By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
2 minute read
In case you haven’t already heard, the human attention span has fallen to an all-time low of eight seconds – that’s one second lower than a goldfish.
Our brains just can’t keep up with the amount of content and information that’s being presented to us on a daily basis.
Would it also surprise you to know that a more than few colleges and universities are sending prospective students emails all seven days of the week? It’s true.
Getting and keeping the attention of your target audience has never been a bigger challenge.
If you want to increase your odds and improve your chances for engagement, shorter messages are oftentimes going to be better.
But, and this is an important point to remember – Content that is timely, helpful, authentic, and/or entertaining will always hold its audience…even if it takes a little longer to consume. Proof of that can be found all over YouTube right now.
Here are seven tips that will help make your messaging shorter and more engaging:
- The longer it takes you to write an email, letter, or text message, and the more times you re-read and edit it, the more likely you are to make it too wordy, too polished, and include a bunch of extra information that’s going to get in the way of what you’re trying to get across to the reader.
- Stick with one main point or topic. You don’t need to tell them everything all at one time.
- Get rid of any ‘fluff’ at the beginning and dive right into the core point of your message. This generation continues to tell us in surveys that it’s okay for you to be direct – many actually prefer that. Here’s a quick example that performed very well for a client of ours last month. The email was sent from the Admissions Counselor to all new senior Common App suspects with the subject line – Tell me your #1 thing. The counselor shared they were excited the student had added them to their list of schools on the Common App, and then asked the following question – “What’s the number one thing you want to know more about when it comes to being a student here?” The email then ended with a call to action of – “Reply back and tell me the first thing that pops into your head, o.k. Hope to hear from you soon.” Short, direct, and engaging works.
- Use a conversational tone and make your content feel more personal and less transactional by talking with the reader and not at them.
- Incorporate more storytelling from the current student point of view. This includes your social media content.
- Visually, include lots of white space with short paragraphs. We like to read things that are easy on our eyes. Structure and the look of your message matter to this generation.
- Have one clear call to action instead of multiple things to do or multiple hyperlinks to click.
Got a question or comment about this article, just hit reply or ask me on Twitter here.
If you found this article helpful, I encourage you to forward it to someone else on your campus who could also benefit from reading it.
And if you’re interested in reading more articles with quick tips and strategies you can use, check out our admissions BLOG.