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10 tips to reach your audience: Synctegrate!

As they say, content is king. But in advertising and promotion, it’s the presentation that gets your audience to take a first look. You've got less than two seconds to grab the attention of your audience before they move on to the next flashy presentation.

Too much information. We are human filters —bombarded with more information than we can handle. Survival means selecting only the most relevant information to give our valuable time to. Marketers must work hard to warrant the attention of today’s consumer, so the message must be carefully-crafted to be effective.

1. Define the process. Be more specific than declaring that you want to sell your product. Try to break that down further and define the steps needed to attain your general goal.

2. Target purpose by media mix. Target each piece that you create to attain a specific, clearly-defined goal that supports moving your prospect along a progressive path through the buying cycle.

If you are doing a first time mailing, your goal may be to introduce your product and its top-level benefits. You may focus on getting your audience to take a second look by associating yourself with a reputable organization or local event they are familiar with or include a testimonial from a satisfied client. Follow-up contact may contain more in-depth information to educate.

3. Branding strategy. Do you have one? Branding makes a connection with your audience on a cognitive level and promotes an automatic response. It associates a feeling or emotion with your product. That is powerful stuff and what all marketers are aiming for. We are driven by our emotions and make our buying decisions largely on that basis.

4. Know thyself. Branding involves knowing the personality of your business and how it is perceived in your industry. Take a step back to have an objective look at your business. Define the feel and personality of your company and make that your common theme.

5. Just do it. Branding your product is accomplished by a promotional mix that conveys your message in everything you do at your company. Convey your business personality in your logo, your company and product name, your bylines, your colors, your Web site style, your advertising, your musical theme, your community service associations, your promotional giveaways, trade show booths, etc. Branding is reaching your audience at its finest.

6. Get noticed. Grab the attention of your viewer with a graphic or headline with impact. Target your message to your market; personalize it; add a twist; share an antidote or use humor. Use a graphic that shows an incongruous relationship. Make a claim, but make it an honest claim. Gross exaggeration will only alienate your audience.

7. Content navigation. Related content follows with a format that supports your message and makes it easy to understand and absorb. Use hierarchy and use it often. Write descriptive headers and present your message in short chunks of information. Keep your sentences short and use simple language. If writing for the web, take this to heart even more. We are scanners on the Web. Use bullets and keep information brief.

8. Mix it up. Communicate your message in several ways and in a variety of medias. Learning is a subjective experience. Some of us respond to visual media while others have more success with auditory cues. Others need a hands-on experience to understand a concept. The more you expand your media-mix in delivering your message, the more response you will get.

9. Say it and say it again. Repetition is the key to learning and persuasion. Communicate the benefits of your product and then say it again in another way. Keep your message in front of your prospect with repeated mailings or follow up, but make it a beneficial experience. Keep the information useful. Offer a service or newsletter for periodical contact.

10. Synctegrate! Integrate your information with your design so they look like they were made for each other. When these elements are in sync, one will support the other to increase understanding on several levels.