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You've Only Got Three Seconds

Did you know that the most critical time to make an impression on someone is the first three seconds?

How people perceive you depends on how you look and behave in the first three seconds you meet. The same is true for your print advertising, your website, your social media content, and your digital ads. If you want someone to respond favorably to you or your business, you’ve only got three seconds to become irresistible.

In the distracted world we live in, the value proposition on your website must be immediately apparent to any potential buyer. The first sentence on your website should succinctly tell people what you do.

All of your advertising should follow some simple rules. Read on to see where you might be able to make some improvements in your messaging.

Make a bold statement: Step right up and tell people why you are different from everyone else. Say it in way that makes an impression. For example, there are probably a hundred different ways to say that you give great customer service, so say it in a way that is catchy and unique.

Less is more: Information should be presented in a clear and concise manner. Verbosity loses people. Your print collateral should be clean and simple looking. Your video content should be short and to the point. That is, under a minute and remember, those critical first three seconds should say something that make people want to see more.

Clearly state your offer: If you had to state your offer in five words or less, what would you say? Here are some examples:

“Trade-in deals are hot” is much more powerful than saying, “Come trade in your car and we’ll give you the best price out there.”

“Get 0% financing” is short and sweet. Don’t explain the process and risk losing people by making a statement like, “Come into our dealership for the lowest financing rates available.”

“Sign up for special offers,” tells people exactly what you want them to do. There’s no need to explain more. The details can be given later on.

Consider placement: Where you put your offer is also important. Action buttons should be in the top and bottom of your emails and website. If you want someone to scan a QR code, don’t bury it on the bottom. Put it on the top and tell people what to do. “Scan here to register.” Since we read from left to right, the top right is the best place for a call to action or button.

Avoid descriptive phrases: Those words that describe verbs and nouns are wonderful in poetry or in a novel, but when you are writing advertising copy, they only get in the way. Look for one word that says what you want rather than a set of words that says the same thing.

Avoid prepositions: Depending on the application, prepositions can also complicate things for you. When you need to be concise, using prepositional phrases can cause people to stop reading. Saying “Fill out this form for your chance to win a car” is longer to read and much less effective than, “Sign up to win”.

Avoid long words: Power up your copy by keeping your language simple. One syllable words have far more impact than multi-syllabic words. Hot deals are better than exceptional deals. A year-end event is better than an annual event. Your inventory overload sale is less effective than your blow-out sale

Use punchy words: The other advantage of one syllable words is that in English, they are punchy. If you can feel the impact of a verb when you speak it, you’ve got a good word for copy. Punch, blow, hit, hot, and grab are some examples of words that get the attention of the reader with a metaphorical punch.

Since all you’ve got is three seconds to convince a customer to look at your offer, how do you think your advertising copy affects your audience? Are your calls to action clear and compelling? Let us know if you need our help.

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