I am sure that you are familiar with the concept of value for money since it is a fundamental part of buying anything but what about your exchange for a commodity worth even more than money?
It's the same with Return on Investment?
Do you think in terms of value for time? Or return on time?
Not value of time i.e how much your time is worth but value for time i.e. how much you get back from investing your time in anything.
How To Get Attention
I tend to think about attention as the first step in marketing, thanks to the famous AIDA acronym used in advertising - attention, interest, desire and action or the less well known ATR - attention, trial, reinforcement (or repurchase) for impulse buys.
But it just shows what a narrow mind I have because when I searched Google for "How To Get Attention" I found:
How To Get Attention - when entering a room
How To Get Attention At School
Top 41 Bad Ways To Get Attention - don't try these
How To Get More Attention From Women - mmm don't think I should read that as it will get me into trouble.
So back to marketing and how you can get the attention of your prospective customers.
You need to do two things:
- Be seen
- Involve your prospects - be relevant and interesting
To be seen in this over-advertised world is tough so you have to do something dramatic - biggest, loudest, brightest, funniest - so that you attract both potential customers and reinforcing public relations.
There may be some doubt on whether sex sells, but sex certainly attracts attention.
Here are a couple of earlier blogs I did on attracting attention with Guerrilla Marketing tactics.
Guerrilla Marketing Tactics for Creating Attention
Driving School In Slough Uses Guerrilla Marketing
But once you've got someone's attention, you have a split second to appear relevant and to make them want to know more - if you don't, you have lost them.
The main way to do that in marketing is through the headline so see
How To Write Headlines That Capture Attention
Once You've Got Attention, What Next?
Once you have someone's attention you need to start building the relationship.
Even though you may not be getting money yet, you need to be building brand loyalty and reputation so that your prospects get to know, like and trust you.
In other words, they start to prefer to hang out with you than anyone else - at least while they want to think about whatever it is that you do.
It's like friendships.
You may be lucky enough to have a best friend who shares many interests with you or you may have a friend you go to football matches with, a friend you go to rock concerts with and a friend who takes you to wine tasting events.
On that basis, it is hard to move away from the classic "How to win friends and influence people" (a classic attention grabbing headline in its own right as it appeals to our emotional desire to be liked and popular) - see Wikipedia for an excellent summary of the main points.
In a business context, you need to be providing helpful assistance and advice which is helping to move people towards their goals (or away from the pain of the problem towards the gain of the solution).
How To Keep Attention
The problem for marketers is that once you start the relationship, you need to keep attention focused on you by keeping your attention on their needs, issues, problems and goals.
Getting attention is the easy bit, keeping attention is much harder.
You need to deepen your relationship which is where my value for time concept comes in.
Take the Internet marketer for example who offers an incentive for an email opt-in and follows up with a series of autoresponder emails.
Getting the opt-in is relatively easy (you have opted in to my email list haven't you to get your copies of the Marketing Secrets for small business, How to win profitable customers from competitors and my email series on the Eight Pillars of Business Prosperity)
But then you need to keep people's attention long enough to look at the freebies.
And that is where many people fail. I am guilty of downloading far more stuff - reports, audios and even videos than I look at.
So if the attention is broken at that stage - if you like, the promised value of time was strong enough for the 20 seconds it takes to opt-in but it wasn't strong enough for me to go back and become involved later - the relationship is already in trouble.
So when the autoresponder series starts coming in, the emails have no meaning.
Value wasn't established and I may not even remember opting in so you've got to start again and capture my attention and explaining why your email gives me value for time.
Keep Focusing On Value For Time And Giving Prospects A Return On Time
You need to keep focusing on the value for time relationship and deliver great content to me that is interesting and quick.
Video is certainly effective and you can see why it is so popular.
Video engages, it creates an experience and it is usually consumed immediately. No pdf to download, look at, think about printing and then read later.
But the value for time needs to be clear from the start and needs to be maintained.
I have started watching videos where the presenter waffles on about qualifications, awards, testimonials before they deliver any content but at that stage I don't care.
It fails the value for time test.
It says loud and clear that they are trying to sell to me and not prove to me that they have the answers.
Continue The Relationship
To keep attention high you need to keep top of mind awareness high.
Repetition is key.
Take Twitter as an example.
If I follow you, and you don't tweet for three months, then unless I know you from other sources, you have to compete for my attention and your photo is not enough to make me take a closer look.
But if you keep on tweeting about stuff that is not relevant - or even things that I oppose - then you risk losing my attention because you are failing the value for time test.
It may only take a second to read a tweet but it is a second I will never have again.
It is back to this know, like and trust issue.
To keep my attention, I need to feel I know you and that I like you so you need to feed me little snippets but without wasting my time.
But Twitter also helps with the trust issue.
Every time you tweet with a link, it is a moment of truth.
If you describe it right, trust goes up but if I think you have misled me, then trust goes down.
It has happened to me. I have clicked on links thinking they were one thing and found that it was a misleading pitch.
My value for time was abused, it damaged the person's reputation and it reduced the attention I give to future tweets.
Perceived Value For Time
Finally I should make the point that just like value for money, it is the other person's perception of value for time that matters.
Not what you think but what they think and feel.
So are you providing value for time?
What Do You Think About The Concept Of Return On Time Or Value For Time?
I have written another long blog but have you found it value for your time?
Let me know by leaving a comment but look out for the crafty captcha that appears after you've submitted it.