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One at a Time

Wine glas

Boarding a plane. Tasting wine. Writing for your brand.

For each there’s a golden rule you must obey: one at a time, folks! 

I don’t think we need to explain why stampeding passengers or mixed mouthfuls of rosés and reds are bad ideas.

But let’s elaborate on the copywriting part. 

Some of the most successful marketing campaigns hook you in with one brilliant thing. 

Take Nike. Amidst a vast sports lineup, their Vaporfly promo keeps it simple by focussing on one aspect – speed.

Why? Because they understand that when you’re after running shoes to crush your personal best, you want to hear about that and only that. 

You might enjoy shooting hoops, be a low-key cricketer or semi-keen cyclist. It doesn’t matter. At that moment, all you care about is finding the perfect running companion. Nike gets it, and that’s why their messaging hits home every time.

What’s their thing?

To make your messaging laser focussed, you need to know what your audience cares most about right here right now. And you won’t get that by building generic customer personas: ‘Jack’s in his mid-thirties, listens to Ed Sheeran and loves the gym’ ain’t gonna give you the insights you need.

Few companies have one precise demographic.

You need to understand the nuances within your customer base so you can speak to them directly. Otherwise, you’re playing to the crowd and reaching no one. 

Plenty of tools can help with this. Use website tracking to suss out online behaviour – which sites your audiences love, which pages they linger on, where they convert and what makes them go ‘nah’. 

Web and social analytics can help you build more detailed customer profiles. Shares, comments or click-throughs will reveal the topics that engage them. Maybe they’re into AI, but blockchain leaves them cold. 

Find out even more about the trends they’re tapping into and spot shifts in sentiment with social listening tools. Analysing customer support emails, chat and calls will reveal the most nagging pain points and FAQs. 

All of which will make you far better placed to serve up relevant content about products, services or specific features that mean something to your audience.

Don’t give it away, give it away now

There’s an old fashioned adage of entertainment that applies here too: always leave ’em wanting more. Keep some cards close to your chest or you’ll have no hand to play later on. Plus, when you deliver one benefit or product at a time, you slowly build trust, strengthening your customers’ connection to your brand over the long term.

So keep an air of mystery by drip-feeding information to tease interest. Trying to say too much at once not only confuses customers but dilutes your message, making what you have to offer actually sound less impressive.

Give them one thing to focus on and you can really sing about it.

When Apple releases a new iPhone, they don’t spill about all the cool new functions at once. They create a buzz of anticipation by revealing one life-enhancing feature at a time. 

For iOs 17, ahead of the release of the new iPhone 15, they led with StandBy mode, which lets you turn your phone into a smart screen when it’s charging horizontally. Once that had fans talking, they dropped more rumours around specs, design and features to whet Apple devotees’ appetites. No wonder queues snake round the block on launch days.

Our time is running out

Let’s face it, attention spans are shorter than ever. So, it’s vital to remember your audience can only digest one thing at a time. Yes, you’ve got loads of cool products, but introducing them one by one allows your customers to fully grasp each one’s value and benefits. 

Imagine you’re eyeing the latest fitness tracker on the market because you want to start hitting 10,000 steps a day. Suddenly you’re bombarded with gumpf about sleep tracking, glucose management and heart rates. Chances are you’ll retreat back to the sofa in defeat. 

Fitbit is the biggest name in fitness trackers because they do the opposite. With each new device they focus on one benefit. Their latest launch, Alta HR, is a case in point. Fitbit billed it as ‘the world’s slimmest fitness wristband with continuous heart rate tracking.’ It wouldn’t have quite the same impact if the ad said ‘Oh, and it helps you count calories too.’

This focussed approach lets time-starved audiences absorb the information they need in that moment. Bit by bit, you build trust. And, by the time you launch your next product, they’re already invested. 

Precision prevails

So, whether you’re crafting an email, a social media post, or a full-blown marketing campaign, remember: stick to one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm your audience with a jumble of information. Focus on one of their key desires or needs and spotlight one product and message to meet it. 

Unveiling the unique benefits your brand has to offer one at a time will give your audience time to savour each one, build anticipation for the next and instil trust that you’ll give them what they need in the future. 

And that’s how one targeted campaign turns into lifelong loyalty.

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