Writing a good email is a bit of science, a bit of art and a whole lot of hard work. Where blog posts are intentionally informal and you can’t really mess one up as long as it’s more than 350 words, an email must be crafted very precisely. Along those lines, we get a lot of questions about various components such as headline style, formatting, and size. One of the most common questions we get, though, is how long a good email should be.
Length is a tricky subject. I’ve seen 100 word emails draw five figure returns on a product launch while 600 worders crash and burn and in some cases I’ve seen the exact opposite. If an email is well targeted and well written, length matters much less.
But, at the same time, length is a fundamental component in the construction of a good email and must therefore be considered carefully when you write your messages.
The Value Paradigm
The purpose of a good email is not just to make you money but to provide value to your readers so that their trust in you and what you have to say grows and you can make even more money in the future. Length plays an important role in this, however, it can also hinder this to some degree.
Here’s the problem. People associate value with length, but at the same time they also associate work with length and therefore will avoid something if it is too long. If no one reads your email, it doesn’t matter how valuable it is – it’s not being read.
For that reason, we need to create emails that hit the sweet spot of between 300 and 500 words while putting on the illusion that they are shorter and easier to read. We do that with the following:
- Short Sentences – Keep sentences short. Less than 10-15 words is best.
- Short Paragraphs – One or two sentences is perfect. Even a few one worders can be very beneficial.
- Headlines – Break things up with clear headlines and calls to action. If someone doesn’t want to read the entire message, make it possible for them to still get the message in a few seconds.
Combined with a catchy headline and enough content to offset your affiliate link, a well written email can be highly effective in as little as 300 words.
At the end of the day, remember that the value of your email is paramount. If you feel you need 700 words to create a valuable email on a given topic, do it. But, keep an eye on those metrics. If people aren’t opening or reading those long messages, it’s time to cut them back.