Long vs. Tall Emails and When to Use Them in Email Marketing

We marketers sometimes forget that our emails, along with everything else we produce, are competing for people’s attention. We write emails from beginning to end without considering how people actually read emails, which is often as little as possible. People scan right over the clever writing we tried so hard on to get right to the heart of the email. Let’s make it easier for people to find the information they want.

Emails should only be as long (text wise) as they need to be. They should NOT be made long through marketing fluff. People get lots of emails, most of which they don’t read because they don’t want to spend hours in their inboxes. Get to the point. Only write as much as needed for your audience to feel comfortable completing the call to action.

Long Emails

Long Emails = Emails with Lots of Text

Occasionally, you’ll need to write a longer emails. These emails are often transactional and contain detailed instructions or information relevant to customer interactions with your company.

Long emails can look intimidating, but people will read them so long as each sentence is succinct and highly relevant to their interests.

When I registered to vote, I signed up to get emails about upcoming elections. Each sentence in this email contains important information that may impact how I participate in the next election. Though I asked for this information, it still took me two weeks to read the email. I may have engaged with it sooner if the email was easier to scan.


Tall Emails

Tall Emails = Short Emails Made Taller by Design

In most cases, you’ll write emails that are short and sweet, probably 2-4 sentences. Just the most basic information (without marketing fluff) to compel your audience to take an action.

Short emails can be look taller because of added design elements, like making important text bigger or adding graphics that visually reenforce the message. People are accustomed to scrolling, so don’t be afraid to make your emails taller.

All the body copy in this email is focused on the content the email is promoting: a webinar about customers’ changing attitudes towards spam. Longer sections are broken up into bullets to make the text easier to scan. The most important text was enlarged to make it stand out and easier to read. Litmus branded the email, which tells their email subscribers that it comes from a source they know and trust. Using the same graphic for the email and the landing page (where people sign up for the webinar) reassures people at a glance that the email directed them to the right place.

Emails (in most cases) aren’t blogs. You shouldn’t write more that what it takes to answer:

  1. What is this email about?
  2. Who created the content the email is promoting?
  3. Where can I access this content?
  4. When can I access this content?
  5. How can I access this content?
Emma’s email addresses the what, who, where, when, and how questions that are necessary for their audience to know the answers to before they’ll feel comfortable taking the call to action. What is this email about? A webinar on Online Advertising. Who created the content? Emma and WordStream. Where can I access it? Online. When can I access it? Nov 10th. How do I access it? Click the button to register.

Email copy should be just as long as it needs to be in the context of what you’re trying to accomplish with the email. Depending on how you design your email it can look quite tall, which is ok. Understand that your audience’s time is limited, so the more efficiently you can state your business the better. Your audience will like you more for it.


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