The Long and Short of Email Copy

Written by: Mark Weinstein, President

Since it is important to quickly grab the attention of an email reader, most email marketers believe, and rightly so, that emails should be visually engaging, short in length and contain a very focused call-to-action.  Most often the goal is to get the reader to click through to a website or microsite.

We agree.  But, are there times when a long copy approach in email makes sense?  Yes.

In a recent series of tests for one of our retail clients we tested a long email with multiple visually impactful coupons versus a short email with one visually engaging coupon and clickable links to the other offers.  The coupon offers and the email broadcast dates were constant. We virtually saw no difference in open rates, click-throughs and most importantly, conversion to sale, between the two email lengths.

But, there are situations when email marketers should consider a bit more copy to engage the reader build relationships and increase clicks.

An Apple online computer accessories and supply company, Other World Computing, effectively builds relationships with its customers with a long copy approach.  Their emails have a friendly, conversational style that often digress into topics like support for the troops, and makes the reader feel he/she received a personal email.  However, throughout the email are tips, links to instructional videos and software updates, and many special, often limited-time, customer-only offers.

Time and Space Toys sells nostalgic collectibles and toys, such as Peanuts, The Grinch and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. They use a newsletter email format, offering details and images from a variety of lines and products. It’s the email version of searching through a bin of goodies at a flea market.  Readers keep scrolling hoping to find a special discovery somewhere within the email. Collectors appreciate detailed information, and are willing to take the time to read through copy before clicking through.

If building relationships, sales and making your customers and prospects feel like there are real people on the other side, try a personal long-copy approach.  The results may surprise you.