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E-Newsletters: How much content is correct?

It’s a question we get asked often. And like so many others, the answer is, “It depends.”

Most companies have basic goals for their e-newsletter: To communicate one or two key messages to their target audience, and get readers to take specific action steps as a result.

As you ponder how best to accomplish this with your e-newsletter, a few facts about e-mail reading habits are good to consider:

  • Because of groaning inbox volumes, people tend to ‘scan’ rather than read e-mail communiqués. In fact, usability studies show that only about 20% of recipients read e-newsletters … the rest scan or trash them.
  • “Scanworthy” e-newsletters are ones that avoid large blocks of copy and instead present content broken up by sub-heads and bullet points – making it easier for the brain to absorb and retain the information.
  • Providing many clickthrough choices can dilute the chance of taking action. Offering too many articles can overwhelm readers … or they might miss seeing the most relevant material amongst all the “noise.” Try to limit your news items to four or five.

Finally, if you want your recipients to open up your second and third e-newsletter in addition to your first, remember that the most effective ones are those that deliver valuable content, not a stream of promotional pitches. A good rule of thumb? Keep to an 80/20 split between informational/educational content and marketing/promotional material.


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