Finding the Perfect Email Length to Engage Your Subscribers

Email length is a very common question from email marketers. Some common principles can be followed to optimize the size of content, but the key to answering this question lies with how well you know your subscriber base. Breaking messages down to the basics: from names, subject lines, and body content can help isolate problems that prevent campaigns from performing optimally.


Most marketers are familiar with keeping content “above the fold,” which is generally a good rule to follow. When in doubt, emails should be short, enticing, and to the point with a clear call to action. Knowing how much of your subscriber base is opening and clicking on messages via mobile devices is very important, and using a tool like ExpertSender’s email client stats will be very helpful. Using additional reporting like click map statistics, where user clicks are displayed as an overlay on top of the body can also be very valuable in discovering the best place for a call to action.

Occasionally, a message may need to be longer than average. As a way to alleviate the common symptoms that accompany very long messages, marketers could consider using shorter excerpts or quotes from content to entice subscribers to click. Summarizing content and leaving the recipient wanting more can be an effective way to raise engagement. It’s also more valuable to have a potential customer on the site reading content, than reading the same content in an email. If the content absolutely must be longer than you normally send, consider breaking the content up over a series of emails. A savvy marketer may take this as an opportunity to send messages triggered by a subscriber opening or clicking on an email from this series.

Marketers may be able to tell if their content is too long by seeing high open rates, but low click rates. The sender and subject line could convince a subscriber to open a message, and then be turned off by a large block of text. Images could be the key to raising click rates, or by using some of the methods already described to shorten content. Subject line length is also an important point, with most studies showing again that shorter is sweeter.

By sticking to these common sense principles, and continual testing, marketers should be able to come to a conclusion about content length. Knowing the audience of marketing messages is always a key, and finding the content sweet spot will not be an overnight revelation. Patience is required while designing and tailoring complete messages, from subject line to body content, and all the different variables should be tested at every opportunity.

Written by
Marcin Chruszcz
Account Manager at ExpertSender
Email and marketing geek. Specializes in email deliverability, strategy and design. Basketball and MTB riding enthusiast.
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