You have eight seconds to be relevant. Go.

That’s pretty much the challenge facing today’s marketers.

I was talking with a colleague about the importance of email subject lines, and she cited a study that indicated that marketers have approximately eight seconds to grab the reader’s attention.

Eight seconds.

That’s it. If you don’t grab their interest in that tiny window of time, they will move on to the hundreds of other messages that are clamoring for their attention.

So how can you capture the attention of your target audience in eight seconds? Here are a few tips to help you:

Tie In To The News

Look at what conversations your target audiences are already engaged with and show how your product or service relates to that. Can you tie a new movie release from Hollywood that you can relate to your product? Is there something in politics that relates to your business? During Christmas, you’ll find marketers who talk about what great gifts the products would make, and just before the Fourth of July, many marketers talk about how their target can “take back their independence.”

Be Succinct

Many people criticize President Trump for his use of Twitter, but he has found a way to talk to constituents and opponents alike in just 140 characters. People today simply do not have the attention span for more.

Be Clever

Is there some unique twist that you can take that will make your target audience smile, or see a new perspective, or just appreciate the thought?

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Edgy

For one of our clients, we have developed a public relations pitch for target media outlets that offered up our client as an expert who could speak to the issue of bringing automotive jobs back to the US and its impact on business. We tested many different subject lines to see which would be most appealing.

The interesting thing about this is that while we wanted to tie in to the current news, we wanted to make sure to remain neutral. We weren’t trying to make a political statement that Trump’s rhetoric or actions were good or bad either… But we did feel that the client could add something to the conversation, and so we wanted to be sure that they would at least take note of what we were offering.

If you look at the results open rates of the various subject lines, you’ll see that the edgier ones had higher open rates than the others.

Subject Line and Open Rate

1) Why Missouri Auto Parts Industry May Embrace Chance – 17.9% opened

2) Let’s Look At The Big Picture – 23.4% opened

3) Can We Embrace Change Under Trump – 26.92% opened

4) Will The Auto Industry Be Retooled? – 18.92% opened

5) Missouri Braces For “Made In America” Automotive – 18.18% opened

6) Trump May Resize Automotive – 11.04% opened

7) It’s Time To Shift Gears – 33.33% opened

8) These Trends Could Speed Things Up In Automotive – 13.46 opened

9) How Do You Feel About The Trump Effect? – 30.51% opened

Our overall open rate was 21.5%, which is far above average of 12% one would normally see in a pitch such as this.

So try to be interesting to your target audience and engage with them honestly and authentically. Most of all be relevant. Show how your product/brand/service matters in their lives, be creative and they’ll be sure to take notice.