Six + 140.

by Doug Weaver on May 1, 2013 at 8:41AM

Six + 140Last week in this space, I posted a series of ‘Six Word Internet Business Stories’ to illustrate how a few clear, well selected words could have more impact than the longer, denser explanations and opinions we’re assaulted with every day.  That post struck a nerve with many readers, and one non-written comment really stuck with me.  “Telling a story in six words makes a lot of sense,” I was told.  “Our buyers scan the subject lines of emails to see if they’ll even read them, and even then will only read something shorter than a tweet.”

This comment gave me not one but TWO great ideas for helping sellers. (1) Come up with a “six word story” that identifies the business or marketing problem you’ll help solve.  This can serve not only as a powerful subject line for your emails, but also the driver of action in your subsequent phone call or meeting.  (2) Then see if you can communicate the essence of your idea or agenda in 140 characters or less. (The composition box on Twitter or any Twitter client app can be used in your creative process.) It’s not only an eye opening exercise; it’s an addictive new approach to strategy.

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What might your “six word story” to an advertiser or agency sound like?  If you‘ve got a great analytics or retargeting capability, “The best prospects you’re not seeing” will do a great job of provoking a conversation or – at least – getting a customer to read on.  The rest of the story?  Perhaps it sounds something like this:

Your best online prospects will spend $30 million in the next 6 weeks. They’re invisible to you, not to us. Let’s activate and drive sales.

In just 139 characters, we conveyed the size and immediacy of the opportunity, a marketing problem, our capability and a call to action.  Let’s try another example, using a native advertising concept.  The six word story:  “No More Ad Ghetto for You.”  Follow that with…

Brand value & results can thrive within the user experience.  It’s measurable & surprisingly simple. You deserve the advantage. Let’s talk.

You could dismiss this as a gimmick if you like.  But I’d suggest you table your disbelief for a minute and look at the underlying logic. Six word stories and 140 character “pitches” force the seller to distill ideas down to their most powerful essence.  We stop wasting time with flowery, elaborate paragraphs.  We give our emails and our meetings a sharp, piercing quality;  an agenda that says “This will be worth my time.”

Challenge your team – and yourself – to try this approach today.  What have you got to lose besides a bunch of words nobody’s reading anyway?

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