How long should your cold emails be?
Brevity is not just the soul of wit but also the #1 rule of cold emailing. Yet, keeping it “short and sweet” doesn’t provide any clarity regarding the exact number of words or paragraphs.
So we’ve decided to fix that and set the record straight regarding the perfect cold email length.
First, we focused on the optimal number of words to include. And here are the results at a glance.
As you can see, less is indeed more! The emails containing 50-70 words perform the best on average. Namely, it seems that 54 words is the perfect cold email length, with a 5.72% reply rate and a 31.47% interested rate (which is an 89% and 37% increase respectively, compared to the average results). That is a huge difference!
That said, don’t get discouraged if you can’t keep your emails below 70 words. It’s still ok as templates containing 70-100 words still show results that are close to the average results with 2.89% reply and 22.29% interested rates. No big deal if you ask me.
Once you cross the 100 words mark, however, the number of replies (including the interested ones) keeps decreasing. So keep that in mind.
Now, let’s talk about another indicator of email length – the number of paragraphs. Here’s what the numbers look like here.
Once again, we can say that people don’t like long cold emails. The perfect number of paragraphs in a cold email is 2-3. Such templates tend to get up to a 58% higher reply rate and up to 66% more Interested responses.
At the same time, emails consisting of just one paragraph will generate the fewest responses – only 2.4%. And the interested rate is the lowest with the 4-5 paragraph emails – 21.36 to 21.01%.
An interesting observation here is that emails with 7-10 paragraphs generate results that are close to (or even slightly above) average in terms of reply and Interested rates. Which means it’s relatively safe to elaborate on something if needed as long as you keep the email easy to read with shorter paragraphs, even if it takes 5+ of them.
What about the non-text elements – images, GIFs, and links?
Cold outreach has always been a very competitive environment. The more emails sent every day, the fewer will make it to the inbox and eventually get opened and replied to. Call it a “law of the jungle” if you like.
That is one of the reasons I’m so enthusiastic about visual prospecting – using images and video to make your emails stand out. But does it really work? Let’s see the data!
Well, the results are pretty mixed.
While it’s clear that GIFs don’t work in cold emails (at least in the first-step emails we’ve analyzed), things are not as transparent when it comes to images. With a 6% higher interested rate, cold emails containing pictures tend to get fewer replies overall. This correlates with the results of our previous research on using visuals in cold outreach.
Adding links (including Vidyard video links) to your cold emails might lead to similar results – an 11% increase in positive responses with a slightly lower reply rate in general.
My guess is that this might be linked to the spam issues as images and links can be considered suspicious or harmful by email service providers. So I suggest you double down on email deliverability and warm up your email account, including the exact template you’re going to use, before launching your visual prospecting sequence.