James Chartrand just posted a great piece at Copyblogger titled "Why Targeting Selective Perception Captures Immediate Attention. He talks about why people tend to notice certain things more than others, and how the things that catch a person's attention change depending on what's going on in their life.

Here are my takeaways:

1) Think about the kind of person who is in your target market, and find the things that are important to them. Figure out how you can relate your product to those things. When you find a good connection, use related keywords prominently in your marketing to catch their attention and relate the product to them personally.

Okay, that's the obvious one. Here's the less obvious application if you're willing to put a little more effort into it:

2) Keep your eyes open for current events that capture the attention of large numbers of people, and adjust your marketing quickly to get yourself in front of the crowds who are sensitized to related keywords.

Sounds great, you say, but how do you do it?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Use Google Trends to see what people are searching for -- it updates every hour, so it reflects what people are searching for right now.
  • If you have an RSS feed reader (which I strongly recommend), any easy way to keep on top of Google Trends is to subscribe to the feed at Net Pulse News, which is based on the top items in Google Trends.
  • Since the keywords you'll be pulling from Google Trends may be good attention grabbers only for a short period of time, don't use it as a place to get keywords for SEO, which is a long-term process. Instead, use them for faster processes like PPC campaigns and blogging (and make a tweaked version of your landing page that relates the keywords to your product).
  • One last suggestion: don't be a vampire, feeding off of those who are bleeding. Sure, it's easy to profit from tragedy, but let's have some class. There are plenty of non-tragic attention grabbing current events and trends to relate your product to that you don't need to sink to that level. If your product really is directly related to the topic of a tragic event, you should be targeting the relevant keywords already anyway.