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٩◔̯◔۶ skip this and lose half your readers

Introduction

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie is the best-selling author of Email Persuasion and the creator of Unsnooze Your Inbox - *the* guide to crafting engaging emails and newsletters that captivate your audience, build authority and generate more sales.


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٩◔̯◔۶ skip this and lose half your readers

The first few seconds of your content are make or break. You could lose half your audience if you get it wrong.

In an email or Linkedin post it's the first sentence or two. On Youtube it's the first 30 seconds. maybe less.

That's how long it takes for someone to decide whether to continue reading or watching.

Marketing experts rightly tell you to put a lot of effort into your subject line or headline or thumbnail image – because that's what gets people to stop, pay attention and start to read or watch.

But they put a lot less focus on what happens next – and that's a big mistake.

Because if half your readers quit straight away, all that effort you put into the subject line was wasted.

“How do I get people to keep reading or watching?” I fake hear you ask :)

Two things.

Bear in mind the decision isn't a purely rational one. A lot of it is System 1 thinking. Instant gut feel heuristics at their best.

The first thing is “does this look easy?”

When they open your email or start to read your Linkedin post, is it horrible dense text that looks like you'll have to battle with it.

Or is it nice and open.

Plenty of whitespace. Plenty of variety in sentences and paragraphs.

On Youtube I'm less certain of what “easy” looks like but I suspect that fast-paced rather than pondering is the key.

The second thing is Potential Value.

Form what you see in those first few sentences, do you get a sense that you'll get a lot of value from reading or watching the rest.

I use “value” in the loosest sense here. It could be value like boring content markers mean: some kind of practical, useful, how-to info.

But value could also be a brilliant new idea that triggers a lightbulb moment. Or it could just be you're entertained for a bit and can forget the monotony of daily work life.

Either way, you have to see in those first moments that you'll get value. That allows your System 2 brain to put a lid on System 1 and stop it looking for something new for instant gratification.

“Oh but Ian” I fake hear you ask again, “how do I show potential value early on?”

That one's simple. You tell them.

On Youtube rather than playing your expensive intro ident first, cold open and tell them what they'll learn from this video and how that will benefit them. Then cut to the intro.

In an email do the same – say what they'll learn and why it's important. Or make a provocative statement they'll want to have explained. Or begin an intriguing story they can't resist hearing the end of.

I opened this email with “The first few seconds of your content are make or break. You could lose half your audience if you get it wrong.”

I'm not saying that't the perfect opener, but it does the job.

It gets you interested by introducing a problem: that the first few seconds of your content are make or break. And it raises the stakes by saying you could lose half your audience if you get it wrong.

That second part is vital. No point telling people about a problem they have if they don't think it's important. 

I call this compelling opening to an email (or any content) your “hook”. Because it hooks your readers or viewers in and makes them want more.

It's a vital element of any successful email alongside the transition, content and call to action.

    Ian Brodie

    Ian Brodie

    https://www.ianbrodie.com

    Ian Brodie is the best-selling author of Email Persuasion and the creator of Unsnooze Your Inbox - *the* guide to crafting engaging emails and newsletters that captivate your audience, build authority and generate more sales.

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