The 1st 7 Seconds Rules of Relevance Marketing

by TedV

It’s an axiom out there that the average time a person spends on a web page is 7 seconds.  My corollary to that is that in most cases people give your marketing/sales messages 7 seconds before they decide to continue with it or blow it off and go to the next email, voice mail, letter, brochure – whatever of the many sounds and visuals crowding them during their day.

Every day people in business have more to do and less time to do it. Using Relevance Marketing and Selling tactics right away, in the 1st 7 seconds, gives you a fair chance of getting your prospects to listen to your call, read your brochure, or surf your website to hear and see your message.

Business people are highly likely to practice the 7 Second Cut Off, but most don’t market and sell acknowledging it in their own business.

What do I mean by “practicing” the 7 Second Cut Off?  Here are 3 examples:

You Don’t Listen to Voice Mails to the End – You receive a voicemail from someone and it goes like this, “Good morning, Ms. Jones, I’m Fred Smith of the XYZ Company.  We make the amalgamated digital framacator with the patented shut off valve for reliability and safety.  Everyone says it’s the best framacator in the business.”

That took 12 seconds to say, and I’d bet good money that you deleted that voice mail before Fred got to the patented shut off valve.  (I can make the case that the ability to leave good voice mails might be the most important piece of marketing and salesmanship any company develops.)

You Don’t Read Brochures – You receive a brochure for the Amalgamated Digital Framacator in the mail.  Suppose you happen to look at it in curiosity and don’t throw the obvious sales envelope in the trash before opening it. You see a huge picture of a framacator on the front under the bold print of the name, “Amalgamated Digital Framacator” by XYZ Company. Below it you read, “The best framacator in the business!”

If you to go to the back of the product sheet you see a long list of specifications – 316 Stainless Steel – Investment Casting – Patented Shut Off Valve – and 20 or 30 other specs.  You’ll also see a picture of the factory and other claims to fame, such as ISO Standard and “In business since 1924.”

Unless you are really looking for a new framacator line right at that moment, you either throw the brochure in the trash in 7 seconds or so, or put the brochure in the 15 inch stack of stuff you plan on looking at some day soon.  When the stack reaches about 22 inches it falls over and you throw 90% or more of the brochures away without a second glance.

You Don’t Really “Read” Websites – It’s a rare event indeed, but say you go to a website a vendor suggests. You might see a digital version of the brochure mentioned above, but probably the home page is about the company and not a particular product.

You see the company name in big bold letters, you see “In business since 1924,” and you see a number of badges or gold seals claiming the company won this award or that at a tradeshow you didn’t attend.  Another picture of the factory sits there also.

The picture of the president or CEO might be displayed, or there’s a picture of him/her giving out the employee of the week certificate, suitable for framing.

The menus on the top and side are identical and feature heavily on the product line, the history of the company, and how to contact them.

This is the reason for the 7 seconds axiom on websites. You’re bored right away and leave the site. Now you might Bookmark the site if you’re so inclined, but even if you are a bookmarker, let me ask you, what percentage of your bookmarks do you ever go back to? If you go back to 10% of them I’d be surprised. I have thousands of bookmarks, and I haven’t revisited 5% of them I’d bet.

Some companies spend tens of thousands of dollars to build such a site, and even more trying to promote it through SEO across the Internet.  Hopefully the SEO company has someone on staff that can help with the mess I’ve described, but not all do.

The 1st 7 Seconds Rules of Relevance Marketing – the Series

Starting on January 21 and hopefully posting on every Tuesday and Thursday of the next few weeks, I’ll go over how to make the 1st 7 seconds count – make it so your prospects will listen, read, or surf to find out more about your products or services and even your company.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mark Harai January 19, 2010 at 10:47 am

Nice to see you getting after Ted and looking forward to gaining and sharing some insight with the community : )

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