Boost Email Marketing Results with These Text Readability Best Practices

Boost Email Marketing Results with These Text Readability Best Practice

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Every email marketer aims to create easily scannable, accessible messages that engage loyal subscribers and attract new readers. Yet many subscribers still receive emails that fall short when it comes to readability. Since every message sent represents a conversion opportunity, optimizing language, format, and structure should be a priority for any business seeking to improve open, click, and conversion rates.

This guide covers techniques to optimize email readability – from tightening language and upgrading formatting to streamlining structure and continually testing. Use the tips below to craft messages that better resonate with your subscribers, driving increased engagement.

Welcome Readers with the Right Language

Some email marketers struggle to find the right words that resonate with readers. While every email element from design to subject line matters, crafting truly engaging copy requires special effort. Carefully chosen words and phrasing set the tone for how readers perceive a company’s identity and brand.

To grab attention from the start, take time to create engaging subject lines and opening sentences. Use active voice and vivid verbs so calls to action (CTAs) stand out. In the body copy, speak conversationally, using contractions like “can’t” to sound inclusive and friendly.

The Flesch Reading Ease index grades text complexity on a 100-point scale. Scores of 60-70 work well for most emails, corresponding to an 8th or 9th grade reading level. Aim for this level of complexity if you’re writing for a general audience. There are various free online tools that measure readability – search for “Flesch reading ease calculator.” However, you don’t have to push for a high score no matter what. For example, you might create content around complex topics for knowledgeable subscribers. In this case, a lower score may suit the audience. The key is to use your best judgment given the readers. To engage more people, keep sentences tight and words straightforward.

Engage Readers with Strategic Content

Write content that highlights key points first before expanding on them in the following paragraphs. Start by asking – “What details can I reasonably assume my readers already know?” Anything beyond common knowledge will require extra context.

For example, an insurer introducing a new coverage product to protect valuables could intrigue readers in the subject line by citing statistics on stolen property. The email’s opening might then outline the basics of the supplemental coverage before getting into the subtleties already known to long-time customers. It could ease worries raised in the subject line by spotlighting client testimonials and service guarantees. Then, more details can be included for more engaged subscribers. Section wrap-ups can transition interested readers onto the next steps – which guide readers to either sign up or adjust their current coverage. The key is to build intrigue gradually through the page.

Format Content to Remove Visual Friction

Write your emails to flow smoothly from section to section. Break up large blocks of text with section headers, images, and bulleted lists that highlight key details. Use enough white space to showcase the important elements.

Sans-serif fonts like Ariel or Verdana offer crisp clarity across devices. When it comes to font size, aim for at least 14-16 pixels for body text, and at least 18-20 pixels for headlines.

Maintain stylistic consistency between headers, subheaders, and body passages. On mobile, reduce spacing and images to limit difficult pinching and scrolling. Always preview test email sends across email clients, screens, and operating systems to ensure display consistency. There are many email testing and preview tools available, such as those offered by HubSpot, Mailosaur, Email on Acid, Stripo, and Mailtrap – each with different pricing models. These services allow you to see side-by-side comparisons of how emails will appear on different devices and platforms. This makes it easy to catch any email consistency issues.

Optimize Email Layout and Elements to Guide Readers

Keep subject lines concise but ensure critical personalization and context remains. A 2023 GetResponse study found subject lines with 61-70 characters had the highest open rate on average (1) – this gives you enough scope to include custom details but prevents awkward wrapping.

Clearly organized email structures better carry readers through informational narratives in logical order. Cover one primary theme or product per section to prevent confusion. Break up lengthy explanations into two to five sentence chunks with natural stopping points between ideas to allow easier absorption. This approach helps to avoid continuously interrupting the reader’s train of thought. Allow core concepts time to land before moving on to secondary supporting details or supplemental offers.

Upfront, showcase social proof or value propositions using bold text to attract people that tend to scan emails. Then support those claims further with statistics and explanatory paragraphs.

To improve click-through rates, stick to just one or two CTAs per email. Wordstream found that emails with a single CTA can increase clicks by over 371 percent (2). According to Omnisend, emails with three or more CTAs have lower click-through rates than emails with less than three CTAs (3).

Continually Test and Refine

Checking a single email rarely explains variances in engagement. Run quarterly tests analyzing open and click-through rates, which could signal comprehension issues if they vary widely across sends. Also, directly ask subscribers about message clarity to identify areas needing improvement.

Email platforms track performance over time, not just individual sends, so it’s important to monitor trends over longer periods. See if changes to targeting rules, location personalization, or tone impact results across multiple emails. Note what message changes worked best last quarter and double down on those approaches in future content.

Improving email results requires continual optimization. You’ll need to continually monitor reader engagement levels across every element – from subject lines that encourage opens to CTAs that prompt actions. Use this data to guide content changes. Remember, small tweaks to language, format, and structure can enhance readability and boost engagement over time. Importantly, approach each send as building another step in the subscriber relationship.

Sources

1. getresponse.com/resources/reports/email-marketing-benchmarks

2. wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/10/09/call-to-action

3. omnisend.com/blog/bfcm-email-analysis-less-is-more/


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