How Long Should Your Email Be? New Data for Retail, Restaurants, Spas, and Real Estate

Earlier this month we took a look at how the number of images and lines of text in an email campaign can affect the email’s click-through rate.

We found that, in general, “less is more.”

Emails with about 20 lines of text and three or fewer images received the highest click-through rate.

While many industries supported these findings, our research also found some variation among specific types of businesses.

Today we’ll be diving into some of the more interesting findings among our B2C (business that sell to consumers) and B2B (business that sell to other businesses) customers.

Keep in mind that these are general findings. As with most best practices, what applies below may not necessarily apply to your particular email list. It’s always important to test what works best among your individual lists and iterate from there.

Here are three key findings from our survey:

1. For restaurants and spas, more images could provide better results.

Both restaurants and salons/spas can afford to test more images of menu items/products.

Here is the overall chart for number of images in restaurant email campaigns:

Restaurant click through data

As you can see, the peak comes around 15 images, which makes sense if you think about the type of content email subscribers might expect from restaurants they like. It’s always great to actually see the new menu items or specials from your favorite restaurant’s emails. The same could be said for salons/spas, who can advertise images of new products or services right in their email campaign.

Restaurant Example

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need to add in a bunch of new images to your next email marketing campaign. This simply shows that on average, our restaurant and spa customers are seeing a higher response to more visual-based messages that showcase their menu items and let people see what they will be getting when making a reservation or booking an appointment.

2. Office supply companies and real estate agencies fall on opposite sides of the spectrum for the optimal length of text.

Office supply companies are often best served by keeping the text in their emails concise, as click-through rates peak at 15 lines of text. Meanwhile, real estate marketing achieved highest click-through rates at around 35 lines of text.

Real estate click-through

Again, the findings can be best explained by thinking about the consumer expectation and interest. Real estate agents need to put a lot of text in their emails, as they’re usually providing property descriptions for relevant listings.

Real Estate Example

Office supply companies, on the other hand, are selling their products to employees at other businesses. They need to get their information across in a short amount of time in order to compete for attention within the busy worker’s inbox.

3. Retail businesses often have a “sweet spot” for text length.

Retail businesses have a very small window in terms of the number of lines of text that drive optimal click-through rates.

Click-through rates improve over 50 percent between emails with 17 lines of text and 19 lines of text. Click-through rates then drop by 50 percent among emails between 19 lines of text and 21 lines of text.

Retail click-through

This one’s curious. While around 20 lines of text results in optimal click-through rates in the overall findings, the retail industry appears to be an exaggerated version of that. One hypothesis is that consumers subscribe to a lot of retail mailing lists (showing just how important email marketing is to this particular industry), making the industry an approximate reflection of email marketing as a whole.

Remember that for all industries, the length of your email will often be impacted the goal of your campaign and the message you’re trying to get across.

For more action-driven emails, like time-sensitive promotions, you’ll likely be using less text because you’ll be focused on getting your message across quickly. For newsletters, you may be covering a few different topics and will require more text to give people the information that they need.

That’s it for this time!

As mentioned earlier, we’ll have another post on what we saw among specific nonprofit industries soon.

In the meantime, let us know what you’ve seen with your click-through rates. Have you found a specific amount of images and lines of text that work for you? How do your results compare to our findings?

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