How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

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How to Determine The Ideal Length of Your Marketing Emails Your Customers Will Actually Read

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Email marketing is booming: Last year, 52% of marketers reported that their campaign's return on investment (ROI) doubled, while 5.7% of marketers saw a four-fold increase in ROI compared to 2022, according to a report by Statista.

How can you achieve similar results for your business this year?

The effectiveness of email marketing depends on a few key factors:

  • Know your audience and their pain points and desires.
  • Create emails that address these specific needs.
  • Get your emails in the inbox where your subscribers can interact with them.

As the CEO of a B2B email marketing company, I often hear from clients what their biggest challenges are. A great one? Creating emails that are truly engaging and deliver results. Getting the content, length and audience targeting just right is difficult.

Related: How to get people to open – and read – your emails

Most of your potential customers prefer shorter emails

If you're struggling to make your emails more engaging, you may be missing one thing: just make them shorter. Recent data from a ZeroBounce report shows that 66% of consumers prefer short emails and only 6% prefer longer ones.

However, keep this caveat in mind: For 28% of respondents, email length no longer matters if the content is well tailored to their needs and interests.

It's no surprise that people prefer shorter marketing emails. When inboxes are jam-packed with messages, why opt for a long message instead of a short note? Concise and direct emails respect your prospects' time and have a higher chance of grabbing their attention. But while most people prefer brevity, it's the quality and relevance of your emails that really capture and sustain interest.

For the 28% who don't mind length, the message is clear: If an email addresses their needs or interests well, they're willing to invest more time, regardless of the word count. This segment of your audience is receptive to more in-depth content that speaks directly to their challenges.

How to determine the right email length

So how do you find the right balance between brevity and substance? The key is to first understand your audience. Segment your email list based on behavior, preferences, and past interactions. This segmentation will allow you to tailor your messages more precisely. Plus, you probably send different types of emails. This aspect alone should guide your approach:

  • Newsletters can be longer and cover certain information in more detail.
  • Drip campaigns can consist of a series of emails that gently nudge your prospects closer to making a purchase. These emails can be short—sometimes just a few lines followed by a call to action (CTA) is enough.
  • Targeted campaigns, such as a discount or free offer, can include an attractive image paired with a few sentences and a catchy CTA button.

If you're still unsure if your email is too long, here are some tips to save you time and make your job easier.

Start with a clear goal

Every email should have a clear purpose. Whether it's to educate, increase engagement, or drive sales, your goal will determine the length needed. Don't add unnecessary content just to make an email longer; keep it as long as necessary to fulfill its purpose.

Choose simplicity and clarity

Use simple language and clear CTAs. Marketing emails rarely benefit from metaphors. Your email should lead readers smoothly from the opening line to the desired action without unnecessary detours.

Personalize down to the smallest detail

Use your knowledge of your customers to tailor your emails. When marketing emails feel personal, people care more about the message than the length.

Test and adapt to your audience’s preferences

Studies can point you in the right direction regarding consumer preferences, but only you can determine what your audience responds to most. Before you send your next email, run A/B tests of varying lengths. Then analyze your metrics to see what worked best.

Improve your layout

Sometimes the way information is presented can affect our perception of the length of an email. Breaking up the text with relevant images or using bullet points can make longer emails seem easier to understand and more engaging.

Related: 4 Things You Can Automate in Your Email Marketing to Save Time and Increase Sales

Ask your subscribers

Asking for opinions shows that you want to serve your audience better, so why not include a survey in your next newsletter? Let your subscribers tell you how long you want your emails to be. Nothing beats direct customer feedback to create more effective campaigns.

Bonus tips to increase email engagement

Here are a few additional tips to help your next emails get more clicks:

  • Try to keep your subject lines between 30 and 50 characters. Not only will your subscribers process them faster, but short subject lines will also ensure they display well on all devices.
  • Check the health of your email list to avoid bounces and the likelihood of ending up in the spam folder.
  • Evaluate your spam complaint rate – it should be below 0.1% to comply with Yahoo and Google's new email sending rules.

Also, remember that your goal is to build a genuine connection with your audience, no matter how many words it takes to do so. If your email is longer than planned but covers a topic that interests many of your subscribers, don't worry. Compelling content often justifies a longer read.