Keeping Your Market Engaged & Responsive

The Attention Stream is made up of things, out of an overwhelming stream of never-ending content and options on the world wide web, that people actually pay attention to on any given day.

As a content marketer, your goal is to get - and stay - in your target market's Attention Stream.

So... how do you do that??

Getting Their Attention

To start, you have to get your market's attention in the first place. If they don't see you, you won't see a response from them. Nothing like stating the obvious, right? 🙂

Note: "Build it and they will come" will only happen if you're Kevin Costner.

  • Go to them. Your first task is to find out where your target market is, and join them there. What are they searching for in the major search engines? Find out and rank well for those search terms. Which forums and social networks are they active on? Don't sit around and wait for them to come to your site. Find out where the conversation is happening in your niche and join in.
  • Quality Content. Don't be a spammy marketer, blasting ads everywhere you go. Provide quality tips, information and answers. Ultimately you will either be part of the problem (spammer), or part of the solution (expert).
  • Show a genuine interest in their success with ____ (your niche). This alone will go a long way in helping you stand out from the majority of online marketers.
  • Eye Pull. Use images, color and bold text to draw the eye so that your message stands out on a page. There's a difference between appropriate use, and something like 'all caps and 13 explanation points'...
  • Wording. Use engaging titles & sub-headlines to draw them into your content. Keep in mind that most people are scanning pages, whether it's a Facebook stream or a blog post. A little copywriting and strategic bolding can go a long way!

People generally make quick impulsive decisions about people and websites. You will either appeal to them, or turn them off. People don't have time for lukewarm. Being in the grey area will not get you into their attention stream.

Make a good first impression! 😉

Encouraging a Response

Once you get their attention, your next task is to encourage them to take a specific action. For every piece of content you put online, know the ONE action you want the reader or visitor to take when they read it.

Do you want them to buy, share, comment, subscribe, click? Make sure the objective is obvious. Use one call-to-action and let them know what the "next best click" is - and why.

  • Ask questions. Don't just blast content incessantly. Stop now and then and ask questions. Open a discussion with your target market. People love to share their opinion, and they like to be heard.
  • Quality Content. (yes, again) Great content gets shared. People love getting credit for passing along something cool.
  • Offer your readers options & tools to share or respond to your content. Make sure they can easily add your page to a social bookmarking site, share it on Facebook, tweet it, comment on it, etc.
  • Evoke emotion. Emotion responds. Tap into their frustration, concerns, their pain or their desires.

Note: If you're a blogger, "response" doesn't always have to equal "comments". Bloggers often judge the success of their blog by the number of comments. But if you're one main objective is to get readers to click on a link - do not distract them by asking for comments. You can just as easily use emotion to encourage a click or sign-up or purchase, as you can to encourage a comment...

Keeping Their Attention

Once they meet you and choose to subscribe (like, fan, follow, bookmark, etc), your job is to keep them engaged. People will just as quickly unsubscribe (or at the very least, mentally filter you out!) if the quality changes...

  • Be Consistent. People like to know what to expect. Be consistent with your quality, and also with your timing. If you blog once a week on Thursday at 3pm, people will get in the habit of checking in every week to get the latest. Humans are by nature creatures of habit. You can tap into that with a disciplined publishing schedule (the noon tweet, morning update, weekend report, etc).
  • Quality Content. (have I said this already??) People will keep coming back if you're putting out the good stuff. Good impressions pique interest. Trust is earned over time.
  • Hot Topics. Be the person in your niche that is discussing the hot topics or the news as it comes up. Keep your finger on the pulse by using Google Alerts, subscribing to niche news sources, and take fast action on it: be the conversation starter. You'll quickly become their trusted source (the "go to guy") of all things *your-niche*.
  • Share, generously. Resources, content from other sources, ideas, time, whatever.
  • Respond. Reply to blog comments, tweets, messages, etc. Be a real person, and be available. Once someone has an actualy exchange with you, it takes your "relationship" to a whole new level. They become personally invested, and have an increased interest.

Rule of Thumb

We're all online marketers. But we're also constantly being bombarded by marketing messages ourselves.

Take notice of what annoys you personally, and what engages you. If you don't like something yourself, don't integrate it into your marketing strategy just because some guru told you it would work.

You don't want to annoy your readers or visitors. Certainly not your customers!

I like to keep a swipe file of pages I have responded to and/or ordered from. I study these, and make notes on what got my attention, and why. I also make note of things that annoyed me, pissed me off, or turned me off. I've used my own responses to create and shape my online marketing strategy.

Scott Stratten says: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.

I had the pleasure of hearing Scott speak while he was in Nashville as part of his 30-city "Unbook Tour". He made the point during that talk that being authentic or genuine cannot be taught, and cannot be faked (for long). He also left me pondering the difference (and that there is a difference) between marketing and advertising...

Win a Copy of UNmarketing
by Scott Stratten!

I would love for you to have a copy of UNmarketing by Scott Stratten.

This book, along with Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk are in my opinion two must-reads this year.

I'm going to give away a copy of UNmarketing to ONE lucky reader! All you have to do is leave a comment or question about this topic below.

Crap comments won't count, of course (and usually just get deleted anyway).

On Tuesday morning around 11am central time we will do a random drawing from all comments, and choose a winner. Good luck! 😀

(Note: This Giveaway Is Now Over)


Illustrations from iStockPhoto. Friends with Scott. Affiliate for Amazon.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Great post, although I noticed the dogs I focussed them out almost immediately as I had been pre-sold this post by my FeedDemon RSS feed and thus was drawn to your first link.

    I have just completed a training package about Twitter and the advice mirrors pretty much everything you say here, in fact I have already made a no spam declaration on all of my twitter accounts and now only link to sites of real value.

    Take a look at any tweet feed and you will see the content tweets shining out like beacons in the fog of spam

  2. Awesome reminders here Lynn! I know I have been guilty of the “Build it and they will come” mentality. I have also found that in many of my clients.

    Re-reading this blog post would be beneficial to many.

    Thank you for letting us know about the UnMarketing book. I think I'll go order it now! 🙂

  3. Great advice! I totally agree with finding your target market. Join them, make a good impression, help them, give good advice and when you get their attention, lead them to your site or to what you have to offer and do your best to keep them there 🙂

  4. Images and colors keep everyone from a toddler and up engaged to an extent, but the real qualified visits you want are the ones looking to read your QUALITY CONTENT. Content is king so keep it simple -- 🙂

  5. Pete McEntee says

    There's a lot of valuable advice here. From knowing your market to making a good first impression to writing engaging and quality content to showing genuine interest in THEIR success....these are some of the fundamentals to YOUR marketing success. Also,staying relevant to your audience and being proactive, as well.


  6. I like how in the weekly webinars you've been teaching us lately about where the eyes go on a web page. So many subtle things go into a truly good post.

  7. Jason Gilmore says

    I like it, I like it, but I have a question. How can you do what you outline without having many on your mailing list opt out because you're sending too many emails?

  8. Keven McDonald says

    There's some great advice on this post. I particularly appreciate the note about quality content. Too often new marketers are lured into believing that a massive amount of content is the key to building an online business. In fact, online consumers have become very sophisticated and are quite tired of the useless junk that populates far too much of the internet. Timely, interesting and usefull information is what draws people into your offer and keeps them coming back.

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