email length best practices

Email Length Best Practices in 2021

Ecommerce stores have long embraced the opportunities of emails to ramp up their sales. Ever since, there has been a tireless search for the optimal email parameters that can engage customers, even the most hard-boiled ones.

Still, one of the most controversial is the eternal question of how long those emails should be? 

And even in 2021, you will not get an exact determination from anyone. But, with the help of several modern practices, you will be able to develop your own guidelines.

Why does length matter?

Information equals power. But the problem of filtering that information arises in a world overflowing with data. Mind how you solve it for yourself? For sure, the first thing you do before delving into any topic is to evaluate how long it will take.

The same goes for emails. Whether it’s work-related correspondence, outreach pitch, or a hot lead offer – put the recipient’s time first.  No one wants to waste their time. Combining informativeness and brevity is your main goal.

How to make an informative email?

An essential mistake young padawans of email marketing make is being short for the short’s sake. Remember your first essays from the college years. Were you tempted to hurl all efforts only to fulfill a given word count?

However, checking every minute how many words you are missing you situate on an opposite site of quality. Professor recommendations and own experience give an understanding that your main reference point is the goal and topic of the task.

Consider three questions about the nature of your future message:

  1. What product and in what area am I writing about?
  1. Who is my target audience?
  1. What type of email will I use?

You must agree that in order to announce the technical characteristics of your new product and send a follow-up to the meeting with partners, you need to use radically opposite approaches.

For example, you need to compose a welcome series email to a new registered user. It is your chance to make a new customer stay. Consequently, the body of the email should be:

  • catchy (to gain attention);
  • intriguing (make to wait for the next letter with more details);
  • focused (you still need to keep the client’s attention to the end of the letter).

A different matter is the next newsletter with new offers for loyal customers. Those users are subscribed to your mailing list, and you have passed the onboarding stage. 

By anticipating what they want to get, you have more possibilities to promote additional offers and make the letter interactive. Don’t forget about the ecommerce personalization and individual positioning of your brand that long-time clients value.

How can you manage to accommodate all data and not make them yawn? Well, several tips for advanced writers will help:

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Write, cut, cut again

Don’t rush to submit a raw draft. Just state your thoughts without worrying about the size of the text on the first run. Then, go back to the beginning and carefully start cutting off any excess information. Leave what will help you open up the topic. Do not hesitate to delete all poetic notes. 

Are you finished? Do the same thing again. Remove irrelevant details until the mussy sculpture of your letter reaches its finished shape.

Omit courtesy 

Long introductions and tearful goodbyes are useless and only distract attention. An informal greeting with a known recipient adds your unique personality. A quick jump to the point with the newby will help you get the message across faster and facilitate your confidence.

No long words

Remove time-consuming words from your email dictionary. It’s clear that you want to sound natural as well as beautify your speech with smart words. 

However, it is better to leave those practices for the belles letters. In your case, fancy words will take up unnecessary space.

Why use, say, ‘bona fide’ when you can write ‘real,’ right?

Short sentences only

The short message that consists of short sentences is your ultimate goal. One thought in a minimum of words. Nothing more. That is how they did it in Laconica.

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Count sentences

Determine your maximum in the number of sentences (for instance, five), the number of questions. 

Alternatively, set the limit of characters for yourself. Set a time limit for the clients to spend reading your text. Generally, try to squeeze the utmost meaning into the minimum of words.


Determine the structure of the future message. Make a rough outline and work on filling items. This will help keep things flowing.

You can use ready-made templates to simplify the process. It can be your own template, or you can use any responsive email builder. They offer structuring an email in the way you like and then work on copy. You will not forget about the necessary details and arrange a professional attitude. 

Use visuals

Put a vivid image instead of a series of words, highlight the key places of the letter with prominent blocks, especially the CTA button. Do not underestimate the empathy-connecting power of emojis 😜. Yes, they still work well. 

Empower your email with psychological tricks and locate the key data where the recipients most often look when reading the letter (the F-shaped pattern of reading on the web). 

Also, you can use font combinations of your website in emails as well. It positively impacts branding.

Remember: what makes you open up something in an in-box and use that to your advantage.

Find it hard to start? Check out some tips for better writing.

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How to make a short email?

When content has become the main hero of your marvelous email, we can talk about its basic superpower – brevity. And it applies to all elements of the email.

Short subject line 

Confined marketing statistical studies show that the optimal length for an email subject line is between 25 to 50 characters

It is the first thing to make itself known to the receiver. It specifies whether all work on the main text will be appreciated by the reader. 

It seems a bit of a scarce volume but do you need a lot of words to make a meaningful statement? Keep in mind that many clients check mail on their smartphones or have old versions of the software. You can subject line tester tools as well.

Short preheader 

The optimal length of the preheader is between 40 to 100 characters. And if you still go without a preheader, we recommend to consider starting.

Don’t miss the opportunity to get another broadcast field. Unload the volume of the letter and give customers more instant product insights.

Short email copy

Between 50 to 125 words.Those are the optimal frames to hold the text. Tested in practice and compared with the highest open rates.

In terms of other elements, you have a free hand. Again, illustrate your text with images, include lists, colorful slogans, and other lures of attention.

Summing up

Having listed the important rules and marks for composing short and accurate emails, it is time to finally lay out the main thing. They all exist to be broken. Your goal should guide your cursor. 

Squeeze out all the watery details, remove unnecessary words, reduce everything that is possible and not, and pass the text through the editorial press. Then, your final email length is justified on all fronts.

Author Bio

Dmytro Zaichenko is an Outreach Specialist at Mailtrap, a product helping to test emails at the developmental stages. He has more than 5 years of experience in content making.

Apart from writing, he’s a passionate NBA fan. Connect Dmytro on LinkedIn.

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