Suspense Marketing: How to Make Customers Desperately Follow Your Brand

The HobbittWhen Warner Brothers released The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey nearly a decade after the theatrical releases of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, suspense and anticipation for the return to Middle Earth was at an all-time high. If you’ve seen the first installment of The Hobbit, then you know that the filmmakers went through extraordinary lengths to avoid showing the film’s primary antagonist, Smaug the Terrible (dragon).

By keeping his image secret throughout the first film, the filmmakers were able to create anticipation, with the Tolkein fandom waiting for just a glimpse of this terrible foe. So what does all of this have to do with marketing?

By using suspense as part of your content marketing strategy, you can build tension, capture audience attention, and create anticipation for new products or services.

Secrets for Adding Suspense to Your Marketing Efforts

If your brand isn’t already utilizing an editorial calendar, now is the time to consider creating one. Because creating suspense like the marketing geniuses at Warner Brothers requires a long-term plan, it’s important to have a content marketing strategy that your brand follows. When you have a long-term marketing plan, you can allude to future products, services, and events before they happen – thereby creating suspense and anticipation!

To do this:

  • Hint early. Alluding to something in the future is what captures your audience’s attention and curiosity. By hinting easily and often, you can foreshadow future announcements from your brand. Be sure to keep these hints unique, as repetition is the quickest way to bore an audience.
  • Create a narrative. You are in control of your original marketing campaign. It’s your responsibility to create a narrative that strings audiences along and keeps them apprehensive for the next announcement or launch date. Employ basic storytelling techniques in your content marketing to continue developing audience suspense.
  • Live up to expectations. To employ success marketing the right way, it’s vital to live up to your own hype. If you create too much hype that your brand can’t match, then future suspense campaigns won’t be as influential. Be realistic about your claims, and then exceed them!

Has your business ever used suspenseful marketing? What were the results?

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Daniel Chioco is a writer living in Nashville, TN. He earned his Commercial Music degree at Belmont University, where he also studied creative writing and wrote for the student newspaper. When he isn't creating content, Daniel works as an actor and films YouTube videos. He is also a freelance musician and is authoring his first fantasy novel.

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