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Exercises to Fix Your Email Complexity & Length Problems
Exercises to Fix Your Email Complexity & Length Problems

Complexity and length are common problems in email. These 6 exercises will help you fix those reply killers.

Will Allred avatar
Written by Will Allred
Updated over a week ago

The average amount of time someone reads your email is 11 seconds. They are skimming fast and barely reading what you write.

This is a big reason why we urge you to shorten your cold emails and make them simpler.

Looking at the average reading speed and reading time (11 seconds), it's no surprise that best practices will tell you 25-50 words.

It's less of a surprise a 25-50-word email should see 67% more replies than a 125-word email.

Meanwhile, complexity is a very pervasive issue. 70% of emails are written at or beyond a 10th-grade reading level.

A 5th-grade email will get 67% more replies.

Here are some writing exercises to help make hitting your numbers a breeze:

1) If The Email Won't Tweet - Hit Delete

We've analyzed millions of emails. Short emails work better!

An email that is 25-50 words should expect to see 67% more replies than an email that's 125 words.

Twitter's 280-character limit forces brevity. You'll be challenged to rank what's essential in your email.

Challenge yourself to fit your cold email into a tweet.

You get bonus points if you can get the subject line in the tweet too.

2) Template Teardown

Every template is built upon a framework. To help sellers understand what they can cut or how they can simplify - we have to teach frameworks.

Want more creativity? Want better experiments? Frameworks are the answer.

Take your top-performing (and bottom-performing) templates. Go through them line by line and ask:

"What is this trying to accomplish?"

"What is it?"

"Why is it in the email?"

"Does it logically connect the idea before and after?"

You'll end up with a deeper understanding of your copy. You'll have the framework. Now, instead of tweaking words in a template, you can tweak ways of expressing an idea/objective.

3) Personalization Process Workshops

Personalization will 2x your reply rate, but you must balance that with volume. The math isn't in your favor if you send less than half the emails.

What does your company do?

What problems does that solve?

Who does it solve those problems for? How does the description of the problem change?

What indicates that the problem exists? Are there combinations of those indicators that point to more nuanced problems?

Where do you find those indicators most reliably?

How can you go through those sources as quickly as possible?

Do you have a system for taking notes so you don't have to refresh that research process often?

At the end of these questions, you should have a strong feeling that you:

· Know what you're looking for
· Know where to find it
· Know how to use it

This is personalization at scale. Practice it, and you'll see the returns multiply.

4) No Comma Days

A comma (this thing ",") is a tool for combining ideas. When you combine ideas, you add complexity.

Each sentence should be one idea. Each paragraph should be one idea. Each email should be one idea.

Your reader is flying through your copy. They spend 10 seconds with it on average.

Commas kill clarity and hurt reply rates.

Make a rule: "Today... you're not allowed to use them."

Want to up the difficulty? Cut the word "and" from your diet as well.

5) Word / Phrase Bans

Long words add syllables to your writing. Syllables are at the core of how complexity is calculated.

We all have those words. You know... the ones like flexibility, multi-layered, platform, integrations, etc.

We take them for granted. We use them so often that we need to think about an alternative. Implementing a ban can be a great way to shake up your messaging.

It challenges you to explain what you mean when you say flexible.

6) Quarantine Your Big Words

Sometimes, you need to use a long word. My go-to example is "personalization". It's a syllable beast.

If you have to use it, practice isolating it. Quarantine the word.

The paragraph above is a (passable) example of this. You pull the big word out of the sentence and put it in a smaller sentence with little words to buffer it.

This also improves clarity. It creates better white space.

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