From The Rock

When trying to break through the noise, it’s not always about who shouts the loudest.

By | May 04, 2020

Undivided attention. That is what I crave at home when I’m breaking down the list of commitments we have for the week. I know that Kevin and Carole’s couple shower and our nephew’s birthday barbecue will be booked over if I don’t have Nathan’s focus when we go through our upcoming schedule. But there is a lot of noise to compete with: a barking dog, an NFL draft, texts from the boys. All of these things are more fun than my list of activities. But what I have to say is important, and I have to strategize to get his complete attention.

Your business experiences the exact same thing every time you distribute a communication piece. Your email came at the exact same time as a 50% off coupon to Anthropologie. Your Tweet was posted moments after a major sports scandal broke. Your targeted text message was lost in a sea of “Happy birthday!” notes. How do you garner the precious few seconds of attention you need to deliver your message to your consumers? Enlist the same tactics I use with my husband. 

Step one: Make it regular so they know it’s coming. 

If every Thursday morning over coffee we discuss the weekend plans, then Nathan knows it’s coming. If I’m especially blessed, I come to the table and he has his phone calendar open. Humans like patterns, and if they are eager to learn about your business, they will appreciate messages on a regular schedule. Drop sales on Instagram every Friday at 10 a.m. Post your CEO address on Mondays at noon. Whatever your communication piece is, try to deliver it as consistently on schedule as possible. 

Step two: Stick to the essentials. 

As much as I want to tell Nathan about the fabulously curated gift I purchased for the bride-to-be, I know his eyes would gloss over the moment the words “cocktail kit” left my lips. Your consumers are similar – they care about the information that is relevant to their lives. So save your breath (or your fingers) and give only the most important details. 

Step three: Use a multi-channel delivery system. 

Our one-on-one chat is step one. Step two is delivering the events to his phone calendar, and step three is to leave targeted sticky notes in key places so he’ll remember to prepare for our scheduled tasks. Consumers need guidance, and if you’re hitting them from multiple channels, you’re more likely to leave a mark. If someone opens your email about an upcoming sale, serve them a social media add with a few perfect pieces for their spring wardrobe. If you just announced a special seminar featuring your talented CFO via email, leverage LinkedIn to spread the word further. Hit ‘em with that old one-two jab – it might be on the second touch that they remember to act.

Bonus points: Burn them a time or two. (I’m joking, but I’m not.)

“I’m sorry! I asked whether you’d prefer to go to the Grizz game or our friend’s child’s piano recital. You didn’t answer, so I chose the recital for us.” One of the greatest ways to get someone’s attention is to make them feel like they missed out on something greater, better, cooler or less expensive than whatever they’re presently doing. If you just dropped something super sweet that you know people will love, let people know they missed it (and maybe extend a little grace and let them cash in for their prompt response to your second chance). You might not have grabbed their attention during round one, but you might keep it after they learn to pay attention!