How Long Should A Marketing Email Be: A
Guide For SaaS Businesses
How long should a marketing email be?
If we were to give you a quick answer to this question, emails that are around 100 to 200 words long generally get the most engagement and responses.
But if we really dig deep into it, the answer is not that simple and straightforward.
One thing is for sure though — you need to determine the ideal email length for your SaaS email marketing campaign.
In this article, we will talk about what studies say about the ideal email length for marketing, the factors that affect it, and some best practices you can follow.
But first, let’s get into why you need to nail your marketing email length.
Why Is It Important To Find The Ideal Email Length?
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach out to your target audience and lead them closer to buying your SaaS product.
And one of the most common mistakes in email marketing is sending emails that are either too long or too short.
This is why finding the ideal email length is so important. It can bring a lot of benefits to your campaign, such as the following:
It Improves Your Open Rate And Click Through Rate
The open rate is the percentage of people who open your email. The click through rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who clicked on a link in your email.
These two are among the most important email marketing metrics. And the length of your emaill can greatly affect these metrics.
Emails that are too short may be overlooked and lost in the sea of other emails in someone’s inbox.
On the other hand, those that are too long may not be fully read and may lose the attention of your readers.
The ideal email length strikes a balance between these two extremes — long enough to deliver your message but short enough to keep your reader’s attention.
It Increases Your Response Rates
The right email length will not only help you improve your open rates and CTR, but it will also ensure that your recipients actually read your email and take action on it.
When you send emails that are too long, your recipients will likely skim through them and miss out on important information.
On the other hand, if your emails are too short, they might not provide enough value and get deleted without being read.
But if you find the perfect balance, you’ll be able to keep your recipients engaged from start to finish.
As a result, they will be more likely to take action, whether it’s booking a demo with your sales team or finally buying your SaaS product.
It Improves Your Email Deliverability
As an email marketer, one of the things you should always guard is your email sender reputation. This is because your sender reputation can make or break your email deliverability.
Your sender reputation is how ISPs (Internet Service Providers) view you as an email sender. The higher your reputation, the more likely your emails are to reach the inbox of your recipients.
But if you have a low reputation, there’s a chance that your emails will be sent to the spam folder. And once your emails end up in the spam folder, it will be very hard to make sure your next emails don’t share the same fate.
Now, some of the factors that can affect your sender reputation are your bounce rate and the number of spam complaints you’re getting. The higher these metrics are, the worse it will be for your email deliverability.
And if you send emails that are too long or too short, you might end up getting high bounce rates and spam complaints.
What Studies Say About The Ideal Email Length
Now that we’ve talked about the importance of finding the ideal email length, let’s get into what studies say about it.
Let’s talk about how long each part of your marketing email should be.
How long should your subject line be? What about the pre-header? The email body? The call-to-action (CTA)?
The Subject Line: Keep It Under 7 Words
Your subject line is one of the most important parts of your email. It’s what gets your recipients to open your email in the first place.
And according to a study by Marketo, emails with seven words in their subject lines get the most clicks and engagements.
What’s more, their data shows that shorter subject lines tend to have higher open rates.
The Preheader: 85 to 100 Characters
The preheader is the text that appears right after your subject line in someone’s inbox. It gives your recipients a brief overview of what your email is about.
It’s also a good opportunity to place a CTA that would get the recipient to open the email. As a result, your preheader also greatly affects your open rate.
According to Campaign Monitor, a good preheader falls between 85 to 100 characters.
This is because anything longer than that will likely get cut off in someone’s inbox or lose your email recipient’s attention.
The Email Body: 50 to 200 Words
When it comes to the email body, there’s no definitive answer on how long it should be.
This is because the ideal length will depend on various factors, which we will talk about further down this article.
But a study by HubSpot says that emails between 50 and 125 words tend to perform well. The study shows that these emails had a response rate of more than 50%.
However, emails with 20 lines of text (or around 200 words) yielded the highest CTRs.
So what can we draw from that?
While the ideal email length depends on a lot of factors, the safe zone would be under 200 words.
The Call-to-Action (CTA): 3 to 5 Words
Your CTA is one of the most important parts of your email. This is because it’s what drives your recipients to take action and convert.
According to Campaign Monitor, email CTAs should be around 3 to 5 words long.
Three words should be enough for a compelling CTA, such as “Get Started Today” or “Find Out More”. But anything longer than five words can look messy and even turn off your subscribers.
Factors That Affect Ideal Email Length
Sure, studies and experts show different ideal lengths for different parts of your marketing email.
But as we mentioned earlier, there’s really no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to the ideal email length.
This is because there are a number of factors that can affect it, such as the following:
The Goal Of Your Email
Are you trying to promote a new feature? Are you announcing a sale? Or are you simply sending out a newsletter?
Your email length will vary depending on your goal.
For example, if you’re sending out a newsletter, a longer email might be more appropriate since you have more content to share.
On the other hand, if you’re announcing a new promotion, a shorter and more concise email might be better so that your recipients can quickly understand what it is and how it can benefit them.
In other words, your ideal email length is the number of words or characters you need to reach your goal.
In some industries, shorter emails are the norm while in others, longer emails are more common.
For example, in the B2B SaaS world, most companies tend to send out longer emails since they usually have more complex products.
In the B2C world, on the other hand, shorter emails are more common since customers usually have a shorter attention span.
What’s more, they are already bombarded with a lot of marketing messages on a daily basis. So they are less likely to read long emails.
Your Target Audience
The third factor is your target audience. Just like with industries, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here — it really depends on your specific target audience.
Some people prefer longer emails with more detailed information while others prefer shorter and more to-the-point emails.
For example, if you’re targeting busy professionals, shorter emails might be more appropriate since they probably don’t have the time to read long emails.
On the other hand, if you’re targeting students or retirees who have more free time, longer emails might be more appropriate since they can take the time to read them.
We can also look at it from the perspective of your SaaS sales funnel.
Ideally, you’re sending highly targeted emails to people in each of those stages, right?
If you’re targeting people who are at the top of the funnel, shorter emails might be more effective since they’re just getting to know your product.
Suppose you’re targeting people who are further down the funnel and are already interested in your product. In that case, longer emails might be more effective since they can provide more detailed information about your product.
And if you’re sending emails to existing customers, that means you already have an established relationship with them.
Looking at the relationship and trust you’ve already built with your target audience can help you assess how long they are willing to spend time reading your emails.
The Type Of Email You’re Sending
Another factor to consider is the type of email you’re sending.
There are different types of marketing emails with different goals. And as we said earlier, that will say a lot about how long your emails should be.
Let’s look at some common email types:
Email Newsletters: These emails usually contain a lot of content. So they tend to be longer.
Product Announcement Emails: These emails are usually shorter and more to the point since you’re just announcing a new product or feature.
Welcome Emails: Welcome emails can be either long or short. It really depends on how much you want to introduce yourself and your company.
Lead Nurturing Emails: These emails are usually longer since you’re trying to build a relationship with your lead and establish trust.
Re-engagement Emails: These emails can be either long or short. It really depends on how much you want to explain why the recipient should come back and start using your product again.
Your Campaign’s Email Frequency
One of the great things about email marketing is that it keeps top-of-mind awareness of your brand to your leads even if they’re not actively looking you up all the time.
Your email length, together with your email frequency, will play a role in how much awareness you’re able to generate for your brand.
The email frequency is how often you send emails to your list. It can be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
And as you can imagine, the email length will be different for each email frequency.
For example, if you’re sending out emails every two weeks, you can afford to have longer emails since people won’t be getting too many of them.
But if you’re sending out emails every few days, shorter emails might be more appropriate so that people don’t get overwhelmed by the number of emails they’re getting from you.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.
You might find that your target audience doesn’t mind getting daily emails from you as long as they’re relevant and useful.
On the other hand, you might find that your target audience only wants to hear from you once a month.
And in that case, longer emails might be more appropriate so they feel like they’re still getting value from your emails.
How Mobile-Friendly You Want Your Email To Be
In our mobile-first world, it’s important to consider how mobile-friendly you want your email to be.
After all, a lot of potential customers today are already using their phones and tablets to check their emails.
If you want your email to be easily readable on a mobile device, shorter emails might be more effective.
On the other hand, if you’re okay with recipients having to scroll down on their mobile devices to read your email, longer emails might be fine.
Generally speaking, though, you might want to keep all of your emails mobile-friendly.
Email Length Best Practices
Now that we’ve looked at all the factors that affect how long your marketing emails should be, let’s look at some best practices for finding the right length for your email.
1) Keep It Short & Sweet
In general, less is more when it comes to email length.
People are already bombarded with emails every day. So the last thing they want is to have to wade through a long, rambling email from you.
Instead, try to get your point across as quickly and concisely as possible. That way, your readers will appreciate your email more and be more likely to read it all the way through.
But don’t make it too short either.
Remember that, as an email marketer, you are still trying to provide value to your subscribers.
2) Take Advantage Of Emojis
If you’re the kind of SaaS brand that takes a fun or casual tone, you can take advantage of emojis to communicate your message more effectively with fewer words.
For example, instead of “We’re so excited to announce our new product launch,” you could say “We’re launching a new product! 😁”
See how that packs the same punch (or even more) with fewer words?
Not only that, emojis can help add personality to your emails and make them more engaging. They can also help break up the text so that your email is easier to read.
3) A/B Test Your Email Length
If you’re not sure how long your marketing emails should be, the best way to find out is to use A/B testing.
This involves sending two different versions of your email to a small portion of your list.
Then, you can see which version performs better in terms of things like open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate.
From there, you can send the winning email to the rest of your list.
Final Thoughts About The Ideal Email Length
When it comes to how long your marketing emails should be, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
The ideal length for your emails will depend on factors like how often you’re sending them, how mobile-friendly you want them to be, and what’s most effective for your target audience.
Still, studies are there to guide us on what usually works.
That being said, shorter emails are usually better than longer ones. So when in doubt, short and concise emails are the way to go.
If you’re just starting out with your email marketing campaign, it can be a good safety net.
Then when you’re ready to take your email marketing performance up a notch, you can start A/B testing different email lengths to see what works best for your business.
Want more guides to help you grow your SaaS business? Visit our blog here.