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If you’re familiar with the old copywriting formula “AIDA,” you’ll know that the first “A” stands for “Attention.” Essentially, all else counts for nothing if you can’t get the attention of your prospects in the first place. So how do you go about getting their attention? There are many possibilities, but here are five surefire strategies that can get you noticed.

1. Give Something Away

“Free” is one of the most powerful words in marketing. If you want attention, giving something away for nothing is the perfect way to go about getting it. Free things are used every day in every industry to get things noticed. Free samples of shampoo or new drinks. Free downloads to get people to sign up to the email list. Free courses. Free information. If you can give your prospects something for free, do it.

The problem is when you expect things that are free to always be popular. We wrote a little while ago on the topic of lead magnets, which are essentially things you give away for the price of an email address, and how even though it costs your prospects nothing, they are not just going to sign up to anything. So use free. Use it honestly, and make sure whatever you give away really is free. But make it good. If you provide free information, make it the same quality as the non-free information. If you send out five free emails in an autoresponder, pack them full of excellent information that people would be happy to pay for.

That’s the way to really get noticed.

2. Follow the Viral Video Rules

It’s the dream of any online marketer. You create a video that goes viral, and suddenly millions of people all over the world are watching your video, and tens of thousands of people are landing on your website.

The Dollar Shave Club is a classic example. It got its video exactly right back in 2012. The video quickly went viral, sending huge amounts of traffic to the site and generating a vast amount of publicityIt cost $4,500 to produce but only took a day to shoot. It was slick and, most importantly, funny. It provided people with a reason to share it, and the video is still featured on its homepage.

But creating a viral video is not something you can just do. There is no magic formula, otherwise, everyone would be creating hit videos every day. There has to be something that makes people really want to share a video, which usually means it evokes a strong emotion. But you also have to be original, and you have to get lucky with your timing. Despite this, you can increase your odds by including all the right ingredients—and if you get it right, nothing can beat the rewards.

3. Be Smart with Your Headlines

It’s basic stuff, but it’s essential. You have to get your headlines right if you are going to attract any kind attention with your marketing. That’s how it’s been for decades, and nothing has changed. Whole books have been written on headlines (and there is some excellent information online). But it all boils down to creating something that stops people in their tracks. Copywriters often spend longer on the headline than they do on the rest of the work because they know how important it is. Get it wrong, and the rest doesn’t matter.

4. Use a Shocking / Perplexing / Humorous Image

Some of the best attention-grabbing marketing out there at the moment is what’s referred to as link bait. You know the sort: “10 Amazing Photos Released by the US Government (Number 7 Will Blow Your Mind!)”

The headline is a big attraction, but the image is often the clincher. You know you have not got time, you know you should be working—but that image is so compelling you just have to click through. Invariably, the image is the last one in a list of 20, so you end up going through them all before you reach it.

Photos can often do a lot of the talking for you, and a picture really can be worth a thousand words. Just think about the power of before-and-after images, which are still used all the time in advertising. The secret again is to use images that elicit an emotion, but which are also relevant. And if you don’t know what to use, a smiling face is often a good bet, and pets and children are also ideal if you can find a way to use them.

5. Do Something Outrageous

If you really want to get attention, there is always the possibility of a publicity stunt. Companies have been doing these for decades because they work. They get noticed, they get attention, and they get press. They are all about using the sensational to get attention. Think Eau de Pizza Hut and Xbox’s human billboard. The whole idea is to create buzz and get people talking. A good publicity stunt can make headlines locally and even internationally,  You will have to think of something original—and you want to make sure it is relevant to the product, service, or event you are promoting—but get it right, and the results can be impressive.

Speak to Your Target Customer

The above can all be put to good effect to attract attention. But don’t forget to make it personal, and always make sure you speak directly to the people you are trying to reach. After all, the word “Arthritis” could be all you need to capture the attention of people suffering from arthritis who may be interested in your treatment, without the need for any gimmicks at all.

Viral videos are great. Publicity stunts make a lot of buzz. But remember that you don’t always need to generate a lot of noise to get noticed.

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About the Author: Jason Corgiat

I started building websites in 1999. Through the years I've worked with hundreds of businesses in various verticals and have built, implemented and managed digital strategies for companies of all sizes. My education is not formal and neither are my methods. Chances are, I can add value to your organization from day 1 but I'll let you be the judge. I'm a proud father of 4, luckiest husband in the world, and enjoy the occasional gym session. How was that for a bio?

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