This is by far the question I receive most during my classes. While there’s no clear cut answer as to how long an email should be (it’s very dependent on what your audience is looking for), there are a few rules of thumb to follow in order to have the most impact with your emails and demonstrate proper email etiquette.
Short and effective
I encourage my attendees to keep their emails as short as possible while still remaining effective because the vast majority of people reading emails today are starved for time. Your average user is only going to scan your email for a few seconds to see if it pertains to them. If they see long blocks of run-on text that does not appeal to them, they will shut down. And when they shut down, that means your email is headed to the “Later” folder, if you’re lucky. Most emails that miss the mark are headed to the trash bin.
Make sure your email content is easy to read, visually engaging, and grabs your reader’s attention. This will entice them to read on and draw their attention down the screen to your call to action.
The one-page rule
As a rule of thumb, I never recommend that you go over a page for an email. In print media, the rule is to keep everything “above the fold” because it has the best chance of being read. In digital media, we call it “above the scroll.”
One way to keep your emails short is to use small excerpts from your content and allude to more information. By using teasers and then linking to the full content, you’ll create interest and gather crucial metrics. One link in your email opens the door to a wealth of knowledge. It shortens the length of the email and allows you to track the individual, date, and time they clicked on that link.
Find your sweet spot
The key to finding your sweet spot is figuring out what’s going to be most effective for the vast majority of people on your list.
Keep in mind that nearly half of all emails are now read on a mobile device. That means you’re working with even less real estate than ever before.
On the other end of the spectrum, an email can be too short. If there isn’t sufficient content to grab your reader’s interest, they’ll move on to the next email.
It’s all about finding a balance that works for you and your audience!
About how long are your emails? Tell me what has worked for you below.