How long do you REALLY have?

How long do you have to make a connection with your audience?

I use to say, about 7 Seconds.

I’d heard somewhere that 7 seconds was the average attention span of most adults. I thought this was a reasonable model and a good rule of thumb to use when developing the concept and design of a website. Grabbing a visitor’s attention and inspiring them to hang around longer than 7 seconds is a challenge. The next goal is to drive them beyond the initial page visit, to contacting the website owner or customer service. So I understand the complexity involved with this task.

Recently, I read a couple of different articles that addressed the question, How long do you have to make a connection with your audience? They radically differ and are much shorter than my preconceived timeline.

According to Pam Moore, the Marketing Nut, 5 seconds is all you have!

She says you only have 5 seconds to grab your customer’s attention when they visit your website, blog, ecommerce store or Facebook page!

She goes on to state that designing exceptional digital experiences that engage, inspire, educate and provide value to your online audience is a requirement, not an option.

I love reading Pam’s blogs and I agree with her assessment on what is required to captivate an audience. But way to go Pam…you just knocked 2 seconds off my precious time perimeter.

Next, I read an article that stated this¦

Brad Rencher, Adobe’s SVP & GM of Digital Marketing, says digital marketers are tasked with delivering experiences in milliseconds, and that we have 300 milliseconds to connect actions to experiences.

At this year’s Adobe Digital Summit in Utah, Rencher spoke in terms of making sure companies focus their efforts all the way up to the very last millisecond before an interaction with a customer or prospect takes place. He also states, it is so important not to blow it at that instant of engagement whether the company or the consumer initiates the interaction.

OMG (Oh my gosh) now I only have milliseconds and the last millisecond is the most crucial. Thanks, Brad! No added pressure here!

To understand the radical difference between these two, let’s compare a millisecond to a second.

There are 1000 milliseconds in a second, so 300 milliseconds is 300/1000 or 0.3 seconds.

Okay so I just lost another 4.7 seconds from the time I use to think I had to win someone’s attention!! I don’t know about you, but this kind of freaks me out! I’m not sure I can pull it off in 0.3 seconds (or 300 milliseconds).

Remember, whether it’s 0.3, 5 or 7 seconds, the main point here is the same. It takes some REAL EFFORT and THOUGHT to create intelligent, stimulating content, both visual and written material, which is essential in capturing your audience’s attention and making a connection that will spark an instant reaction, while making a lasting impression.

Hopefully these types of experiences will then lead customers/prospects to execute that one key action¦ the conversion-type kind of action.

Savvy digital marketers are learning to listen, communicate, and share in new ways to ensure their message and their brand are represented well in the new digital democracy.

They know not to push a marketing message; but rather, be authentic in the brand voice and make it appropriate for social media and the targeted audience they are trying to engage, inspire and enlighten about their products or services.

Accomplishing all this, and being able to pull it off in seconds, or milliseconds, well, I believe that continues to be a challenge for all. That’s why the big companies spend millions of dollars on marketing, trying to make sure their brand is recognized above their competitors.

However, any company, large or small, can make an impact if they have the desire to and are willing to put forth the effort and investments required. Too often I see client’s who sell themselves short. They just want us to develop a basic website or a blog, throw together a Facebook Business Page and maybe one or two other social sites, but they don’t put any real value on the development of content for each of these platforms.

We help companies go beyond just building the foundation. Our goals are to build them a “Web Presence” that continually offers great value to their audience. That’s why we strive to teach our clients how to do as much as possible on their own, thus saving them money. But whether they invest their time or their money, an investment is required to achieve great results.

If you only take one bit of advice away from this article, I hope it’s this invest your time (and/or money) wisely by creating valuable, compelling content across all you platforms, online and offline. Use captivating visuals in helping to achieve the 300 milliseconds effect. But also, put time and effort into coming up with words that have meaning and add value to your audience. If that’s not within your abilities, then hire someone with the skills. It will pay for itself in the end.

Bring excellence in all you do, as if you were doing it for the Lord.

Anne Burbank
Administrator/Owner of Social Media ConneXtion
Anne specializes in the development and execution of social media strategy, to help small businesses build a solid web presence by harnessing the power of social media.

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503-867-3127 (mobile)