How do you get your customers attention?

The world we live in today is full of noise. Noise that didn’t exist 10 to 20 years ago. So, companies are having to resort to extreme measures to capture our attention and the attention of our customers.

Just stop and think for a moment how this plays out in your own environment. Every time you Google, listen to the Radio, watch TV, YouTube, Netflix, Stan, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Spotify, Pinterest, have a chat on twitter, WhatsApp, Skype, LinkedIn … I haven’t even begun to list all the different news apps we might be looking at such as the weather or stock market, or working out the number of steps you’ve taken today. What about the billboards on the side of the road, the advertising in train stations and all the colourful marketing forced upon us as we walk through every retail space?

Oh, did I forget to add the 50+ emails you receive a day (of which half are rubbish), the phone calls and the text messages? Come on, let’s be honest, the phone is almost glued to our hand.

When you start to add up all of these different modes which are vying for our attention, it’s no wonder we struggle at times to have quality face-to-face time with our friends and family.

So, if you accept the above, we now begin to appreciate how difficult it is in business to get the attention of our customers. As individuals, whether we like to admit it or not, we are losing our ability to think about things that we want because our attention is being redirected and funnelled to what others want us to focus on.

You might find these comments confronting or even disagree with them. That’s your prerogative.
Let me however illustrate it by way of an example. The more outrageous a video, a tweet, or even a news story is; you can’t help reacting to it, or in some cases being consumed by it. When Donald Trump literally declares war on North Korea and you’re scrolling through some social media platform, your outrage and frustration at knowing that the most powerful person in the world is literally “shooting from the hip” forces your mind to think about the insane behaviour you are seeing unfold. Tell me it doesn’t grab your attention and make you furious? When you read an article about paedophilia and how so many chose to ignore it, not only does it make your blood boil, but you begin to understand that your thought process can be redirected. The more outrageous or emotionally charged a statement or an image is, the more it demands from us a portion of our concentration to deal with it.

It might only be for second or what you would consider a minor distraction, but I’m just trying to prove a point in terms of the power of external forces redirecting our concentration.

Now I’m not saying that we must do something outrageous to get people’s attention, but let’s try to understand the psychology behind standing out from the crowd in a very crowded space.

Headlines that have a surprise in them have a novelty effect on the brain, which in turn stimulates the pleasure centre in our brain. Research shows us that people prefer an unexpected experience over one that they think they want. Questions are always powerful. Simply look at the heading I chose for this article. Curiosity is an attention grabber and that’s because it’s touching that part of our brain which is highlighting a gap in our knowledge. Feeding a little bit of knowledge is like  providing a mouse with a bit of cheese. The desire to know more or get more is enticing and may be enough to inspire curiosity, but not to the point that you have to tell the whole story then and there. They have to do something like “click” or provide an email address.

I personally don’t like negative marketing, but superlatives such as “the worst” just bate us into wanting to know more. When you see a heading to an article that uses words like “don’t” or “stop”, you’re thinking “what shouldn’t I do?” “What do I have to stop doing?”
Let’s look at some actual examples.

“The 10 ways the Internet is destroying our lives” Morris M. 24th September 2013.

Hmmm worth a look huh?

A great heading to use is “how to”. I’m always a sucker for one of these. We all want to learn something new and we all love tips and tricks to make our lives easier.

“How to speed up your mobile phone in three easy steps” Rami Baron, September 2017

I used a number of techniques in this heading. I pose the question ‘how’ and I included a number ‘three’. We are all time poor, so the suggestion that I’m giving you the answer in three steps is appealing to this emotion. The brain says ‘this isn’t really a distraction, it will only take me a minute and I can get back to what I was doing’. Well that’s the theory anyway. This statement adds another component - “specificity”. I’m preparing you for exactly what you can get, three things. We like this. It appeals to our consciousness that I’m not wasting your time, naturally increasing your motivation to read more.

Looking for solutions and solving problems are in fact targeting our basic instincts of survival. So let’s take my previous example, “How to speed up your mobile phone in three easy steps”. Note that I have now added a further component where I’m targeting you specifically by adding the word “your”. As we are often driven by self-interest, by adding this word I’m in effect answering the subliminal question in your mind – “what do I get out of this?”.

People love comparisons. Just think of the before and after shots of someone losing weight, or with  and without make-up. Then let’s apply this to jewellery. Being able to show the difference between a well-made ring and poorly made ring. A beautiful diamond and a fisheye. The highly-polished surface and one with porosity. A great emerald and a wishy washy one. Who wouldn’t click to see the comparison?

Having this awareness to understand how our own concentration and focus is being redirected allows us to take the first step to taking control and improving the quality of our lives. The second step is understanding these techniques, focusing on the positive ones and utilising them to increase the visibility of your diamond business in a very noisy space.

Trade well.