Capture Attention with a Whisper

Steve Cranford, Creative Chairman of the New York agency WHISPER, was my guest in the Art Biz Incubator last week.

When I asked him in the interview why in the world a marketing firm would be called WHISPER instead of SHOUT, he replied: “The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.” Tweet this

Secret Kiss From One Boston Terrier to Another

Think about it.

When you take out an ad or post to your blog and social media sites, you are broadcasting to the world. You would love it if thousands of people see your message.

Because of this public forum, the language is less personal than if you were to have a private conversation. And therein lies the power of the whisper.

Anatomy of a Whisper

A client told me she was getting great results for her special sale by contacting people individually, but bemoaned that her broadcasts weren’t achieving the same response.

It makes sense, I said.

People like to be treated as individuals. They like to know that you care about them and want a personal relationship. Broadcasts – whether through email, Twitter, Facebook, or a blog – will never equal the power of personal attention.

If you are worried about bothering people on your list or if marketing has become a drag for you, it’s time to get more personal. It’s time to whisper.

Sending out hundreds of emails or postcards should absolutely be part of every marketing strategy today, but this shouldn’t be your only method for encouraging people to act.

Private conversation with Rachel Thadel at Art Biz Makeover in 2013.

Private conversation with Rachel Thadel at Art Biz Makeover in 2013.

Whisper to individuals on your list in the following ways.

Write Personal Messages

Add personal emails, texts, and Facebook private messages to your marketing mix, like those my client (above) wrote. These are messages that are addressed to a single person using the person’s name. Hi Sally, for example.

You can send personal messages to invite an individual to your event, to tell them you were just thinking of them, or to share information that you know will be helpful.

You might also send a personal response to someone else’s bulk email – perhaps one you never requested. Rather than being annoyed, respond with a personal note.

Send Real Mail

You know that I love real mail, but postcards can look almost as impersonal as bulk email. Send postcards one at a time rather than in bulk. This helps you focus on and appreciate the individual recipients.

Writing on the back of your postcards automatically makes them more personal. Anything handwritten will also receive more attention than printed-only mail.

Pick Up The Phone

When you receive an email inquiry about your art, pick up the phone and call instead of responding with an email. Your email looks like everything else in an inbox, but your voice – full of warmth and gratitude – is uniquely your own.

Listen To The Whispers

Sharing your message in the above forms is a good start, but the most powerful attention you can give someone is to stop and listen rather than always being the message deliverer.

What’s important to them? What struggles do they have? How can you be of service?

Marketing to individuals rather than only in bulk takes more time, but yields a higher quality list of contacts. When in doubt, whisper.

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11 comments to Capture Attention with a Whisper

  • Alyson,
    I’m doing your Art Makeover conference in Golden because you sent a real letter in the mail! I had seen the emails and blog about it and wanted to do it, but once off the computer it was out of sight, out of mind. I knew full well what you were doing (by sending real mail :)), but I actually did the sign up because it did feel very personal and the letter was sitting on my desk reminding me that I needed to sign up. By the way, I am really excited about going and spending time with you and other artists from all over the country!

  • This is a great idea and I am going to act on it.

  • Nice article Alyson – I wish I had know you were going to be in Portland!

    All the best,


  • great post–I like the metaphor of the whisper

  • Great post! Lately it’s been bothering me that I’ve connected with so many people on Facebook who became FB friends that I’ve lost track of them. I’ve been going through my whole list 5 or so at a time and just messaging them a friendly hello with a reminder of why we connected.It would probably be an even better idea to do this with my mailing list.

  • I loved your article, Alyson. Your approach to marketing art is so refreshing. You always bring us back to the reason we create art in the first place, to exchange life experience with other people. Who isn’t thrilled and amazed when someone sends a personal note or a handwritten invitation. Proof that I’m not invisible, someone knows my name or is actually thinking of me! I’m hoping that all my sales will flow out of a kind consideration for others.