Attention Startups: You have 8 seconds to win a Customer!

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As much as the big brands are using Attention Marketing, it is also as important for smaller companies to use this tool for marketing. Smaller companies and startups with limited monetary and physical resources can modify the attention marketing strategies adopted by big brands and mold it into their own. It is said that the average person spends 10-20 seconds on a webpage before leaving. When you are faced with such a short time frame to grasp the attention of your customers and showcase your services, what do you do? The first step is to get the essence of your communication right which is your CONTENT.

Let us start with a very commonly used exercise in marketing positioning. I urge all young entrepreneurs; established and aspiring alike to complete this sentence.

Our __________ is the ONLY ______________ that ___________.

       (Brand name)             (Product category)   (Unique value)

This exercise will help you understand why you stand apart and what your unique value proposition is which will be the focus for your content strategy.

Content marketing is one of the most reliable and cost effective tools in increasing a website’s traffic. Many brands use the one-third rule of content mix, i.e. one-third of posts are about the brand, one-third about the industry, with content from outside sources, and one-third are personal interactions. It is only when you get your content in place, you have the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tools such as sponsored content, social media advertising and video marketing. Content also helps educate your target prospects and generate awareness for your brand. Some of the key elements of good content includes a clear messaging which is crisp and meaningful, a unique value proposition that differentiates your product with your competitors and a brand story that resonates with your audience based on what they want and not what you are selling.

As customers, we are constantly being inundated with information and the products we receive as customers seem to be all the same. Consequently, it is crucial to put a spotlight not only on your product as such but also on the brand that has its distinct personality. This is where storytelling comes in handy.

Your brand has to be associated with a good story, the sequence of events needs to be griping, to keep your audience waiting for the next piece of it! Your content – be it a video, social media post or even a blog, can be released in a sequential format to keep the audiences engaged, like we attempted to do with this blog! One of the startups that is well conscious of the value of storytelling is HubSpot. Its founders happily shared the story of their humble beginnings and how they formulated their mission to help people achieve their goals, rather than interrupt them by sending out constant advertising messages.

Imagine you love a brand and you realize the brand loves you back, if your customer feels this way you have got yourself a loyal customer for life. ‘Personalization’ is a tactic that can be used by companies when they are giving offers and recommendations to customers by identifying trends and patterns in their buying history.

Swiggy did just that in its New Year and most recent Valentine campaign which involved them sending out personalized emails to customers informing them of their most preferred eatables, how many orders they have placed, their favourite restaurant and lots more interesting facts!

What do you do when you don’t have the budget for a creative team? Well, use customers to create user-generated content. As simple as this sounds, it is a very effective way to get people to start talking about your brand. Airbnb is of those young brands that have already mastered the art of user generated content. One of their initiatives, Airbnb stories, offers insight into host and guest experiences, showing how the customer’s life can be better and happier with the Airbnb experience. For an initial stage startup, an ideal content generation way would be to hold blog writing competitions, daily quizzes and hackathons that give customers a sense of ownership and also help in content curation for your own marketing agenda.

Social media is also a powerful tool that can be used for user generated content as it is an open platform where people share their views, opinions and reviews about products. Being prompt in addressing consumer grievances can help companies regain their credibility. Different content can be used for different social media platforms; for instance Facebook could be used to give updates on the latest happenings of the company as well as to create events, YouTube could be used as a tool to showcase product demos and video ads, Instagram can be used for more informal content to showcase company culture and its values. Twitter and LinkedIn can be more formal forms of communication to publish links to company whitepapers, events, blogs, articles and more.   

Despite predictions of its death in the marketing world, emails are still around and delivering a handsome return on investment to marketers. In a recent marketing survey, it was concluded that email marketing had an impressive ROI of 122%. Email marketing can be highly effective if instead of pushing products to consumers, it is rather used to inform, educate and engage a customer. Uber India for example crafted a crisp, engaging, email thread to inform users of the new features it introduced in its application. The company sent a three part series mail to its customers titled ‘you are missing out on new features’; to help them transition to their new application upgrade.


Another exciting example that stands out is the Google Doodle, which is a dynamic and informative tool that does what it is intended to do – grab attention. Companies on tighter budgets cannot have such dynamic tools but can we have holiday logos and themes to our websites? A warm Christmas greeting, or a Diwali wish? This simple tactic might do the trick and get people talking about your website.

It is interesting to see how we can draw parallels to what the big players in the game are doing and establish our own playing field by using the basics of attention marketing campaigns. So get starting with these few basic strategies and enter the sensational GAME OF ATTENTION!    

Blog Author: 
Sneha Maheshwari
Marketing Analytics


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