How long should my email copy be?

how long should my email copy be


If you’ve ever written a promotional email you’ve pondered this question…

Which is better, short copy or long email copy?

The rule is that you should write only as much as you need to in order to convince someone to take the action you want them to take.

Trying to be succinct in your first draft is how an email never gets written, or at least, feels like a medieval torture writing it.

I tend to avoid anything medieval, so when I write, I throw everything in my head on paper and then copy edit with an exacto knife or box cutter, whatever the situation calls for.

I see a lot of “experts” recommending shorter copy in emails. Period.

I guess that might be right for retailers and some industries.

But here’s the thing…

My experience is that longer copy works better for conversions, with two conditions that relate directly to your reader’s “awareness” of your topic.

Condition #1 – When your reader’s awareness is high

If a reader is hyper-aware of your topic and you as a trusted authority in your topic, give them an option to click through immediately.

That’s why I always try to have a link in the top 1/3 of my email.

If you know me, and you know online marketing, you’re a hyper-aware reader that opened my email to get right to the juicy stuff.

My email just needs to make that click easy for you.

It’s why I publish my full blogs in my emails.

I tried writing brief pithy blog intro emails to get people to jump to my website, but guess what?

I get higher clicks and conversions if I just send you the whole blog in email.

I have a theory as to why that is I’ll get to in a minute.

Condition #2 – When your reader’s awareness level is low

If your reader is still in an information-gathering stage, still learning about the topic, still getting to know you, (top of your sales funnel) then you need to write killer sub-headlines that keep your reader going through your high quality copy to be convinced to click-through.

Sometimes you have to take your reader on a journey, or tell a good story to get to the right conclusion and it’s okay if that is a long email.

Anyone who reads that email is that top 20% that is likely to donate or buy.

What’s really important

Your promotional email may be tackling an important belief your reader needs to have before they will buy.

Your buyer must believe your “pain or gain” promise to even keep listening to you.

They must believe that you are trustworthy, they must believe that they will lose something if they don’t act quickly…

There are a number of beliefs we all must have before we feel comfortable donating or buying.

And your email campaign’s job is to help your reader tick those beliefs off in your promotional emails and landing page to win the sale or donation.

The better you get at that system, the more income you generate.

So what to do?

When writing to readers that are familiar with you, your products, services, or mission, short copy is most effective. Start there.

When introducing new products, services, or programs to an audience already familiar with you, test BOTH short and long copy.

When writing to new leads, prospects, subscribers, donors, clients, test long copy first.

My theory

I think my readers like my blog in emails because they are opening and reading them on mobile devices, and…

It’s why I write in one-sentence paragraphs too.

It’s easier to read on mobile.