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How Long Should An Email Be? All Questions Answered

May 30, 2023

In a world where we’re bombarded with emails every day, it’s no wonder we’re all wondering the same thing: how long should an email be? 

how long should an email be

Is brevity really the soul of wit, or does a longer email lend more weight to our words? 

Whether you’re a professional sending out important correspondence or just trying to craft the perfect message to a friend, we’ve got all the answers to your burning questions about email length. 

What is the ideal email length? Business, marketing email & other

Generally speaking, there is no “black or white” type of answer. However, lots of studies and research indicate the optimal length of your emails. 

3 of the most significant steps marketers take to nail accessibility in their emails are:

  • writing short, descriptive subject lines, 
  • keeping paragraphs short and simple, and
  • using large links.

But is short always the better approach? Keep reading to find out.

average bounce

Why are shorter emails better? 

The simple answer to this question is… because they yield better performance results.

When we look at Boomerang’s study, we can see that emails between 50 and 125 words tend to have the highest response rates:

  • 10 words yielded a 36% response rate
  • 25 words yielded a 44% response rate
  • 50 words yielded a 50% response rate
  • 75 words yielded a 51% response rate
  • 100 words yielded a 51% response rate
  • 125 words yielded a 50% response rate
  • 150 words yielded a 49% response rate
  • 175 words yielded a 49% response rate
  • 200 words yielded a 48% response rate

Going forward, let’s take a look at the subject lines. According to the same study, subject lines not longer than 3-4 words result in the best response rates:

  • 0 words yielded a 14% response rate
  • 1 word yielded a 37% response rate
  • 2 words yielded a 46% response rate
  • 3 words yielded a 48% response rate
  • 4 words yielded a 48% response rate
  • 5 words yielded a 46% response rate
  • 6 words yielded a 44% response rate
  • 7 words yielded a 42% response rate

Another reason why you might want to start crafting shorter emails is that they convert better.

Depending on the number of lines of text in the email, Constant Contact data shows that the click-through rate (CTR) changes. 

As email text lines increase, the click-through rates tend to increase, peaking around 20 lines, then steadily declining as more lines are added. A 20-line text translates into something about 200 words.

The ideal email subject line length

The ideal subject length for an email is between 3 to 5 words.

Rather than having the email cut off in their inbox, the recipient can quickly understand the email’s purpose with a short subject line.

Remember to make your subject line concise and clear. At the same time, you should also be informative enough to catch the reader’s attention and entice them to open your email. 

A well-crafted subject line can make all the difference in whether your email gets opened or gets lost in the sea of unread messages.

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The ideal preheader length

The ideal preheader length for an email is around 85 to 100 characters. For mobile devices, it’s even fewer. To make sure your emails offer excellent readability, keep the length to around 30 to 80 characters.

A preheader is a snippet of text that appears below or next to the subject line in the recipient’s inbox, providing a preview of the content inside the email. 

It’s best to use this space effectively to give the reader a reason to open your email. 

In addition to complementing your subject line, a preheader provides additional context and can entice the reader to click through.

Keeping the preheader within the recommended length ensures that it won’t get cut off or in the recipient’s inbox. 

It will also give the reader a clear idea of what to expect when they open your email.

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The ideal length of the email body copy

The ideal length of the email body copy depends on the purpose and content of the email, as well as the preferences of the target audience, device type used, and timing.

In general, it’s recommended to keep the email body copy concise and focused, with most emails ranging from 50 to 125 words. 

This makes it possible for the target audience to quickly scan and understand the main message of the email. This way, they won’t get overwhelmed by too much information. 

However, if the email contains important details or requires a more in-depth explanation, it’s acceptable to have a longer body copy. 

That’s, of course, as long as it’s well-organized and easy to read. 

As the email marketing manager and sender of the email, you might want to consider the audience’s attention span and reading habits. 

Once you do that, we recommend prioritizing the most important information at the beginning of the email to ensure it’s not missed.

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The ideal length of a call to action

The ideal length of a call to action (CTA) in an email is typically 2 to 5 words. 

A CTA is a button or link that encourages the reader to take a specific action, such as clicking through to a website or making a purchase. 

In order for the reader to understand exactly what will happen when they click the CTA, it must be clear, concise, and action-oriented.

The length of the CTA should be short enough to be easily digestible, while still conveying a sense of urgency or importance. 

It’s also key to use clear and specific language that aligns with the purpose of the email and the desired outcome. 

A well-crafted and strategically placed CTA can significantly improve the effectiveness of an email campaign.

Good examples:

#1 Vimeo – “go to video”

#2 LinkedIn – “get started”

#3 Binance – “claim reward”

#4 Next Block Expo – “I’m in! 🚀”

Extremely poor CTAs – 5 examples

  1. “In light of our extensive product offerings and our commitment to customer satisfaction, we kindly request that you take a few moments to complete our survey to help us improve our services and enhance your overall experience.”
  2. “As a valued customer, we would greatly appreciate it if you could share your thoughts, opinions, and feedback on our recently launched marketing strategy by participating in our comprehensive survey.”
  3. “To achieve our goal of increasing customer engagement and obtaining valuable insights, we would like to invite you to participate in our survey, which aims to gather information about your preferences, experiences, and suggestions.”
  4. “We cordially invite you to join our exclusive mailing list, where you will receive periodic updates, newsletters, promotions, and exciting offers that are tailored specifically to your preferences and interests.”
  5. “To maximize your benefit from our wide range of products and services, we kindly request that you take a few moments to complete our comprehensive questionnaire, enabling us to better understand your needs and serve you more effectively.”

10 excellent CTAs – examples

  1. “Buy now”
  2. “Limited time offer”
  3. “Subscribe”
  4. “Get started”
  5. “Join us”
  6. “Learn more”
  7. “Try it today”
  8. “Shop now”
  9. “Sign up”
  10. “Get your free trial”

It’s not only about email length

While crafting the perfect email, one must consider not just the length and content, but also email deliverability. Email deliverability refers to the ability of an email to reach the inbox of the recipient without being flagged as spam or bouncing back. This is crucial as even the most carefully composed and precisely targeted email serves no purpose if it doesn’t land in the recipient’s inbox. Factors such as sender reputation, email authentication, and content quality all play a role in determining email deliverability. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to these aspects to ensure your emails successfully reach their intended audience.

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Brevity wins the day, as shorter emails are easier to digest and more likely to elicit a swift response. 

From subject lines to preheaders, body copy to calls to action, we’ve explored the optimal lengths for each component.

To summarize:

  • subject line  3 to 5 words 
  • preheader – 85 to 100 characters (30 to 80 for mobile devices)
  • body – under 200 to 300 words, typically 50 to 125 words
  • call to action – 2 to 5 words

So, armed with this newfound knowledge, go forth and conquer the email world.

And if you want to be sure your short emails always reach your contacts’ inbox – try Bouncer for free today.

Frequently asked questions:

Are short emails better than long emails?

Yes. Short emails are generally better as they are more concise, easier to read, and increase the chances of a prompt response. Your email length can be the deciding factor in whether the email will convert. The shorter the email word count, the better.

How long should my email’s subject line be?

Keep your email’s subject line brief and informative, ideally between 3-5 words, to grab attention and provide a clear preview of the content. 

How long should my email’s preheader be?

Your email’s preheader should be concise, around 85-100 characters, to complement the subject line and entice recipients to open the email. For mobile devices, you might want to keep it even shorter – around 30-80 characters.

How long should my email’s body be?

The length of the email’s body heavily depends on the content complexity, but aim for brevity. Stick to the main points and keep the body under 200-300 words for optimal readability. Most emails vary in length from 50-125 words.

How long should my email’s call to action be?

The CTA in your email should be clear and concise, typically using a few words or a short phrase to encourage the desired response. Keep it within 2-5 words, such as “Shop now” or “Learn more.”

Is there a particular word count my marketing emails should be?

The ideal marketing email length should follow the frames outlined in this article. Those are as follows: subject line –  3 to 5 words; preheader – 85 to 100 characters (30 to 80 for mobile devices); body – under 200 to 300 words, typically 50 to 125 words; call to action – 2 to 5 words

What are some email length best practices?

Email length best practices include keeping your subject line, preheader, body, and CTA short. This applies to sales emails, various promotional emails, marketing emails, welcome emails, and other types of similar emails.


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