How long should your email newsletter be?
Different studies on this topic will give you different answers. Boomerang put the sweet spot between 50 and 125 words. ConstantContact arrived at 200 as the optimum number. AWeber are going higher, at 434 words.
Basically, nobody can give you a perfect answer, no matter how scientific their study might seem. That's because every email contains different content, targeted at different people, sent at different times, on different days of the week, to people in different countries.
So yeah, they're different.
So there isn’t an ideal email newsletter length per se. However, there are certain rules to be aware of that should help you figure out how long your newsletter should be.
As with most copywriting, we think it’s safe to say that emails should generally be on the shorter side. There are exceptions, of course, but in most cases you’re likely to see better results (opens and clicks) with a shorter email (200 words or less). Every study on this question tends to come up with a different answer, but to be fair, very few arrive at a number over 200.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that influence the length of your email newsletter.
When will you be sending it?
Even if you’ve figured out that people always open your emails at Tuesday lunchtimes, it doesn’t guarantee they will take action.
For example, when that email goes out on a Tuesday lunchtime, it’s likely that a lot of your readers will be at work. They might be stealing a glance at their phone during their lunch break. They might not be keen to devour your 1000-word email at that time of day. In this example, a short, sub-200 word email might work better.
On the other hand, an email that arrives in people’s inboxes on a Sunday morning might go down differently. Your readers may well have some more time on their hands, and so a longer email could work better. But a word of warning - they’re also unlikely to want to read about work-related stuff on a Sunday. So we wouldn’t try this if you’re a B2B company.
As always, it’s best to test a bunch of different times and days to see which works best. It’s the only real way you have of finding out for sure.
Why are you sending it?
If the purpose of your email is getting more clicks to your website, keep your email brief and don’t give too much away. You could, for example, include a snippet of a blog post with a link to the full-length version on your website. Concentrate on less text with more call-to-actions.
But if you simply want people to read your content, it could be a good idea to write longer emails. If the content is interesting enough and people don’t have to click anywhere to read it, there’s a good chance people will engage with your email. Which is actually better than them disregarding it because they had to click through to your website.
What are you sending?
If your email is about a limited time offer on one of your products, it makes no sense to ramble on. Ideally your email should only contain the following:
- Body text
You could repeat this structure multiple times if, for example, you're promoting multiple things in your email. But in most cases, that’s all. Anything more than this is distracting the reader from the main purpose of your email.
But sometimes, the bare bones of your message might simply require more words. Let’s say that you’ve just made a load of new updates to your app. Some of them are quite important for your user - maybe they need to manually update the app to make sure it keeps working. It would be irresponsible to leave this info out of your email. In this case, you might find your email exceeds the so-called magic 200 word mark. But that’s fine. In a nutshell, keep things brief, but don’t omit important information to meet a word count.
We couldn’t summarise this blog any better than Constant Contact did in their piece, so we’ll include it here to finish:
What information does my reader need to take the action I want them to take?
Remove anything that doesn’t help the reader take that action.
That’s the best length for your email newsletter.