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Email Optimization: Why Email Length is So Important

May 25, 2016   |   3 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

email-length-importance.jpgEmail marketers sometimes have a bad habit of being too wordy, which means achieving the proper balance between providing adequate information and not overdoing the details makes email optimization challenging. But if your subject line enticed the recipient enough to open the email, it’s important the actual content is worth their click.

In this post, we’ll discuss how email length impacts engagement, inbox placement rate and clicks.


An oft-cited study by EmailLabs found an individual spends an average of just 15 to 20 seconds reading an email. If a recipient opens your message and is greeted with a huge wall of text or information about a topic unimportant to him, he’ll likely spend even less than 15 seconds reading it.

There are hundreds of articles offering tips on how to effectively design a marketing email, but all of that advice can be summarized in two simple statements:

The action you want your recipient to take should always be your email’s focus. Each phrase and image should be interesting and relevant to the target, and lead them to the intended action. If any element doesn’t support this goal, then get rid of it.

Always design emails with readability in mind. You can’t distribute your message if the target never reads it. Avoid large blocks of text by using bullets, headlines and supporting images. And don’t be afraid to take advantage of white space. Reading your email should be an enjoyable activity, not a chore.

IMPORTANT: Images are a great way to improve the aesthetics of your email, but be sure to take file size into account. Many ISPs have limits on the size of the messages they accept, so if you have too many images (or ones that are too high-res), it can affect deliverability.

Inbox Placement Rate

Inbox placement rate is the percentage of sent emails that actually reach the intended recipient’s inbox, and it goes hand-in-hand with engagement.

Email marketers know sender reputation is critical. A low reputation leads to decreased deliverability and, in turn, poor ROI. But when your recipients show high levels of engagement with your emails (for example, re-reading, saving, forwarding), it improves your reputation and, as a result, your inbox placement rate.

Therefore, how well your current email campaign is executed influences the performance of future marketing efforts. Never lose sight of the big picture. After all, most email marketing strategies are based on building off of previous elements.


Email marketers often make the mistake of stuffing as much into the message as possible and then using only one call-to-action (CTA) per email. While only using one CTA can be good in some scenarios (for example, when you’re announcing a new offer), in other cases it’s best to provide enough information to pique the target’s interest and include links where he can learn more.

Having more than one CTA in your message has two benefits:

It also has the added bonus of offering you more insight into user behavior. If your email only has one CTA, a high open rate and a low click-through-rate, then all you know is this one particular CTA doesn’t perform well. But if you have multiple CTAs, you can test their efficacy not only individually but also in comparison to others. You can also test CTAs through A/B tests.

With more click data, you can better optimize future emails.

Email optimization is about equilibrium-finding the healthy balance between making prospects or customers happy and growing your business. It’s crucial to be confident about who your audience is, what’s meaningful to them and how they fit into achieving your objectives. Knowing this will guide you toward determining exactly what content to include in your emails.

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