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Profiting from Attention

Posted On - 10/04/2014 14:50:36

"Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted…"

"…the problem is I don't know which half." This quote from Lord Leverhulme, founder of Lever Brothers, sums up why understanding marketing really matters.

Imagine altering that split so only 40% of your money was wasted – you'd want that no? The question is how?

Well it can be done: all you have to do is put yourself in your customer's shoes. Or more accurately as E. St Elmo Lewis put it in 1898 (yes, there were marketing types that long ago), think about how to "attract attention, maintain interest and create desire".

But to leave things there doesn't tell the whole story. Because while Lewis's model has stood the test of time, today we can add in much more on the psychology behind how people think and decide to buy. And if you put all that together the effectiveness of your marketing becomes transformed.

Don't waste profitable attention

It's one thing to grab the attention of those who will never be customers. It's another to waste it from those who could.

Given you've only an instant you won't capitalise on that attention by being vague – you'll just get binned.

You must explain fast why people should be interested. You can do this in several ways. Key is to create headlines that both target customers and contain a benefit.

Take "Computer Cables" v "Extra Long HDMI Cables" as an example. This technique increases readership 4 times.

Using images is also a powerful technique. But the image must emphasise the benefits of what you're promoting – otherwise it's just noise – so not any picture of an HDMI cable, a long one showing how the reach is beneficial.

Another proven technique is to make your message ‘News'. So the HMDI marketing becomes "HDMI Cables - Now Extra Long."  Studies have shown ‘news headlines' are recalled by 22% more people.

Write like you're having a conversation

Let's face it, if you could talk to all your customers and prospects directly you would. But that's physically impossible so you use marketing. This means you use ‘writing' to ‘speak'. But have you ever noticed how different written English is to spoken? Write a speech then say it and suddenly what looked good on paper sounds awkward.

This matters because we read by saying in our heads what we see. So if you want to communicate effectively you've got to mimic that. In other words write as you'd speak - warts and all. If that means ‘bending' grammar, do it. That doesn't mean breaking grammar or using it badly, it means things like: dropping full stops; starting sentences with ‘and' and ‘but'; writing ‘it's' instead of ‘it is'; and using hyphens to create an easy-to-read effect.

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