3 common missteps when meeting people where they are (and how to combat them)

Your goal with messaging is to reach people where they are. To do this, think about answering:

  • Where do your ideal customers eat?
  • Where are they located?
  • Do they commute?
  • What's their day look like?
  • What are they excited about?

These are just a few things you should know about reaching your target audience. Developing buyer personas for your product lines will help clear up targeting issues and bring more focus into who you are trying to reach for a particular advertisement. Your personas should be specific, understandable, and executable.

When deciding exactly where to meet your buyer personas where they're at, so they don't need to hunt for your information, there are three common issues that need to be considered.

What you need to keep in mind includes:

People have short - squirrel.

People needed to be grabbed and grabbed quickly. People decide whether or not they will continue watching an advertisement in 3 seconds (or 8 seconds max which is shorter than a goldfish). That means you have 3 seconds during a video advertisement to convince someone to continue watching.

Other types of advertisements, outside of digital, have little research into how much people are continuing to read or engage with them. Print magazines gauge impressions - number of people who they have likely reached - rather than being able to say someone looked at your ad for 10 seconds.

 
 You only have eight seconds to grab someone's attention.

You only have eight seconds to grab someone's attention.

 

Ways to combat short attention spans:

  • Create content that engages quickly. Using cuts of video, attention grabbing headlines, and visuals can help someone decide an article is worth reading.
  • Make articles accessible. Minimize the number of clicks it takes to engage with your content. Like online shopping, online reading can be hindered by an increased number of clicks.
  • Create a brand promise around engagement. If your content is always engaging to your target audience, they will be more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt for a given piece of content. They will also come back for new content rather than needing to reach out to them every time.

Noise is everywhere.

There are a couple different types of noise. Noise can be that there are too many messages vying for attention in the same space. It can be literal noise when it comes to someone receiving the ad. Noise is what interferes with someone receiving a message as intended.

This is the Shannon-Weaver model of communication. It describes how messages have issues reaching a selected individual. More stressing is the Interactive Model of Communication, insinuating that there is noise around the entire process of communication.

Ways to combat noise:

  • Choose the right time and place to interact. Understand your target audience's limitations and biases to make sure you're reaching them at a prime time for minimizing noise. Do your research in advance and test your ads to see what's working.
  • Be engaging. Exceptional content can help cut through the noise of a overwhelmed psyche. It's one of the reasons Buzzfeed rose to popularity.
  • Be different. One of the issues with noise is separating quality from a jumble of messages vying for contention. Separate your content as much as possible from what's next to you on the magazine stand, in someone's News feed, or along their drive home.

Attention is limited. Use it wisely.

People have a limited amount of time and attention to spend on an advertisement. They may be present while their is an ad going on, but there's no guarantee that they're absorbing the information. Choosing a better time of day or method of engagement can help assuage this issue.

Be careful when choosing where you're reaching customers to take into account how they might be feeling. If they're workaholics, maybe they will be working during their commute and will only skim an ad. If they're single moms, maybe they can't focus on picking up their kids from school around 3 pm rather than watching the TV that's may be running in the background. These are example scenarios - and can severely impact people's reception of your advertisement.

Ways to combat limited attention:

  • Find a better topic. People engage with content they want to engage with. Simply because you've paid for air time doesn't mean people are listening. If you've chosen a paid way into impressions or reach, impress with content that grabs attention by being relevant.
  • Find a time when your target audience can focus. Is that late at night? Early in the morning? When they're taking a break at work? Maybe there's a particular medium they are able to focus on. Take time to know these places to make the best decisions for ad placement.