How to Attract a Customer Online in 3 Seconds

UPDATED: May 7, 2024
PUBLISHED: June 17, 2021
How to Attract a Customer Online in 3 Seconds

How do shoppers choose an online retailer to spend money with? These days, all the well-known stores have similar products. You can order the same 10-piece cookware set from Target, Walmart or Amazon. The experience differs, but the result is typically the same. Days later, a collection of pots and pans arrives at your door.

But which company gets the sale? According to digital strategist Brendan Kane, the victory goes to whoever can grab, hold and monetize the shopper’s attention.

In this episode of Brilliant Thoughts, SUCCESS People Editor Tristan Ahumada talks to Kane, author of Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World, about attracting customers online. Kane has worked with A-list music artists like Taylor Swift and Rihanna, as well as brands like IKEA, Skechers and MTV. In just 30 days, he generated 1 million Facebook followers.

Kane is always testing social media ideas. If your business needs an engaged digital audience, here are his best tips.

1. Captivate your audience in three seconds or less.

The internet is filled with noise, so you need to reach people quickly. Whether your business is posting on TikTok, YouTube or Instagram, you have three seconds to make an impression before a viewer scrolls past your content.

“The only way to get the scroll to stop is to identify the pattern of the other content they’re consuming—your competitors and beyond,” Kane says. “Most people, when they open Instagram, [they don’t see] competitor after competitor. They just watch LeBron James dunk a basketball. They watch Kim Kardashian talk about fashion.”

Kane calls these moments pattern interrupters. They effectively hijack a user’s attention, which is the first step to making them do more interesting things like joining an email list or purchasing a new pair of shoes. Knowing which interrupters will or won’t work takes time and research.

As you study, ask yourself:

  1. What makes people stop scrolling within my industry?
  2. Which content is working? Which content isn’t working?
  3. Is there a theme or story structure people enjoy within my content?

Captivating thousands of people is hard, but not impossible. Treat each social platform as an experiment, and you’ll learn how to connect on each one.

2. Go slowly. Test one piece of content at a time.

Some brands try to grow too quickly on social media. They post 15 pieces of content each week so they can analyze everything at once. It sounds like a good idea, especially when you’re running a lean business. But mastering social media takes a sharp, detailed eye. You have to slow down and catch the data, which is hard to do when you’re chasing a certain volume.

“So many people are caught up in scheduling out posts,” Kane says. “[They think], Oh, I need to have a post every day or every two days or every three days. Then it gets lost in the process versus [saying], ‘Let’s do our research, identify a hypothesis of something we believe is going to work, and let’s produce one piece of content to test that hypothesis.’” 

Do you believe a specific image or video will drive lots of engagement? If so, take your hypothesis to heart. From the iteration phase to the testing phase, see the process through until the end. Then you can confirm once and for all whether the idea captivates your followers. If not, at least you know what isn’t working. You can start fresh with a new idea and repeat the process until you discover what works.

3. Get personal. Find the right communication model for your audience.

Imagine this: You’re a marketing director for a company that sells perfume, and you want to increase sales in the next quarter. You decide to rebuild the company’s messaging from scratch, focusing on the values customers hold. In your rough draft, there’s language about “smelling good as a social courtesy” and opinions about how others “appreciate the sweet oxygen.” But there’s just one problem. According to Kane, only 10% of people perceive the world through values and opinions. 

“Really, what we’ve identified is that communication is math,” Kane says. “There are six different ways that people perceive the world. We have access to all six, but typically we receive one or two as our strengths, and then the rest are weaknesses.”

Here are the six ways people perceive the world:

  1. Though feelings and emotions
  2. Through facts and logic
  3. Through fun and humor
  4. Through values and opinions
  5. Through imagination and reflection
  6. Through action

Kane says brands should lead with feelings, facts and fun on social media. That’s how 75% of people perceive the world. Avoiding opinions and action-based language is helpful too. According to Kane, only 15% of the population likes to be told what to do.

Brilliant Thoughts with Tristan Ahumada is no longer releasing new episodes on the SUCCESS Podcast Network, but you can still listen to the full conversation below.

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Lydia Sweatt

Lydia Sweatt is a freelance writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.