There’s no hard-and-fast rule for email newsletter length. But a good general rule of thumb is no longer than one printed page or roughly 500 words.
If you can accomplish your goals with fewer words, that’s often better. The less time you ask readers to give you, the more likely they are to follow through.
Users spend an average of 51 seconds per email. So they’re not really reading anyway — they’re scanning!
But before you can determine your target length, you need to decide which newsletter format you’ll use.
Here are a few popular formats – and the type and length of content that typically goes with them.
Under 100 Words per Blurb
If your goal is to drive traffic back to your website, include multiple articles to increase the odds that something grabs their attention.
But keep the copy for each one short.
Write one or two engaging paragraphs for each. Then ask readers to click through to read the rest.
Many companies send out newsletters that feature teasers for the blog posts they published that past month.
This also helps reduce the cost of producing the newsletter regularly.
Under 500 Words
This is typically the longest type of newsletter.
If your goal is to have your audience read your entire message, then it’s in your best interest to include the entire article in your newsletter.
We recommend that clients consider posting this article on their blog as well, so they get more use from the content.
And even though you’ve chosen to feature this single topic, you can still link to other content that you’ve recently written on your blog.
You can provide post titles as links or include short teasers of a few sentences each.
Product Offer Newsletters
Under 125 Words
Short and to the point. The offer should be right up front and not buried in copy.
The fewer words you can use to convey your marketing message, the better.
Clear images of the products are crucial for this type of newsletter, as well as a prominent call-to-action button and/or link.
Under 350 Words
Many newsletters aim to inform their readers while also promoting a product or service.
In this case, you can include a longer excerpt with a little more substance, between 250 and 350 words, and link to your site to read the rest of the article.
You’re providing valuable information to your reader but not letting your promotional message get lost.
How Can You Tell What Newsletter Format Is Best to Use?
But what’s the best newsletter length? It varies depending on the study you look at.
And that’s not surprising because there are so many other variables that impact the success of an email campaign.
Take a step back. Think about how this email fits into your overall marketing strategy.
- Who are you sending it to?
- Have they received an email from you before?
- Why are you sending it to them?
- What action(s) do you want them to take?
- What type of content are you including?
You need to figure out exactly what you want your newsletter to accomplish. Then align the format to that need.
Consider best practices. (More of those below!) But don’t consider them set-in-stone rules.
What’s most important is considering the action you want your target audience to take. Then use as few words as possible to achieve that.
In the end, the only way to find the best length for your email newsletter is to test and track results for your specific target audience with your specific brand message.
Best Practices for Email Newsletters
Here are a few more general guidelines to keep in mind when putting together your newsletter.
1. Include social media buttons.
Allow your readers to connect with you using their preferred method.
2. Link back to your website.
Even if you’re utilizing a single-topic newsletter format, make sure you give people a way to get back to your site.
3. Don’t forget a call to action.
Most newsletters want to motivate their readers to do something, whether it’s to purchase a product or service or remain connected to their brand. Determine your goal, and make it easy for people to accomplish it.
4. Add an image.
Or several. It will liven up your newsletter and keep it from feeling too dry or text-heavy.
5. Keep paragraphs short.
When reading on the internet, people skim, and they may jump over large paragraphs entirely.
Need help ensuring your newsletter is driving business results?
Sending out an email is a great first step! But do you have a plan for what happens after you hit send?
For measuring the results and determining if the campaign was a success? For growing your email list over time?
Most importantly, for ensuring that email drives business results.
Without a marketing strategy, it’s easy to waste a lot of time and effort on email campaigns that don’t lead to new business.
WR Digital Marketing provides more than tactics. We help you figure out what works.
Reach out for a free consultation.