It’s been a debate for years over which is more effective: longer or shorter emails?
One perspective is that longer emails have more thought and time put into them; therefore, shorter emails may be considered inconsiderate or even rude.
However, you need to consider in today’s work and personal space that everyone’s inbox is becoming inundated with emails. The typical employee could see 100+ emails a day come through. And personal inboxes are flooded due to the influx of email marketing.
Though longer emails may be required to answer specific questions or complete a task, keeping it short and to the point in marketing will be the proverbial email sweet spot – once you know how to attract and retain a reader’s attention!
How to Attract and Keep a Reader’s Attention
Let’s take a look below at several different approaches on how to grab and hold onto your reader’s attention:
Respect the Reader’s Time
Time is a valuable commodity nowadays. Respect that your recipient(s) may not have enough to read a 1000 word blog email.
If that is the case, you could post the blog on your website first, then send out an email and insert the blog link to your website. This way, they will still receive the content in a much shorter version.
It will also give you the potential to receive more visits to your website through the blog link, which can ultimately lead to more clicks throughout.
Bring Value to the Table
You need to catch a recipient’s attention quickly to entice them to open your email. You could accomplish this through avenues such as:
- Personalize the email with their name
- Use your subject line to ask a question you think they would like an answer to (Have You Ever…?)
- Answer a common question (Did You Know…?)
- Promote a video or video link inside the email (Watch This…)
- Create a subject line containing numbers (5 Tips to….)
Clarify Your Purpose
Back to the time constraint, you want to clarify the purpose of your email as quickly as possible.
- Are you running an ad, offering a special, or conducting a raffle or giveaway?
- Is the email designed to solicit consumer feedback?
- Are you introducing a new product?
The more they know upfront, the more likely they are to open up and respond when their interest is peaked.
Don’t Let Them Forget You
Whether a few clients or a few thousand subscribers, you don’t want people to forget who you are.
One way is to send out an email or newsletter consistently. Whether bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly, remember that consistency is the key.
However, you don’t want to go overboard and fill their inbox with useless information. The goal is to keep your name or business in the front of their mind, not your emails in the bottom of their trash folder.
What is Considered Short?
Too much information in one sitting could overload your reader. Yet you want to make sure your purpose is ultimately defined.
So how many words could accommodate both?
Let’s take an average blog post, for example, around 2,100 words. Reading at 300 words per minute (wpm) would take around 7 minutes to finish. If the average person had 100 emails per day with a blog post length of 2100 words each, that’s 11.67 HOURS it would take to read them all!
On the flip side, a Reel on Instagram is a maximum of 90 seconds (1 ½ minute). As you know, Reels on Instagram are extremely popular right now. That’s because they are long enough to get your point across yet short enough to keep a viewer’s attention and not tie up much of their time. If you convert that 90 second time frame to words, it equals 450 max IF they read at 300 wpm.
Not everyone is going to read at that speed, however. So to be on the safe side, I would consider a short email to be no greater than about 300 words. That would convert to around a 1 to 2 minute average reading time – long enough to get your purpose met, yet short enough to hold the reader’s attention.
The Benefits of Short Emails
Not only do shorter emails respect the recipient’s time constraints, but they also hold valuable benefits for the sender.
According to an article on audienceops.com, “Many people hold this weird misconception that there’s value in length as if saying more equates to doing more. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
There’s a science to this too. NYU and MIT professors conducted a study that culled five years’ worth of emails. They concluded that shorter emails are more likely to receive a response (or action taken, like a link click).
If you may find you have more to say than can fit into one short email, consider marketing an email series. This is an excellent alternative to sending one long email with varied subjects. Creating a flow from one topic to the next will continue to provide valuable content for your reader.