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Battling short attention span of Internet surfers

Marketers using various kinds of different media ponder the same question - how do we keep their attention? 'Their' means ours. Numerous studies demonstrate that attention span of consumer keeps decreasing. This is especially true for the young adults and so-called Generation Y. Simply look around you - things that were hip a year ago are no longer "cool". What happened to Tamagochi?

Now consider this - most TV advertisers have long switched to 30-second spots instead of 60-second ones (with the exception of Super Bowl broadcast). How much information can a 30-second ad carry? Well, you are in business of e-mail marketing. You can create messages of any length, and attach a sixty-page manual if you want to, right? Wrong! Average piece, psychologists and marketing pros say, should contain about 300 words (250-400 actually, depending on the topic). Exceed this limit and you'll just lose your audience attention. Have you tried explaining all advantages your goods or
services offer in 300 words? It's not easy. Here is what professionals recommend - it's a simple three-step checklist.

1. Try to build empathy.
Hey, if you are not going to have enough space to describe what you sell in details, try to connect to your audience to build trust and empathy. You may have to hire a professional copywriter, but it is well worth the money.

2. Relevance.
Your customers want relevance from you. And since they are not very likely to read messages over 400 words, you want relevance too. Try to step into your buyers' shoes - what are the questions they want to be answered right away? Qualities of the product you are selling? Price? Warranty conditions? Don't waste space for extraneous stuff - get right to the point.

3. Address personas.
You should be talking to people, not mumbling your product technical characteristics to yourself. And (surprise-surprise) people are different. Some know exactly what they want. Others are just exploring products in that particular category. Make sure you understand this. Don't try to please everyone with the same message. Your message should not be "overstuffed". Instead, offer hyperlinks that take your prospects to the source of information they are looking for.

Next week: Is your message worth reading?
Prev week:
Low budget campaigns


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