Larisa Bedgood
Larisa Bedgood 17 March 2016

Your Marketing Email Has Only 3 Seconds to Capture a Reader’s Attention – 5 Tips on How to Make it Count

If you are an email marketer, you have only 3 seconds to capture the attention of your audience. That’s a really short window of time.

In fact, the odds aren’t even that good. The majority of marketing emails are determined attention-worthy in the time frame of zero to three seconds. This is according to the US Consumer Device Preference Report in which Movable Ink analyzed over 1.3 billion emails in the third quarter of 2015.

According to the report, “Email read lengths vary by device, but less than three seconds was the overwhelming majority across Kindle Fire, 64.5%; iPhone 53.9%; iPad, 42.4%; Desktop, 48.9%; Android Tablet, 48.8%; and Android phones, 50.2%.”

Email marketing has the potential to produce really great results, with an average ROI of $44.25 for every $1 spent (ExactTarget). And according to Hubspot, companies using email to nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads and at 33% lower cost. And nurtured leads, on average, produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads. This of course is if your emails are read. So, what’s the trick to getting a prospect want to learn more and pay attention to your offer in 3 seconds or less? Here are 5 tips to make your emails stand out.

1. The Power of Personalization

You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect message, designing really great graphics, and you have an offer that is sure to please everyone. Before you hit the Send button to your entire prospect list, think again. According to an Email Marketing study by Experian, personalized promotional emails were shown to lift transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalized emails. A personalized email also has a much higher chance of getting opened. In fact, personalization increases open rates by 29% with a 41% higher unique click rate.

To ensure your email marketing is personalized and relevant, you need to collect customer data across each touch point. Although companies are requesting customer data, the Experian study revealed only 30% of brands are using the data for personalization. Personalization can be powerful but companies must take the steps to use their data in meaningful ways to produce results.


2. Subject Line Length: Keep it Short

Is your subject line hurting or helping you? Many readers decide to open an email based on the subject line alone.’s research claims the highest open rates (21%) when emails have 6-10 word subject lines, which is roughly 50 characters in length. However, the golden rule of subject line length varies by who you ask. According to Email Audience, “Emails over 80 characters, especially those in the 100-character range, perform best.” The research reported a 115%  increase in open rates of emails with 20-word subject lines over emails with shorter subject lines.

Most research comes out in favor of shorter subject lines. The general rule of thumb many email marketers suggest is to keep it to 50 characters. Smartphones only display the first 5-6 words of a subject line, so shorter is better to capture the interest of mobile users. But don’t be afraid to test. Use some controlled A/B testing and test shorter subject lines as well as longer ones to determine which ones perform best.

3. Subject Line Words That Can Skyrocket Your Opens

The company ContactMonkey analyzed 30 million emails and discovered a few techniques that can skyrocket your email opens. According to the research, if an email Subject starts with "Re:" or "Fwd:"people are more likely to open it. But be sure you are using this appropriately. A prospect will be more annoyed if they open an email thinking it is from a colleague only to find it is a sales pitch.

The subject lines most frequently opened according to the study were:

  1. "Re:" (92% open rate)
  2. "Re: Follow Up" (90% open rate)
  3. "Re: Update" (89% open rate)
  4. "Re: Introduction" (88% open rate)
  5. "Re: Checking" (87% open rate)

4. Consumers are Connected - Be Mobile Friendly

Emails are increasingly being opened on a mobile device. According to Movable Ink’s US Consumer Device Preference Report, 66% of emails are opened on either a smartphone (47.2%) or tablet (18.5%). If your email is not mobile-friendly, readers will quickly press the delete button, often before even scanning the email to see if it is of interest. If an email does not display correctly, 71.2% will delete it immediately. (BlueHornet)


Source: Movable Ink (Q1 2014)

When creating emails, be sure to keep your copy short and concise. Mobile readers will scan your message so use bullet points, short paragraphs, and a clear call to action. Give extra thought to your images as well. Not all devices are set to display images by default so be sure your email still makes sense if your images don’t show. Most importantly, test! Test to be sure your email renders correctly across multiple devices and clients.

5. Analyze and Segment Your List

Using your customer data to segment your list into targeted groups drives higher open rates. Consider these statistics:

The smaller and more focused the group, the higher the engagement tends to be. By blending your internal data with third-party data sources, you can create highly targeted segments based on any number of attributes. Consider both who your prospects are and what they have done, such as recent transactions and their purchase habits. Popular ways of using demographics for segmentation include by gender, age, birthday month, location, hobbies and interests. This information should also be blended with a consumer’s behavioral data, such browsing and search behavior, recent transactions, social data, and engagement with previous emails. When you combine a mix of demographic and behavioral attributes, you have a rich set of consumer data to act upon.

With only three seconds or less to capture a reader’s attention, it’s time to double-down on optimizing your email strategy. Implementing these 5 tips will go a long way in ensuring your email gets noticed and opened.

To learn how to access one of the largest repositories of email addresses to increase your email conversion rates, learn more about RelevateEmail.

Original Article

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