Simple Emails Win

Why Simplicity Wins in Email Marketing


Does writing the “perfect” email ever feel daunting? With studies showing that prospects are opening less than 24% of promotional emails, the odds can feel stacked against you, particularly in an email-heavy marketing environment. So how do you steer prospects to open your email and convert? The key lies in simplicity.

The Rule of One

Think back to the last great email campaign you read. Was it long-winded, with paragraph upon paragraph of creative vocabulary and thematic layers that you eagerly read through in order to discover the vague reasoning for the email in the conclusion? Didn’t think so.

Successful email copy should focus on one. One goal. One audience. This singular focus will allow you to hone the reader’s attention to your CTA in the 8.25 seconds you have to capture it.

In sending an email to prospects, you always need to have a goal in mind. Whether your goal is to remind the reader of an item in their shopping cart or a simple welcome email, every element should support this goal.

Research has shown that most readers skip rambling introductions, so use discretion with what actually needs to be included in the opener, and the email as a whole. Addressing your goal right off the bat can quickly engage the reader and show you value their time. That brings us back to the audience.

No matter how niche your market may be, you inarguably have different customers with differing needs. In your copy, you want to speak to the individual, and not the crowd. In order to speak to all your differing prospects on a mass level, leverage list segmentation or dynamic content.

Clinique rule at one email Lyris found that 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and greater revenue. On top of that, 82% of consumers admitted they would buy more items via emails that had better personalization (Harris Poll and Listrak Survey). So, focus your message using segmentation or dynamic software so every email provides value to each and every one of your different audiences.d

This Clinique email is an excellent example of the Rule of One at work. It is clearly targeted at one audience, men, who are interested in one goal, getting their “skin in shape for summer.” Not to mention, the CTAs are strong and actionable.

Size Matters

Birchbox concise email A study by Boomerang showed that emails ranging from 50 to 125 words have the best response rates at just over 50%. The approximately two-and-a-half paragraph length of these emails allows them to strike the balance of short and direct, enticing readers to quickly assimilate the information and respond. With this said, don’t stress if your hitting word number 126. The response rate shows only a minor decline for emails up to 2,000 words. A steep drop in response rates occurs when you get into the 2,500-word range, with a 35% response rate. Don’t be too brief though! Emails shorter than 50 words receive about a 44% response rate.

80% of people that open your email don’t actually read it, instead they skim it. That’s why every element in your email should add value. Following the Rule of One, focus each sentence on substance, eliminating the fluff that adds length to, yet distracts from, your email.

Write in Plain Language

As we’ve covered, readers want valuable information and they want it now. This means that readers have little to no desire or time to be taken on a linguistic odyssey with excessively descriptive copy. Turning a prospect into a customer requires you to address them in familiar, relevant language that is consistent with your brand’s voice.

One of my favorite examples of the ineffectiveness of overboard copy comes from a British professor’s £170,000 research grant application. In his application, the professor proposed his research of “the cognitive measurement of consumer criteria for manufacturer parameter values in biscuit texture.” Translation? He wanted to study how biscuit texture affects the enjoyment of eating a biscuit.

This example demonstrates that in most cases, writing in plain language will ultimately be more digestible and beneficial for the reader. The Boomerang study found compelling evidence for this point as well, showing that emails written at a third-grade reading level have the highest response rate. While this is by no means a call to “dumb-down” your email correspondences, it does provide proof that simplified, informal copy has a 17% higher response rate than copy written at high-school reading level.

Keep it Simple

Overall, in email copy writing and in most things in life, it is important to keep it simple. Establishing a single, clear-cut purpose for a targeted audience will give your email the power to increase open and click-through rates. Trimming your email copy to be as succinct and engaging as possible provides higher response rates, and affords readers more time to convert into a customer. Writing plainly and directly also saves your readers brain-power, and clearly demonstrates the value your company provides. Save yourself the time flipping through the thesaurus by simplifying your copy and see the incredible results.

Don’t Hit Send Yet

After you’ve crafted your streamlined email with one goal geared towards one audience, what does it look like across the most popular clients and devices? After you put all that effort into writing a conversion-driven campaign, it would be a crying shame if it looked crappy in your reader’s inbox.

According to BlueHornet, 70% of consumers delete emails immediately that don’t render well on a mobile device. That is why it’s critical to test your email in the most popular inboxes before you send. If you want to ensure your email renders well across the board, try us free for 7 days and get unlimited email, image and spam testing! Don’t guess with your emails, instead, test.

Avatar for Alex Ilhan
Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

Avatar for Alex Ilhan
Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

1 thought on “Why Simplicity Wins in Email Marketing”

  1. Great tips Hannah. Thanks! Do you mean engagement drop off in emails after 200 words, not 2000?

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