An avalanche of messaging was never a great idea, and it is much less so now when everyone is wading through a seemingly constant influx of, well, life. Keeping communications concise respects members’ time—and their frame of mind.
Everyone knew before the pandemic that messages should be shorter and more concise, and words could be replaced with graphics or infographics. But we weren’t changing. In 2020, with all the crises, we had to change. Now, with the recent Delta variant surge, everyone is in a “weird hybrid of anxiety,” says Sheri Singer, president of Singer Communications.
“As communicators, we all have to take into account where members are, and meet them there,” she says.
How Does It Work?
“Cut your copy by 50 percent and write compelling subject lines,” Singer advises. Spend almost as much time on writing the subject line—to get it right—as you do on the body copy. Forty-seven percent of people open emails based on subject lines. If you want people to open your emails, the subject line needs to answer the question: What’s in it for me?
“You have to write it in terms of what the member gets out of it, not what the association gets out of it,” she says. For example, instead of framing a subject line with a message like “Rejoin our association,” try framing it this way: “Here are three things you’re going to get if you rejoin.”
Also, write emails like inverted pyramids, similar to a news article, so members get the information they need in the top line. And the copy should be bulleted, if possible. “It just makes it so much easier for people to get the information quickly,” she says.
Why Is It Effective?
“Our communications must be shorter, or we simply aren’t going to be heard,” Singer says. “When we are stressed out—and especially when it’s long-term stress—our brains literally cannot absorb the amount of information that we could take in in the past.”
What’s the Benefit?
It takes less time to write a bulleted list than it does to write five pages of copy, and it takes your members less time to read. Members will appreciate that it takes less time to get the same information. And they will know what the email is going to be about because you wrote a compelling subject line that enticed them to open the email.
“You’ve just gifted them with a little bit more time in their day,” Singer says. “And if I were a member, I would appreciate that.”
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