How Long Should Your Marketing Emails Be? You Might be Surprised

length of marketing emails

Email marketing promotion is one of the most essential tools small businesses use to win more clients. Having an established mailing list and consistent frequency allows businesses to gauge what strategy and messaging works best.

But what are the best possible elements an effective email promotion should have?

According to research conducted by Constant Contact, there are optimal numbers of images and lines of text small businesses should include in email marketing campaigns to optimize their click-through rates.

Senior vice-president of Constant Contact Christopher Litster says click-through rates convey how often your email subscribers click on the links in your email. It is therefore the best measurement of e-mail content quality and effectiveness as a marketing tool.

According to the research, 20 or fewer lines of text with three or fewer images results in the most number of click-throughs per email.

But the results can vary in different industries.

For example, email subscribers of non-profit  organizations prefer more lines of text and images than the average reader, the study found. Specifically, members of non-profit associations continue to actively click-through even on emails of between 20 and 30 lines of text. And non-profit membership organizations similarly see good click-through rates on email messages with between 15 to 30 lines of text.

Business and service companies need more images in their e-mails — about 13 to 16 —  to gain highest click-through rates due to the fact that subscribers expect visuals of products and services. Restaurants, salons and spas similarly need larger amounts of images — at least 15 — in their email promotions to get peak click-through rates.

Retail businesses, meanwhile, seem to  have among the least flexibility in the number of lines of content that convince audiences to click. The study suggests click-through rate for retail  businesses rises by 50 percent with 17 lines of text ad the falls by 50 percent after 19 lines. So that’s a mighty narrow range for content writers to consider.

Image: Constant Contact

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Lisa Froelings Lisa is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on marketing technology, productivity and general small business news. She has a background in business and productivity consulting including experience in human resources working for a major retailer before deciding to build her own business.

5 Reactions
  1. I think it has something to do with people not really having the time to read but is willing to read anything useful. So short and useful should be part of the email marketing rule.

  2. Good content. I agree with you Lisa that frame of email is important and it will vary from industry to industry. I genuinely believe: what really matters in an email campaign is content and time. Another most important thing to take into consideration while setting up an email campaign or promotion is behaviour (click thru rate, open rate etc) If you understand these metrics accurately then you can do a lot of things like segmenting the list which will drastically increase the open rate and click thru rate leading to more sales and customers.

  3. Wow Lisa this research is amazing to me cause I always dreaded writing out huge emails and results being pathetic.. now I know why, I’m making their eyes glaze over and killing the opportunity for them to make a decision

  4. Thank you for this informative article, this will enhance my knowledge in terms of the number of lines and pictures that I will post.

    In this point of view I can be more confident that my blogs will be read by many, mainly because of how your inputs really attracts readers.

    Thanks a lot!


  5. I think it’s interesting that this is focused on lines of text, vs word count. I would be curious how this count varies depending on device. Obviously there will be more line breaks if the email is opened on a mobile device. I admit, that I haven’t done a full read of the report from CC, but this is something that immediately jumped out at me. Regarding the images, I’ve definitely seen the use of images having an impact on CTRs. Also, a big difference depending on the images themselves, and I’ve seen an increase in CTR when emails include animated GIFs.