Marketing Email Pattern #1: The Pick-and-Choose

Email marketing doesn’t have to take a whole lot of

Email marketing doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time, especially if you follow these tips for procrastinators and use these templates. And when it comes to putting your content down, it can be even faster if you have somewhere to start.

So we’ve come up with three templates you can start from and fill it in with your specific content. You’ll see them here over the next few weeks. Today, we present the first the “pick-and-choose” pattern.

Also known as a “digest,” the pick-and-choose pattern neatly presents a summary of all the information your readers might be interested in.

The Pick-and-Choose Pattern

Seven speakers, seven messages. This was the format used for the presentations at Evolution Magazine’s recent Women In Business Conference.

At the beginning, the audience was told that each speaker would keep things simple by presenting on one central message. With the seven-fold presentation, each attendee would find at least one idea that strongly resonated with them.

This pattern was extremely valuable at the workshop, and it can be just as valuable in an email. Living as we do in the Information Age, we’re inundated with a constant flow of multiple streams of information. Having that information neatly organized to select from is a relief.

How to Write a Pick-and-Choose Email

Choose a selection of items to include in your newsletter. These can be your blog posts, articles from around your industry, news stories or any other content you may typically publish.

Present them in the email as evenly weighted items. Give each one them the same amount of text and the same size headline, and potentially, illustrate them with the same size pictures.

Readers will be able to select what works for them and leave the rest, all the while appreciating the lack of pressure to read every bit.

For Example

JavaScript Weekly is a free newsletter for those interested in the language. The creator, Peter Cooper, carefully chooses the content, only including the articles he believes programmers will appreciate the most.

His emails look like this:

When Would You Use This Pattern?

You might choose to let readers pick and choose if:

  • You have a lot of news to put out, but not a lot of time to create multiple emails
  • You have a series of options to present
  • You?re in an industry that people can be interested in for a variety of reasons (for example, emails for runnings could include both 5k and marathon information)
  • You send your emails regularly, but not frequently – like monthly newsletters

Two More Templates

Two more email template patterns are coming up in the next few weeks. Sign up right below here to get them delivered to your inbox (along with all kinds of other great marketing tips, twice a week – and of course, never spam).


  1. Lester

    7/9/2012 1:11 pm

    I think that many marketers stay away from this kind of layout because of the ‘only include a single call to action’ conventional wisdom.

    In my own testing I’ve found that this style of email works better for informational than promotional messages. With promotional content, the old adage seems to hold true (for my subscribers at least).

    It’s definitely worth a test if you generate lots of content but don’t want to send too many emails.

  2. Amanda Gagnon

    7/9/2012 3:28 pm

    Lester, thanks for sharing that! The type of content you’re sharing is definitely something to consider when choosing your format. We’ll be sharing two more formats in the next few weeks; if you have any recommendations for those as well, please share!

  3. Aaron

    7/10/2012 3:51 pm

    I agree with Lester as well- We are currently working on a Golf Instruction newsletter and of course it will include bi-monthly newsletters that are more for self-instruction as well as a way to invest in the subscribers to give value and create more loyalty. When we have schools and events, we not only put them in the calender section of the newsletter, but then can broadcast events with a single call to action. So using this approach above is great for any kind of instructional material where people may be at different places in their learning curve / experience.

    Thanks Amanda-

  4. Paul Mallett

    7/10/2012 6:04 pm

    Nice templates and tips. We are reviewing our current email campaign, and looking for fresh perspective. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. Thanks!

  5. Ayaz

    7/11/2012 2:54 am

    Hi Amanda!

    Its nice template but I don’t think that the bloggers should choose or used such a template rather they might select a simple one its good for doing random e-mails but I don’t think it would work for the bloggers a great deal.

  6. John

    7/11/2012 3:06 am

    Great article, Amanda. I’ll be here for the following articles on this, as well.

    Lester, good point. I agree! I’m currently receiving Huffpost newsletters in this format, with the headlines, content and pictures exactly as Amanda describes: Equally weighted. I didn’t think about it before, but it really does make a difference for the reader. I get to turn down my “BS filter” for a bit and just relax with the email. This is a great feeling to be able to give our readers.

  7. Lester

    7/11/2012 4:17 pm

    A test I’m running now is to see if there is a difference between delivering curated content and simply sending delivering all of the latest content.

    The aim of the test is to see if what I think my audience finds relevant is actually what they find relevant.

  8. Andrew Youderian

    7/12/2012 2:44 pm

    If used for the right purposes such as a weekly new round-up, or a monthly “most popular posts” email, this would be a great template to use! And keeping things the same size would be crucial to allow for even attention as our eyes are naturally drawn to the biggest item on a page.

    Will have to keep this template in mind. Thanks Amanda….

  9. Stanley Rao

    7/27/2012 1:29 am

    I Agree with Andrew.. if it is being used in a proper manner with all the its methods and strategies email can be said as a better tool to use.