4 Ways to Simplify Your Emails for a Higher Response Rate

Not all of your marketing emails need to feel like a massive production.

Just because you can cram a ton of files, images and other flashy features into your marketing emails doesn’t mean that you always should.

Last year, Boomerang, a gmail integration tool, conducted a study consisting of 40 million emails to discover what elements of an email get a reader to not only take interest, but take action.

What’s the main trick they discovered?

Keep it simple.

The study concluded that, “Emails written at a third-grade reading level were optimal. They provided a whopping 36% lift over emails written at a college reading level and a 17% higher response rate than emails written even at a high school reading level.”

They also found that short sentences and shorter words received a 53% response rate.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Rather than bog down your messages with needless fluff, instead consider why you should start implementing a “less is more” mentality when speaking to your subscribers.

So, how can you start simplifying your emails for better results?

Let’s dive right in!

1. put your energy into YOUR COPY

Ever look at a massive wall of text and thought “Yeah right, nobody has time for that.”

Yeah, me too.

Readers are looking for quality over quantity.

And, at the end of the day, much of your success in email marketing comes down to improving your chops as a writer.

Not a graphic designer. Not a coder. A writer.

Powerful email copy, especially well-crafted subject lines, is what separates well-performing campaigns from those that struggle. If you can’t use the written word to pull in your readers via savvy subject lines, how can you expect them to actually get through your messages? 

The best way to improve your email performance is to experiment with copywriting triggers and strive to craft copy that converts. With shorter, stripped-down emails, you have the perfect opportunity to make sure that each and every piece of your message packs a punch.

From your subject line to body copy and beyond, consider how you can:

  • Implement power words that are proven to drive clicks: Terms such as “immediately,” “easy,” “new,” and “effective” resonate with readers
  • Present your messages as must-reads: Time-sensitive and deal-based copy are king 
  • Personalize your messages: Words such as “You,” “I” and “We” help establish a more personal connection with your audience from the start

Rather than bog down your messages with needless fluff, instead consider why you should start implementing a “less is more” mentality when speaking to your subscribers.

For example, booming bloggers such as Neil Patel rely on simple, old-school style text emails to keep in touch with lists of thousands of hungry readers:


In short, sometimes it makes perfect sense to send simple, well written emails rather than potentially overwhelm your subscribers with longer, more in-depth messages.

The beauty of simple emails is that they often result in less work for you in the long-run and don’t require any complicated templates to implement.

When you learn the ropes of good copy, you set the foundation for a solid email regardless of how long, short or image-filled it may (or may not) be.

That leads us to tip number two…


Now, just because text only emails work, doesn’t mean that emails with images don’t!

It’s all about balance.

But, the last thing you want to do is overload your emails with images that drown out your message.

In addition to that, image heavy emails can have a massive effect on the way your emails are received.

How? Well…

  • Image-heavy emails can result in huge file sizes, ultimately funneling your messages to the spam folder
  • Longer load times can cause your less patient subscribers to bail (keeping in mind that modern readers expect any given site or page to load in less than two seconds)
  • Busy messages make it more difficult for your readers to spot essential information or links (including your CTA)

Does that mean you can never use images in your emails?

Absolutely not.

In fact, here’s a great example from Google App, Primer that combines minimalism and imagery:


What makes this email work?

For starters, the CTA is impossible to miss.

At the same time, this email would be just as effective with images turned off. The headline and copy are both clear and the reader immediately knows what’s being asked of them… to open the app and start learning a skill.

When it comes to your emails, oftentimes less is more!

The easier you make it for them to digest your message, the better.

3. add that extra, personal touch

It doesn’t matter what you have to say or sell: your list is sick of one-size-fits-all marketing messages.

Anything you can do you give your emails a personal touch is always a plus, especially if your competition is sleeping on personalization.

When you strip away all the glitter and glam of templated emails you have the opportunity to speak directly to your reader and make them feel as if that email was written just for them.

Brands such as Harry’s know exactly how to make their emails seem like they were sent by a real flesh-and-blood person.

Beyond using the previously noted “you,” “I” and “we,” this email is framed as a helping hand versus a sales pitch:


When in doubt, it pays to send personalized messages versus something that feels like it was crafted by a robot.

4. move the focus to your cta

As noted earlier, the busier your emails are, the more likely your readers will overlook your call-to-action.

On the flip side, emails with less going on ensure that your CTA is an absolute can’t miss.

This one from Shopify is a straightforward example of a stripped-down email with a clear CTA:


Why does this email work?

You guessed it! It’s simple.

Your eyes immediately spot that blue CTA as soon as you open the email. The copy as well as the image used do an excellent job of complementing the CTA without taking away from it.

When you rely less on images and a ton of copy, small touches such as the use of color are more than enough to grab the attention of your readers.

If nothing else, simple emails help guide your readers to take the actions that you want them to take rather than allowing them to aimlessly float around before moving on to the next message in their inbox.

It’s Time to Simplify Your Emails

Your subscribers don’t have time to endlessly scroll through your emails, no matter how much they might be interested in your product or message.

Want to improve deliverability?

Having trouble avoiding the spam folder?

Hoping to boost your click rate or response rate?

Don’t be afraid to embrace the occasional simplified, stripped-down email every now and then. Rather than leave your list accustomed to the same-old formats, it never hurts to switch up your strategy.

With all of this in mind, the first step is to make sure that your emails reach your list in the first place! If you’re looking to experiment with simple messages, we’ve got you covered.

Give Sendlane a spin today to see how we can help you craft all sorts of emails that your list will go crazy for!

Kristen Dahlberg

Content Manager at Sendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!

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