“And in a world where we have too many choices and too little time, the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff.”-Seth Godin, marketing expert and bestselling author
Regardless of which marketing/sales vehicle you use, you have a problem. You might be doing print ads or direct mail or email or presenting to a BNI chapter…doesn’t matter. The problem that you have in the year 2011 is that people generally are not LISTENING. Yup, as Seth Godin suggests, you are being ignored. Depending on which expert you listen to, an estimated 3000 to 3500 marketing messages vie for people’s attention daily. How do they cope with that? They tune it out, of course.
This is fine if you are the consumer, but what if you are the business owner trying desperately to get your message to the right audience about the great product or service you have? Is your effort hopeless?
What if I told you I had a solution to the’ tuning out’ problem? What if there was one simple thing you could do, no matter what vehicle you used to send the message that would increase the number of people who actually read or listened to it? Would you be interested in that solution?
Actually the solution was in what I just did to get you to read this paragraph. In a word- ‘curiosity’. Building curiosity in the people you are ‘talking’ to is probably one of the best ways to get them to pay attention. If a question is intriguing to the listener, they will hang on your every word. A person may or may not buy or refer after hearing your message, but we know for sure that they cannot make that decision until they first GET the message.
A good writer understands this and hiring an expert copy writer for a big marketing project is usually a good idea. But there will be situations where that is not possible and it is up to you to become better at it. I find that I can learn a lot from the stories in newspapers. Recently I picked up my local paper, THE VALLEY BREEZE. Publisher Tom Ward writes an editorial in each issue of this weekly paper and his headline in this issue asked: “Are our freedoms nearing ‘extinction’?” (Valley Breeze, Editorial Section, June 30, 2011). The question drew me in. Will the changes the country is going through affect our freedoms? A good question, so I read on. The next part of the article was a wonderful quote by Ronald Reagan:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” -Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States
The rest of the article was well-written and thought-provoking. You may have even noticed that I tried to use a similar format in this article. The point here is that you can take a lesson from the article you liked when writing or speaking for your business. You might start by asking that intriguing question. The very best question is the one that is actually already being asked inside the mind of the listener. If the medium is appropriate, you might consider adding a quote to give more insight as to where your message is heading. The quote, especially from a known person or expert, also adds a bit of credibility to the piece (especially if you are not a known expert yourself).
Lastly, remember that your message should be relevant to NOW…why did you choose that message to be delivered now? In Tom Ward’s case, he wrote the article in Fourth of July issue of his newspaper. That is what I call ‘public timing’. In other words, the birthday of our country is being celebrated so the country (and what we stand for) is automatically on the minds of many of his readers. When he asks about freedoms in our country, well that type of question may resonate. This stuff happens in marketing and advertising all the time. Since I am writing this at the end of July, you can bet that in a month or so we will be seeing those ‘back to school’ themes all over the place. And the reason of course, is that it works. Timing, as they say, is ‘everything’! So here are three things you can use to make sure your message is heard:
- Build curiosity- the best question to ask is the one already in the mind of your audience.
- Build credibility- if someone of note has a statement or fact that backs you up, use it.
- Base your message on current events -or the time of the year to make it relevant and already in the ‘public consciousness’.
Remember, it is your job to entice people to REALLY listen. Most marketing messages fall on deaf ears because they are boring. Eradicate boring and watch your business grow!
Bob Salvas is a marketing consultant, independent distributor for SENDOUTCARDS and a director in BNI. email@example.com 401-359-1602 www.sendoutcards.com/bobsalvas
With over 5,500 active chapters, and over 100,000 members throughout every populated continent worldwide, BNI is the largest and most successful business referral organization in the world. BNI was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner and the organization, which allows only one person from each profession to join a chapter, offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts, and most importantly, referrals. Last year alone, members of BNI passed 6.2 million referrals, generating 2.6 billion dollars’ worth of business.
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