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Motivating Your Target

There's just no time to waste in a cyber day; competition for your target's attention has always been stiff, but now it's just killer. There's less time and more to do, more to see, more to read--ad infinitum. What can you do to attract attention to your clients' message? Here are a few tips and techniques that motivate your audience to want to know more about your product or service.

"The free time I used to spend watching TV is now divided between shopping and blogging online," remarked one corporate executive, "it allows me to relax physically and it's certainly more entertaining than an episode of Law and Order." What was once a minor distraction is now a formidable competitor demanding its share of the market. How can direct mail compete with the dynamic web, traditional print media, and titillating TV or radio (satellite, broadcast or cable)? The most effective advertising demands target participation; it removes the "will I or won't I" part of the equation and turns it into "I MUST". Can you make them say "Man, look at that. What's that about?"

Here's an example: When asbestos removal was a big concern in the mid 1980's, a commercial building owner had no greater fear; not that he had asbestos, but that someone would find out. The ad campaign for my asbestos removal consultant was a gut wrencher for anyone with commercial real estate leasing in a highly competitive market. The headline ran over a photograph of a high dollar broker working the phones at night with a view of the city skyline in the background:, "I can get you out of your lease in a snap with the hazards clause." No one in the business could turn the page without reading the rest of the ad because desire was created in the viewer's imagination. They wanted to know more and provided the impetus to continue reading on their own. Here's a simple 3 step check for effective advertising, no matter what the media.

1) Create Motivation: There is a way into the heart of your prospect. What emotion can you instill to motivate them to want to hear what you have to say? Make it something they can't ignore, like your Uncle Guido, make them an offer they can't refuse.

2) Create Emotional Tension: After you arrive in their emotional center, create a stir. No matter what the media form, the best advertising grips a prospect by it's emotional needs and quickly creates turmoil. It's a simple formula of "Do you want this? followed by "Here's what you have to do to get it." The emotional tension hangs and propels them to participate.

3) Offer Resolution: Relieve the emotional tension you just created. Find the need in your prospect's soul that you can satisfy with your product or service; fan the flames, excite them about the benefits, then relieve their emotional uncertainty by telling them how to get it.

Here's the same formula applied to the asbestos consultants:

1) Motivate/Captivate--Did you know brokers are using your asbestos to void existing leases and relocate tenants to other properties? (YIKES!)

2) Grip/Tension--Have you looked at your statistics lately to determine just how much your asbestos problem is costing you in lost tenants?

3) Resolve/Solution--We have the answer. We can solve your problems quietly and cost effectively. We can stop the exodus and solve the problem.

Studies have shown that you have less than 3 seconds to capture the attention of your audience, whether it's in a stack of junk mail, online, in a magazine, radio or TV. The most self defeating mistake made is offering relief before they've gripped the target. Be careful not to show your hand before the game starts.

? Motivate and captivate; create curiosity.
? Grip their attention with emotional tension.
? Offer resolution and solutions; relieve the tension.

Here's the Ultimate in Marketing Communications Directory provided by the University of Texas.

Visit the American Advertising Awards (ADDY) website:

View an archive of over 7,000 print advertisements at Duke University:

©2005 Susan Kirkland, small business owner and author of Start and Run a Creative Services Business, shares the secrets to finding and keeping clients, negotiating with vendors, protecting yourself from Scoundrels and scalawags--a valuable resource for everyone, no matter what line of work. For more information and a complimentary POD cartoon visit

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