Make e-zines short, but not too short

Provide adequate content in email newsletters

From the Can’t-Win-For-Losing Department: Although subscribers’ No. 1 piece of advice to email newsletter creators is to keep e-zines short, those same subscribers generally get frustrated when newsletters are too brief.

Make e-zines short, but not too short

How to write short email newsletters In an effort to reduce the length of your e-zine or email blast, don’t drop the details. Image by Charles Deluvio

This according to the Nielsen Norman Group’s 6 rounds of email newsletter usability studies conducted over 16 years.

To make sure you’re delivering the goods in email newsletters:

  1. Pay off the subject line. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. (But don’t underdeliver and overpromise, either.)
  2. Don’t omit details. Don’t make recipients search for the price, for instance.
  3. Don’t make them click. Don’t use email newsletters to drive clicks. Use them to deliver value. And put that value right there, in the newsletter.
  4. Don’t cut off mid Subscribers see that as a way to force clicks.
  5. Make links clear. If recipients must click to read, be very clear about what they’ll get if they do click. Deliver enough details to draw subscribers to your website.

So avoid Click here, Read more in email newsletters.

  • 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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Sources: Kim Flaherty, Amy Schade, and Jakob Nielsen; Marketing Email and Newsletter Design to Increase Conversion and Loyalty, 6th Edition; Nielsen Norman Group, 2017

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