In the past few years, reports surfaced claiming humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish. In 2013, the average attention span was about 8 seconds (down a whole four seconds from 2000); goldfish reportedly have an average attention span of about 9 seconds. Yikes.
If your email pitches aren’t getting the traction you hoped they would, chances are it’s because you failed to engage your readers in those first 8 seconds. But what exactly are you doing wrong?
We’re bringing you the top 4 email faux pas contributing to those underwhelming results to help get your pitches back on track:
1) Your Email Subject is More Than 55 Characters
Subject lines are arguably the most important part of an email, as they determine if the rest of your email is worth reading. Avoid using all caps or gimmicky phrase like “Last Chance!” because your reader is probably immune to those kinds of ploys. Instead, make sure your subject is direct, concise, and interesting. And most importantly, always under 55 characters.
2) You Lack a “Call me Ishmael” Intro
If you’re lucky enough to write a subject line that gets your email opened, the second-most important part is going to be those first few words. Draft a sentence that is both intriguing and informative. Too vague and you waste your reader’s time; too specific and you miss an opportunity to offer some helpful context. It doesn’t have to be one of the most memorable phrases in literary history, but it should be pretty solid.
3) Your Email is More Than 190 Words
If an email looks like a full-length novel, chances are it’s going to be ignored. While 190 words is considered a decent length for the standard email pitch, try to keep your word count under that number whenever possible. You’ll have to be extremely deliberate in choosing the information you include in the body of your email, but that level of specificity and purposefulness will only make your pitch stronger.
4) You Don’t Use Bullets
To help your readers make sense of the info you’re providing, it might be worth breaking some information up into bullets or numbers, with the most important information bolded. That way, your busiest reader need only glance at the email to get a sense of what you’re offering, and your chances of piquing their interest go up.
We can speculate and point fingers at smartphones and technology as the culprits of our short attention spans, but the reality is those things aren’t going anywhere. Instead of naming blame, we need to reevaluate our communication methods to ensure the content we create catches our readers’ ever-elusive attention.
If you’re looking for more quick tips and news tidbits, be sure to follow us on Twitter @BIGfishPR!