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I'm sending a HTML newsletter by email. The most important part for us, is that the recipients read as much info as we provide (it includes important information for the members of a sports club). Ideally, everything. What would be the best approach to get them to read as much as possible?

  • Put everything in the newsletter as one long piece of text (of course, with nice layout, paragraphs, etc. for readability)
    • Pro: everything is in one place and you can keep the reader interested.
    • Con: the newsletter can become one big block; you have no way of knowing how much was read
  • Put everything in the newsletter, but provide links at the top
    • Pro: everything is in one place, and there is overview at the top
    • Con: one big block, but this is lessened a bit with the links at the top; you still have no way of knowing how much was read
  • Put summaries in the newsletter, and provide links to your site for the full version of articles
    • Pro: with analytics, you can track how much was read (more or less); the newsletter is lighter, a reader has more overview
    • Con: a reader can click through, and never return to your newsletter; a reader might only click through to some articles

Maybe there are other options?

Once again, we're most interested in getting them to read as much as possible. We're not interested in getting people to our site.

Also, assume the content is to the point and as short as possible, but some parts will be longer (i.e. longer than 5-10 lines).

What would you recommend, and why?

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2  
Semi-seriously - make the content interesting and relevant. If it's not then people won't read no matter how well presented it is. –  ChrisF Jan 6 '12 at 11:04
    
In addition to ChrisF's point, also make it as short and concise as possible. –  Anonymous Jan 6 '12 at 11:07
    
I agree it has to be interesting, to the point, and short. But unfortunately, I'm not reponsible for the content. I can steer a bit, but that's all. So given that, I would like to know what you think would be the best approach. –  Peter Jan 6 '12 at 11:17
    
I generally work on the basis that people don't click on links. Certainly on social media which I use they appear not to... –  PhillipW Jan 6 '12 at 11:57

2 Answers 2

Out of the 3 options you gave, I would go with the third one. Of course, there, IMHO, is a better way:

  • Use lots of graphics and pictures. Whenever I make a newsletter, I fill it with pictures, graphs etc.. Why? Most people like things to be illustrated, whether it be a political campaign or a school paper.
  • Bullet and summarize. From my experience, people like to read bulleted info that makes sense rather than a big, ugly, chunky block of words, whether it's formatted or not.
  • Use BOLDS and ITALICS. Why? It looks good. People like when they know (or think) that you put effort into your work, and everything I've said so far does this. Even if you didn't work to hard on it, it looks like you did.

Hope this helps. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question :-).

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Just to be clear, you want people to read as much as possible, rather than being able to identify how much is read? Go for one text block, and make it as good as possible.

When I recieve newsletters with a list of entries, I will only click through to (or scroll down to) those that interest me with the title. the chances of reading the whole lot are virtually zero - if you present it as a set of articles, it will be read as a set of articles.

If most people will be interested in most of it, then they may skip some parts, but then nothing else will get them to read those either.

But make it readable whatever you do. If an article is too long, put a brief version in the newsletter, and include a link for "more details". relatively few will read the more, but then if it is critical, then it should be shorter.

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