Every minute of every day, 149,513 emails are sent, according to a recent report by Smart Insights. And If that's not intimidating enough, 29 million WhatsApp messages a minute are transmitted...448,800 tweets tweeted every sixty seconds, along with 3.3 million Facebook posts every minute of every day.


It's a nightmare plaguing digital marketers, destroying conversion rates and making it harder and harder for anyone to get attention online. And of course it's far more difficult to get someone to pay attention if your company is new or unknown to them.

The click-through rates for traditional banner ads have deteriorated dramatically over time, also a consequence of internet information overload. Smart Insights reports March 2017 click-through averages of 0.05 percent--five clicks per 10,000 impressions. Remember, those are simply clicks to your landing page or other location, and not by any means a new customer or transaction. Adding insult to injury, marketing experts estimate each one of us is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ad messages per day.

What's an e-marketer to do?

There's no simple answer, for sure, but for starters, post the pie chart on the wall near the spot where you do your most and best thinking. Use it as a constant, graphic reminder of how challenging it is to get a prospect or even a customer's attention. To improve the odds, and get somebody to notice you somehow, try these tricks:

1. Get to the Point, Quickly

Messages should assume their average lifespan is somewhere short of ten seconds, assuming of course the recipient actually opens the message without deleting it based on its subject line. Write short, get to the point, and use embedded links to make it easy for those who are interested to dig deeper, learn more, and perhaps buy.

2. Be relevant, informative, and helpful

Avoid self-serving, hyperbolic copy and give the reader information of value to him or her; don't scream "SALE" or "BUY NOW" at the top of your lungs, but provide short, to-the-point ideas about (a) the problem you're solving or need you're filling for the customer; (b) why it's important they address the issue; and (c) why yours is a solution well worth exploring.

3. Try to create "passalong" value

The impact of an email people forward to a friend will far outstrip the value of yours. Five diet tips or three ways to save time in email or whatever--give them something relevant to your offer, yet worthy of forwarding to friends in need. Read reams of information about viral marketing and learn to do this well.

4. Be interesting, even entertaining

Use graphics, cartoons, animated GIFs, even jokes to "welcome" the reader into your missive. Hopefully they'll reward you by reading beyond the punch line, or perhaps passing it to friends and co-workers.

5. Be relevant

Use your first words to explain why you're important to the reader, as in "Men under 30 have a problem with..." or "If you're shopping for a new car..." Then be sure you've targeted your emails to an audience that matches your segmentation.

Sadly, few startups have substantial advertising budgets in their early days thus we're all forced to use these tools to get attention for our products and services. Back in the good ol' internet bubble days, VC's threw milliions at unproven marketing tactics like Super Bowl ads($3million) and paid advertising campaigns. Those days are history, covered in the blood of many failed startups and the e-marketers throwing mountains of unproven dollars at adwords, banners, and other untested tactics with no validation of their ability to generate customers at an affordable customer acquisition cost.

Be sure someone on your leadership team is focused nearly 100% on the "get customers" marketing activity, and is testing every email blast, Facebook ad, or other tactic before rolling it out to deafening silence. After all, without customers, your business is little more than a good idea--and it won't even be that for very long.