You Have 15 Seconds of Your Audience’s Attention: Here’s How To Earn More

“For a consumer to get excited about something, to be compelled by something, it comes down to attention.” @Garyvee

“In an attention economy (like this one), marketers struggle for attention. If you don’t have it, you lose.” Seth Godin

According to this article on 55% of web pages are viewed for less than 15 seconds. This has huge implications for us as marketers, because without people paying attention to our messages, our businesses will struggle to grow.

For a long time we as marketers have measured our efforts by impressions and clicks, but in this era what we really need to focus on is attention.

The simple fact is that without the attention of those who matter, we are invisible. So how do we create and measure attention?

There are four principles you can follow:

1. Make it relevant.
2. Make it entertaining.
3. Make it emotional and perhaps most importantly…
4. Make it genuinely useful.

But before we dive into those in a bit more detail, let’s start at the beginning by being clear on who you are trying to get the attention of.

Persona Development is Key
Create a buyer persona so that you understand those who comprise of your audience. Doing this will help you to serve their needs more profoundly because those needs will be understood all the more.

Next we need to consider why should they care and what’s in it for them? It’s called “paying for attention” for a good reason – we only have so much of it and what we give away we cannot get back – so our marketing must be worthy of that.

Now let’s look at those 4 principles in a bit more detail:

Make it relevant: Know thy audience and create content that means something to them. After you develop your persona you’ll understand the kind of content that is most relevant to them. If it’s not relevant to them, they simply won’t care. If you understand the kind of challenges, goals or problems that your audience has then creating content around this is going to have more chance of hitting the mark of randomly selected themes.

Make it entertaining: The world is a stage and your business is the show. Make what your audience sees of it entertaining enough to grab and keep their attention. You don’t have to do a song and dance but remember people are watching. Present your business with personality and give it a voice – your voice – this comes from the values that your business lives and operates by and what you stand for.

Make it emotional: Every decision made anywhere in life involves some sort of emotion – emotion is what drives action. There are many marketing-relevant emotions to choose from that work really well, including surprise, joy, fear or anticipation to name a few. See how you might be able to organically work in something emotive into your marketing. This has to happen at the inception of a marketing message or piece of content. You can’t go back and “add” emotion – it’s got to be genuine.

Make it genuinely useful: This one is my personal favourite and one you can’t go far wrong with if you stick to focusing on adding value with your marketing materials. From the ‘how to’ guide supplied with a product to a simple FAQs section for those in your audience seeking answers to questions, all the way to personalising a piece of content for a specific customer, show you care and you will create a positive customer experience and win the battle for their attention – not only short term but long term, too.

The Metrics for Measuring Attention Are…
Attention sounds pretty intangible doesn’t it? Well luckily, in an increasingly digital world we can now look at measurement metrics like these:

Time Spent: How long does a consumer spend reading or experiencing your digital marketing? This metric should quantify not just if consumers are visiting but how long they are staying for.

Actions: These can be clicks, scrolls, likes, replies and other actions that people perform, either instantly or over certain time period.

Reactions: These come after the experience. Comments, feedback & reviews for example, provide us with data on how the consumer feels about the experience you have created, as well as providing insight into why they attended in the first place.

If you empathise with your audience and consider their workload, the fact that they have so many demands on their time and on their intellectual and emotional capacity, you’ll see that in order to stand out, you have to really be there for them with the marketing that you publish.

Time is our most finite resource – many say our most precious – so if someone is going to give some of their to you, focus on the principles mentioned above and go to town on making it worth their while.

Key Takeaways:
1. Attention is the foundation of any marketing success – if you don’t have the attention of your audience you are irrelevant.
2. Focus on making your marketing: relevant, entertaining, emotive and/or worthwhile via adding genuine value.
3. You can experiment with this and figure out what is most appropriate for your audience then do less of what doesn’t work and more of what does.
4. Use the following metrics to track impact of your marketing: time spent, actions and reactions.

KEY: Remember, your audience will always be doing something else when they come into contact with your marketing. Everything from the headlines to the content itself must take this into consideration. Treat the attention of your audience as a privilege – especially given how busy they are and how many others are competing for their attention.