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Having an email list isn’t — I think — about selling to them, it’s first and foremost about building connection and providing value.

Many newsletters incorporate a “call to action” — a request for the reader to do something. Some newsletters have multiple such calls, maybe in the form of a button like “buy now” or “read more”.

One ask principle

You may have lots to communicate to your list. You may have the urge to put in loads of calls to action. But here are a few reasons you might consider only having one call to action, or at least one clear request you’re making, even if you make a couple of others.

So onto the list of why you might consider only having one main request per newsletter.

1. It feels like you’re talking at the reader, not to them.

Know the feeling of someone who just talks non-stop at you, asks you to do a million things, and doesn’t even listen to you?

That’s kinda what getting a newsletter with lots of requests in it feels like. Especially if every newsletter you get from that person is like that.

Even if you’re not asking people to buy something, if you’re just “read my blog, check out my Instagram, oh I have a new website etc.”, it destroys any feeling of communication – you’re talking at your subscriber not to them.

The “one ask” principle feels like you are leaving a space in the conversation for your reader to take on board your request, to reply, or both.


2. Decision fatigue

If you are asking people to do something in your newsletter, it’s a good idea to have just one main “ask”. Too many asks in one email can get a little overwhelming.

When there are too many decisions to make, I’m likely to just walk away rather than take action. Or, I might feel a little lost as to where to go first.

3. Clarity

Having one call to action in your newsletter shows clarity. Your newsletter will feel like you’re in control, you’ve got a mission. You are ON IT.

Having too many calls to action may feel like desperation, even if it’s totally not. Pick a thing, craft that one thing.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the one ask principle? Or do you have an alternate idea?