The value of shorter emails

Why shorter emails might be better

Alex Johnson
Owner, Designer & Strategist

Getting new and potential customers to subscribe to your newsletter is a great way to create repeat business or nurture them into new purchases. While there is no right or wrong email length, a shorter email might be the ticket to getting more of your emails read.

As everything in the modern world moves faster and faster, our time and attention spans get shorter. In addition, the average person gets bombarded by a dozen or more emails a day, with many of those sales-related. This does not help your chances of being successful in email marketing.

Given these problems, going shorter (around 300 words) could be better for your open and read rates. While catchy titles might get them to open your emails, shorter ones encourage them to keep reading to the end.

In this article, I go over a few easy ways for you to make your emails more effective by keeping them shorter.

Quickly Capture Attention

Shorter emails force you to get straight to the point, capturing your reader’s attention faster. Instead of a long-drawn-out email, focusing on 300 words will keep you on track.

Writing a shorter email also is more inviting to your target audience. They are no longer put off by a wall of text. This works equally well for those on mobile devices, who will abandon longer emails after too many swipes.

Think of ways you can shorten your email while making it interesting to your reader.

Focus on one thing

By writing shorter emails, you don’t have room for multiple topics. Having to pick one thing to write to them about simplifies the email.

Simple emails are more likely to have a lasting impact and are easier for the reader to remember. Being more memorable can increase your conversions or actions from that email.

If you provide tips or topical information to your readers, they are more likely to complete the action. In turn, they may continue to find your tips valuable and want to act on them more often.

Shorter reading time

Based on the average reading speed, an email that is around 300 words long will take two and a half minutes to read. By writing a shorter email, you enable your readers to consume your content no matter where they are. Whether it be waiting in line, enjoying morning coffee, or even while they are at work.

It's easy to read short emails during a morning commute
It’s easy to read short emails during a morning commute

When you increase the number of places where they can quickly read your email, you increase the likelihood that they will read it.

Try reading your future emails out loud and see how long it takes you. If you can read it out loud in under 5 minutes, most people will be able to read it in under 3 minutes.

Shorter emails are respectful

When you write a shorter email, you are showing respect for your reader’s time. With every email you send to someone, they are paying you with their time when they read it.

You are asking them to stop other tasks and focus on your email. By keeping it short, you are asking for less time. Remember that they are getting slammed by emails all demanding attention. Be mindful and show them you care by keeping it short and sweet.

Turn long topics into series

When you keep an email short, it might be hard to cover all the information you wish to impart.

An easy solution is to break the long topic down into bite-sized chunks and send them a chunk a day in an email series. This has multiple benefits.

First, you can encourage them to take small actions. The small actions then build on each other to create a big win. And those that complete the big win are more likely to remember you.

Smaller pieces also allow you to continue to land in their inbox. If the series is interesting enough, they might look forward to your next one. Each email you send can continue to provide more value.

Lastly, the email series keeps your brand front of mind longer. And with encouragement could even make that next sale. Or get them to share your email with others.


Shorter emails tend to have a better open and read rate and are easy to do. It helps you show respect for your reader and encourages them to act.

If you absolutely must write longer, start the email off with a “long story short” section so you can avoid the dreaded “too long didn’t read (TLDR)” reaction.  Or save it for a blog article on your website where you can also benefit from searchers finding you and reading the same topic.

And in the spirit of shortness, this article is shorter, only around 800 words. But more than enough to get your creative juices flowing.

Happy writing!

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