I am curious to see what other marketers' thoughts are on email design. We are trying to decide which is best between these 2 options:
I realize that with Option #1, readers only have to click once to get to the article they're interested in reading, while Option #2, they must click once to open the newsletter, and then they must click a 2nd time to reach the article they're interested in.
What are others' thoughts on the effectiveness of these two email design ideas?
Speaking from a consumer standpoint I am more likely to engage with an email if it's set up the way you describe in the first situation. If I see a headline or snippet of an article that catches my eye I'm definitely going to check it out, whereas I may or may not click through the second option you describe. I would say it's better to give a "free sample" and use that to get leads clicking through.
I would go with your option 1 as it gives less number of click for lead to access the content.
There is also a nice Marketo blog Understanding the Value of Your B2B Newsletter though its a bit old but worth giving a read.
As john said, #1 will be much more efficient. Try to limit the number of CTA's though. Too many CTAs do not foster more clicks, it creates confusion. 3/4 articles is good, 5 is all right, more than 6 is not recommended.
All tests we run show that more frequent ermails with 1 CTA (if it's not more than 1 or twice a week) work better than a monthly newsletter with many CTAs.
Also, with less CTAs, it's easier to craft a personalized message and even to use a nurturing flow with multiple, targeted streams.