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After I learned that I would be a contributor to this blog, I decided it would be a good idea to slowly immerse myself by signing up for email programs for select companies. One of those companies is CNN, and part of what I signed up for was the Political Ticker alerts.

I’ve read the Ticker itself on the website countless times. I know there is a lot of information and a lot of scrolling to be done. But I didn’t expect the Ticker Alert email to essentially be one long list of the stories, too. Here’s what I’m talking about:

CNN_Political_Ticker

Now imagine that, but about 3-4 more “pages” of that. No easy organization. Just story after story.

Notice that at the top it talks about a Speed Read. I don’t see this as a “Speed Read,” but more as a “Speed Skip.” Too much content in a very text-heavy format that’s not particularly easy to scan.

What this message badly needs is a table of contents, some images, and some method of organization that allows for better scanning and is ultimately more conducive to clicks. If you were to scroll through the entire message, you would find that the stories are broken up into four categories: Washington/Political News, National News, International News, and Business News (not sure how that slipped in, but I guess with the recession it’s pertinent enough for “Ticker” status).

These categories need to be prominent and obvious, rather than having to scroll through three pages to check out business news.

I’m not sure of the best way to present this information. The message could be broken up into four silos (columns) with easily prominent categories as titles at the top–though this would still create the need to scroll quite a bit. The message could also not contain as many stories at once, still present the four silos, and offer prominent links to a ticker specifically devoted to those categories. Come to think of it, in my mind this landing page solution would be best.

I’m anxious to hear what others think about this message and what could be done with it to make it more appealing to the scanning reader like me.

Scott Cohen
The Email Marketing Apprentice

P.S. And here I was all set to rant about how Target and Abercrombie & Fitch never sent me welcome emails once I subscribed–a big party foul. But I figured a post with a visual would be much more fun.

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