Three Dots and Other Email Attention Tips

This is the first thing you want to happen…do I have your attention?

Three dots in your sentence leave  a sense of incompleteness, and cause the reader to look for more. 

The subject line is the most important part of your email message.  This is your attention grabber.  Having three dots, called an ellipsis point, in your subject line makes the reader feel compelled to open the email to find out what else there is that they need to know.  A recent subject line on an email I got from Frank Kern, who is an exceptional online marketer,  read “Good news…very good news.”  How could I not open that? 

In addition to the three dots, having the word this in your subject line also creates curiosity, along with the words about your, or here.    Subject lines like  About your invitation;  Here is your chance for gold…or This is awesome all create curiosity. 

Our brains are geared to look for completion.  The saying “Curiosity killed the cat” probably describes the process better than any I know.  Looking for completion is so automatic we barely know how to resist.  A subject line that presents an incomplete thought about a topic of interest to your prospect or target audience arouses their curiosity.  To satisfy their curiosity, your email will get opened.

And…if your email content matches your subject line, they’ll keep reading.  The more closely it matches, the more intriguing it becomes, and the closer you get to capturing their full, undivided attention.

Your first sentence must deliver enough impact to keep your prospects reading.  Remember, you’re a real person talking to another real person.  Keep it conversational.  I’ll mention Frank Kern again as a role model, because in my mind, he is a master of casual conversation.  In the first sentence of one email, he says “Hey, if you’re into this whole free traffic thing…”  and then goes on with just a little more detail before “having the conversation” about what he is marketing.  This first sentence is where you bond…where you gain rapport and make your prospect feel like he…or she… knows you.

Stay focused.  Being conversational doesn’t mean moving away from what you want to describe to your prospect.  Many professional journalists use something called an inverted pyramid to write.  This technique is well suited for email marketing.   The top…or in this case the broad…part of the pyramid contains the most important information…your most significant points.  The least important information will be at the bottom of your email.  Simple, succinct, and short is the best way to communicate effectively in email.  Focused and friendly will keep you connected.

Provide something of value.  Your subject line may have enticed your prospect to open your email.  That doesn’t mean they’ll keep reading, though, if their first scan tells them there’s nothing of value in it for them.  After all, they’re spending their valuable time opening your email and scanning, so they expect something in return.  Whether it’s useful information, or a valuable discount, to keep your prospects’ attention, ensure you’re providing something that will be valuable to them.

Remember the benefit.  What will it do for your prospect?  You’ve told them it’s valuable, they recognize that.  They now need to know what to do with that value.  How can you demonstrate the benefit?  If you’re selling apples fresh from the orchard, you might say “Can you smell the cinnamon apple scent of  fresh-from-the-oven apple pie that your family loves?”

By now you have your prospect’s full, undivided attention.  All they need to do is take action.  If all you do is provide information, and the compelling selling points about your product or service, you’ll still lose their attention if you don’t tell your prospect what they need to do next…take action.  “An order today will get your apples to your door in time to bake that fresh apple pie for the Sunday afternoon barbecue…or impress your mother-in-law.”  Whatever your call to action is, make sure to include it.

Keep your prospects attention…from the subject line… to the action line.  Keep the lines of communication open and flowing.  It’s pure gold.


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