Marketing requires you to first capture the attention of your prospects. If you’re unable to do so, you have no way of sharing your marketing message with them, and all your marketing efforts will go to waste.
Prospects are continually bombarded with information, as indeed we all are. To cope with the shear volume of incoming stimuli, choices are made, often on a subconscious level. We as humans tend to pay attention to things that are relevant to some kind of goal or pursuit we are trying to move towards. Everything else is ignored or filtered out from our conscious awareness, and may not even register with us.
To illustrate this point, check out this video.
Hopefully you now appreciate the fact that attention is limited, and goal focused. You ignored the gorilla because your attention was busy focusing on counting the passes of the ball. The goal required you to keep your eye on just the ball and ignore everything else that didn’t contribute to that.
Marketing to a captive audience
You might think it would be easier to market to a captive audience. For example let’s say you are advertising on the TV or on the radio or even in the pre-roll of a YouTube video. Your audience is already watching or listening, so they can’t escape your advert.
But ask yourself, when was the last time you really paid attention to the adverts in such situations. You either reach for your phone, to see what notifications you’ve missed, or you tune out, while thinking about something else.
Marketing on a busy platform
If your advertising on a busy platform, say social media, then engagement is much harder to achieve. You are then competing with everything else that can steal your prospect’s attention away. Let’s consider the example of running an advert on their Facebook feed.
Your marketing message will compete with status updates from your prospect’s friends and family. As well as engaging entertainment posts related to their interests. So you need to stop them scrolling past your advert, by appealing to their interests and/or goals.
Searching or not
Imagine you’re a florist, and Valentines day is just around the corner. You know that people are likely to be in the market for buying flowers, so presenting them with a unique offer, is probably going to get them to stop for a moment to check your advert out. If there is no special occasion imminent, then creating an excuse for them to surprise their partner may be required.
The fact that they are not actively searching for something to buy, makes the sale a little more difficult. They will probably just scroll straight past your advert, without giving it a second thought. So you may have to rely on eye-catching imagery to get them to stop and see what’s on show.
High quality images are more attention-getting than static text, and video is often more engaging than images. You must find a way of standing out from the other content, to catch their eye.
We humans take notice of changes and differences. It’s hard-wired into us, at an instinctive, self-preservation level. If our ancestor didn’t pay attention to changes in their surroundings, it could have resulted in them being eaten by a predator. Our subconscious picks up on such things before we’re even consciously aware of it. And although we’re unlikely to be eaten when scrolling through our Facebook feed, our instinct still reacts as if we might.
So make sure your marketing message doesn’t blend in with all the other content. Make it stand out by contrasting in some noticeable way. Usually this needs to be done visually, because sound is often muted on social media. However, there is no one-fits-all solution available, only by testing alternatives can you see what works best for your particular situation.
So in summary, marketing only works if you can first capture your prospect’s attention, otherwise all your other marketing efforts go to waste. Capturing your prospect’s attention is the combination of standing out from the crowd and providing something of value in the pursuit of one of their goals.
Once you’ve captured your prospect’s attention, you need to deliver a message that pulls them in to your offering, so they’ll want to find out more about you and your solution.
We’ve discussed this here: getting the sale.
Happy marketing until next time.