Look ’em in the eyes: Marketing to humans

Research shows that using photos of people attract more attention, especially when you can see their eyes. Several years ago I participated in a workshop exercise that I often use in my workshops, related to eyes.  In the exercise, people team up in pairs, then look silently into each others’ eyes for an entire minute. Sixty seconds, people, doesn’t seem like a long time until you find yourself staring into the soul of another person, often a stranger. No talking is allowed. It is an impactful, intense, and intimate exercise that results in smiles, aha moments, and even hugs in some situations when it’s over. One minute is usually enough time to get over the discomfort and feel connected. The lesson? If we look, if we pay attention, we see the humanity in each other.

When we market, we need to remember this. Whenever we craft marketing messages and materials, imagine delivering that message in person while looking into your reader’s eyes. Many stories can be told and received more powerfully when we stop to think of connecting WITH the listener instead to talking AT them.

Would you write advertising copy in a more straightforward, authentic way if you pictured yourself having a one-on-one conversation? Sometimes we try too hard to be clever, funny, smart, or persuasive because we think it gives us an edge over the competition. What truly gives us an edge, however, is saying something RELEVANT to our audience—creating a resonance that allows others to “look into our eyes” and understand us. If they understand us, they can make a better decision about whether it makes sense to do business with us, and if they choose to do so, your chances of “seeing eye-to-eye” are greatly increased.

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