When Trying to Catch Your Audience’s Attention, the Hook🪝You Choose Matters.
You reading this sentence means that you were at least drawn in by the title, and hopefully, this opening paragraph persuades you to read on. You see, the opening copy emphasizes the “hook” in this piece, designed to peak your interest and that of others looking for professional insight to help elevate their brands.
Whenever you’re trying to connect with your audience, be it through a digital ad, press release, website page, or social media post, you should always have an effective hook — an angle to grab their attention and lure them in to take positive action like clicking through to your site, stopping by your store, reading the rest of your post or watching the rest of your reel. Powerful hooks are essential to successful marketing and communications.
A hook’s beginning is critical and can be a thought-provoking headline, clever tagline, eye-catching image or mysterious subject line, as long as it’s engaging and strong enough to get your audience to bite. Once you have them on the line, you have a real shot at reeling them in to eventually buy your product or service.
To get better at capturing your audience’s attention, keep these seven things in mind when crafting your next marketing hook:
1. Know Who You’re Fishing For
The best fishermen know their game well, from how they think and move to what, when, and where they like to eat. Likewise, you have to familiarize yourself with your target audience’s wants, needs and tendencies to know just how, when, and where to hook them. This is where research and analytics play a big part in gaining valuable insights like what tactics appeal to customers, where they spend their time (watching tv, on social media, driving, etc.), and how they make purchasing decisions.
2. Give Them What They Want
Once you know your audience better, give’em what they’re hungry for — whether it’s a better product, unique information, entertainment or inspiration to improve their lives. What you’re leading them toward helps you define your hook.
Selling cookies and want a cookie lover to visit your site? Create your banner ad with an image of your mouth-watering cookies and copy telling them why yours are the best. Want a homeowner to buy your carpet? Give’em blog posts on how to choose the best carpet for their home.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes; make your hooks relatable and geared toward their interests; and address their specific needs so you can convince them why your brand is the best one to meet them.
3. Lure Them In With What Speaks To Them
I’ll admit, I’ve fished more on VR than in an actual pond, but even I know that you can’t use the same hook to catch a marlin as you would a trout. Similarly, you can’t use the same hook to catch the attention of a millennial entrepreneur as you would that of a blue-collar boomer.
Different generations, genders and other demographics require different voices, images, and methods to reach them. Your hooks should speak to them in their own language and entice them with verbal and visuals that appeal to their appetites.
And keep in mind that sparkly lures can catch the eyes of some fish but scare others away. Likewise, overly edgy or controversial hooks might turn off a more conservative audience, while overtly salesy or safe hooks could fail to attract a younger one.
4. Don’t Wait To Hit Them With It
A news story that “buries the lede” commits the journalistic faux-pas of taking too long to share its most important details. In marketing, you only have a few seconds to get a bite, so your hooks have to be clear, concise and introduced relatively quickly, or else you’ll lose your target’s attention. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever these days, so if you bury the lede too often, you might as well bury your brand. It’s also good to make all your content as digestible as possible whenever you can.
5. Make Waves
Being different is what sets your brand apart from others, and this applies to your hooks as well. Boring, bland, cookie-cutter ideas, copy and images are forgettable and easily ignored, while catchy, clever, uniquely insightful and polished ones are hard to resist.
Always look for a new angle that others haven’t used before. Though it’s a hard task, it pays off when done right. Even with subjects that have been done to death, you should always strive to offer an original take.
6. Avoid Red Herrings
Customers are savvier than ever and can spot a fake a mile away. Make sure your hook honestly reflects your brand, its values and voice, and what you’re really offering.
If your banner ad, headline or subject line is overly salesy, manipulative, or the content that follows doesn’t jive with it, you’ll only turn people away and cause them to distrust your brand in the future. Don’t say, “Check out this once-in-a-lifetime offer” when it’s clearly not, or “This product will change your life” when it clearly won’t.
Being authentic in everything you do, including your hooks, is essential to building long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with customers.
7. Reel Them In
Get someone on the line without the goods to back it up and you’ll eventually lose them. What’s the point of getting their attention, if you don’t know what to do once you have it?
Whether your ultimate goal is to get them to buy your product, subscribe to your blog or follow your social media page, once you have them hooked, you have to keep reeling them in with something that’s worth their while. Meanwhile, throughout the “sales funnel,” your content should constantly remind them of your brand’s unique value propositions (aka your 1.O.A.K.) and why your brand is the best choice to meet their particular need.
In Blues Traveler’s hit song “Hook,” frontman John Popper croons about the hooks in music and, to a lesser extent, politics, but the refrain rings true for brands as well: “The hook brings you back, on this you can rely.” The better you get at crafting effective hooks, the more likely your audience will keep coming back for more.
For help with your hooks and creating juicy content your audience will eat up, contact us today and our skilled team of wordsmiths, visual artists, and expert strategists will break out their tackle box.
Jim Vivirito, M:7 Senior Copywriter