Cold email is one of the best ways to get your offer in front of potential clients. You likely already recognize the power that this lead generation technique has. It's simple - you find your prospects, and upload them to an email autoresponder software that fires out your cold emails on autopilot. Then, you sit back and watch the leads come in.
It couldn't be any easier, right?
And yet, very few marketers get the cold emailing results they're after. Why is that? It's because there are so many different moving parts with this strategy. And if you don't get them all dialed in, your chances of success drop dramatically.
So much emphasis gets put on automating prospecting and finding the right decision-makers, or finding winning subject lines. But one key component of cold emailing that gets overlooked is the length of the email itself. This poses the question - how long should a cold email actually be? While there is no "one size fits all" answer to this question, there are some best practices you should follow when building out your campaign.
Today, we'll simplify the mystical topic of cold email length. Spoiler alert - shorter is almost always better. But why is that? You'll soon learn. We'll also walk you through some other basic steps to crafting winning cold emails that actually get you results. Keep reading - you're not going to want to miss this one.
First - What Exactly Is Cold Emailing?
First and foremost, what dictates a "cold email"? We commonly see marketers using this term incorrectly. Simply put - cold emailing is when you send an email to someone you have no previous contact with. They may be familiar with your brand or who you are. But, you have never engaged with them directly.
If you've talked with this prospect previously or met them at a networking event - it isn't technically a cold email. The prospect is considered "warm" because of the familiarity. Nevertheless, the same principles of how long your cold email should be will apply. Let's dive into this complex subject.
Why Cold Email Length Matters More Than You Think
If you're thinking to yourself - "I don't need to worry about the length of my cold email templates. They're perfect right now." Then you are sorely mistaken. Cold emails have an ideal length - there is no doubt about it. The right length of your emails can be the difference between high click-through rates and more appointments booked, and abysmal results that have you questioning if cold emailing is worth your time.
You can spend time optimizing subject lines and email intros, and even tweaking the sender name. At the end of the day, though, the subject line, intro text, and sender name only affect your open rate. If you don't have any issue getting good open rates, then your attention must shift away from the subject line and towards other factors - such as email content and call to action. These two things will affect your click-through rate and response rate.
And as you may already know, click-through rate and response rate are what affect your ability to close deals. The more people you can get out of the inbox and into a software demo or discovery call, the more deals you'll close. Simple as that.
Think about the length of your email this way: the longer it is, the more you're asking of someone who doesn't know you. The average decision-maker receives a ton of emails every day. Sure, your subject line will help you stand out and get your email opened. But if the recipient is then greeted with a wall of text? They're unlikely to read it and take action. Rather, they'll archive your email, mark you as spam, and head back to their inbox.
That's why you need to carefully consider how long your cold emails are. Keeping them short and concise is the best approach to keep in mind as you write cold emails. Value your prospects' time - or face the consequences of poor results!
So - How Long Should Cold Emails Be?
We're not going to hold you in suspense any longer. The answer to "how long should a cold email really be?" is simple: short and concise. But what dictates "short and concise"? Fortunately, it doesn't have to be a guessing game. We've got data to back up our decisions. Let's take a look at what the research suggests.
Studies show that the ideal cold email length is between 50-200 words. For reference, the section of text immediately above is just under 60 words.
Like we said earlier - this data may not apply directly to you and your offer. It also depends on the specific content of your cold email. If a prospect is reading information about themselves and a very specific pain point they're struggling with, they will read much longer sales emails - as lengthy as 400 words in some cases. But, try and stick to this guideline above.
We'll explain why these short, concise cold emails work so well in-depth in a minute. First, let's handle an objection you may be thinking to yourself right now.
"That Seems Really Short - How Am I Supposed To Communicate My Value In Under 200 Words?!"
We know what you're thinking - "How am I supposed to effectively communicate my offer, my value, in such a short section of text? How do I explain what differentiates my product or service from all the other offers in this prospect's inbox?"
Well, you're not. The goal of cold emailing your prospects isn't to close a deal in the inbox. Sure, you may get lucky here and there and find a prospect that is eager to buy and capable of doing so. They might respond with something along the lines of "how do I sign up?". But, that's incredibly rare.
Rather, the goal of a cold email is to sell the next step in the buying funnel. Depending on your strategy, that next step could be a number of things. Most often, it's requesting more information in the form of a discovery call or a software/product demo.
The prospect will want more information, and they'll have objections before ultimately deciding whether to buy or not. The inbox is not the place to handle this. You can combat these objections and truly sell your offer more effectively through the verbal word. Once you shift your focus from selling your offer in the email to selling a call, appointment, or demo, you'll find yourself getting the results you're after.
Avoid Cold Emails That Are "Too Short"
Before we go any further, we want to iterate that shorter isn't inherently better. Don't think that you can send a one-sentence email and generate results. In fact, some studies have shown that cold emails under 10 words received less than 35% open rates.
There is a balance to strike here, and the only way to determine exactly how long your sales emails should be is split testing. Your offer and your prospects are not the same as those used in these studies, so don't be afraid to try new things.
Other Factors To Consider Besides How Long Your Cold Emails Are
Along with the length of your cold emails, you can test all sorts of other factors to nail down winning campaigns. From subject lines to your call to action, here are a few tips to help set you up for success:
Subject Lines & Intro Text
Shorter subject lines have been proven to work better than their longer counterparts. You can split-test different subject lines and see what works best, but keeping things short and personalized is your best bet. For more information, take a look at our complete guide to cold email subject lines.
Cold emailing is a great way to scale because it can be automated. However, that doesn't mean you can't send personalized emails to your target audience. In fact, personalization should be one of the main components of your cold email strategies. It's how you'll pique your lead's interest. You need to shift your thinking from "how can I sell this person on me" to "how can I make this email about them and their problems?".
With the right software, this is simple. You can use text replacements for business names, recipient names, and more. Or - better yet, take the time to write personalized cold emails. Maybe you only send 10 a day instead of 50 - but trust us, this personalization will reap benefits.
Tweak Your Call To Action
The biggest reason marketers struggle to keep their cold emails short and sweet is that they try and do too much in their initial email. Like we said earlier - don't try and sell the prospect on your product or service in their inbox. Rather, optimize your call to action to be something less jarring - like a discovery call, a software demo, or even just a reply! Be very specific with what you want the prospect to do - tell them to reply directly, book a call here, etc.
Follow Up (More Than Once)
You aren't going to close many deals on your first email. That's why you need to build out email sequences that automatically follow up with the prospect. We recommend sequences that feature at least 2-3 follow-ups after your initial email. The data suggests this will increase your response rates and sales.
Final Thoughts On How Long Cold Emails Should Be
In summary, keep things short and sweet - no more than 200 words. The goal of your email should be to quickly agitate any pain points the recipient has, and find out if they may be a good fit for your offer. If you try and write a sales letter directly in the email, don't be surprised when you achieve low click-through or response rates.
If you'd like help writing cold emails that actually get results, you aren't alone. That's why we developed our online email writer. Quick Lines can help you craft winning campaigns that are heavily personalized. Let us help you increase your open, response, and call booking rates through AI. It's easier than you could ever imagine - head over to our site and try it for free today. You won't be disappointed.