You adore me, don’t you?
1. Emotionally engage
To engage your reader, focus on their situation and relate to them on a personal level.
I’m all for personalised communications. Even my scepticism can be overturned with a simple gesture that makes me feel loved – as Sally, not ‘the customer’. So spoil your reader. Who doesn’t want to be ‘the chosen one’? (You’re listening to someone who’s easily pleased with the smallest of touches, such as simply addressing me by my first name and, of course, knowing my cat’s name.)
On the flip side, remember how offended you were when that mediocre brand (which is why they remained so) dared to spell your name wrong, or worse still, knew something about your gender that you didn’t? Hiss. In the echoing lyrics of Ian Brown, “I wanna be adored” (or at least recognised).
Let’s be honest
Try not to cause a headache with a saccharin overload. An effective way to engage your reader is to address their cynicism. Don’t be scared. Be honest. Have a sense of humour. Make your communication relevant. People are more likely to suspect something’s amiss if your offer sounds too sweet to digest. And they’re more likely to trust and respect it if you tell the truth. Rather than trying to push something in your reader’s face, do the opposite. Pull them into your world with messaging that strikes an emotional chord. They’ll be naturally inclined to react positively if they feel like they’ve chosen to tuck in, rather than being force-fed.
It’s all about YOU
No, not literally – the worst thing you can do is talk about you, tut! I mean your reader. Turn the messaging on its head. Focus on ‘you’ rather than ‘we’. What’s in it for them? Why will this communication stop them in their daily tracks? What makes your offer different to (okay, better than) your competitors?
2. Actively involve
Now you’ve got your reader’s attention, involve them in the conversation. Even if social media isn’t a string in your campaign, you can still use simple tricks like colloquial language to make them feel a part of it.
In today’s digital age, social barriers are falling like dominos. Relative strangers are easy to talk to, so why can’t brands be? Online users are empowered to join the conversation, so encourage them. Social adoration is a crucial factor in making your brand credible (power in numbers). Involving customers will also help you understand what’s on their mind (hello free research).
Keep up! I know I mentioned this previously, but it can’t hurt to remember that online prowlers are impatient creatures. We want everything NOW. That being said, why not snap us out of this frenzied state by changing the tempo? Scan-reading can cause you to miss a trick. So, should your message be easy to skim OR do you want to awaken your reader from their scanning stupor and grab their FULL attention?
Kronenbourg ‘Slow the pace’ with a stripped-down version of their seminal hit to savour that precious moment of kicking back with a beer. Yes, it’s a multi-stringed campaign also aired on television, but the principle remains on and offline. You’re transported into a mouth-watering experience (not that there’s anything about Lemmy that makes me salivate, honest).
For the experience of your life!
Focus on the experience your product provides, rather than the product itself. How can your product offer a positive experience? Build excitement around how the product will make your reader feel.
3. Make every word count
Strip out redundant words. Waffle dilutes. Quality concentrates. Removing redundant words makes copy easier to read. (You wouldn’t believe how many words fell victim after proofreading this post.)
Use positive language. Be direct. Rather than promising ‘This can transform your life’, speak with conviction: ‘Transform your life’.
Cut to the point
Coincidentally (if you haven’t already noticed), scan the headings and sub-headings in this post… what do you see? Yes, that’s the over-arching narrative. The quick-read post for the ever-so-hurried online snooper, or the full shebang for the more information-hungry vulture. Not that I’m calling anyone a monster.
Experiment with different approaches to your content’s narrative. Humans like a story to follow, but how you deliver this is a whole new story…
Reward your reader
Don’t forget the final pay-off! You hooked your reader under the premise that it’s leading to something…. the biggest prize of them ALL. Every communication should have a pay-off. As tempting as it is to press that BIG, RED, PULSATING BUTTON shamelessly hogging the limelight, unless there’s evidently something in it for me, why should I? And please, DON’T get me started on the perils of the laziest and most irrelevant call-to-action EVER –> ‘Click here’ (excuse me while I projectile vomit all over my keyboard).
So don’t miss your chance to manipulate your reader into reacting exactly how they want (except it’s what you want).
4. Be brave
Dare to be different
With so many sheep belly-aching in the digital marketing field, whoever can bleat the loudest is a common competition. All of this creates noise. A sea of voices competing for air-time. A bit like a mind-boggling snow storm screen or a robot-spewing QR code. Too much noise makes me want to cover my ears, close my eyes and take refuge in a book, where no-one’s trying to sell me anything. I just want to enjoy a new experience, no strings attached.
Sometimes it’s better to step to the side and forge another stream. Strive to add a fresh ingredient to the ‘marketing mix’ (snigger at the irony). It’s okay to stand out from the crowd. Who doesn’t want to be treated to a refreshing change?
5. Let your audience find you
HellooOOoooOOO? Anyone there? I have this amazingly funny story to tell you! It’s so side-splittingly hilarious. Wait… Where is everyone? Someone? Anyone? Oh.
It’s all very well creating tip-top content that could make a tortoise react, but if your audience isn’t around to hear you speak, it’s futile.
Make yourself heard in the right places
Be a holistic online presence, rather than a one-stop destination… But I’ll save the channel planning post for another day. And that’s exactly why you should stay tuned.
About the Author: Sally Symondson
Running Salsify Creative, Sally grows local and global brands with meaningful words that relate. Customer or business – the roots are human, which is why Sally likes to keep it natural. You’ll find her muddy soled at the copywriting “allotment” with a cat in tow.
Join me on www.salsifycreative.com/blog/