What's the aim of a bullet point?
Put simply, a bullet point is a way to present information in a concise, precise and scannable format which is ideal for email communications. However, these strong points can also be weaknesses.
What's the problem with bullet points?
Creating scannable content is a great idea. However, we need to remember that bullet points can be too scannable. When creating bullet points you'll need to consider how your reader will see them. There are a number of best practices for creating bullet points.
What are the best practices?
Lesson No.1 - Never neglect the bottom of your list or email
In an article on Marketing Sherpa, Anne Holland suggests two key areas that you'll need to focus on. The first is list order and the second is the keywords in your list. In terms of list order, Anne suggests that you focus on importance. Place your most important bullet at the top of your list, then your second most important bullet in second position and then your third most important bullet at the bottom of the list.
It's important to avoid neglecting the bottom of your list. This principle can also be applied to email structure in many cases. The bottom of your email can be one of the most viewed area's after the key points that appear in the preview pane.
Lesson No.2 - Never start with the same word
Anne's second piece of best practice advice is to place the keywords at the front of your bullet points. Never start your bullet points with the same word. Anne advises that this will only result in the words and bullets merging into a blah, blah, blah.
Lesson No.3 - Keep lists to a minimum and an odd number if possible
The length of your list is also an important consideration. Don't forget that you're trying to give your bullet points maximum exposure. The more you list the more likely the reader is to scan through your bullet points.
We suggest keeping lists to an odd number if possible. This is because an odd number will sit nicely on the page and allow the eye to see a clear middle to the list. This can help maximise exposure for the middle bullet point which can be completely missed by a scanning eye.
Lesson No.4 - Use hyperlinks in your bullet points
The final area to look at is maximising the impact of the list. In most cases the aim of the list is to generate interest. In order to maximise the impact of the list you'll need to get your readers to click-through to find out more. We suggest creating hyperlinks from the bullet points. The links can be from the entire bullet point or just a section of the text. Creating hyperlinks from text in your email will help maximise click-through rates and allow you to learn what your readers are most interested in.