Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2.7 Anxious Little Seconds, Part 1: Emailing

Speed dating is hard enough. Marketing is worse.

If you’re into speed dating, you’ll know that you’ve got 5 seconds to “connect.” But that 5 seconds is absolutely luxurious compared to the newest marketing statistics!

If you’re sending an email, you’ve got a grand total of 2.7 seconds before the recipient hits the delete button. That’s a measly 2 seconds to make a first—and maybe last—impression. The success of your marketing effort depends on it.

What’s a marketer to do? Here are a few ideas to help you survive that brutal 2 seconds:

  1. Be laser sharp in your presentation. Make the subject line provocative, arresting. People will slow down to read it. People are innately curious, and if you can tap into that curiosity, you’ll get more than your share of time.
  2. Use the recipient’s name in the email subject line. It’s true. People are egotists. They love to see their name, and will slow down to read it. That slow-down time, infinitesimal as it is, will buy you some extra eyeball seconds.
  3. Open with gentle, natural humor. If your recipient is smiling or chuckling, the 2.7 seconds can easily extend.
  4. Spell everything correctly. Nothing screams “SPAM!” louder than a misspelled word.
  5. Design your email—especially if it has an attachment—so that recipients can see who it is from and some of the content, even before they open it. If your design only shows little boxes with hidden pix, you’re asking for trouble.
  6. Don’t drone on and on endlessly. Ever! In any media! Boredom killed many a date and can lead to sudden terminations and brutal deletes. Keep it short and they will want to come back for more.
  7. Make it personal. Write to one person. Use what you know what him. If you know the recipient’s specific issues, needs and wants (gained perhaps from a PURL? A survey? A reader questionnaire?) use it! Sending an email to “Y’all” may get you Bubba points, but it will depress your marketing response rates.

Like you didn’t have enough pressure on you already.

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