Long before I worked in email marketing, I worked in the newspaper industry. When you write for a newspaper you become very efficient with words. When an increased page count costs money, words are rarely wasted.
Great news writers understand how to pack a punch without wasting words. The same is true with great email marketers. While lengthy email marketing copy won’t cost you any extra in newsprint, it may cost you dearly in terms of engagement.
Short and sweet works a treat
Unfortunately, this isn’t a skill that is taught in school. Educational establishments want word count, often equating the length of submission with the level of the student’s understanding on a topic. This results in a lot of wasted words.
Cub journalists and rookie email marketers need this desire to write long knocked out of them.
A journalist’s first job on a paper might be writing briefs (the short articles that appear in a single column on the inside/outside edge of a page). An editor might request 35 words on a factory fire or a charity appeal. That’s 35 words to tell an entire story — not easy.
In email marketing, we need to think more like the cub reporter. Subject lines should tell great stories in less than 60 characters (again not easy). Body text needs to be quickly and easily consumed across a variety of hardware. Long emails will be given short shrift on a mobile device. A good call-to-action should have the recipient clicking within seconds, not pondering their next move.
Five Tips for Writing Short Email Marketing Copy
- Get to the point: What are you selling? How can I buy it?
- Bullet points: Great for explaining complex propositions with very few words.
- Careful use of images: Try not to overload your messages with unnecessary images. Make sure the images you do use add value to your message.
- Don’t be verbose: If something is high quality, do you really need to add words like extremely or very? Take a look at your copy and strip out any words that don’t add value.
- Have confidence in your message: I used to overuse the word “probably” when explaining email marketing strategies (for example, “this will probably increase your click-through rate”). Now I have confidence in my message — I’ve saved another word.