Mastering Readability:Paving the Way for Compelling Email Experiences

high open rate

Aug 25, 2023

8 Seconds…

Apparently, our attention span has now been whittled down to just eight seconds.

Blame it on the constant distractions and our fast-paced lives.

A mere 8 seconds…

Yep, that’s about as long as a goldfish can focus (crazy, right?)

When you think about it, that’s not a lot of time. In fact, it probably took you around 8 seconds to read this, didn’t it?

Still with me? Good, because here’s the deal…

When it comes to your email marketing, with such a limited timeframe to truly capture the interest of your readers, It’s absolutely crucial to structure your email messages in a way that’s easy to read, comprehend, and digest.

Because if what you’re saying gets tangled up or becomes hard to grasp, you’re in danger of losing your audience’s attention… and fast.

This is where the concept of readability comes into play

Enhancing readability elevates your email marketing efforts.

..And Incorporating It is the secret sauce to keeping your audience engaged.

…Without losing focus.

Readability, in essence, acts as the bridge between what you need to convey and your readers’ understanding.

It’s the difference between someone just glancing at your email and someone who’s really soaking in every word.

So keep reading as we show you how you can maximise your readability,

We’ll outline how you can make changes that lead to a smoother journey for your readers which will ultimately lead to engagement, conversions, and a lasting impact.

It’s all about the DORC

Ever heard of DORC? It’s a game-changer for your emails.

It’s a term we’ve coined which simply stands for:

Deliverability, Openability, Readability, and Clickability.

These four key steps mirror the actions a subscriber takes once they receive your email.

Deliverability ensures that your email reaches their inbox, Openability prompts them to click and read, Readability ensures they understand the message, and Clickability encourages them to take action.

Imagine it as a map that steers your readers from the moment your email arrives in their inbox until they complete the desired action.

…and when used together on each email you create, it can multiply your results.

Take a typical email you create… It gets sent to 1000 subscribers, delivered into the inbox of 800 (80%), opened by 200 (25%), read by 100 (50%) and clicked by 50 (50%).

If you can just increase the performance in each section by 5%…

It gets delivered to 850 (85%), opened by 255 (30%), read by 140 (55%) and clicked by 77 (55%), increasing your overall clicks by 27. An increase of over 50%!!!

DORC matters.

Readability harmoniously integrates within the DORC methodology, not only influencing but also elevating the other elements in your email, resulting in a smooth and impactful experience.

Enhancing Readability

To truly embrace readability in your email campaigns, let’s explore how you can make small changes that lead to a smoother journey for your readers:

Recognise the Dual Readership Path

How have you read this blog so far? Did you scan it quickly to get the context or did you follow every word in depth?

Because here’s the thing, just like you’re reading this content, your audience will read your emails in different ways. To ensure effective communication you need to cater to these different preferences.

  • Use clear headings and summaries for scanners.
  • Employ visuals and emphasis to catch scanners’ attention.
  • Use Bullet points and Lists
  • Use bold text or emphasis (sparingly) to highlight crucial points or keywords.
  • Provide in-depth sections for readers who want details.Conclude with a concise summary for all types of readers.

Words: Crafting the Right Message

The name of the game is clarity and connection. Keep things simple, use conversational language, and highlight benefits

  • Opt for concise and familiar language.
  • Use active voice for directness.
  • Avoid jargon and complex terms when possible.
  • Break down complex ideas into simple explanations.

Layout: Organising for Clarity

Your layout sets the scene so alter it to enhance readability. Use subheadings, bullets, and short paragraphs for that oh-so-easy scan-ability.

  • Break content into short paragraphs.
  • Utilise bullet points for lists.
  • Ensure each paragraph has a clear focus.
  • Start with a brief intro to set the context.

Styling: Enhancing Visual Appeal

Experiment with different styling elements use bold and italics to make things pop. Colours? Choose them wisely to align with your brand.

  • Choose readable fonts
  • Use bold for headings or key points.
  • Italics for emphasis…sparingly.
  • Maintain colour contrast for legibility.

Fonts: Choosing Wisely

Select fonts that are easy to read on various devices, mind the size, and keep things consistent. By doing this you can enhance the readability of your content, making it more inviting and accessible to your audience.

  • Utilise readable fonts
  • Opt for a font size around 16px for online content.
  • Maintain font consistency; avoid excessive variety.
  • Use bold and italics for emphasis
  • Ensure high contrast between font and background.
  • Prioritise line spacing for improved legibility.
  • Avoid excessive capitalisation
  • Change font sizes for headings and sections.
  • Test font appearance across different devices.

Design for Different Clients (Outlook, Mobile, Tablet)

Your email’s got to look fab no matter where it’s opened. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Use a responsive design that adapts to different screens.
  • Avoid complex layouts that might not render well
  • .Test emails on various devices and platforms.
  • Ensure images have appropriate alt text.

Testing: Ensuring Optimal Impact

Testing your emails for readability is essential to ensure that your content REALLY communicates your message to your audience.

You have lots of options such as A/B testing which allows you to compare different versions and determine what resonates best with your audience.

You can also test your emails by previewing on different devices and testing spelling and grammar.

  • A/B Test: Send two versions to segments, and see which performs better.
  • Test subject lines, content, and calls to action.
  • Use Mailchimp’s preview mode to see how it appears on all devices
  • Grammar and spell check all copy.
  • Analyse open rates, click-through rates, conversions.
  • Ensure your email is accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Use accessibility checkers to verify that images have alt text, text-to-background contrast is sufficient, and fonts are legible
  • Make changes, or test and refine again based on your results.

Feedback: Refining Your Approach

It’s great to get insights from your audience to fine-tune your email game, so invite feedback from your audience. Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Add a clear CTA.
  • Insert a feedback button/link.
  • Ask for opinions directly.
  • Craft open-ended questions.
  • Use short surveys.
  • Offer incentives if possible.
  • Include social media links.
  • Create a feedback landing page
  • Send follow-up emails.

The Power of Readability

Readability goes way beyond just making things look good – it’s like the glue that holds all the parts of your email together.

Your layout, carefully structured, becomes a roadmap that guides your readers through your message. And your styling makes your email visually irresistible.

And remember, readability is not just about the words you use – it’s about the transformation it brings. It’s about your readers truly experiencing what you’re putting out there.

By weaving clarity into your content, you’re weaving a path for readers to follow – a path that leads to engagement, conversion, and lasting impact.

Readability within DORC: The Ultimate Transformation

Readability isn’t an isolated concept; it’s seamlessly woven into the fabric of the DORC framework, linking deliverability, openability, and clickability.

Deliverability ensures your well-crafted content reaches its destination. Openability and clickability create engaging entry and exit points, and readability ensures the journey itself is enjoyable and effective.

When readability is seamlessly integrated, it gives a domino effect throughout the entire DORC experience.

It shapes how your subject line is perceived, adds clarity to your call-to-action, and weaves together the unfolding story.

Putting the spotlight on readability within the DORC framework can elevate your email campaigns to new heights, forging a deeper connection between you and the recipient.

So combine DORC’s guiding principles with these actionable changes, and let your emails do more than just catch attention – let them captivate, resonate, and drive meaningful action.

Final Thoughts

In a world where 8 seconds rival the attention span of a goldfish, it has never been more important to craft emails that captivate, resonate, and swiftly convey the intended message.

And readability is the key.

To master readability, embrace the Dual Readership Path. Create content that caters to scanners and in-depth readers. Opt for concise language, employ visuals, utilise subheadings, and maintain a consistent font and size. Design with various devices in mind, and A/B test for optimal results.

Feedback is the final touch. Encourage your audience to share their insights, fine-tuning your approach.

Within the DORC framework, readability finds its perfect spot – not as a standalone feature but as an integral part of the email experience. It shapes and elevates each step of the journey, from the moment your email arrives to the decisive final click.

So, when you next put together your next email campaign together, remember to blend the guiding principles of DORC with these actionable shifts.

The outcome? Emails that don’t merely seize attention; they captivate, resonate, and leave an indelible mark.

The DORC Framework: How Small Improvements Lead to Big Wins


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Liz Seymour

Liz Seymour

Queen Chimp Of Marketing

Cheesy as it sounds, Liz is the biz when it comes to  Mailchimp & Email Marketing.

She's worked in Marketing for around 20 years when she went to uni and studied Multimedia Technology…That's where her love affair with all things Marketing began. 

Since then she has worked for household names such as Wickes, The Rank Group, Nuffield Health, Snappy Snaps and Marriot. Not to mention a great variety of businesses and agencies.

Here at Chimp Answers she deals with all things Marketing focusing on the Content and Copywriting side of things such as Blog posts, Emails and landing pages. Liz is Certified in Direct-Response Copywriting, Google Digital Marketing Fundamentals,Hubspot Inbound Marketing,Hubspot Social Media and Mailchimp Foundations.



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