Have you ever opened a marketing email, only to find an endless scroll awaiting you? 


Or, on the flip side, received something so brief it left you wondering what was the point of it? In this digital age, when attention is everything, email length is more crucial than ever.


So, how long should your marketing emails be to avoid the dreaded Gmail clip and still resonate with your audience? Let’s dive in.

 

What’s the Gmail Clip?


I posted on LinkedIn recently that not only was the clipped message annoying for readers as they couldn’t read all the email without clicking again, it also, importantly, hid the unsubscribe link. 


In the comments, I was asked what as the ideal email length.

 

First things first, let’s address the clip.


Gmail clips emails that exceed 102KB. You’ll know it’s been clipped when you see “View Entire Message” at the bottom of the screen.

Examples of Gmail message seen on clipped emails

Another reason to avoid a copy is that the open tracking pixel is often placed by Email Service Providers in the bottom on the email.  If this isn’t loaded due to clipping then the open may not register.


While it’s not just about avoiding being clipped, it’s a good benchmark for getting your point over in a succinct manner.


The key is finding a balance that delivers value without overloading your reader.

 

Short emails: a quick connection.


Short emails are great for quick updates, special offers, or a nudge towards a specific action. They’re easy to digest and perfect for readers on the go.

Neil Patel is the master of short emails. Many of his emails say just enough in his copy to make you want to click through to his blog or video.  In the example below, everything is above the fold, no need to scroll (actually, even on longer emails, the main CTA should be above the fold).

Example of a very short email from Neil Patel

The aim with short emails is to be concise but powerful, ensuring every word earns its place.

Take a launch campaign where the penultimate and last emails are usually super short and serve to remind people that doors are closing to the offer. The previous emails will have set out the features, benefits and answered objections.

An email like this below from Fossil had around 40 words (excluding the footer).  It’s very clear what message they’re want to impart and what they want the subscriber to do.

 

Example of short email from Fossil - Extra 50% Off Outlet

 

Long emails: a deeper dive


Longer emails on the other hand serve well when you’re telling a story, providing a detailed guide, or offering comprehensive solutions. They allow for a deeper connection and the opportunity to fully convey the value of your offer. 

 

Remember that people scan emails to see if there is anything worth reading first.  Use headings, salient points in bold, bullet points, and images to break up the text and keep the reader interested to the end.

 

It’s not just about length –  it’s about value.


The debate between short versus long emails can be misleading. The question isn’t just about length but about the value you’re providing. 

Some subscribers need more information before making a decision, while others prefer a quick read.


Understanding your audience is crucial. Are they detail-oriented professionals seeking in-depth analysis, or are they busy individuals looking for quick solutions?

 

So how long should your email be?


There isn’t a precise answer I’m afraid. Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear.

 

Ultimately, the ideal email length depends on your audience’s preferences and the purpose of your message – as long as it’s not clipped.  An often-quoted survey by Boomerang suggests the optimum length is 50-125 words, although the decline in engagement is slow to drop with a higher word count.

 

3 ways to help you optimise email length

1.  A/B testing is invaluable, allowing you to gauge what resonates best with your subscribers. Keep an eye on your engagement metrics – opens, clicks, and conversions will tell you if your emails are hitting the mark.

2. Always test your emails before you press Send.  Is the email clipped on Gmail?  Is it scannable, particularly when read on mobile?

3. Use an app such as Grammarly or Hemingway, both loved by copywriters to finesse and optimise copy.

 

In the world of email marketing, one size doesn’t fit all. The best approach is a tailored one, considering both the needs of your subscribers and the nature of your message.

 

Whether short and sweet or long and detailed, the goal is always clear, compelling communication that drives action. Just test before you send to ensure it’s not clipped.

 

Need some help and guidance with your email marketing?  Whether it’s starting from scratch or your need an overhaul, I’d love to help you. Contact me to get started.

 

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