By: Christine Real

Date: May 30, 2015

Everyone loves listicles! They can be a great way to drive engagement within your email marketing campaigns. Not sure what a listicle is? Read on!

What is a listicle?

Glad you asked! It’s similar to an article but in list format. Here’s the official definition:


  • an article on the internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list.

    “The list doesn’t destroy culture; it creates it. Wherever you look in cultural history, you will find lists.”
    -Umberto Eco

What makes listicles so compelling and effective?

  1. They’re easy to write and easy to digest.
    People are busy and prefer to have information presented in a format that is clear, concise and to the point. Plus, our brains love lists!
  2. Increased click-throughs and shares.
    Because listicles are so practical, organized and visual – they become the perfect material for clicking and sharing.
  3. Higher open-rates.
    Consider adding the number of points to your subject line (e.g. Top 5 Summer Vacation Spots) – This will let the user know exactly how much time they need to devote to reading your email. For this same reason, lists should be limited in number. Not everyone has time to read 100 list items.

Facts About Lists

  1. People will tend to remember the first thing on a list
  2. Lists take advantage of a limited attention span
  3. People are very good at grouping random things together, so lists can be about anything
  4. Lists fit the way humans tend to read
  5. Some entries on a list are likely to be just padding
  6. People will tend to remember the last thing on a list

Crafting an effective listicle.

  1. Be unique. Listicles are very popular, and many lists are similar. Personalizing the subject line is a great way to initially stand out, but your content must be compelling as well.
  2. Tell a story. The list concept is unique because you have the user hooked from the beginning. It’s in human nature to want to read each subsequent items in the list, eventually making it to the end. Use this opportunity to lead your customers on a journey to the end of the article, ending with your main call to action.
  3. Keep a simple and uncluttered design. Great images are a must! Ensure that your listicle contains crisp, beautiful photos to help drive engagement. In addition to great assets, the format of your listicle can be presented in a variety of ways:
    • Paragraph Format: paragraph text, with a short title/description at the beginning.
    • Bullet Point Format: unordered list items with short explanations.
    • Numbered Format: ordered list which lay items out in a sequence (often times in order of importance.)

To use, or not to use?

  • Don’t rely on lists for all content marketing. Mix it up.
  • Don’t make your list too long if unnecessary. (See #5 on the left)
  • Do use for sharing an assortment of ideas, products, or themes.
  • Do use when conveying a stepped approach (How To’s)

Listicle Examples:

Walgreens used a game board as a fun way to present a list for back-to-school health prep.

wallgreensSephora presents holiday gift ideas with personalized gift tags.


Piperlime suggests the top 10 spring shopping must-haves.

piperlimeJ.Crew assists brides with a quick wedding checklist.


“And the list is certainly prevalent in the postmodern age. It has an irresistible magic.”
-Umberto Eco

Need help getting started with a basic email template design? Or, want to learn more ways to engage with your audience through email? Drop us a line and we’ll be in touch.