Back in 1936, the great communicator Dale Carnegie hit the nail on the head about reaching consumers when he wrote, “Personally, I’m fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that, for some strange reason, fish prefer worms . . . Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
Carnegie’s words are even more prophetic when you realize that today’s consumers have an attention span three seconds shorter than the average goldfish. That’s right. According to a published Microsoft study, the average consumer has an attention span of only six seconds, compared with the lofty nine seconds our wonderful little golden aquatic friends give us.
So what’s a marketer to do? This is worse than speed dating. Before you throw up your hands in despair, fear not. What we really need to do is get back to communications basics, because at our core, we crave the basics, even if we digest them more quickly.
Make Your Message Worth Your Consumers’ Time
People don’t like to read anymore. They want pictures and pins and infographics and video and motion and communication streams that don’t make them work.
So give them what they want. Tell them what they want to hear, what they need to hear, and make your message compelling, compact, memorable and moving.
Sound tough? It’s really easier than you might think. Just follow these 7 rules to get started.
7 Simple Rules For Connecting With Consumers.
Connecting with people requires common sense, just like Carnegie said. If you do nothing else, avoid the trap of telling people what you want and what you think, rather than what’s most important to them.
Following these simple rules will help you stand out among the 10,000 other brand messages that bombard your customers every day:
See the world through the eyes of your audience. Connecting with people requires empathy. Real empathy. You need to see as your customers’ see and feel as they feel. Otherwise you’ll be talking at them rather than with them.
Avoid talking about yourself. Nobody likes a blowhard or a braggard. Keep the focus on your audience not yourself. If you have a unique feature, communicate it as a consumer benefit.
Get to the point. Say what needs to be said and say it with style. Big blocks of copy frighten people away. You can say more by saying less when your words are meaningful.
Don’t overhype. As the old saying goes, “If you have to say you’re cool, you’re probably not.” So, when making claims, be modest and confident. You don’t want to sound like a carnival barker selling love potions at the county fair.
Use genuine emotion that never feels manipulative. People make purchase decisions based on emotions, even though emotions are irrational. Find emotions, genuine emotions, you can share with your audience that relate to your brand. When you can do that, your customers will stay with you for life.
Communicate on an individual, one-to-one basis. Have a conversation. Make your consumer feel important and valued. Just imagine that you’re giving advice to an old friend. You’re helping someone, not selling them.
Provide a believable and meaningful benefit. Answer the question: What’s in it for me? Let your customer know you’ll make life easier, better, and hopefully more meaningful.
Build A Relationship With Every Word.
Never think of your message as a tool to hook a customer. It will show. And the results won’t be pretty.
Just build a relationship. Let your brand’s personality show. Whether you’re asking for a first date or just keeping a friendship alive and fresh, be authentic, be yourself and be memorable.
After all, in the end, brand relationships are no different than other relationships, they just take work . . . and good common sense.