Writing business communications for a mobile audience is very different than writing for the web, much less a pdf newsletter or “fax blast!” Content can be harder to comprehend and consume. It’s typically viewed on the move, read on a tiny screen, and scrolled with the flick of a thumb.
So, if you want someone to read your message, you better make it a thumb-stopper.
Here are a few tips:
1. Match the audience and content. If you can’t do this one right, the rest won’t matter. “All staffs” are rarely for all staff and any message that starts with “if this doesn’t apply to you, please ignore” cues everyone to ignore it. It says that you don’t care enough to select the right audience, so I don’t care enough to read it!
2. Use a strong Subject/Headline: Mobile audiences are used to scrolling for information with the flick of a thumb. Subject/headlines count. A mobile reader will decide with a glance if a message is worth reading. A good subject/headline is no more than six words and lets a reader know exactly what they will find when they click to read the message. Or, better yet, maybe it can convey the whole message. For example: “Parking Lot 4 Closed Today” versus “Pardon the Inconvenience”
3. Use keywords to grab attention. Assuming you have chosen the right audience (see 1.), you should also know what is important to them. So, choose words in your subject/headline that will automatically express relevance and timeliness for the particular recipients. Generic words get generic responses. Focusing on a few keywords can also help prevent long, meandering headlines.
4. Be focused and concise. These two work hand-in-hand. Focus on one topic so you don’t bury the recipient in information and you don’t bury important topics in an epic list. Mobile audiences are not going to cull through complex or layered information and they probably aren’t interested in a display of your literary prowess.
5. Make clear questions or calls-to-action. If you want someone to do something, don’t hide it. Whether it’s just feedback on a question or a direct order, making the prompt clear from the start will give you a better chance of getting the response you want.