Marketing is about getting people’s attention. This is a limited resource — a resource that everyone wants and few can get. If you, like us, have ever tried to get people to care about your product, you’ll know how difficult it is to convince people of the value you provide.
This article is aimed towards anyone who has launched a product that has solved a problem in an innovative way. If you’re reading this, you’ve either created something that offers value to others or you’ve got one in mind. Your goal is to get people to know about it, because it genuinely accomplishes things that your competitors can’t do.
What works may surprise you, and is often counterintuitive. We’re in the business of what works and what doesn’t, so let’s get to it.
Hundreds of thousands of major companies send out regular emails using highly crafted, specialised email templates that look fancy and professional. They do this to stand out and get people’s attention — so that recipients feel that the email’s professional. They are wrong, people respond, without fail, to plain text — anything else turns people off.
The reason for this is simple, people want you to connect with them and they don’t want to have to invest effort in interpreting what you’re trying to say. A fancy email template fails at both of these basic principles, they’re interpreted as something that has been sent to hundreds of thousands of other people in a desperate attempt to get them to care — and worse, it takes time to visually navigate the email and find the content.
People want you to talk to them
To engage people, you’ll need to understand some key principles. Remember that you will always be competing with thousands of others for this engagement.
Here’s what works and what doesn’t in getting people to pay attention:
1. Unique visual content is king
It’s well established that people remember images better than words, but the full extent of this may surprise you. Humans are such visually oriented creatures one study showed that people remembered a remarkable 92% of detailed parts of images after being showed 2,500 unique pictures over 6 hours. It’s clear that visual content is king and should be your focus if you want to engage customers.
Visual content is everywhere — from the moment people wake up they are bombarded with television adverts, social media content, billboards and so on. Welcome to the attention war, if you want people’s attention you will need to fight for it.
In less dramatic terms — this is about standing out from the crowd and having an edge on your competition. Here are some tricks of the trade that professional content marketers are using in 2017 to do just that:
- Video works. Four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it. Facebook engagement ishighest for video content.
- Infographics work. Infographic content is shared 3x more than other content on Facebook.
- Content is scanned. Only 16 percent of visitors to your site will read text word by word, everyone else scans it. This means that the design and layout of your website matters.
- Consider summary images. Twitter ads with large ‘summary’ pictures get3x more clicks.
2. It has to engage and intrigue
People have lost their attention span, it’s now around 8 seconds. We’re not getting stupider — information overload is a real phenomenon. Think about the amount of information that needs to be processed on a simple Facebook page — it’s utterly vast. To deal with this, people have developed subconscious junk-mail-esque filters to categorise information en mass.
An ad is at the bottom of this subconscious junk mail filter hierarchy.
The common retort is that the solution is just to make visual content relevant to your product. One company put this theory to the test and found it false.
The evidence shows that there are a number of things that reliably get people’s interest:
- Use social proof. You might have heard about fake Facebook likes. We definitely don’t recommend that, but people do it because it taps into people’s fundamental desire to like things that others like. A quick search will reveal legitimate, effective ways to use social proof to grow your business.
- Use people’s fear of missing out on current affairs to your advantage.62% of social media users monitor social media because they don’t want to miss things, a fact that can inform how you craft your message as one that is of immediate interest to your customers. One way to do this is to integrate current events with your message.
- Create contests to engage and attract users. Depending on the nature of your company, this can be very effective. 84.5% of people who enter social media competitions continue sharing content after the promotion ends.
3. Content must be up to standard
We know — sounds obvious. But creating high quality content is difficult, skilled work and requires an understanding of a multitude of factors. You genuinely need to bring in the experts — a hack and slash approach will actively harm your business — here’s why.
As Einstein quipped ‘the definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple’. Making something simple is hard work but simple payment flows reap the benefits. You might be aware that choosing is hard work and turns customers off. To market effectively you need to limit what you show to customers, which by necessity means it needs to be of a higher quality. In marketing, less is more. Google published their latest quality guidelines used to evaluate content last year, and they make for an interesting read.
“One of the most important criteria in PQ [page quality] rating is the quality of the MC [main content], which is determined by how much time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill have gone into the creation of the page, and also informs the EAT of the page. … We will consider content to be Low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill. Inaccurate or misleading information presented as fact is also a reason for Low or even Lowest quality ratings. Pages with low quality MC do not achieve their purpose well.
Low quality MC is a sufficient reason to give a page a Low quality rating.”
Marketers trip over themselves to improve their SEO rating — there can be no illusion that low quality content will help accomplish this. It’s critical that everything you publish is up to standard and that means hiring the right professionals for the task at hand. A great way to do this is by having guest bloggers contribute to your blog.
How ANYA can help
Marketing is about getting people’s attention — and to do that you’d do well to take a different approach. Hiring the right people for what you need, whether it’s a promotional video or web design, doesn’t have to be difficult. Our platform finds the best talent across the world, who can do things in specific places and regions where you’re looking for materials. Anya lets vetted experts come to you, for any marketing job anywhere in the world. Your budget needs are accounted for and we don’t charge commission.
Our goal is to make it easy for people to contact creative professionals and rapidly get things done, to budget. We’ve learned from experience that hiring creative professionals can be an arduous task, particularly if your needs are specific to a particular place or you need someone with a breadth of skills.
Now it doesn’t have to be.
Check us out at useanya.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Andrew Walsh