We got a newletter from Chief Marketer (www.ChiefMarketer.com) and decided to read Grant A. Johnson’s “In Email Copy, Length Matters”.
This is the letter that was sent to Mr Johnson. It’ll be interesting to see what his reply is. If he even replies. IMHO, his three points are trumped by AU’s six points and those six use less words.
I don’t have time to test so I’m gonna have to hit you with the less is more version :)
IMHO there are really 6 important factors and one can not be defined without considering the others.
1) *Quality* of copy. Discussing quantity is ok but not really as important. In other words, one line of great copy is better than three lines of good copy, and certainly superior to five line of crap.
2) The type of message being delivered. e.g. Sale vs. new arrivals vs. some other news. Obviously some things entail more detail than others. That said, if you can’t distill it then go back to the drawing board. I’m not suggesting anyone to dummy it down, just keep ideas bite sized.
3) The target market. e.g. Never a buying customer but on your list vs. new customers vs. repeat customers. Each will probably have a different attachment to the brand and thus a different “attention span” and/or willingness to be engaged.
4) Images. As they say, “A picture paints a 1,000 words.” If it can be easier said with an image than sack the copy and let ‘em see rather than read.
5) Presentation. For example, it’s best to purposely break up copy at non-paragraph points just to make it easier for the eye to digest. Looks matter. Looks can kill :)
6) ALWAYS put yourself in the readers’ shoes. The receive ALWAYS defines the communication. Be objective and don’t assume they share your passion for the subject matter.
As a rule of thumb I find I’m most like to read Headline > then a brief summary > and if I want still more info I’ll click the Click Here For More link. Therefore, it’s most effective to put the headlines at the top and if it’s important then keep it “above the fold”. Always assume the reader won’t even open the email. They’ll probably just scan it in their view pane. Finally, defiantly assume that even if they do open it they won’t scroll.
Thanks for your thoughts, etc. And thanks for listening to mine.