How to Use Navigation Links in Your E-Mail Marketing Messages

Navigation links allow your audience to jump to visual anchors within the body of your marketing e-mail. If your audience has to scroll to see one or more headlines or bodies of content, use navigation links to

  • Highlight the content that your audience can’t see immediately.

  • Allow your audience to access content by clicking instead of scrolling.

  • Link to specific content on your website.

Including a table of contents in your marketing e-mails

An e-mail table of contents (TOC) lists headlines with each headline linked to a different section of content within your e-mail. A TOC helps readers find your content quickly.

[Credit: Courtesy of Brush Strokes Pottery]
Credit: Courtesy of Brush Strokes Pottery

TOCs are necessary only when your e-mail has lots of content that your audience has to scroll to view it all. If you think you need a TOC in your e-mail because of the amount of content, take a moment to consider whether you’re sending too much information in a single e-mail.

If you’re including a TOC, use these tips:

  • Include a heading above your table of contents. Use wording, such as Quick Links or Find It Fast.

  • Keep your link headlines short. You can use the first few words of the article headline you’re linking to or repeat short headlines as your main headlines and then use subheadings in your articles to expand on main headlines.

  • Make your link headlines clear. Links should clearly communicate the content readers will see when they click. Clever links that intend to generate curiosity are generally harder to understand than clear link headlines and might cause disappointment if the linked message doesn’t meet the clicker’s expectations.

  • Keep your TOC above the scroll line. The scroll line is the point at the bottom of your audience’s screen where the e-mail content is no longer visible in the preview pane without scrolling. The whole point of a TOC is to keep people from scrolling. Thus, if your TOC is so long that it stretches beyond the preview pane, your e-mail probably has too much content.

Including website navigation links in your marketing e-mail

If you intend your e-mail to drive traffic to your website, consider including some of your website’s navigation links so people can easily find a link, placing the links

  • Across the top: When the main goal of your e-mail is to increase website traffic, including website navigation links at the top of your e-mail is the most prominent way to position your links.

    People on mobile devices will have more challenges navigating links across the top than links in a side column.

  • In a side column: Having links in a side column is appropriate when you want to let your audience access your website without that visit being your main call to action. For mobile devices, place navigation links in the left column and make sure your links point to pages that work on mobile devices.

  • Across the bottom: The bottom of your e-mail is a good place to put official website links related to your business operations such as your privacy policy or job openings.

  • In the body of articles: Any time you use text in an article or offer that references content on your website, you can make the text into a navigation link. For example, a music store could link every mention of a musical instrument to the product page for that instrument.

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