Designing a better email newsletter

How long should an email be?
Email Marketing - Design
Email Marketing – Design

Your email should be as short as you can make it, without making it useless. Some businesses send very long and complex material in email form, but they’re rare. The typical inbox is exceedingly full already, so is an unpleasant space in which to spend time! Get in, get your message across, and get out again.

There’s no clear-cut answer as to how long an email should be because it’s dependent on what your audience is looking for. There are, however, 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

The vast majority of people reading emails today are starved for time. Most people will only scan your email for a few seconds before deciding whether to read on. If they see long blocks of run-on text, or if it’s not a topic they care about, they will shut down. And means your email is headed to the bin.

Make sure your email 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

It’s best to limit your emails to one page, so that your content has the best chance of being read. You might have heard this described as ‘above the fold’. In web design, this means keeping content where it can be seen without the user needing to scroll to it.

It can be tricky to strike a balance between sharing relevant content, and keeping it concise. We always recommend that you entice readers in with excerpts, and then link to the full content on your website. You’ll create interest while keeping your emails crisp. Clickthroughs will also allow you to gather data on the time, date and person who clicked your link, allowing you to analyse your successes.

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. Like Goldilocks, you want something that’s not too big, not too small, but just right.

Nearly half of all emails are now read on a mobile device, so your messages have even less screen space to play with than before.

Bear in mind than an email can be too short, too. If there isn’t sufficient content to grab your reader’s interest, they’ll move on to the next email. You need to take the time to work out what works best for you, and for your audience.

David McElligott
Web Developer
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