Email Best Practice - The 5 Ws

It's official, according to scientists, the average human attention span is now less than a goldfish.


Thanks to smartphones, it has slipped from 12 seconds on average (around year 2000) to 8 seconds following a study by Microsoft in 2015. Now placing us just behind the mighty 9 seconds of a goldfish.



Never has it been so hard to capture and retain the attention of a human.


Why is this relevant to us Marketers? Because every time we try and communicate a brand message or update, it’s now more important than ever to make sure we do so quickly and clearly – otherwise the message will be lost.


How do we do this? Simple. Go back to basics. Strip back all the surplus information that you’re filling your email campaigns with, and ask yourself the key 5 Ws…






Why are we sending this email? What is its primary purpose? What is the main call to action (CTA)?



  • We’re all guilty for trying to pack too much information into a campaign, but while we’re trying to do a good thing by providing the recipient with lots of information, all it does is water down the primary purpose of the email, providing more distractions for the recipient.



  • Establish why we’re sending the message as this can help shape the content of the email.







What do you want them to do with it? Is it an event invite? A newsletter?



  • What do you want the recipient to do with the campaign? Is it an event invitation? If so, it’s to RSVP. Is it a Newsletter? Then you may want to drive traffic to the website.



  • Establish what you want the recipient to do with the email as this can shape how you design it and how you present the content & CTA’s.







Who are we sending the email to? Is it targeted at contacts who we know want to receive the email?



  • Everyone wants to hear what I have to say right? Wrong. Targeted sending. It’s the only way to improve your campaign results and ensure you’re getting the right content in front of the right people.



  • No one likes receiving an email that has no relevance whatsoever, it’s damaging for the brand. Don’t fall into the trap of sending to all. Qualify your contact lists. Tailor the content based on contact preferences.







When is the best time to send it?



  • You need to make sure that the email arrives at the best time to ensure maximum engagement.



  • Is this a communication that we’ll be sending regularly? Sending at the same time can create a familiarity with your email as well as increased engagement.



  • Want them to complete a specific CTA? Send at an optimum time to ensure maximum engagement.







Where will the recipient most likely read the campaign?



  • Where people are when they view the email, and on what device they see it, will have a major impact on how successful it is.



  • Based on the time of send, the user may be on the go, on their mobile, or sat at their desk, at their laptop. This information can inform the content you present the recipient, what CTA’s you include and how much content you include.





Ask yourself those questions above at the start of every email campaign, and it will help ensure that you’re communicating the right content, at the right time, to the right people for the right reasons.


With all of this effort, your campaigns will yield better engagement and more leads.