With Only Seconds to Stand Out!
We have some sobering news for marketers trying to connect using emails: the average attention span for adults is 8 seconds. But wait! All is not lost. Here are a few examples of activities that take 8 seconds or less. You can:
- Get an IndyCar through a complete pit stop. Changing all 4 tires only takes about 3 seconds.
- Untangle a Rubik’s cube (if you’re a champion puzzle-solver).
- Deliver a political soundbite.
- Tie your shoelace.
- Successfully ride a bull at a rodeo (after years of practice).
With that backdrop, 8 seconds seems like a reasonable amount of time for your audience to spend deciding whether to read your content. Yes, 8 seconds is shorter than your 20-30 second elevator pitch. If you capture attention in the first 8 seconds, however, you'll have more time to present your story.
Guidelines for Successful Email Connections1
You may have heard that “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” You may want to use emails to get more leads, attract people to a new product, or get incremental sales from a promotion. Without a plan underpinning your content, your email campaign won’t produce results.
Every piece of email content needs an articulated purpose that explains:
- why people should read it
- what it will help you accomplish
- how it will get results
When you’ve written down the why, what, and how, it’s time to craft your content. Our counsel about content reflects what’s worked for us in email campaigns as well as learning from emails we’ve enjoyed receiving.
- Make your email easy to read and understand. You’ll demonstrate you value your readers’ time, and they'll appreciate the acknowledgment that they’re busy people.
- Create a captivating subject line. Remember, you have 8 seconds to grab your readers’ attention - overall. The subject line probably gets less than 2 seconds! We have a few tips about subject lines in the next section.
- Personalize your greeting. Many email platforms enable you to pull a first and last name from your mailing list. Think, too, about how you can include an element of your brand personality in your greeting. When the NHL promotes Canadian hockey, for example, email salutations may consist of something like: "Calling all Habs fans!"
- Keep the body copy short and succinct. It may be tempting to include a list of reasons why readers should engage with you. You'll get a better response when your email focuses on a singular point.
- Design your email for readability (and enjoyment) on any device. Beautiful images, funny GIFs, and your brand's voice are all essential elements that will improve your open rates and click-through rates. It's a mobile world, so be sure your email looks great on every device.
- Include a simple Call-to-Action (CTA). We like to see clickable buttons that take readers to landing pages where they can learn more about your offer. You can also include secondary, personalized CTAs that bring in the recipient's name again. For example, "Thanks for reading, Jake! Be sure to check out our new product."
Final Thoughts: Get the Most Out of Subject Line Real Estate
We’d be remiss if we neglected to mention the power of ‘preview text’ under an email campaign’s subject line. Your subject line opens a door. Your preview text encourages your recipients to walk in and learn more. Keep your preview text and subject line linked together using the following content tactics:
- Use the preview text to showcase a simple CTA. For example, your subject line might be “Winter Sale!” Your preview text could elaborate with a CTA like "Shop Now for 25% Off."
- Preview text represents another opportunity to personalize your emails. A general headline like “Storewide Sale - This Week Only” becomes more targeted with preview text that says, “Tina, we think you’ll like these items.”
- Email platforms now accommodate more graphics like emojis, symbols, and creative layouts. If you choose to add these elements to your preview text, make sure they align with your brand voice. Many recipients view emojis as ‘cute,' which may not fit your message or your brand. Remember, too, that more people are using voice assistants for emails. Symbols and other creative elements may not perform well as an audio script.
Are you interested in developing an email strategy? Do you need support with creating emails that convert? The MintCopy content agency in Mississauga, Canada, has the expertise to craft the plan and the content you need to connect with your audience via email.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry