Is There A Right Email Length?

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One of the most commonly asked questions in email marketing conversations is “What’s the right length for an email message?” The simple answer is there is no right answer. The right length depends on several things: the amount of information required to make a purchase decision, the frequency of your email messages, and the type of communication being sent.

Now, that being said, I tend to come from the school of thought that says “the shorter, the better.” That isn’t to say every email you send out should be 300 words or less, but the main point is to make sure you aren’t just rambling aimlessly. If you can effectively get the same point across in 300 words rather than 700, then by all means, write a 300 word message.

Remember, online users tend to scan content rather than fully read it. In fact, a study by Email Labs found that the average person spends just 15-20 seconds on average reading an email. So, if you’re sending 2000 word emails that aren’t getting any click-throughs, it’s probably because your readers are overwhelmed by the length of your message and they just aren’t making it to your offer.

Of course, if your email message does need to be a bit longer, that’s okay. There are a few things you can do to still solicit action on longer messages (e.g. financial industry marketing messages which require more information for consumer to make decision).

•    Keep the content easy-to-scan—As I mentioned earlier, people tend to scan content online rather than read it word for word. So, design your emails accordingly. This means using short paragraphs, plenty of white space, and relevant images to create a flow that’s easy on the eyes.

•    Eliminate distractions—Every email you send out should have a specific purpose. Whether it’s to get an instant sale or to solicit feedback from your subscribers, everything in your email message should contribute to helping you achieve this goal. That’s why you need to eliminate any distractions that prevent readers from taking the action you desire. Large company logos that take up space, irrelevant images, and non-essential information need to be ditched to keep your readers on track.

•    Focus on the main message—This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. Keep your messages tightly focused so that your readers understand exactly what you want them to do. Use a powerful subject line that tells the reader exactly what the email is about, and tighten your copy up to drill that message home.

•    Include several call to action links throughout—Whether you use long or short copy, don’t just include a single call to action link buried at the bottom of your email. A study by Silverpop found that 6 to 10 links within an email generates the highest number of clicks.

What length tends to produce the best results in your email marketing campaign? Share your experiences in the replies.

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