You receive dozens of emails a day that qualify as examples of “email marketing” from other brands. Think about what all those emails look like: They’re all different, right? Some are image-heavy, some are text-based, some are jam-packed with stories and links and some are long with lots of text. With so many variations, can everyone be doing it right and what is the right layout for your brand?
I am going to focus on a common email dilemma we hear from clients that is specific to e-newsletters, but applies to any email with more than one content area. What is better: Including full-length articles to keep the user engaged within the email or sharing short snippets of the different articles and linking out to the full piece on a blog or website?
You’ve probably seen both of these methods used before and typically the shorter snippets provide the reader with a quick taste of the article and then offer the option to “read more” if they want to follow a link to the full story. This makes sense when your goal is to show your authority on multiple topics or offer a selection of news that might interest different segments of your newsletter subscribers, but are you losing engaged readers who might benefit from your entire article but get distracted after they click out to a web page? We have developed a pro/con list to help give you a holistic view of the benefits and detriments of both options.
I think it’s easy to see that one of these options has more pros and fewer cons than its opponents, and for all of those reasons, we recommend those “read more” links to most of our clients. If you’re going to present multiple stories to your subscribers at once (we can talk about why fewer content areas is better another time), it typically makes sense to get as much website traffic, tracking data and impact as you can. The snippet format allows for this.
However, there are some cases where we would recommend the long-form article format as well. Maybe you have a very engaged audience who you know will read anything you write and you’d rather give them the convenience of not having to click again to keep reading. As with anything in marketing, the best solution will always depend on your organization’s goals and your audience’s needs.
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