How To Grab Attention In 50 Characters Or Less:

by Joel Tarplin from The Creare Group

Twitter allows 140, the average text message allows 160 and social bookmarking sites can vary from 100 — 1,000. Whatever the character limitation, there is one aspect of your email marketing strategy that needs to be concise and right; otherwise you’ve wasted time, money, and possibly annoyed a batch of potential clients in the process.

We’ve all ignored automated emails that we assume have no relevance to us. Rather than open it and humour the person who has spent time devising and sending it, we put it straight into one of two boxes; junk or trash.

Not to sound cold-hearted, but this is exactly what will happen to your email newsletter, or promotion if you don’t take the time to research what makes your client tick.

Check Data:

Whether you are a mechanic who wants to remind your clients their MOT is due, or whether you want to promote your fantastic deals on flowers for Valentines, there is a benefit in finding the right people to send to.

Previous clients are an obvious choice, but not if they’ve ignored you for over 2 years. Circumstances change, and it’s vital to ensure the clients that you send to, still remember using your services.

Of course, if you are targeting new clients, then be sure that where you source your data from is legitimate. Spamming can cause disastrous results and you may find not only yourself in trouble with recipients, but also the software you use.

Choose Your Words Wisely:

So, what makes for a good subject?

Help action + % + ! = Bad

e.g. Help your loved one enjoy Valentines with 50% off flowers this week!

Timely + personal + short = Good

e.g. Johnson Reminder MOT due 04.04.11

The example above shows the difference in what people want from an email. They don’t want to be sold something; they want to be informed so they can make their own decision. Whether you do have 50% off flowers one week, there is a more subtle way than to shout from the roof tops.

Of course, the aim of a business is to get sales, but think carefully about what you would do if a potential client passed your shop. Would you yell in their face that you have a sale on, or would you hang signs, prop up a board outside, and create delightful displays to make them want to come inside?

It’s what you don’t do as much as what you do do, to attract and entice your clients.

Test your subject line;

With most email marketing software you can split a database and send the same newsletter or e-shot but change certain specifics; this is known as an A/B campaign.

These types of campaigns are highly useful for testing certain aspects of your newsletter, although be aware you will still be charged for sending. However, for a new campaign it’s interesting to compare what works best and gets the highest open rate.

If you have a few subject lines then it can come in handy to run them past someone first and see if they have a preference. But the proof of the pudding is most definitely in the eating as they say, so get it out there and test it to really see what affect it has on your clients.

However, make sure that with A/B campaigns you have a large database. Halving 500 contacts for a quarter of them to unsubscribe is not going to be truly accurate, so make sure that you can get a fair conclusion to correctly make your decision.

Make sure it matters;

There are ways to approach people and there are ways to scare people. With so many different means of getting someone’s attention it’s vital that you offer them what they need.

By this I mean that just because someone did want to know about your tyres alignment service does not mean they still do. With any email the subject line needs to offer them something else in relation to what they possibly wanted before to make them click through.

People don’t always require a new roof, however, they may need a tile replacing or new guttering. Offering services which matter to them, not what they already know you do, can be the difference between opening the email and binning it.

Grabbing attention in 50 characters or less is definitely an art in itself, and with some customers, 50 characters is never going to entice them to open your email, that’s life.

These few tips are just pointers in the right direction, but the biggest tip of all is to look in your own ‘Trash’ folder and I’m sure you’ll find some perfect examples of what not to do.

Look forward to hearing from you all soon.

Joel Tarplin is a Content Writer for Creare; a specialist SEO company with experience in web design, ecommerce, email marketing and video production.