Have you ever had your child pull your nose in an attempt to get you to listen to them?
That’s exactly what happened to me this weekend as I sat on the couch watching the Clemson Notre Dame football game.
My attention was on one thing, but my three year old was wanting me to look at what he was doing. And, in my defense, I was looking out of the corner of my eye at what he was doing but my attention was on the game too.
Apparently he didn’t appreciate that because he walked over to where I was sitting, grabbed my nose, and pulled my head around where he wanted me to look.
Needless to say, it got my attention!
Attention. That’s the name of the game for marketers online. We’ve got an audience whose attention is elsewhere and here we sit vying for that attention like monkeys doing a math problem hoping that maybe this time they’ll see what we’re doing.
I want to talk about the Attention Economy, why it’s so lax, and what we’ve got to do psychologically to get the attention of people we’re trying to talk to in our industry.
The Attention Deficit Disorder of Marketing
The name of the game is speed.
If you can’t nuke it in 3 min, text it in 2 seconds, or make it easily accessible, then we don’t want anything to do with it.
You have seconds to grab someone’s attention when they see your social update, or go to your blog.
There are a couple of theories as to how many seconds you have. Some say 8 seconds, others say 10 seconds, but the fact of the matter is, that’s not a lot of time to say what you need to say to someone.
Even great writers online know that people won’t read their whole article. That’s why we have strategies set in place to help the user accomplish different things quickly, like make the article “skimmable”.
This article from Huffington Post describes exactly what I’m talking about when they explain that skimmable content is more valuable that deep content.
The attention just isn’t there.
But you can still survive with a deficit. You can still succeed in an industry where low attention reigns supreme.
The way you succeed is to understand that even though there are low attention spans out there, psychological triggers are the boss, and they are easily manipulated. So easy, to the point that it doesn’t matter if someone has a low attention span toward your content.
If you give someone something they want or need, they’re going to take notice.
Let me explain.
How To Trigger The Yes Response
That’s the goal for any marketer online.
To get the reader, the follower, the potential customer to say yes to them in some way.
They could say “yes” to your content after seeing it on their social media stream by clicking the link and starting their journey. They could say “yes” by subscribing to your email list. The “yes” responses doesn’t have to be a literal yes, but rather an agreement of what you’re trying to do or say in their environment.
This is an approach and viewpoint from a book by Robert Caldini called The Psychology of Persuasion and it follows psychological principles in trigger responses that can help build your marketing.
Let’s get into it.
For my first explanation, I’d like to share a story that I found (in a book and I can’t find the link) that talked about a man that did a study with a robin. He placed a group of feathers in a clump and put three red feathers in the middle of the pile.
When the robin came around to the pile of feathers, since they are very territorial, he immediately started to attack the pile thinking it was another robin that was trying to take over.
Interestingly enough, the man placed a robin dummy out in the field and the real robin wouldn’t even give it the time of day.
The red feathers was the trigger response for the bird.
This is called fixed action pattern triggers and they are a direct response to our inner person.
In the book, Caldini cites an experiment by Harvard social psychologist Ellen Langer, where you can see this concept in action.
Langer approached people waiting in line to use a copy machine and asked, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” About 60% said, “Yes.”
Under similar circumstances, she did the same thing, but instead asked, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?” In this case, an overwhelming 93% said, “Yes.”
What happened to increase the “yes” response so dramatically?
It’s a well-known principle that people like to have a reason. A reason helps people make a decision and justify their action. However, in this experiment, “because I have to make some copies” does not provide any new information. It does not actually give a reason.
Therefore, merely using the word “because” initiated a positive response. “Because” is usually followed by information and has become, for most people, a “trigger.” Once the trigger is learned, it is powerful enough to set in motion a behavior sequence, in this case a “yes” response, even in the absence of concrete information.
So give them a reason to say yes to you and your brand!
Give Them A Reason To Take Action
You cannot simply write a great post. You must give the person reading that post a reason to want to come read it in the first place.
That’s social strategy.
Then when they get to your content, you must give them a reason to sign up to your list, or buy your product. And it all falls heavily on how well you’ve made your content skimmable and understandable and easy.
That’s content strategy.
For instance, the reason I want you to read this post is because I have a great social media psychology course coming out soon and I’d like you to sign up to the list to be notified when it comes out.
That’s my reason. But this reason takes on several responses in your head.
Why would you sign up?
Answer….because, hopefully, you enjoyed this post and you will expect more great psychological marketing strategies in the podcast. Also because you understand that simple marketing isn’t going to cut it anymore. The consumer has gotten smarter and harder to reign in to your brand.
Psychologists have proven that we must have a reason to do everything, and, in this attention economy that we’re smack in the middle of, it’s important to get that reason out fast for better results.
Give A Reason To Click Through
It can start for you on social media.
There are a lot of variables here when you’re approaching an audience that has a steady stream of content flowing through their stream all day long. Things like color psychology, communication and engagement, relationships, trust, etc.
Once you have allotted for these things you should make sure that you are explaining why they should come to read your post or buy your product.
Give A Reason To Take Action on Your Site
A great post with skimmable content is still something that people like me have a hard time with. But I believe if your content is great, skimmable or not (you may miss some opportunities if it isn’t), then people will take action.
Take a look at this article that talks about emotional responses and how you can grab them and remember that you’re on the clock with these people. Don’t waste their time and give them the good stuff always.
Consistency is the key to grabbing that faithful follower or customer.
The Final Word
It’s Hail Mary time for the people that haven’t established themselves online yet. Those other guys were here and had established an audience before some of the major changes happened on the net that took a lot of people out.
It is going to be more difficult than ever before to get new customers, but one thing you can always bank on is the fact that people are always going to have trigger responses. Get that down pat and you will come away with some great followers for your brand.
And it’s not their fault that they don’t know you. There’s just so much stuff happening all around them! It’s up to you to use manipulative strategies like this to help them see the important help that you could be giving them.
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