Biz Tips: From Call-to-action to Call-to-attention

Biz Tips: From Call-to-action to Call-to-attention


From Call-to-action to Call-to-attention

Image Source: Stefan Cosma for Unsplash

Every day, we call people’s attention.

Some of them respond, while most of them ignore us.

Direct marketing was characterized by immediate actions on the prospect’s side.

Marketing nowadays is characterized by a constant effort to grab people’s attention.

Thus, we’ve moved from “Call-to-action” to “Call-to-attention.”

We should stop expecting everyone to pay attention though.

This way, as marketers, we won’t create false expectations for our clients.

And, we won’t be as aggressive on our “hunt to attention.”

Many people get that wrong.

They expect everyone to respond, to spend time, to care, and to (ultimately) buy.

This is not going to happen.

Because as Seth Godin put it in his Permission Marketing book:

“You can’t watch everything, remember everything, or do everything. As the amount of noise in your life increases, the percentage of messages that get through inevitably decreases.”

What is Wrong About Attention?

A few months ago, I was on a call with a prospect — a young and ambitious SaaS startup founder. At some point, he told me:

“We need a massive campaign — we need a campaign so massive that will bring in 5,000 leads.”

My reaction to that was:

“Assuming that we bring in 5,000 leads, do you think you can handle them?”

Image Source: Nik MacMillan for Unsplash

Driving attention just for the sake of it is not going to help your business move forward.

Especially when you are running a startup, where you essentially live every day in the speed of life.

I prefer having 10 people who care than having 1,000 who don’t pay attention to what I want to say.

Sadly enough, most startup founders would prefer the exact opposite…

But, there is another interesting perspective regarding attention.

As the competition for attention increases, the cost of attention increases as well.

As Don Peppers put it a few years back:

“Face it: Your attention — the time you have available to “pay attention” — is an increasingly scarce resource. And, in any free economy, when resources become scarcer they command higher prices.”

This is why the cost of driving attention has risen significantly over the past few years.

In fact, according to ProfitWell:

”Overall CAC is up nearly 50% over the past five years.”

Image Source: ProfitWell

Which means that getting new customers — both for B2B and B2C — becomes harder.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that there are no businesses out there reducing their CAC.

I guess that these businesses focus on satisfying their customers, rather than (just) trying to draw attention.

Let’s see some practical ways to overcome the obstacle of attention, and build more meaningful relationships with your customers and prospects.

What to Do Instead

1) Learn your customers & prospects better

Why is that companies that have better and more accurate data about their customers and users, are usually the ones that thrive?

Let me tell you a little story.

In 2006, Netflix announced the Netflix Prize, a competition for engineers who would create an algorithm that:

“Substantially improve the accuracy of predictions about how much someone is going to enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences.”

Image Source: for Unsplash

Even though the winning team’s algorithm did improve predictions by 10%, the algorithm was never actually used.

You can learn more about the Neflix Prize competition here.

What is the moral of the story?

That Netflix is always trying to enhance the user experience.

And, it does so by trying to understand its users better.

Considering that Netflix has more than 139 million paying subscribers worldwide, I would say that they do a good job.

Wouldn’t you?

It essential that you get to know your customers better and by understanding them better, provide them with a better overall experience.

If you become good at this, you won’t have to worry about attention anymore.

2) Be Specific

Have you ever wondered “what should I do next” while browsing on a website?

If yes, then you are not alone.

Most people nowadays have many things on their minds.

Meaning that they can’t think of what you want them to do next or what you expect from them.

Which brings me to a critical point: the experience you offer MUST be seamless.

Also, you have to be crystal clear as to what people need to do next.

For example, take a look at this landing page from Social Triggers:

Image Source: Social Triggers

It literally tells you that you have to:

“Enter your name and email, and click “Download Free Ebook”

Try to explain everything in the simplest way possible, without the fluff, jargon or technical terms that your prospects or customers may be unfamiliar with.

You’ll be amazed by the results.

Let’s move on to the last one.

3) Build a brand, not more features

I’ve worked with startup founders who were obsessed with building the “perfect product.”

While they were trying, their competitors:

  • Were earning market share,
  • Were establishing themselves as authorities, AND
  • Were building powerful brands.

This is why according to Drift Co-founder and CEO, David Cancel if you are building a SaaS company today:

“You can’t win on features, you have to win on brand.”

You may be wondering why.

It’s simple:

Everyone can build similar or better features than the ones that your product has — not many can build a strong brand though.

An example of such a company? Drift:

Image Source: Drift

If you are interested in building a strong brand for your product, take a look at how these guys are doing it.

I am sure they can teach you some valuable lessons.

The Bottom Line?

As a marketer, I should encourage my fellow marketers and clients to try harder and harder to draw people’s attention.

The thing is that this is not working anymore.

And, if it does, it won’t be for long.

Most people are already using Ad Blocking as a way to “protect” themselves from over-commercialization.

Marketing is — and can be — beautiful, but only in the context of respecting the time and online experience of our audience.

And, I do hope that we are now ready to offer a better, less intrusive and more value-driven experience to online audiences.

If we don’t do it, more and more people will be less willing to listen to what we have to say.

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