When you read this blog title, did you pause for just a second? Were you at least slightly curious about what this blog is about? You know I’m not a fisherman, so what exactly am I saying? This blog is not literally about fish hooks, or even catching real fish. It’s about marketing hooks and how they are used to attract attention, catch your customer’s eye and hopefully even snag a new lead or client. This hook was a non-literal play on words.
As a coach or course creator, you know we live in a crowded marketplace, and grabbing attention happens in a matter of seconds. ICF estimates there are 71,000 professional coaches worldwide and 23,000 in North America. And this number only reflects coaches that are registered with the ICF. There are close to 5 billion internet users in the world today and the average person spends 6 hours 56 minutes per day online. According to Brendan Kane, author of HookPoint, he says there are 60 billion messages shared on digital platforms each day, and the average person is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 ads on a daily basis. Phew!
So how do you stand out from the crowd and grab your audience’s attention in this 1-second world we live in? Hooks. Specifically, marketing hooks. Entrepreneur magazine describes a marketing hook as a “tease, a sample, and a mental appetizer.” It is a phrase that grabs attention, and makes someone stop and decide if they are still interested. If they are, they keep reading or consider buying. If they aren’t, they move on.
Let’s look at some popular marketing hooks…
Just Do It (Nike)
Finger Lickin Good (KFC)
There Are Some Things Money Can’t Buy, for Everything Else There is Mastercard (MC)
Quicker Picker Upper (Bounty)
Happiest Place on Earth (Disney
Betcha Can’t Eat Just One (Lays)
Think Different (Apple)
Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand (M&M’s)
Marketing hooks can be used in a variety of different places:
- Company slogans or brands
- Book titles
- Blog titles
- Email subject lines
- Headlines on web pages
- The opening line of social media content
- 1st few lines of an article or video
- Digital marketing ads
- Lyrics in a song
- LinkedIn or IG social profiles
- Literally anywhere in your marketing
Let’s look at the different angles you can use to craft clever and catchy marketing hooks.
Be Super Specific
The other day I received an email from Sabri Suby and the email subject line was “These savages grilled me for 58 minutes”. As a busy entrepreneur, it is not uncommon for me to scan all the emails I get, open the ones that intrigue me, and delete the rest. This particular email grabbed my attention. It was super specific. Sabri painted a vivid picture of the interview that was contained inside the email. He could have said “A one-hour interview with LTLFSH podcast”, but it’s not nearly as exciting. This marketing hook and the specific email I received caused me to sit down and listen to the entire 58 minute interview.
Make Bold Claims or Promises
Brendan Kane wrote a book titled “One Million Followers: How to Build a Massive Social Following in 30 Days”. Now that is a bold claim. Think about it. If you’re growing a business and social media is important to you, this marketing hook snags you right away. I know it did for me. I bought the book. Now I am not suggesting you lie or promise something you can’t deliver on. What I am saying is that if you can make a bold claim or promise and follow through, then, by all means, use that.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. Most people like getting in on a good secret. It implies there is something we don’t know. And this piques my curiosity. Think about The Secret to The Law of Attraction. There must be something we don’t know about attracting the things we want in life and this movie is gonna tell us the secret. Use titles like “The #1 Secret to…” or “The Best Kept Secrets for”.
Challenge the Status Quo
How we have been doing things for years isn’t always the best way. And it takes an innovative and new approach to challenge the status quo. Think about Uber and Airbnb. We always relied on taxis and hotels to meet our travel needs. But then someone invented a different way. People often like to stay in their comfort zone so when we see something that shakes things up and implies we try something new, it is intriguing. Not everyone will jump on board right away with challenging the status quo but many will. But if you can tap into your audience’s pain points or desires and suggest something new to solve their problem, then you are a step ahead of your competition.
One company that is great at using FOMO is Funnel Gorgeous. Every time they come out with a new offer, they use that fear of missing out, to get you to buy. I remember reading one of their emails for a digital marketing summit they were introducing. They made it sound so attractive and so popular that I had to text my technical VA to talk me off the ledge. I felt like I was making a big mistake if I didn’t buy because EVERYONE else was on board. And of course, FOMO tactics often lead you to believe that the offer is fleeting and will go away permanently.
Say What People Are Afraid to Say
“You don’t have a content creation problem. You have a shame problem.” Gulp. Those were the words of Shay Rowbottom in one of her LinkedIn posts. Most people aren’t going to point out the things that most people don’t want to talk about. The majority of individuals don’t want to admit they have a problem with shame. That implies something is wrong with them. But Shay and other successful marketers are not afraid to shake things up and say something shocking or difficult to swallow. Sometimes it backfires and starts a verbal war on social media. Other times people chime in with recognition, acceptance, and ultimately vulnerability. It works to encourage engagement.
Tap into a Strong Desire or Need
The best marketing strategy is to know your deepest desires and needs of your target audience. Not the “nice to haves” but the strong absolutes that make a significant difference. Think about the lonely guy who has been single for 10 years. The woman who has been battling her weight for most of her life. Or the struggling business owner that hasn’t received a single client in over a year. Get inside the minds of each of these individuals and ask yourself what their deepest pain or desire is. Is it loneliness or a desire for love? Shame or defeat? Hopelessness? What is it? Identify it and use a marketing hook to appeal to this deep need or desire.
Use Humor or Entertainment
Yesterday I was browsing through Instagram and I came across an IG reel of a guy that was doing a little skit on the differences between drinking 1, 2, and 3 cups of coffee. It was hilarious and I watched the reel over and over, laughing. Then I became curious. Who is this guy and what does he do? So I visited his profile to find out more. Then I followed him so I could see more of his entertaining content. We all need a break in our day and using humor or entertainment grabs attention and builds a connection.
So the next time you are thinking about how you can stand out and gain the attention of your ideal clients, ask yourself if your marketing hook is compelling enough. Is it just vague and ordinary or does it jump out and grab your prospects? And remember, don’t be afraid to test new hooks. You never know how many fish you might catch.
Lori Young is a certified FGS master marketer and founder of Amazing OBM, a digital marketing agency specializing in providing content creation, funnel building and launch management services for coaches and course creators.
Hooks Catch Fish
May 10, 2022