Any promotion is built around a marketing hook. Think of a hook as a thirty-second pitch, your most important, and often only, chance to attract attention and interest during limited interaction with potential clients and customers.
A Hook is the Most Basic Element in Promotion.
Think about yourself, your product and service for a moment. If you cannot immediately conceive of a simple word or phrase that signifies who you are and what you offer, you’re thinking too hard or the message you want to convey is too long. Either way, your audience has a good chance of losing interest before you really have a chance to hook them. Don’t let that happen.
Think of it this way: If you found yourself in an elevator with an especially influential individual, how could you maximize that opportunity? Even if this type of situation never happens, you need to be prepared to get across two essential points, and quickly: what you do, and what makes you special. With a little (or a lot) of foresight, you’ll be ready to stand out from the crowd. Invest the time now to make yourself that unique individual whose message shines clearly in any interaction and remains after it’s over.
Prepare Your Hook.
Your message is in competition with many, many others, and not only is your audience’s attention and patience is limited, but he or she is accustomed to “tuning out” sales pitches on a daily basis. Only short messages have a chance to get through to your listener, and only the special ones will be retained long enough to be effective.
To begin, try writing about you and your business. Use colorful language and really celebrate the important qualities and skills you offer. Structure the story in a way that answers basic questions about you and your business. Include personal details about your career and training, aspects of the business that you enjoy, and your motivation.
Got it? Now smooth it out, and tame silliness into something you could imagine actually saying to people. Then practice giving that pitch first to yourself and then to friends. You’ll develop an ear for both what feels natural to you to say, and what works on the listener. You can even record yourself practicing again and again, to get more familiar with the material and the image you portray. If you’re really pleased with the results, you might even consider sending a clip to your contacts in a multimedia promotion!
Keep in mind what this hook is for you: a teaser for your audience. It’s a short attention-getter that doesn’t tell them everything about you and your company–it doesn’t need to and your audience wouldn’t pay attention that long anyway. Generate enough interest to prompt them to either seek out more information, or be even more receptive to what you have to say at the next opportunity. Your marketing hook is the single most basic and powerful tool in your arsenal–make it strong and use it.