These days, when everyone is seemingly heads down on their screens – distracted, preoccupied, inattentive, or otherwise overworked, overscheduled and overwhelmed – it can be hard for B2B marketers to win the attention of their prospects. While standing out today is getting increasingly difficult, our clients are using a number of strategies to get their messages heard. Here are six tips we’ve shared with them that you can also use to grab more attention in the inbox:
- Use a unique subject line: I’ve written previously about the importance of subject lines. After all, busy people these days will simply scan email subject lines and decide within a second or less whether to open or even delete your message. So what can your subject line do to grab attention? First, include the recipient’s name – studies show that doing so can increase opens by about 25%. Second, make sure it’s not too long. Since most people read email on their phones, most mobile screens will cut off subject lines at 50 characters. Third, use urgency, which leads to higher open rates. Finally, instead of being boring, salesy or cheesy, get creative and challenge the reader with a unique idea or concept they can learn by reading your message.
- Don’t lose them from the start: Remember, many professionals receive hundreds of emails every day. Don’t assume your audience knows who you are or what your industry jargon or acronyms mean. Don’t reference a previous email you sent that they almost certainly don’t recall (unless they responded). Don’t write in so complicated a manner that it will take an engineer or PhD to understand your concepts – think newspaper or Internet news sites at about a 6th grade level in terms of the language and vocabulary to strive for. You can get more in-depth or comprehensive in your call-to-action (CTA) or website.
- Convey a single idea: Begin with your desired action in mind and dedicate your content to that ONE end goal. Doing too much can overburden or confuse the reader, so keep it simple and focused. If your products or services are more complex or entail a longer sales cycle, consider breaking up campaigns to focus on a particular aspect, value proposition or desired result in your customer journey. Also, have one CTA per email and make it clear and obvious with a big “click here” button. And keep the CTA “above the fold” – towards the top of the message in order to eliminate the need to scroll.
- Keep content short: With today’s limited attention spans, nobody has time to read a long rant or story or to figure out what you do or what you’re asking them to do. Again, scanning is the norm, so avoid long blocks of test and instead use short sentences, bullets or lists. And break up concepts with headlines and subheads.
- Use visuals: Pictures or graphics can tell your story much faster and easier than copy can – people process images 60,000 times faster than text and retain 80% of what they see (compared to only 20% of what they read). Going beyond static images with animated or interactive content will further grab the reader’s attention – and get them to your CTA button more quickly.
- Make it personal: By leveraging data on your prospects, then segmenting those prospects and personalizing your message, you’ll convey a feeling to your reader that your message was written specifically for them. You might segment your prospects by, say, what kind of marketing automation or accounting platform they’re using, and use this as part of your subject line and message. For another example, a pet retailer increased click-through rates 4x by segmenting emails based on the type of dogs their customers owned.
Lastly, don’t forget that If the IT backend isn’t done right, the message won’t get to the inbox in the first place. It’ll be marked as spam. So do the upfront work that gets your message seen: make sure the sender name and company match, and double check spam sender lists and IP addresses. You’ll be limiting yourself from the outset if essential IT matters aren’t properly addressed.
Grabbing and winning the attention of your audience is more challenging than ever, but can be done if you ditch the familiar, get creative, use best practices and test innovative new ideas. What new tactics have you tried that have been successful in winning the attention of your prospects? Let us know!
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.