blog_3_seconds_artThey say you never get a second chance to make a first impression … and this holds true in marketing, as well. Research shows that we’ve got only 3 seconds to gain our prospect’s attention, then 12 more seconds for recognition.

If you fail to capture the interest of your audience in those first few seconds — if they choose not to open that e-mail or envelope —the rest of the work you’ve done will be wasted.

How should this affect what you write and design? Here are a couple of the most important things to consider:

1) Know your audience.

Who are you mailing or e-mailing to? An upscale audience who will respond to fancy packaging? A value-seeking audience you want to entice with a teaser that promises a special deal? Use what you know about your audience to inform your strategy.

2) Consider the context.

No one wants to feel tricked. While it may be tempting to use a clever ploy to get your audience to open your mailing, be careful not to go too far. For instance, coaxing someone into opening your coupon pack with an envelope that’s made to look like it contains a bill might only breed resentment. Likewise, for a customer mailing, you may not want to crowd your envelope with promotional teasers.

Capture your audience’s interest in a way that’s relevant and authentic, and that’s true to the context of your offer. Doing so gives them a reason to open and follow through to your call to action.