When someone clicks open your newsletter in their inbox, you only have 51 seconds to make an impression on them. So if you are wondering what is the best length for email newsletter? Know that 51 seconds is the time it takes most people to scan through an email.
Only 19% of newsletters are fully read. Most people usually just scan through the newsletters they get. 35% of people will just skim through only sections of the newsletter and not even the whole newsletter.
So how much information can you present in 51 seconds? According to research done by Constant Contact, the ideal length of a marketing newsletter is 200 words or 20 lines of text. This is how much information your readers can skim through within a short period of time.
According to a research that was done by HubSpot, sales emails with 50 words to 125 words had over 50% response rates.
Which Areas In A Newsletter Do Readers View Most?
According to Jackson Nielsen’s research, the image below shows the areas which readers tend to view the most when reading a newsletter.
The areas marked in red are places which the readers viewed most, while the areas in blue are the areas that were least looked at.
From the picture above, we can draw a number of conclusions
Most readers have a high level of interest at the start of the newsletter. Interest then starts to wane as they reach the middle of the newsletter and by the time most readers reach the end of the newsletter, they really don’t bother to read much of what has been included.
So how do you apply these principles when you are writing out your newsletters?
- Skip introductory text and get straight to your point – If your introductory text doesn’t provide much information to the reader, then you are simply wasting time. Most people will skip such text and jump on to the more important sections of your newsletter. 67% of readers are not fixated on introductory text.
Don’t bore your readers with introductory text that does not add any value to them. The introductory text might be important to you, but ask yourself how important it is to the reader.
- Keep your most important content above the fold – The area that is above the fold is the most viewable area in your newsletter. This is the area that your readers will see when they first open your email, without having to scroll down the page.
80% of readers will pay attention to any content that is above the fold, but the lower they have to go down the page and scroll down to read, the further their interest will decline.
Keep your content within viewable area, where people can first view it without having to scroll. People are only going to scroll down the page if your introductory information is interesting.
That is not to mean that content that is below the fold is not read. It is read, just that fewer people will read it and they will pay less attention to the information when reading it. That is why it is important that you put your most valuable and important information above the fold.
You might think that it is smart to surprise your readers with an exciting piece of information at the end of your email, but chances are that fewer people will see the information you include at the bottom of the email.
So always put your most valuable information at the start of the email, so that even if the reader stops reading in the middle, you can at least be assured that they got the most important message that you wanted to communicate.
Also, keep in mind that reading long text over the phone is not easy. 53% of people read their emails on phone and having to scroll through long content on phone is not very appealing.
- Stay focused – Figure out the main reason why you are writing the newsletter and focus on that. People have limited attention spans and if you lose them at the start of your newsletter, you will completely lose their interest. They will not read the rest of your newsletter.
Make it possible for your readers to scan through your newsletter. On average, most people read only 20% of the text on an average web page. Most people skim through emails, they do not read through all the details. So make it as easy as possible for them to scan through your newsletter. How do you do this?
- Use bullet points
- Include images, to help break up text- According research that was done by Constant Contact, newsletters which had 3 images mixed up with text, which had 20 lines got the highest clickthroughs
However, the mix of text and images varies depending on the specific industry that you are in. Nonprofit audiences prefer newsletters which have a bit more text and images than the average newsletter reader.
For instance, audiences from business and service industries expect a lot more images than text.
- Limit the size of your paragraphs. Short paragraphs are easier to read through than long paragraphs
- Limit the length of your sentences. The ideal number of words in a line should be 40-55 characters (like this underlined part), on average, that is 8-11 words per line. This makes it easier for people to read the sentence since it makes it seem less complex. It also makes it visually easier for the reader to jump from line to line than if the width was wider.
- Align your text to the left– Most people who read English or in languages where people read from left to right pay more attention to content that is on the left side of the newsletter. That is why you should align your text to the left.
You should really think twice if you have a two column newsletter. Chances are that people are paying more attention to the text that is on the left column, as compared to the text that is in the right column.
The length of the email subject lines don’t really matter
According to research that was done by Mail Chimp, there was little difference on clickthrough rates based on the length of subject line.
Long subject lines as well as short ones got almost the same clickthrough rates, so you do not have to really worry as to whether using lengthy subject lines will not get people to clickthrough your emails to read them.
So how do you lay out all of these in your marketing email?
- Call to action (CTA)
Picture – Start your newsletter with a picture or pictures. Pictures are the most valuable content in your email, since pictures communicate a lot more than words.
Do not wait to use your pictures at the end of your emails. Use them at the start, since they are your best content. You can then sprinkle pictures in the body of your emails, to help break up the text.
Paragraph– This should be the body of your email. Tell the reader why you are writing and how the information you are providing is beneficial to them. So how do you say it?
Tell them in simple words what you want. Tell them
- What you are offering
- How it will help them
CTA– Always include a call to action in your newsletters. Tell your readers what you want them to do next after reading your newsletter. Emails which have a call to action are 50% more likely to get a response than emails without a call to action.
However, the length of emails is not fixed in stone; it varies depending on your particular situation. For instance, the harder your call to action is, the longer your email length might have to be in order to convince the reader to click through the CTA.
Moreover, if you find that your newsletters are longer and that there is no way to shorten the information, then the next best thing is to break up the emails into shorter chunks of information. This will require that you increase the frequency of your mailing.
The other option is for you to include links in your newsletter, which go to your website or other information sources, so that your readers can find more information on the website, if they want.
Conclusion on the Best Length for Email
Be concise and succinct when writing emails. Remember that you only have 51 seconds to impress your subscribers once they open your email. What are you going to say to them?
Are you an NGO or a Non Profit organization? Would you like to get more funding for your projects?
Julie can help you do this by writing better emails/newsletters to send to your donors. Her main aim is to help you attract and retain donors, so that they can give more money towards your organization.
She can also manage your website and get more people to visit it by writing engaging blog posts, white papers, reports, brochures, case studies and whatever else you need. She does all this with the aim of attracting more people to your website, so that they can see and understand what you do and get encouraged to give financial support towards your organization.
If you need someone to write, format or set up your fundraising newsletters or write fundraising copy for you, you can reach Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org.