I’ve noticed that we business owners have a compulsion to tell everyone everything about our products and services – everywhere and every time we can.

To you, your landing page is a compelling and thorough exposition of our value – but your audience likely sees something that costs too much to pay attention too. What happens when the cost is more than they’re willing to pay? They take their attention elsewhere.

In our passion and deep knowledge about our stuff, we’re not mindful that attention is a limited resource. The fact is when we want our audience to “pay attention” it is literally that – attention is a cost that is paid.

I find it helpful to adopt an attitude that attention is costly, and take it into account as we plan our communications.

Here are a couple factors to take into account.

1) Attention people will pay changes as the relationship progresses.

Early on, people are extremely stingy – but will pay more attention if they realize you are offering something of value to them. Understand where every piece of communications fits in the viewer’s experience and adjust the attention cost accordingly.

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Low Attention Cost
• Landing Page
• Trade Show Exhibit
• Print Ad
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Medium Attention Cost
• Home Page
• Services Brochure
• Print Ad
High Attention Cost
• Service Detail Page
• Sales Contract
• Product Demo

2) Always do everything you can to reduce “attention cost”

  • Know what’s most important to your audience. If you don’t know then you’ll feel the need to put it all out there to make sure you hit your target.
  • Be succinct in your writing.
  • Keep information density low. Instead of cramming 4 pages of content above the fold, try airing it out. Your readers will bounce if overwhelmed, but will scroll through easily digestible content.
  • Invest in visually appealing materials. There’s a reason people take vacations at the beach instead of the landfill.

Reducing attention cost isn’t always about blindly eliminating content – at certain times your readers will want and expect more information. Over the next few days, pay attention to what you’re paying attention to. When are you enticed to spend time with something and when do you turn away after a glance? How does this compare with your own communications?