Our perspective at VantagePoint

Optimize Your Emails for Today’s Readers

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Now more than ever, professionals and consumers alike are pressed for time. And regardless of what it is, if you want your message to be heard, it needs to be concise and easy to access — the old adage “less is more” applies to both content and reader effort in this case. Based on our own experience with clients’ emails and an interesting read from Whereowhere, here are a few quick tips for content and design that will lead to creating a more effective email:

As you’d expect after an introduction like that, email copy should be as brief as possible. While exact statistics vary from source to source, it’s widely accepted that emails with brief body copy (less than 100 words) typically see significantly higher click-through rates.  One easy way to comply with this rule is to use bullet points wherever possible; it’s a straight-forward way to succinctly convey key takeaways to the reader.

Like good subject lines, an effective email emphasizes a clear and urgent call to action that directly tells the reader what to do next. Utilizing a call to action button in your layout further increases the likelihood of garnering a click-through. It’s all about making that next step down the purchase chain as obvious and easy as possible for your prospective customer.

It’s critical that your email is designed with a mobile audience in mind. According to a study cited in a recent edition of b2btribe, today nearly 50% of all emails are read on mobile devices. Emails should be “thumb-scroll” friendly, designed as a single-column so that content isn’t missed. The design should avoid the need for “pinching and zooming” as well — in the vast majority of cases, readers simply won’t consider your message worth that kind of effort.

Additionally, Gmail data analysis by Litmus revealed that approximately 43% of people read emails with the images turned off. Or to put it another way, if you’re using image-only emails, almost half of your audience will get absolutely nothing from it. You’ve already won half the battle by getting the recipient to open the email. Don’t waste this victory by dropping the ball with your approach to design. Instead, live text should be used for as much of your email copy as possible, and your message should be able to stand alone without the use of images.

Implementing these simple-to-follow guidelines will further ensure that your email’s message actually stands a chance of fulfilling its intended purpose.


  • Excellent article, Collin. Great tips. Following them will definitely help you achieve higher open rates. Thanks, Niraj (Founder at grexit.com)

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