Email Marketing: How to Strike the Perfect Word Count for Your Content Every Time

Email Marketing: How to Strike the Perfect Word Count for Your Content Every Time

Hitting the perfect wordcount is vital to the success of your email marketing campaigns. But how much is too much? How much is not enough? Sadly, you’ll never fit the answer on the back of a postcard. The right amount of content for you to include in your emails depends on your readership, and your readership doesn’t necessarily have all the time in the world to give you; believe it or not, the average time we give to each email we open is 11.1 seconds. That’s not a lot of time to work with.

email content length

With over 50% of email readers now accessing their inbox through their mobiles, being clear and concise has never been more important. That being said, the responsiveness and user-friendly interfaces of your emails are more important than ever too. With so many email clients to cater to, there has never been so many common pitfalls for email marketers to encounter drafting emails when it comes to image sizes, preview texts, and reaching clients without HTML capabilities.

What we’re trying to say is that it’s a complicated picture, and that there’s no magic bullet that’s going to guarantee your success. But to help you on your way, use these tips!

Quality over Quantity

Yes, the golden rule of quality over quantity definitely applies to marketing emails. Rather than asking yourself the question how long does my email need to be? ask yourself what message am I trying to get across in my email? If your content is clear-cut, engaging and most importantly relative to the topic then you can’t go far wrong. Avoid padding out emails to make them longer if the added word count will do nothing but make your message longer to read.

Remember the days when you used to get handed a paper or an assignment in school and the first question from everyone’s lips was ‘how long does it have to be?’ A similar mentality can stick with you and impede your marketing strategy. Not shaking this mentality is an easy way of showing your recipients that before you’d even started the draft, you were already counting down the moments (and words) before you could hit send and have it over and done with. So, tackle the subject at hand, keep your enthusiasm, because if you’re bored writing it, your audience will be bored reading it.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Whether you’re marketing for a B2B or B2C business, there really is no magic formula to predict the perfect length of your emails. However, remaining mindful to the nature of the content helps marketers a great deal. The first things you have to ask are:

  1. Who am I emailing?
  2. What is the goal of the email?

Remember, your audience is made up of countless individuals, who all have their own preferences and opinions. You should consider segmenting your email list and experimenting: perhaps certain cohorts prefer longer emails, where others prefer visual or video.

Let’s take an example. If your business is a non-profit organisation, you’ll generally tend to find that your audience likes to read longer, richer emails full of exciting new content. In contrast, if you own a clothing company, your audience is going to want more of a visual experience from you when you’re telling them about new products available in your store.

In these two examples, you consider both what your audience want and what you’re trying to get them to do. That’s what’s going to tell you how long your email should be.

Get Creative!

Moving forward with the example above, a clothing company can afford to get creative with their content. Rather than thinking about wordcount, you should be thinking of how you can make your content more rich. Consider using bright, attention-grabbing pictures and videos with only a little bit of marketing copy here and there.

If you do want to ‘get creative’, you hardly need any copy at all. A paragraph or so to introduce the email and explain why you’re sending it, and maybe one or two product descriptions would be enough. If you have much more than that, you’re going to put people off.

Mobile and Tablet Friendly Emails

Due to shorter attention spans and smaller screens, what may have previously been the perfect wordcount in an email is far less on a mobile or tablet. To keep emails as mobile and tablet friendly as possible, try to stick to a limit of 20 lines of text with between 2 and 3 images. Mobile readers hate emails with unresponsive designs which they have to pinch and zoom across to read, so make sure you’re catering to your catering this ever growing audience with shorter emails.

Get to The Point

Before you blindly draft an email, you have to have a concrete idea of what you want to achieve with it—and ultimately, this is what is going to determine how much copy you should use. Are you offering first time subscribers a 10% off discount with their first purchase to drive your sales? If so, you don’t need to do much more than explain the offer and throw in some links to your site. You achieved what you wanted to achieve without reams and reams of writing.

Remember: if you think it’s too long, it probably is. A better bet would be to break your email sequence down further if you feel your emails are too long. If your customers don’t engage with one email A) explaining what your site is all about when they sign up, B) confirming their login details and C) throwing some recommended products at them from the get-go, it would be better to break that down into bite-size chunks that they’d more naturally engage with instead.

Or are you sharing a newsletter to people who want to read about your brand? Naturally, you’d expect far more information in this example. Consider what it is that you want to tell your audience about, tell them what you need to, and leave it at that. Again, we can’t recommend A/B testing highly enough for figuring out how much your audience might want to read!