Self-Interest Is A Good Thing…When It’s Your Audience’s

Self InterestWhen you write a Facebook post, what are you thinking about at that moment?  Are you thinking, “I want my readers to know this!”?   Are you thinking, “We need to increase our call volume!”?  Or possibly, “We need more Facebook Likes!”?

Or are you thinking, “Why have my followers chosen to Like me?”  How about, “What are they interested in to which I can contribute?”  “What will they share with their friends?”

The first set of questions are just about you and your business.  The second set of questions puts the readers’ interests first.  That’s the way to win over their hearts and minds (and business), certainly far better than the first set.

We call this “Outside-In” thinking, looking at your business from the outside-in.  Unfortunately, too many marketers suffer from “Inside-Out” thinking, seeing things only from the inside, assuming that everybody is as excited about their business as they are.

The reasons you want to communicate with your prospects and customers are certainly going to be motivated by your business objectives. But what you say to them and how you say it has to come from what motivates them.  For all your marketing communications, be it posts, tweets, blasts, banners, commercials or exhibit booths, you have to use your audience’s self-interest as your starting point. Merely posting about your new business/manufacturing facilities or listing a series of feature-based bullet points is not going to be appealing to their self-interest.  (Would it be to yours if it came from, say, the local muffler store, especially if your car’s running smoothly?)

So what does your audience want to know? What excites and interests them?  What’s good enough for them to share or pass along or even simply pay attention to?  You need to ask that question with every marketing communication you generate.

This is one of the reasons we use a lot of humor or emotions in our own clients’ marketing, because good communication starts with human interest. Anything that makes a person laugh, smile, cry, wince or raise their eyebrows touches deeper human levels and transcends purely rational thinking.

Sponsoring contests, especially if they’re relevant to your message and brand – especially if the prize is big or unique – always has audience-appeal. Showing how your product or service solves your customers’ problems, eases their pain, saves them money or eliminates inconvenience, all speak to their self-interest.

Think of it this way, when you go fishing, what do you put on the hook: what you like or what the fish likes?  It’s the same thing in marketing.  Make sure the bait is what they like. You’ll like what happens next.


Dan Katz is president, creative director of LA ads. To discuss your thoughts with Dan on this blog or any marketing matters, email via this link, or visit  You can also connect with Dan on LinkedInSee agency work via this link.

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