My blog is about exchanging ideas and best practices on all things marketing and communications related. I'm interested in your thoughts, feedback, additions, arguments and point of view.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Writing Effectively for the Blackberry...

As BlackBerrys become the device of choice for the business user, consider this - their small utilitarian screen and moderate brightness means your beautifully crafted email is being read in busy, frenetic surroundings and evaluated in a milli-second. That's because more than 60% of senior executives carry one and use it primarily to view email.

So consider these techniques to help ensure your message has the best chance of being understood. But first, find a BlackBerry and see for yourself how small the screen is.

1. Use the right font size.
“Based on what we’ve seen, using 8-point fonts seems to work,” says mobileStorm CEO Jared Reitzin. “In the end, you want to make the body text a small but viewable size.”

2. Keep subject lines short, using only key words, such as “Action Item” and “Reminder,” and for time-sensitive events such as webinars, “Filling Fast.”

3. Put the *subject* first in the subject line. For example, if your email is for a Search Engine Optimization white paper, “SEO” should be the first thing they read in the subject line.

4. Use codes to communicate the desired response: 411 (for your information), 611 (response in 24 hours please) and 911 (Urgent request).

5. Make the message scanable.
Since the majority of senior executives in organizations have a mobile device of some sort, accept that busy people don’t read -- they scan. That's why it's so important to grab the reader's attention with a strong call to action, then bullet points of key content.

The old adage, ‘be brief, be brilliant and be gone,’ applies here in spades. Recent studies suggest that by following these guidelines, you'll communicate more effectively to an overworked director and get your point across every time.

Worst case scenario - they can always dial your number if they roll their eyes after reading your email.

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