Engaging your audience is easy when you know what motivates them. You can grab their attention, hold it and then persuade them to take action with more ease if you use one or more of The Six E's of Audience Action.
During the dawn of social media marketing development (around 2010) I worked for a marketing firm that talked about the "3 E's of social media engagement." They were Ego, Entertainment and Education. I knew there was more to it than those three things so I've been striving to come up with a short yet comprehensive list of motivators that would cover all or most of what moves us humans to take action, and maybe even buy things.
Striving for simplicity, I wanted a simple guide or formula that could make business communications resonate with target audiences. I wanted a set of guiding principles that work across a spectrum of constituencies and media. Serendipitously, the six keywords I discovered happened to begin with the letter E.
When you examine each of the motivating factors that move people to action, you'll see that each one fulfills a strong human desire. Beyond basic survival (food, clothing, shelter) these motivators are all part of our instinctual nature. In a manner of speaking, we were born to respond to them, and so they are very effective when used for strategic communications. Let's take a look at the 6 E's:
These are not in any particular order other than making a word pyramid, but Ego being at the top is actually quite helpful. We all have an ego! To discount it's power over the individual would be remiss. Everyone loves to be recognized and we love hearing our own name called out in a positive way.
So, let's look briefly at all 6E's of Audience Action:
- Ego - You make it happen. Thank you!
- Empathy - I totally identify with you and know exactly how you feel.
- Education - Understanding this material is the key to your success.
- Enrichment - This will bring you security, comfort, fun and enjoyment.
- Enthusiasm - You are delighted by my energy and excitement.
- Entertainment - You will enjoy passing the time this way for hours.
When spending time on websites, social media pages and at live events, can you see how you're responding to or being fed by one or more of the 6E's? Think about the definitions of the 6 keywords and how they stir emotions. The only way you have a chance at moving members of your audience to take action is by touching them emotionally.
One word of caution: All of the above require the "S word" on your part: Sincerity. You need to believe everything you're saying for your message to be perceived as genuine. It needs to come from the heart or it will fall flat.
- Egos aren't stroked by manipulation.
- Empathy can't be faked. You have it or you don't.
- Education should edify or it's meaningless.
- Enrichment can't be given if you don't have value to offer.
- Enthusiasm can't be put on or faked because it's an internal gift.
- Entertainment is the result of real talent, creativity and skill.
Easy huh? Nothing worth having is easily attained.
Developing heartfelt sincerity toward your audience in each of these areas is a gradual process for most people. The key to gaining sincerity is your willingness to walk the path of those to whom you speak. Try to figure out what it's like to be them. Always ask what's in it for them before your start composing a message.
Successful organizations practice the 6E's of Audience Action whether they're conscious of it or not. They're successful because they practice sincerity in how they engage and communicate with their audiences.
It comes from the heart!
Think about successful companies with strong cultures. Their cultures are only as strong as the level of sincerity their employees have in living out that culture at work each day.
Using the 6E's as guidelines for engaging your audience will help you be a better communicator; a better marketer, salesperson and business owner.
Now, go out and conquer the marketplace, you awesome superstar! (Get my drift?)