As an email marketer, you test subject lines and calls to action for optimal performance, but are you submitting your copy to the ultimate test? If you’re not testing your copy for readability, you may be missing out on clicks, conversions, and revenue.
Why Does Readability Matter?
When on average office workers receive 121 emails per day, fighting for your reader’s attention is a brutal free-for-all. And that fight isn’t getting any easier: The average attention span is now just eight seconds.
More than ever, it’s important to make your emails stand out in a sea of content and grab your reader’s attention quickly. Optimizing emails for readability is your ticket to beating the ticking attention clock.
Even when readers open one of those 121 emails, they’re not devoting their full attention to it; they are merely skimming the material. Fully 79% of readers admit to skimming Web content.
Accordingly, the more you can say with fewer words, the more your audience takes away. Content that is clear, concise, and easily understood passes the readability test, ensuring that readers reach your call to action (CTA) before mentally checking out.
Highly readable copy also curbs confusion. Anyone who’s worked in an office has a story about a miscommunication (or two, or 12) caused by unclear email. When you’re lucky enough to grab your reader’s attention, you don’t want to waste that opportunity with unclear copy. Readable emails let your reader know exactly where you stand.
Finally, improving readability may determine whether your reader opens your email at all. There is no universal standard for subject line lengths, but there’s no doubt that the space for grabbing attention here is limited. One-third of people decide whether to open an email solely on the subject line’s contents, so getting your message across quickly is critical. The same applies for your teaser, or preheader, text.
When every character counts, readability might be the difference between a conversion and a lost customer.
How to Calculate Readability
Although there’s no way to objectively measure readability, there are tests that attempt to reasonably standardize it. The most famous of these is the Flesch-Kincaid test:
The Flesch-Kincaid formula uses word and syllable counts to assign your text a number, usually between 0 and 100. The scale tops out at around 120, but there is theoretically no lower limit: 0 value denotes very confusing text, while text with a score of 100 is very simple.
Scoring your content provides a reliable way of measuring whether you’re leaving valuable readers behind.
There are many tools, both online and off, that can calculate your score. Some word-processing software has readability scoring built in. Many…