12 Most Effective Tips to Connect with your Customers in 2.7 seconds

12 Most Effective Tips to Connect with your Customers in 2.7 seconds

Television, Newspapers, E-mail, Tablets, Smart Phones, Web (Facebook, News Sites, Hulu, etc), Outdoor Media: the average American sees over 3,000 advertising messages a day (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists Website).

While statistics vary, the average American now has an attention span of only 2.7 seconds. Any business or marketer wishing to “cut through the clutter” has their job cut out for them. Our media world is changing so frequently marketers cannot sit on their hands and rely on the “same-old”. So what can you do to instantly grab someone’s attention in 2.7 seconds?

Here is my list of the 12 most effective strategies:

1. Think MTV

mtv logo MTV and the music industry in the 80s realized that people connect more with a music artist that they can see. The same applies to your business audience. Add video to your blog or create a YouTube channel. In short: Broadcast Yourself.

2. Do it in 140

Thanks to text messaging, Twitter and Status Updates, few people read anymore…they scan. So learn to speak in headlines. Present your news, web site content, mobile messages or products in the modern-day 140-character sound bite with links to “read more” if it interests them to do so.

3. POV

Take a Stand, have an opinion and express it clearly. There’s no room to simply provide information today. You have to express your point of view to differentiate yourself.

4. Be Clever

Learn, or re-learn to write!  Product features, attributes or benefits must be given “personality” through clever writing, catchy phrases and analogies. “Business-speak” doesn’t cut it anymore.

5. Ask Questions, Don’t Advertise

Your content cannot be passive, it must engage the audience and asking questions creates a reaction in people that simple statements will never do.

6. Right Place, Right Time

Create an audience map that charts each of the locations your audience visits, when and for what reason. Then prepare different versions of your message that suits their “frame of mind” when engaging in those locations.

7. Let Go Of The Wheel

Regardless of the many usability studies out there, you can no longer dictate or even predict how your audience will access information. Provide them multiple options on how to view your message such as “chat live”, “call us”, user-defined drill downs, etc.

8. Better to Apologize Later than Ask Permission Now

Like it or not, provocative and/or entertaining headlines capture people’s attention. Inquiring minds want to know!  Experiment and take some risks to see what messaging works best for you.

9. Specialize or Die!

Being a generalist or jack-of-all-trades is no longer a viable option. If you offer multiple, even inter-connected services or products, silo them and laser focus your message. Alternatively, prepare the same message with multiple “skins” that appeal to different audience demographics.

10. Be in the NOW

Be relevant and timely in your messages. Content must be fresh and relevant to not only the audience reading it but to the world around us all.

11. It’s About “YOU”

I Want You ... Use the word “you” frequently.  Researchers have proven it to be one of the most persuasive words in our language because it makes the reader feel like you’re talking directly to them. This provides a sense of “conversation” that will pull people in.

12. “Get Over Yourself”

You’re not as smart as you think you are. And even if you are, your consumers would rather hear from their peers than from your sales and marketing team. Identify influencers and give them the content to share with their followers.

We live in a hyper-connected, media-rich world and so consumers are constantly bombarded with “media noise”.  People who have filled in a warranty card, entered an online sweepstakes, sued someone, subscribed to a newsletter or purchased an item online will have that many more advertising messages displayed to them.

Social Media has exponentially increased the number of messages and ads people see.  E-mail, Mobile and Web 2.0 technologies have changed how consumers consume content and created a “must have it now” culture. We skim magazines & web sites, read more blogs and RSS feeds that books and Tivo-out television commercials. Your strategies must adapt to meet these new realities.

What are you doing to make an impression in 2.7 seconds? Post your stories or comments below!

Sam Fiorella


Sam Fiorella is a globetrotting interactive marketing strategist who has earned his stripes over the past 20 years in senior management roles with corporate sales &marketing teams as well as consulting for more than 30 marketing agencies. Sam’s experience with over 1600 Interactive projects during the past 15 years spans the government, finance & insurance, manufacturing, national retail and travel/tourism sectors. Currently, Sam is the Chief Strategy Sensei at Sensei Marketing, where he is charged with strategic campaign guidance and marketing technology development that power the Sensei Customer Lifecycle Methodology. Sam is a respected blogger and popular keynote speaker on marketing, branding and social media communications having presented at more than 200 conferences in the past 2 years. Follow Sam on Twitter or Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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Sam, you're a damn clever man. And smart too. (Of course, handsome and charming as well.) I need to work harder on all 12 of these. Thanks for the reminders. Rule on, Sam I Am. Sorry. At times the working-with-kids thing just takes control of my keyboard. :/


Sam, I love #12 - Get Over Yourself - narcissism is such a problem with sales and executives. They don't care how great you are, they want to know how you solve a problem and whether or not they can trust you. Great job on this list!


#4 is a great point that many small businesses and start-ups tend to do well, but most corporations fail at. This kind of personality and cleverness is deemed "unprofessional" to the large corporations. Yet we see so many businesses like Grasshopper and Zappos that thrive on their personality.


@danielnewmanUV Thanks Dan. The issue is that most organizations don't understand how to be customer-centric. They approach everything from the product's point of view instead of their customer's POV. It's a slight shift that can pay BIG dividents for corporations.


@nathanhein thank you for the feedback. it does seem that big business and personality are at odds sometimes. it's a risk aversion thing more than an issue of perceived professionalism. but it is a large opportunity for enterprises that wish to take advantage of it.


@samfiorella @nathanhein I could not agree more in regards to this lack of personality due to risk aversion being an area of opportunity for larger corporations. It takes people that are will to put their neck out their in those organizations to make these things happen. People who would rather as for foreignness than permission.


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