Five Ways to Get Your Message Through to an Overloaded Audience

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by Felice Miller Gabriel
We live in an era of abundant information: The Internet can deliver that random piece of trivia you can’t remember, the fastest route to your office, or a selection of viral cat videos—instantly… to the palm of your hand.But there’s a downside to having a wealth of information at our fingertips, especially for marketers eager to have their message heard.

So many communications and messages are reaching everyone in your audience, that it requires more skill than ever to get your audience’s attention and make your message stand out.

Here are five quick tips on how to communicate your most important marketing messages and cut through the clutter of a crowded marketplace in the modern mobile era.

1. Personalize your communications

I don’t mean simply incorporating users’ names into an email template. And your audience doesn’t just want offers, deals, or news; they want to feel like you “get” them; it’s that sense of connection that draws customers back again and again.

By personalizing your message, service, or information to each user, you make it that much more likely that you’ll get a “hit”—i.e., pique someone’s interest.

What’s more, your message stands out from impersonalized communications, and you demonstrate to your customers that you understand who they are and what they are into.

2. Market like a scientist

We live in the era of Big Data, and you shouldn’t shy away from gathering evidence, observing, and testing. A/B-test your communications, or try multivariate testing to understand how different combinations of variables rank.

Rearrange the wording, try different subject lines, mix up the format… You get only one chance to make a good impression, so test away to ensure you land at the best possible end point.

Make sure your portfolio of marketing automation tools includes support for A/B-testing emails (MailChimp, Marketo, and many others), Web content (Optimizely), graphical assets and print material (PickFu), as well as any other channels you rely on.

Make sure your tests include enough samples to achieve statistical significance. The best way to ensure that is to use a sample-size calculator calibrated for A/B testing.

The smaller a performance difference you are trying to measure, the larger a sample size you’ll need to measure it. Discerning any real effect will likely take at least many hundreds, and more likely a few thousand data points, depending on your baseline conversion rates and how large an effect you are trying to detect.

3. Measure, measure, measure

OK, you tested out some alternatives via A/B-testing and picked what seems to work best with your audience, but your job hasn’t ended yet.

Though you definitely have to test before delivering your message, just as important is to track how it performs during and after delivery. Without hard, tangible evidence, you can’t confidently claim your message is being well-received, and ongoing measurement helps you keep track of results from larger changes over time that likely aren’t captured in a few rounds of A/B-testing.

The most important thing to figure out is what metrics you should be tracking. Those metrics vary by channel. For outbound communications, such as emails and push notifications, you want to know successful delivery rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe/unfollow rates.

Don’t neglect the rates of bad outcomes (such as unsubscribes or unfollows); more annoying, in-your-face marketing might increase conversions mildly in the short run but it can easily alienate users and turn them off entirely from your message.

4. Use different channels for different folks

Email is great, but we live in a mobile era that offers many ways to reach your audience—at their desks or on the go.

Whether using push notifications, SMS, social media feeds, messaging apps, etc., you don’t need to restrict your marketing messages to only one channel. In keeping with the theme of personalization, you should customize delivery methods to ensure that each audience member receives your message via the channel they are most receptive to.

Ask users during a sign-up or onboarding process how they prefer to receive communications. Let them select or unselect channels pre-emptively, and then periodically give them a reminder that they can update those settings.

5. Rely on iterative improvement

Take a second to step away and analyze your approach. Ask yourself what worked, then continue implementing it. Concurrently, decide what didn’t work, and find a way to fix it.

Once you have determined the method that allows your message to be delivered to the right audience… repeat, repeat, repeat.