Grabbing Attention

Robin Robins IT Marketing, MSP Marketing

attentionTo the right is a favorite “article” from the Weekly World News (the only RELIABLE news outlet these days) that I keep in my files as inspiration for a marketing campaign somewhere in the future. I DO think an ad run like this around Halloween with an offer to “exorcise the demon” in your computer would do really well – but I suspect many would not use it for fear of criticism, particularly from “love thy neighbor” Christians who would heap fire and brimstone on your head because they find this deeply offensive (but hey – in THIS day and age, if you’re not pissing someone off by noon every day, you’re not trying at ALL).

But the MAIN point of sharing this with you: a stern reminder that you HAVE to figure out how to get your prospects’ attention with your marketing or your marketing will fail miserably. This is why I encourage “lumpy” or odd direct mail – it makes a much more significant impact than a plain vanilla postcard or “professional” letter. So, a few things to keep in mind:

Attention-Grabbing Mistake #1:
Failing To Talk About What Concerns And Interests THEM

Your prospect is NOWHERE near as interested in what you’re selling as you are. Your prospect is only and exclusively interested in themselves – their business, their problems, their wants, their frustrations, their money, etc. Yet most people sell their products and write their ads in a manner that assumes interest. Therefore, you MUST talk about, write about and promote the answer to “What’s In It For THEM?” NOT: the size of your company, the number of years you’ve been in business, why you are so great, the importance of what you’re offering or even how you do it better. YES, all of those things have a place in the sales process, but NOT when you’re initially trying to get a prospect’s attention.

For example, if we wanted to sell a cyber security solution, we would NOT extol the virtues of the service, why it’s necessary and toss in a list of facts and stats about cybercrime. Instead we could use a headline like this:

How To Avoid Being One Of The Millions Of Inept Business Owners Held Hostage,
Embarrassed And Robbed By 3rd-World Cybercriminals

Imagine you walk into your office tomorrow morning only to discover all your computer files and systems have been locked by ransomware. You’re furious and sick. How did this happen? Why would someone do this to us? EVERYTHING is going to be posted online if you don’t pay: salaries exposed…all your personal communications and e-mails…your company’s financials, client lists and contracts… Clients, competitors and your employees will see EVERYTHING. Don’t forget – they have your client and employee list to make sure all of these people get notified where to find it, and once something is posted online, having it taken down is like trying to take pee out of a pool. You can’t.

Worse yet, those criminals are LAUGHING at you. Mocking your distress. They know your bank and our government aren’t coming to help you. Heck, our own government can’t stop them – how will the government rescue YOU? Do you think these crooks care that you spent the better part of your life building your business? That you earned every penny fairly? Ha! They aren’t here to play “fair.” They’re here to strip you of every dollar they can get, amused at your stupidity for being such an EASY TARGET. And guess what? Since they got you once, there’s a VERY good chance they’ll come back again and again, demanding money or threatening to post everything online. Once this happens you’re screwed.

And the hardest pill to swallow? You COULD have prevented it from happening but didn’t. Your inept IT department – in-house or outsourced – didn’t do what you were paying them to do, but THEY aren’t going to pay for it (check your contract with them…it indemnifies them of ANY and ALL liability).

As the leader of your business, it’s up to YOU to get the facts…to make absolutely certain you are NOT low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals…to ensure your IT department or company is actually putting the protections in place that you need – but our experience shows that 80% are NOT, which is why we want to offer you a FREE Cyber Security Risk Assessment….

As you can see, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, I’ve GOT YOUR ATTENTION. I’ve also made you stop and consider cyber security when you were probably totally absorbed by other matters. THIS is critical – you must be able to tap into and put out marketing communications that act like a lightning rod for your clients’ attention.

Attention-Grabbing Mistake #2:
Trying To Be Cute Or Clever

Another mistake I often see: advertisers attempting to get your attention by being clever, when all they’re being is obtuse. They think they’re selling banking services by showing a kid on a skateboard. Or financial planning by showing a plant growing from a basketball. Or selling their training program by picturing a golf ball going into a hole. Get it? Neither do I. Or their prospects.

Marketing SHOULD be “clever” in getting their attention – but it also has to make sense and motivate that prospect to BUY something. Otherwise, you’ve totally, completely missed the mark. Ads like these are created by agencies’ “creative” departments who are (mostly) graphic designers and creative types who have never sold a thing in their life, but since they’re sold to big, dumb companies’ marketing departments with about as much selling experience as they have, it continues.

Remember, the aim of ANY marketing campaign is to get prospects to MOVE toward you with an intent to buy something. That’s it. Not to win awards, not to make people laugh, not to drive home a political point (unless that’s what you’re selling).

Attention-Grabbing Mistake #3:
Being BORING Out Of A Desire To Be “Professional”

My mentor, Dan Kennedy, once said, “The #1 sin in marketing is being boring.” Oh, how right he is!

I suspect that you, gentle reader, have a tiny bit of this “professionalitis” going on in you. A timidity to not stand out too much…to make too bold a claim, too outrageous of a statement…to stay safe and use brochure-speak…to avoid appearing (GASP) UNPROFESSIONAL in some manner in your marketing.

I’m sure you also give great consideration to what socks to wear when meeting with a prospect, what type of collared shirt best portrays your commitment to excellence. I’m sure you spend hours rehearsing a new client greeting and the proper pressure of a handshake to ensure that at no point do you act in any manner that would be deemed of low stature. On your website and in your marketing collateral, I’m sure you give great weight and importance to educating the prospect and telling them all the facts and information. (Yawn… Sorry, I got tired just thinking about it.)

In the face of much idiocy, let me give you some constructive thinking. What matters in marketing is ensuring you get a prospect’s attention (the point of this lesson) and getting them to respond in some way. Nothing. Else. Matters.

To do that, you HAVE to shake a prospect out of their stupor. They’re walking about totally absorbed in all the things they have to do, all the problems they have, all the major decisions weighing on their mind. When you show up like a timid mouse, you do NOT get their attention. That prospect does NOT CARE about the Pantone color of your logo or the tagline you spent thousands of dollars and countless hours fretting over. They DO NOT care about the color of your letterhead. They do not care about your “brochure” that you intentionally designed with bright colors and happy, culturally diverse people smiling around a computer. NONE of this gets to the meat of the matter.

You must get to the emotions that tug on their actions. Fear, anxiety, anger, guilt and embarrassment are POWERFUL motivators. You might not like this, but if you choose not to go this route and instead walk the “professional” line, you simply have to understand you’ll dramatically suppress your results. (By the way, don’t get mad at me. Take it up with our creator, who built it into our being.)

Attention-Grabbing Mistake #4:
Not Repeating Your Message With Sufficient Frequency

Frequency Following up on the above statement that prospects are continually self-absorbed and you must break through their stupor, REPETITION of your message, ideally in various formats, is absolutely necessary for you to get their attention. That’s why I teach you to not *just* do direct mail, or *just* send e-mail, or *just* do LinkedIn. When you combine all of them in what I call Simultaneous Multimedia Sequencing, you can generate a 2x or 3x lift in response.

Further, prospects get ready to buy on their own schedule, so that “shy” opt-in or person who registered for your webinar should NOT be throw away if they don’t respond to booking an appointment or if they say they’re not interested right now. Continue to e-mail and mail them until they directly tell you to remove them from your list or identify as someone you can’t do business with or don’t want to. In a measurement of our lead conversion over the past four years, better than 17% of our prospects PURCHASED the Toolkit. Go back and read that again. PURCHASED. The most savvy and sophisticated marketers would do backflips for a 17% response (lead), but a buy rate? That’s one for the record books. Think of it this way: the average response in business-to-business marketing (lead generation) is about 0.5%…HALF a percent. If you get that, it’s considered average. If you get 1%, you’ve doubled the average response. Again, I harp on this repeatedly: build a list of “sweet spot” prospects and continually market to it over and over again.