered to segment the list. So they just send an email with every offer in it, to the whole database. This means that for most recipients, half or three-quarters of the email content is irrelevant. It really shouldn’t be hard to send out a set of targeted emails to segments of the list, only containing relevant information for the recipient. That even gives you the opportunity to make the subject line interesting, rather than just some boring catch-all thing about, er, “news”.