What’s the Ideal Cold Email Length? – Best Practices & In-depth Analysis

Ideal cold email length

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Optimizing the cold email’s length and word count is an important consideration when doing outreach for the first time.But how do you really approach this question? And what are the best practices to keep in mind for writing sales emails that engage and get replied to, every single time?Read more about this in our latest article.

When it comes to B2B client acquisition, cold email is often the first channel you’ll resort to when looking to connect with potential clients and partners. Yet, despite its significance, the debate over the ‘ideal cold email length’ looms large, with a variety of opinions from different practitioners. 

Traditional advice has often leaned towards brevity, advocating for succinct messages that get straight to the point. However, a new wave of thought encourages longer emails, structured to capture the reader’s attention in an F-shape pattern, promising better engagement and response rates. 

This divergence in strategies underscores the complexity associated with cold emails, especially for companies that are just starting out with using this acquisition channel. 

Given the above factors, our article will not only seek to answer the question of “How long should a cold email be?”, but also the best practices associated with figuring the right cold email length. 

So let’s dive right in. 

Why Does Cold Email Length Matter?

Why is optimizing for the ideal cold email length so important?

Understanding why cold email length matters is significant for a variety of reasons, some of which are as follows: 

  1. Improved readability & engagement: Optimizing the cold email length improves both readability and engagement. Shorter emails aren’t just easier to digest, but also cater to the dwindling human attention span, especially on mobile devices. 

This level of brevity can significantly improve the recipient’s engagement with the content. A cluttered or overly lengthy message can deter readers before they fully engage with the content. 

  1. Improves reply rates: When it comes to the ideal cold email length, shorter emails tend to respect the recipient’s time, which increases the chances of a positive response. As per Boomerang, response rates often decrease for emails longer than 125 words, which demonstrates the direct impact the length of a sales email has on the engagement. 
  2. Mobile-first accessibility: With over half of all emails opened on mobile devices, shorter emails ensure better readability and user experience on smaller screens. 

    Adestra’s findings highlight that 15% of all email opens take place on mobile with 3 in 5 customers using their mobile devices to check emails. As a result, your emails need to be quickly readable & understood. This is where optimizing the cold email length, and focusing on brevity comes into the picture. 
  3. Ease of personalization: When it comes to the ideal cold email length, shorter emails allow for easier personalization, which is vital for standing out in the recipient’s inbox. Personalized touches are more noticeable in shorter emails, making the message seem as if it was tailored specifically to the individual.
  4. Improves lead quality: When a cold email is concise and clearly states its purpose, it tends to attract responses from genuinely interested recipients.

    This results in higher quality leads, as those who respond are more likely to be engaged and receptive to further communication.

Now that we’ve got an understanding of the importance of maintaining the ideal cold email length, the next step is to learn more about the number of cold emails you should be sending.

How Many Cold Emails Should You Send?

Before zeroing in on the ideal length of a sales email, it’s pivotal to address the quantity aspect of your outreach strategy. The number of emails you decide to send in a sequence usually depends on the nature of your relationship with the prospect. If you’ve already built a rapport, you’d have to send fewer emails. 

Alternatively, if you’re reaching out cold to the prospect for the first time, you’ll have to send more emails. As per our experiments, a sequence of 3 emails is optimal. This approach balances persistence & respecting the prospect’s time – with the hypothesis that if a prospect is interested, they’re more likely to engage within the first few emails itself. 

Sending more than 3 emails without eliciting a response may lead to diminishing returns, potentially alienating the prospect.

How Long Should A Cold Email Be?

With a reply rate of just about 8.5% for every 100 emails, it’s important to maintain a cold email length that not only gets you higher open rates, but also ensures that your messages are read and replied to, promptly. 

That being said, a recent study by Boomerang found that emails ranging in the 50-120 word length usually have a higher number of responses. We’ve tested this hypothesis for our own campaigns, and usually emails up to 120 words work the best, giving us upwards of 15% in reply rates.

Given the above insights, it’s clear that this is the ideal number of words needed to write a persuasive cold email. All you have to focus on is ensuring that the message gets communicated properly. 

Factors Affecting Cold Email Length

Factors affecting cold email length

The average email length that yields optimal results isn’t a one-size-fits-all metric. Several factors influence the ideal size of your cold email:

Some of them are as follows: 

  1. Target audience: The ideal length of a sales email is usually impacted by the target audience you’re looking to reach. Different industries, roles & individual preferences dictate the amount of information your recipients expect in the email. 

    For instance, a busy C-level executive in the B2B SaaS industry may prefer more concise emails with a clear value proposition & outcome. Contrastingly, a manager in the creative industry might appreciate a slightly longer email that tells a compelling story or showcases creativity.
  2. Stage of customer journey: The stage of the customer journey your recipient is in significantly influences the ideal cold email length. A prospect at the top of the funnel, with little to no awareness of your brand or offerings, might require a bit more context and information to pique their interest. 

Here, you should optimize for an email length that provides sufficient detail to educate and intrigue, while still being concise enough to not overwhelm, is key.

Conversely, for a recipient who is further down the funnel and already has some familiarity with your product or service, a shorter, more direct email that prompts action (e.g., scheduling a demo or a meeting) could be more appropriate. 

Tailoring the cold email length to match the recipient’s journey stage ensures your message is relevant and timely, enhancing its impact.

  1. Product/service complexity: The complexity of the product or service you’re offering plays a crucial role in determining the ideal length of a sales email. Simple products or services can often be effectively communicated with brevity, highlighting key benefits and features in a few sentences. 

However, complex solutions, especially in areas like B2B tech, healthcare or finance may require a longer email to adequately convey the value proposition and address potential questions or objections.

  1. Purpose of the email: The overarching goal of your email significantly affects the average email length. Emails designed to inform may need to be longer to cover all necessary details, especially if the topic is complex or requires background information. 

On the other hand, emails aiming to persuade or call to action might be shorter, focusing on creating a sense of urgency or highlighting a single, compelling value proposition.

  1. Timing and Frequency: The timing and frequency of your emails can affect the ideal length. If you’re sending a series of emails as part of a campaign, starting with shorter emails and gradually increasing length as you provide more value and context can be an effective strategy.

When Should You Write A Shorter Email? 

At a time when attention spans are dwindling, having a shorter cold email length can be an effective choice. Talking about shorter emails, they can be effective in the following scenarios: 

  • Initial Contact: A shorter cold email length is ideal during initial contact, since it respects the prospect’s busy schedule & attention span. It allows you to introduce yourself & establish the reason for your outreach, without demanding too much from someone who’s just getting to know you.

The focus here should be on clarity & relevance, with short, personalized messaging that speaks directly to the customer. 

  • Busy professionals: A shorter cold email length stands a better chance of cutting through the noise, especially when reaching decision-makers & professionals in high-demand, high-stakes roles.

    It signals value for their time and usually identifies a mutual interest or benefit, while clarifying why your messages deserve their attention.
  • Clear & specific requests: Shortening the length of a sales email is effective when your email has a specific purpose or request, which is clearly stated in the CTA, such as scheduling a meeting or asking for a brief response.
  • Follow-ups: The prospect’s inbox is a crowded space, with each message counting for precious real estate. Shortening the cold email length is not just ideal for the initial contact, but also while following-up with prospects. 

The key here is to reference previous interactions succinctly, reinforcing the value proposition or next steps in a manner that’s easy for the recipient to quickly understand and act upon. 

Why A Shorter Cold Email Length Might Not Always Work? 

While brevity is recommended when optimizing cold email length, overly concise emails also risk under-communicating the message, potentially reducing their effectiveness. When writing cold emails, it’s important to balance conciseness & providing enough insight that captures the prospect’s attention. 

A cold email with insufficient information may also seem spammy or lacking in value – thereby diminishing the odds of a positive response. The idea is to craft personalized cold emails that incorporate effective subject lines & email content, thereby maximizing engagement & achieving desired results. 

When Should You Write A Longer Email?

There are circumstances where a longer cold email is not just beneficial but necessary. When introducing your business to prospects unfamiliar with your offerings, a detailed email can provide the necessary context and information to foster interest and trust. 

This approach is particularly relevant when your call to action requires a deeper level of engagement or commitment from the prospect. In these cases, a longer email serves to build a foundation of understanding and credibility, essential for advancing the sales conversation.

Optimizing Your Outreach for the Ideal Cold Email Length: Best Practices 

Achieving the ideal cold email length involves more than counting words; it’s about crafting messages that resonate and compel action. 

Here are some key best practices to guide your efforts:

  1. Write a good subject line: The subject line is the gateway to your email that determines whether your message gets opened or ignored. Crafting a persuasive subject line involves clarity, curiosity, and relevance. It should succinctly convey the essence of your email while enticing the recipient to open and read the email further.

    Personalize where possible, using the recipient’s name or a reference to a recent event to increase open rates. Keep it short and avoid spammy words that might trigger email filters.
  2. Have a clear structure in place: When optimizing the cold email length, make sure the email is structured in a manner that packs a punch – guiding the reader through the subject line to the email sign-off. This works for longer cold emails too, making them easy to understand both visually & in terms of content. 

Focus on highlighting one main idea per email & ensure that each word in your email makes the prospect want to take an action. 

  1. Provide enough information to build credibility:  While brevity is critical, your emails must convey sufficient information to establish credibility and spark interest. This involves focusing on the most compelling aspects of your offer, highlighting the benefits over features and addressing objections upfront. 

If you’re referencing achievements or results, be specific—vague claims can raise doubts about authenticity.

Incorporating relevant details that demonstrate your understanding of the recipient’s industry or challenges can not just optimize the length of your cold email, but also makes your message more compelling. 

  1. Deliver value: Prioritize delivering the maximum value to recipients, by focusing on understanding their needs, challenges & interests to tailor your message accordingly. While achieving the optimal cold email length is important, make sure to clearly communicate your offer, opportunities & possible outcomes for the prospect.

    Avoid generic sales pitches & position yourself as a means to help achieve the prospect’s goals.
  1. Add personalization: Adding personalization optimizes the cold email length by ensuring every word resonates with your recipient, making the message more impactful within a concise format.

    A personalized email goes beyond generic greetings, incorporating specific references to recent achievements, interests, or challenges, which makes the ideal length of a sales email not just about brevity but also relevance.

    This further leads to better engagement, while increasing the likelihood of a positive response.
  2. Add social proof: Incorporating social proof into your email can significantly enhance credibility and persuasiveness. While optimizing the cold email length is crucial, make sure you add brief testimonials, case studies or endorsements which are industry-relevant & also showcase the effectiveness of your offer.
  3. Have a clear CTA: A clear call to action (CTA) is crucial for guiding the recipient toward the next step. Whether it’s scheduling a call, visiting a webpage, or downloading a resource; your CTA should be straightforward and easy to act upon. Use action-oriented language and make it stand out visually, either through formatting or placement.

    Ensure that the action you’re asking for is reasonable and low-risk, increasing the chances of a positive response.
  4. A/B test vigorously: Finally, optimizing your cold email strategy requires continuous refinement, and A/B testing is an invaluable component in this process. Apart from subject lines and content, you must also experiment with different cold email lengths to see what resonates most with your audience. 

This data-driven strategy allows you to tailor your emails more effectively, maximizing open rates and engagement.

Wrapping Up!

Optimizing your cold email length based on relevance & other such factors can not only increase the effectiveness of your emails, but also get you more responses. That being said, a word count of 120 words is ideal for your cold emails, allowing enough room to add pain points, personalization elements & a subtle CTA with your offer.

It’s important however, to keep experimenting and fine-tuning your strategy based on the data gathered. If you’re looking to maximize the potential of your email outbound engine, consider partnering with Cleverviral, where our AI-powered outreach solutions can help you engage ideal buyers at the right time, with the right message & offer. 

To get started, reach out to us on [email protected] or simply fill out the form on the website!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 300 words too long for a cold email?

A 300-word cold email can be too long, especially considering the importance of brevity and the recipient’s limited time. The ideal cold email length often falls within the 100-120 word range, which is enough to convey your message concisely, maintain the recipient’s interest, and prompt a response.

While the exact length can vary based on factors like industry and message complexity, staying within this range ensures your email is readable and respects the recipient’s time.

Do long cold emails work?

Long cold emails can work if they are highly targeted and provide substantial value to the recipient. The key is ensuring that every part of the email is relevant and engaging, addressing specific needs, challenges, or interests of the reader.

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About the Author

Manan

Manan is a B2B copywriter & content strategist at Cleverviral. A content marketer and writer for 5+ years, he has written for our clients like Forms On Fire, Wigzo and Lenovo for their email and other content-related operations.Get in touch with him at: [email protected]

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