Buttondown is a tool for sending newsletters of all types: marketing-y ones for Shopify stores, thought-leader-y ones for folks selling consulting services and info-products, silly ones for folks running small private newsletters.
The single most common "how do I send emails better?"-type question we get is: "how long should my emails be?"
There is a lot of folk wisdom floating around this question, often coming from well-intentioned but poorly-reasoned places. "Keep it short and sweet!" "Have exactly two CTAs, one after the third paragraph and one at the end!" "Keep people in the inbox as long as possible!"
I don't have a particularly principled answer to this question, but I do have a bunch of data...
Here's how I collected the data:
A couple caveats:
You're here for the headline, not the flowery prose, so let me jump to the interesting stuff:
Unsatisfying, I know. No pretty linear relationship! No mandate to write exactly X words per email, and no more!
I think you should take this as instead as a simple lesson: write the correct number of words for your email. If you're writing a short, pithy newsletter, don't pad it out with fluff. If you're writing a long, thoughtful essay, don't cut it short because you're worried about click rate.
I think playing around with this dataset is fun and useful, and I plan to do more of it in the future. Here are some ideas I have:
If you have any ideas, please reach out — I'd love to hear them!