How Long Should a Marketing Email Be? (plus 3 more key email questions)

How Long Should a Marketing Email Be

You won’t be the last person to Google how long should a marketing email be, trust me.

Every marketer, every business owner… wants to send marketing emails that produce results. 

And how long should a business email be is a solid question that affects the results.

I’ll give you my advice then drop in what other experts advise on the topic of email length.

A marketing email should be as long as it needs to be based on the recipient. 

📩Cold emails must get to the point immediately. Super short. 4 sentences max.

📩Warm emails to prospects can be twice as long. And an automated email series is often effective.

📩Emails to subscribers can be as long as you like. These people signed up so they want your messages. 

The key with all 3 marketing email types above? Don’t waste readers’ time. 
  • Your cold pitch needs an attention-grabbing line but must have a concise reason for the reader to respond. 
  • Warm emails can provide more info on why they should respond. 
  • Emails to subscribers should avoid fluff and useless info but as long as the message is scannable, the reader can cherry-pick parts they want to digest.

Now, Alternate Experts’ Marketing Email Length Advice

These lengths come from well-respected email service platforms. 

But stick around after the list and I’ll share 3 things that are more vital than deciding how long should a marketing email be.

  1. Campaign Monitor advises 50 to 125 words.
  2. AWeber found user marketing emails to be 434 words on avg.
  3. Constant Contact— emails with 20 lines of text had the highest click-through rates.
  4. HubSpot exec advises just 2 sentences on prospecting emails.
  5. Email on Acid found emails under 100 words had slightly better click-through rates vs. those over 100 words.

A variety of answers, right? No worries, that’s what A/B testing is designed to hash out.

Test each of those findings and see for yourself with your unique audience.

Shorter is fine as long as you can write an email that doesn’t leave out crucial information. 

Again, it depends on your goal for that particular email and who it is being sent to.

What about those 3 things that mean more than marketing email length?

Big 3 Questions in Email Marketing

#1) Does the reader know you? It won’t matter if your email is brilliant and a tight 47 words if the recipient does not recognize who the email is from. They won’t open it, so be sure you have your ‘from name’ set up properly in your email service platform.

#2) Will the reader have time to read your email? People are insanely busy. If a subscriber or cold prospect lacks time to read your email, it will never get opened. Despite the perfect email length and a slick subject line. Now, if you knew when a reader was actively in their inbox, that would help, right?

Inbox Mailers does just that… inbox listening via patent-pending technology. A free demo is available to learn more. Schedule a free one-on-one demo and learn how users are tripling their open rates while also increasing click volume.


#3) Is your subject line top-notch? Subject lines get the main click in email marketing… the click that opens the email! The body of the email is crucial to conversions and sales but unless your subject line is intriguing, urgent, and relatable to a reader’s interest, the email will end up unopened and ignored.

I promise if you focus on those Big 3 questions and keep your sender reputation clean you won’t have to always stress over how long should a marketing email be.  

Before we wrap up, what about other types of emails and how long each should be?

Welcome Email Length

Since a welcome email is triggered by a person taking action on your sign-up form, you have the freedom to use as many words as you think appropriate. Within reason.

The welcome email or a welcome series is the best chance to set expectations for your reader. 

  • Be open and honest and clear. Super clear about what your email campaigns are about. 
  • Let the reader know how often you’ll be emailing them. 
  • Remind them that they signed up— yes, people forget! 
  • Also, ask subscribers to reply to the welcome email— it helps deliverability. 
  • Lastly, get them to add your email address to their contact list.

A welcome email is triggered and triggered emails get above average open rates. So the word count won’t affect how many people open it but can still affect how thoroughly they read the message.

Newsletter Email Length

Being in the email marketing world, I sign up for many newsletters.

I can’t read them all but I scan as many as I have time for each week.

Some newsletters are photo based with few words. While a couple are deep dives into hefty topics.

And a few manage to say a whole lot in the most concise way possible (Brain Food is one).

With newsletters, you have the option to write longer articles that the email links to. Some newsletters in my inbox will have one feature story and a couple short ones. The long article is teased then a CTA inserted to read the “full story.”

That’s also how Inbox Hacking (we sponsor) handles their twice-weekly email marketing newsletter.

Confirmation Email Length

Since a confirmation email is meant just to notify a customer of something (think – an order or delivery alert), these are extremely low on word count.

Just the facts are needed.

However, many mailers use confirmation emails to upsell and cross-sell. It is a good opportunity but you only have the reader’s attention for a couple seconds. So the pitch must be quick and tempting. An attention-grabbing graphic will help too. 

Email Sales Sequence Length

Since email sequences are not one-off sends, you can play with the length of each. There’s no golden rule for how long should marketing emails be in a series.

I suggest mixing up the word count on each one so all the messages don’t run together or appear like “old news.” 

The great thing about a sequence is you can see the metrics on which emails get opened and clicked on the most. 

This can help you tweak the email length, subject line length, calls-to-action, even whether emojis help or hurt responses. 

How Long Should a Marketing Email Be Summary    

All marketing messages need to be clear and concise. That’s solid email writing advice.

If 400 words is more clear than 200 words then I would go with the higher word count. 

Sometimes you simply don’t have time to edit an email down to half the words. Because shorter emails that make an impact are harder to write than longer ones, ironically.

Just keep in mind who you are writing to and the goal for that specific email.

And what type of email you’re sending makes a difference too.

When in doubt? Simply make a longer email easier to scan. Use bold, bullet points, large font headlines, etc. to save readers time. 

Oh, don’t forget the Big 3 email questions to ask yourself either. Because those will raise the odds that people will read and react to your email campaigns even if the messages are a little wordy or too short to convey all you needed to.

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John Gardner

John Gardner is an expert email marketer and co-founder of Inbox Mailers. He specializes in email segmentation and improving overall deliverability, helping top brands and businesses optimize their email marketing strategy.