Readable Emails For Improved Newsletter Campaigns

Though there may be a lot of articles on making web site text readable, some people forget to make their emails readable, when they send out a newsletter, manage an auto-responder or their email marketing campaign. How do you make your emails easy to read to increase conversions?

Readability basics

As reading from a monitor isn’t what the humans have been doing for centuries, you need to format your text message so that people could read it easily:

  • use clear, simple language
  • use clear and succinct headlines
  • use subheadings for different ideas
  • have short paragraphs (2-3 sentences or 3-5 lines)
  • list things using bullet lists

Clear language

Speaking on the level with your readers is important for them to understand you. If you use the words your readers use to speak about your product or service, they’ll even relate themselves to your product and understand that your know your business. Not to mention that, if you publish your email newsletter archives, you should get decent amount of visitors from the search engines as well.

Clear headlines

Though some may argue that having a catchy title is 50% of an email campaign success (which may be true, in some cases), another important point is having titles that appeal to the people. There shouldn’t be any hype or any other tricks marketers use to lure people into reading email. At its best, the email title should clearly say what the reader will get from reading the message.


As people tend to scan text online, not read, your best is to make the text easy to scan. Subheadings is one of the techniques, used to ease the scanning, along with bolded words, bullet lists and clear language. You can use a subheading anywhere you introduce a different perspective to the email subject. Sometimes, even a single paragraph may have a subheading.

Short paragraphs

Apart from having difficulties when reading from screen, humans do have limits on the amount of information they can absorb. Nowadays, when there’s a lot to do online, people tend to speed-read (scan) the text to do more. Apart from formatting your email to facilitate quick scanning, you can also only use enough information to convey your point of view or inform the reader.

This also includes putting your point in several sentences per paragraph or a few paragraphs per an idea. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should cut down the amount of valuable knowledge you need to share with your readers. Just make sure it is easy to read by using shorter paragraphs. From my experience, I can say that if a paragraph is longer than 3 (three) sentences or 5 (five) lines, readers may skip it entirely.


Another easily digestible form of text is lists. Whenever you have something to enumerate, use lists. Not only they are shorter, but they are also grouped in a focused part of the message, which both help fast and easy scanning.

Rounding up

Though you may spend a certain amount of time to make sure your emails are delivered (and rightly so), you should also ensure your emails are ready by making them easy to scan. If you provide valuable information, targeted at your visitors, your readers are bound to read your message to the end. So make it a pleasant experience for them.

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

One comment

  1. I think sometimes we’re so focused on keywords and search engines that we forget to make our pages readable. I also think many people have a tendency to want to use bigger words with the idea that it makes their writing more literary somehow. I’m glad you like to keep things clear and simple.

    I know there are a few of these ideas I could do a better job doing. I probably make my paragraphs a sentence or two too long sometimes and I know I don’t use lists enough. I’ve even forgotten to use headings more than I should.

    Thanks for the reminders Yuri.

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