Bypassing Consumers’ Shrinking Attention Spans

by Victor Green
3 mins read

As the amount of available content in the world grows at an exponential rate, our attention spans seem to be decreasing in equal turn. If you haven’t noticed that yet, just take a look at the tumbleweeds drifting through the world’s libraries. If you’re looking for more reliable confirmation, statistics say that the attention span of the average person in 2015 was clocked in at around 8.25 seconds. To offer some perspective, that’s about three quarters of a second less than the average attention span of a goldfish. Yikes! Does that mean that goldfish are more likely to read your emails. No, not quite. However, it does imply that you’ll need to compose your emails with those tiny attention spans in mind if you’re looking for any sort of engagement from your consumers.

Use Images to your Advantage

A picture says a thousand words, after all. By conveying your messages through images rather than copy whenever possible, you’ll be effectively decreasing the chances of your reader being distracted by the idea of ordering pizza. “We process images 60,000 times faster than text,” writes Cynthia Price of Entrepreneur. “Use images that convey or support your message and get strategic about where you place those images, as they’re key to drawing the eye (and moving the scroll bar) down the screen.”

Support your Brand’s Story

Businesses aren’t all official documents and suit & ties; every brand has a story, and you should use that to your advantage when attempting to capture your readers’ attention. “The number-one reason people sign up for emails is because they think they’re going to get something. Sometimes that’s a thing, like a coupon or a white paper and sometimes it’s just a connection to your brand,” offers Price. “Foster that connection in every email with strong images and copy that support your brand story. Remind them why they connected with you in the first place.”

Focus your Emails on Specific Goals

While it’s tempting to fill your subscribers’ virtual plate with all the things you have in store for them in the future, we advise that you remember the goldfish, and take a couple steps back. Consider what sort of action you’d like to incite through one specific email. Ask yourself if you’re looking for some virtual engagement, a monetary commitment to your product or service, or if you’re just looking to make a good impression. Make your intention clear from the start of the email, so that you don’t risk your readers getting distracted. According to Price: “It’s tempting to create mass emails that have something for everyone. But that requires your readers to work extra hard to find what’s relevant to them. Modern email-marketing platforms allow you to segment your audience in all kinds of cool ways, so the old adage, ‘right message, right person, right time’ is actually easy to pull off.”

Optimize your Emails for Mobile

As our attention spans decrease, our mobile habits increase, which is a fact you should definitely be taking advantage of. “A whopping 80 percent of people say they simply delete an email if it doesn’t render nicely in their mobile inbox. And one-third of people say they’ll unsubscribe altogether. Ouch,” writes Price. “When designing your email, have mobile readers in mind. Compelling headlines, striking images, large fonts and a clear call to action are must-haves for mobile-friendly emails that look great on big screens too.”

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