By noon today, chances are high that you should have looked at your phone more than a hundred times, listened to a radio programme, read a newspaper or magazine and should have spent some time behind a computer system. Because we look across these screen for information that matter to us, it is difficult to avoid the multiplicity of marketing messages that bombard us through the different channels. Last week, I had begun a tour of the fundamentals of digital marketing and I decided to go through the alphabetical route. However, when there is an imperative to weight on a trend, event or major issue out side this, I will gladly do so.
I had started by focusing on understanding your audience. However, beyond understanding your target market, what you really need is to get their attention and it is a different ball game entirely. With a lot of people more skilled at avoiding marketing, you really need to understand what your target market wants in order to reach them at the right time, place and with the right offering. Entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business owners do not just want people to know they exist, they want people to pay attention to their company, what they offer and ultimately buy. According to one of the world’s foremost leaders on online public relations, David Meerman Scott, there are four major principles for getting the attention of your target audience.
You can buy attention. This is the fastest, most common way by which people get the word out about their company, goods and services. They pay for it and it is called advertising. You can pay your way into people’s faces by buying TV commercials, text messaging, newspaper adverts, and billboards. Especially when you need to make a huge and bold statement with your ads, paying for it is the way to go. This is usually the solution when you visit an advertising agency. The only problem with this is that buying attention can be expensive and the dividends may not last long. If other people can pay more than you can afford, you may be out-muzzled and your shouting budget can quickly run out.
However, you can also beg for attention. This is where most public relations activities occur. This is the least explored by entrepreneurs when seeking ways to promote their business. A feature by a prominent radio station is worth tons of naira when you decide to do advertising. Most times, begging for attention will mean you are leveraging people with the platform to permit you reach their loyal audience; editors, radio hosts, bloggers, publishers essentially people through which you can reach out to a larger audience base. Most people get frustrated because of the larger than life status of most editorial gate keepers and some have resulted into underhand tactics to get the word out there about their business.
You can also bug people one at a time to get their attention. Those directly interested in making sales quicker and in the old school manner will readily resort to sales. Get a group of people, promise huge returns in exchange for huge commissions and profit. They get to hit the streets, distribute flyers, talk to people, send emails, make phone calls, in fact people who have been approached by sales personnel will admit being bugged and bullied into buying, sales is essentially a push tactic.
However, you can earn attention. This is largely due to the emergence of new media and it can last for a long time. While public relations helps you build trust and relationship with your target market, the emergence of new media takes this up to a new level. It has been called several names because it involves several tactics – content marketing, social media, video or even blogging. It shouldn’t be confused with the others. Social media is not a marketing machine, it is a branding tool. When you hear people making sales using social media, it is because they have put in the time to build a level of relationship which is strong enough to earn the right attention, interest and credibility of others online, thereby making is easy for people to continue to buy from them.
How can you then build your own online marketing machine?
Create great copy
When writing about your business, tell the reader what they need, and how you will help them. Believe it or not, the average person has an attention span of thirty-eight seconds. It is no time for you to write those long essay-type courses on your business website about how great your business is. You need to focus on telling your customers you understand their challenges and that you have the credibility and experience to solve them. In fact too many people fail in this regard. If you want them to take an action, say it, don’t try to imply or give a hint, simply tell your readers what you want them to do. That way you waste no one’s time and ensure you are in the flow with your customer’s journey.
Make it personal
Articles, sales pitches and businesses that give a lot of personal information or experience gets a lot of internet attention and traction. If you have a personal experience that validates your business proposition, by all means put it in. Sharing the stories of how you helped others and other businesses ensures you are able to convince others you are able to deliver on your business propositions.
Forget the long winded official mass emails and text messages people receive, people want to be spoken to and it is not by broadcasting.
Use Images and videos
Consider it an advanced notice – videos and images helps to convert customers and it will continue to gain attention over long winding articles online. In fact, videos have been known to engage people longer than any other content methods and you need to start considering it.
Websites that make people stay on longer and ensure people take action have been known to contain videos. It doesn’t have to be a huge budget video, simple a clean neat, visible and audible video is enough – in fact, if you have a great phone that captures videos, it may be enough. Of course, depending on your brand positioning and perception.
With people shifting their attention across devices and screens, it is going to be more difficult to gain the attention of your target market unless you are remarkable. Remember leveraging content marketing tactics it not a quick marketing fix, it will take a lot of work, time and energy to gain traction. Once you are over that learning curve, you can relax and reap the benefits.