You Have 8 Seconds: Get My Attention

April 25, 2012 by  Filed under: Advertising 

Did this headline grab your attention? Good, because that’s what this month’s article is about… getting the attention of your customer.

In today’s technology-fueled, fast paced, sound bite world, distractions abound. Our ever shrinking attention span makes it more challenging than ever for marketers to reach their potential customers. Getting our marketing message across quickly is critical. Think of it much like a billboard along a highway, a vehicle speeding along has 3-5 seconds to take in the information. With digital information at our fingertips, communicating to customers is no different; you have just seconds to make an impression.

Depending on the generation you are marketing to, the average attention span can vary wildly. Younger consumers, for example, are especially difficult to reach, having grown-up with the internet at their fingertips, their attention span is relatively short. Boomers on the other hand, may take a few extra seconds to consider the information being presented. On average, you have roughly 8 seconds to make that all important impression.

So how do you do it? Here are a 10 tips on getting your message noticed.

1) State what you want to communicate immediately. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t get cute or clever, just tell them what you want or how they can benefit from your product or service. They’ll either be interested or they won’t.

2) Use unique imagery. As George Carlin said, “If you put two things together that has never been put together before, someone will buy it from you.” Combining images to create something that jars the imagination can stop someone in their tracks long enough to arouse curiosity.

3) Ask a question. Questions gets the mind thinking and humans are problem solvers by nature. When a question is put in front of us, our subconscious mind begins to work on it. When it comes to your product or service, get the customer thinking of how it will better their quality of life.

4) Add a little mystery. This technique is completely opposite of tip 1, however, if used effectively, it can stop someone dead in their tracks. Wrap your product in such a way that the consumer wants to find out more… creating a desire.

5) Tease them. Similar to creating a mystery, teasing arouses curiosity by providing just enough information to get their attention. Teaser ads are often used in print and sometimes outdoor. When using this marketing strategy, timing is everything. Make sure the time span between the teaser and the actual message is short enough that the consumer doesn’t forget about the teaser to begin with. As the old saying goes… “Always leave them begging for more.”

6) Use humor. A light-hearted image, a clever statement, or a quick joke or pun is a good method on getting someone’s attention. We all enjoy a good laugh.

7) Keep it simple. Like a billboard, the fewer the words the better. This is sometimes challenging to accomplish, but a shorter message is actually easier to remember and makes a longer impression.

8) Price your product ridiculously low. This tactic is especially useful when you want to acquire new customers or entice existing customers to purchase other products you sell. It’s the old “discounted-sales” item to get them in the store promotion.

9) Know your target audience. Even the finest crafted message can miss the mark if aimed at the wrong market. Know what you want to achieve and who you need to achieve it. Then customize your marketing message to fit the demographics.

10) Animate it. Where media dictates, use motion to grab the person’s eye. Colorful, fast moving images are immediate attention getters… just be careful not to over do it… then it just becomes obnoxious.

These tips just cover a few of the basics. Use your creativity to come up with new ways to grab (and hold) the attention of your customers.

I hope I held your attention long enough for you to complete this article. If so, mission accomplished.

A full service graphic design and marketing firm based in Champaign, Illinois, specializing in brand development and implementation.

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