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More than 250 marketers took part in a study by Ascend2 and gave their input on email marketing strategies. One email format tops them all.

Efficiency is one of the main goals in the life of nearly every marketer. There’s endless marketing formats and options to choose from but marketers also need to look at their budgets and their resources and find the right combination to interest customers and leads in their products.

Marketing automation has supposedly made it easier for any marketing strategy but it still poses the challenge to find the right email and to create content for it. According to the report „Strategies, Tactics and Trends for Email Marketing“, Ascend2 has identified an email format that marketers not only favor because of its success rate but also because it is easy to create.

You can download the report here.

Efficient and easy wins the race

57% of all marketers view the single topic email as the most efficient directly after the personalized email (62%). The traditional newsletter was named third but lags a little with only 35%. At the same time, the single topic email was voted last on the list of the most difficult email formats to create. Personalized emails were named first by almost half of all marketers. Which means that the most efficient email format is also the most difficult to achieve. Sometimes, the second place is apparently the better option.

What is a single topic email?

An email that only features one topic/product/offer (and usually only contains one CTA) is the most efficient and easiest to create according to marketers.

Customers prefer simple messages

In the information age and with overflowing inboxes, a clear short message is key to the heart of your customers. I don’t want to portray the classical newsletter as ineffective, quite to contrary. But an engaging newsletter is a lot of work. It needs to be send out in a certain rhythm, its content has to be interesting and cohesive and it should always meet the expectations of the readers.

Quite often, though, the level of quality falls short in favor of speed and the amount of content companies want to cover. They will just randomly include every single topic they can think of and call it a day. Initially interested readers feel overwhelmed and bored (two of the most mentioned reasons to unfollow a newsletter).

A simple email with a clear subject line and one single, linear topic is easy to digest. Readers can decide within seconds whether they’re interested or not (which also makes the analysis of open and click rates easier). If we still believe the premise that each reader has an attention span of eight seconds for each email, a single topic is much easier to grasp in this amount of time than a whole list of topics.

Additionally, it’s much easier to convey the topic in the subject line. Another advantage lies in the CTA. It’s proven that multiple CTAs can cause indecisiveness because it’s too much choice. A single CTA is a clear Y/N decision and doesn’t take much consideration.

The Marketing mix is your key to success

This doesn’t mean that you should throw all your newsletters over board and replace them with single topic emails. Instead, try to consider what your main goal is for specific, individual campaigns.

Do you want to give an overview of all your products, or do you want to highlight specific offers? I’ve experienced it quite often that clients in marketing campaigns with very clear objectives threw in other topics as a „while we’re here“-afterthought. This muddles the main message and pretty much destroys the goal of the campaign. For the reader, it also creates confusion and can end up in the aforementioned indecisiveness.

There’s a well-known and very relevant phrase for it: KISS – keep it short and simple.


Find out how else you can optimize your marketing strategy, our experts are happy to help you.

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