Adjust your communications to match attention spans

funny notePeople’s attention spans are shorter than ever before. We are constantly bombarded with messages from every corner, have no time to read long emails, and we have a rough time holding onto a business related conversation that doesn’t seem to have a point.

As a millennial, I have friends that use acronyms for everything. Raised on outlandishly detailed books by Charles Dickens, I have a rough time understanding these little quips. The first time I saw “ROFL,” I was thinking about barking waffles, but “rolling on floor laughing” is better. I guess. At any rate, I learned these little things to communicate with my friends and not be boring. This carries over into business, in a sense. We must adjust our content to people’s attention spans.

You don’t have to go so far with this as to be unprofessional in your communications, but you do have to shorten your message and get to the point. Cut the clutter, cut out anyone who doesn’t need to hear what you are saying, and give the person on the other end a more direct and conversational approach that they can easily digest.

Here’s a few tips to get you started in your business communications:

1. Be personable

This automatically makes you approachable and well-received. It doesn’t have to be outlandish. Use little remarks like “I hope you had a great weekend,” or “thank you for getting in touch.”

2. Use an easy to follow structure with headlines and bullet points

Don’t make your reader sift through your information. Breaking up information into palatable chunks helps people absorb content without getting distracted by the many other things demanding attention.

3. CCs

Don’t copy people on emails unless they must know the information contained in the email. I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes things can get out of hand. A conversation between two colleagues can go on for 20 emails, and their boss doesn’t need to be in on each one of those emails—only the first and last one.

4. Be precise

Save time by reading over your email or letter and making sure nothing has a double meaning, is too long-winded, or doesn’t get to the point. Is there a point? State your point first and your supporting information afterward in bite size portions.

Hopefully those tips will help you going forward. Being long-winded myself, I have to cut out my “babies”—my precious little details that nobody else cares about. Did it work? You’ll have to let me know next time you stop by the shop.

Is your message above the fold?

In the newspaper business (that’s the thing that would land on your porch about 5am each morning back in the olden days), publishers and editors had a mantra: “all that matters is what’s above the fold”. The same thing should hold true for your e-blasts. If you can’t keep all the content on the screen or one “page down” don’t put it in your e-mail.

Everyone is slammed. They don’t have time, and if they did have time, they wouldn’t use it to read the hundreds of e-mail novels they get each day.
Focus on the frequency of your e-blast, use minimal content, grab their attention, keep their interest. Do all this in less than 100 words and with only a couple of graphics. Now sit back and watch your open rate score change.

Your content should include relevant and timely information that’s concise. Help your audience skim your content by grouping it with subtitles. Use call-outswhat do you have above the fold? Illustration of a stick figure below the fold, trying to get attention. to focus their attention where it matters most. Include links in your content that back up your point. Linking to content from your own web site will keep your audience engaged with your marketing platform and bolster your credibility at the same time.

E-blasts aren’t just an art, they can be a science. As a marketer, your job is not only to produce content, but also to use analytics to identify the ideal content and frequency. Test, make more adjustments, then test again. When you are all finished and you are sending the best e-blast possible.

If you need help, APi-marketing is here for you. Give us a call, or better yet, send us a short e-mail. Let’s work with your ideas. Your business is unique, make sure everyone knows that.

Battle the Cyber Monsters

Computer viruses are no new concept. We’ve all heard not to open attachments from strangers, not to click on ads, not to type text that is not a website URL into the browser. Well, gone are the days of our computers slowing down when they have viruses. Computers are way more efficient and attackers way more sneaky. You may not even have to click on anything, just load a webpage with ads and a little snippet of something will sit in your computer, waiting for a command from its leader.

One of the growing malware categories is Ransomware. This kind of malware encrypts (or claims to encrypt) your files and hold them for a ransom of hundreds of dollars. One of the most recent variants, CryptoLocker, is getting some attention for it’s seemingly professional assistance in coaching the victim step by step on how to pay the ransom and receive a key to unlock the files (hopefully).

you won't want to see this screen, neither do we!

Thankfully, we have an excellent staff on hand to tell us the latest and greatest scams out there and this helps us make decisions that are safer and more streamlined.

One of the improvements we have made is to stop sending PDF proofs via email. So much malware is sent using attachments in emails that are meant to look like they are coming from somebody in your own office! Be mindful of the language the person in each email with an attachment is using. If you sense something out of character, it is better to call them and see what’s up before going any further. Get verbal confirmation first, open the attachment later.

  Continue reading Battle the Cyber Monsters