How readable should emails be?

Aim for the 3rd -grade reading level

How easy should email newsletters and e-blasts be to read? Very easy, according to a study of more than 40 million emails by Boomerang.

How readable should emails be?

Write for these guys Emails written at the 3rd-grade reading level got a 17% higher response rate than those written even at a high-school reading level. Image from iStock

How easy?

Aim for the 3rd-grade reading level. Emails written at that level got a 36% higher response than those written at a college reading level — and 17% higher response rate than those written even a high-school reading level.

Emails written at a 3rd-grade reading level get a 53% response rate

Are you smart enough to write for a 3rd grader?

Are you smart enough to write for a 3rd grader? Emails aimed at the 3rd-grade reading level get the best response rate, according to a Boomerang study.

To keep your readability high, choose short words and short sentences.

  • Get Read

    Make it valuable, interesting, easy

    Assuming your audience members do open your message, people spend an average of just 11.1 seconds on each email they review. That’s enough time to read about 37 words.

    Get Read: Make it valuable, interesting, easy

    No wonder the No. 1 piece of advice email readers give email writers is to keep it short.

    Because people read, on average, just 37 words of their emails.
    At Inside the Inbox — our two-day hands-on email-writing master class on Nov. 7-8 in Washington D.C. — you’ll learn to beat those odds to get your message read. Specifically, you’ll learn to:

    • Solve the Goldilocks Conundrum. Recipients are turned off by e-zines with too much information — and by those that don't offer enough. So how much is just right?
    • Choose between three "most valuable" e-zine formats. If you're struggling with opens, click-throughs and unsubscribes, bring one of these formats to the rescue.
    • Tap the No. 1 reason people find newsletters valuable. And avoid the No. 1 reason they quit, which is responsible for 67% of unsubscribes.
    • Decide when to personalize. Yes, slapping a name in the subject line may boost opens. But it can also creep readers out and make them worry about their privacy — unless you also do these two other things.
    • Make it clever … but not too clever. Readers complain when your email isn't clever, edgy, insightful or witty enough. They also complain if it's too cutesy. Find the fine line between interesting and silly.

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Source: Alex Moore, “7 Tips for Getting More Responses to Your Emails (With Data!),” Boomerang.com, Feb. 12, 2016

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