How to Handle Your Email Subscriber’s Shrinking Attention Spans


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Email marketing has its own set of challenges. Adding your customers’ shrinking attention span to that list of challenges hardly seems fair, but it’s real.

You’ve got some serious competition out there if you’re hoping to keep your customers focused on your emails over the hundreds hitting their inboxes each week.

If you’re wondering how to handle your customers’ shrinking attention spans and high expectations for email content, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how e-mail marketers can cater to their customers’ short attention spans.

Learn Your Customers

We’re not talking about simple demographic information. We’re talking in-depth consumer psychology. We’re talking about learning your customers’ deepest desires, most pressing needs, behaviors, feelings, and motivations that influence their actions regarding emails.

Find out:

  • If your customers even like email content
  • Why do your customers open emails
  • Why do they end up tagging an email as spam
  • What motivates them to click on particular CTAs
  • How to get your customers to read an entire email
  • If they prefer written content, visual content, or a combination of both
  • What makes a customer sign up for your email list
  • How your customers first learn about your email list
  • What makes your customers actually engage with emails, not just read them

As you learn about your customers, you’ll also figure out the best times to send emails.

Figure Out the Best Times to Send Emails

One of the best ways to handle your customers’ shrinking attention span is to figure out the best times to send emails. Reach them when they’re most ready to read and engage with emails.

For example, many of us experience an afternoon slump each day. We’re tired, groggy, and unwilling to engage in anything during this time. Many email marketers don’t consider this and send emails during the afternoon slump. As a result, their open rates and engagement suffer.

Instead of doing this, send your emails when people are typically alert and engaged. For example, sending your emails early in the morning when they’re getting ready for work is an excellent choice.

In addition to sending your emails at the right times, be sure they also provide value.

Provide Value

Your customers’ attention spans are getting shorter because there’s just so much content and information to consume. But you can distance yourself from it all by providing value in your emails.

Highly relevant, entertaining, engaging content will always capture customers’ attention.

Hold your emails to a high-quality standard. Use your unique brand voice to write engaging copy. In addition, include images, videos, and other visuals to enhance the value of every email.

Also, always use easy-to-read copy in your emails.

Always Use Easy-to-Read Copy

Copy should be top of the list when discussing how to handle your customers’ shrinking attention span. Long, irrelevant emails are a surefire way to lose your customers’ attention.

You can ensure your customers keep your emails in their inboxes, open and engage with them by always using easy-to-read copy. Paragraphs should be no longer than four sentences. Your emails should also be broken up by headings and sub-headings so that readers can quickly scan your content.

Furthermore, when appropriate, use bullet points, lists, and bold text to keep things organized and highlight critical topics in your emails.

Also, be sure to use the best calls to action to wrap up your emails.

Use the Best CTAs for Your Audience

Calls to action or CTAs are critical for any email because they drive specific customer action. If you’ve done well with your copy, customers will likely engage with your emails until the very end. So, ensure you wrap your emails up with a nice CTA.

Experiment with CTAs until you find the ones that lead to the most conversions. Then, create different variations of your most popular ones and use them well.

Also, implement eye-catching graphics in your emails to help handle your customers’ shrinking attention span.

Implementing Eye-Catching Graphics

Easy-to-read copy and excellent CTAs put your emails ahead of a lot of your competitors. However, these things aren’t enough. Eye-catching visuals should accompany your written content to suck your customers further into your emails.

It’s a good idea to take your own pictures or hire a photographer for your brand to supply you with original images. A graphic designer might also be of great help because they can create other visuals, like infographics, charts, posters, and slideshows.

Lastly, be sure there’s meaning and direction behind your brand.

Work on Your Brand Identity

In short, your brand identity is who you are, what you stand for, and how you want customers to perceive your brand. Without a solid brand identity, it’s nearly impossible to stand out and capture your customers’ attention. But on the other hand, if your brand identity is intact, it’s easier to capture the eyes, hearts, and minds of your target audience.

To strengthen your brand identity, do the following:

  • Be sure brand consistency is a priority
  • Revisit your company’s mission and core values
  • Lean into user-generated content and conversation
  • Always highlight what makes you different from competitors
  • Ask the owner to come from behind the scenes and engage with your audience

All in all, working on your brand identity helps solidify what makes you unique. And from there, you can leverage what makes you stand out to keep your customers’ attention.


Ultimately, how you handle your customers’ shrinking attention span will be the difference between being a memorable brand or a long-forgotten business. By learning about your customers, caring about the details of your content, providing value, and strengthening your brand, you can keep your customers focused on you rather than the competition.

Jori Hamilton is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She has a passion for writing about digital marketing, cybersecurity, and sustainability. You can find her on Twitter as @hamiltonjori.

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