Twitter has limited us to 140 characters. Google+ posts average 156 characters (according to Quintly Research). And while Facebook allows more than 60,000 characters per post, the ideal Facebook post length is less than 40 characters.
So why do many college and university marketers try to cram as much text possible into marketing e-mails?
As marketers try to reach current high school population (aka Generation Z, or digital natives) who are used to texting shorthand and character limits it may be time to rethink e-mail word-length strategy.
Here are five things to consider.
Keep it short and simple. This old adage I learned in journalism school still applies. Always aim to write succinct copy and avoid flowery (or overly academic) language in undergraduate recruitment materials. Get to the point as quickly as possible. Perhaps even implement a word-limit for your school’s e-mail blasts.
Cut, cut, and cut some more. Once you write a marketing e-mail, ask yourself: What words are unnecessary? Is there any passive voice you can remove? Is the word “that” overused? Can you say the same thing in fewer words? Revise as much as you can and remove as many unnecessary words as possible until only essential words remain.
Be creative. Recruitment e-mails from colleges and universities often can blend together and sound the same—ever see the terms “small class sizes” or “personal attention” used? I thought so. Try something different. Challenge yourself to get your point across in 140 characters. Create short videos that present your content in a visual format. Use only a single photo and a caption, along with a call to action.
Do a test. If you’re not sure what e-mail copy will work best for your audience, do a test. Send half of your pool one e-mail version, and the other half another version. See which one produces the best results.
Use bullets and bold. Just like online copy, break up chunks of copy in your e-mails by bolding key terms and using bulleted lists.
Not convinced that shorter is better? Check out this Marketing Experiments blog article on how a shorter e-mail increased their customer’s e-mail click-through rates by more than 16 percent.
About Dana’s Creative Services
Dana’s Creative Services is a writing and editing services company that helps businesses communicate better with their target audiences. Dana McCullough, owner of Dana’s Creative Services, writes and edits copy for brochures, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, and books. She frequently writes and edits copy on higher education, genealogy/family history, health, and business topics. Twitter: @DanasCreative