12 Elements of Effective Marketing Hooks

This image shows different elements that contribute to grabbing someone's attention.

Whether you are selling a book or a song, you must first have someone’s attention. Welcome back to our Creative Marketing series. Last week we highlighted 3 types of hooks you can use: The Story Hook, The Headline Hook, and The Pain Point Hook. This week we will look at 12 Elements of highly effective marketing hooks.

Here are 12 elements of effective marketing:

  1. Tell a Story
  2. Use Humor
  3. Be Colorful
  4. Quote an Authority
  5. Leverage Trends
  6. Add Video Content
  7. Prove Your Point with Stats
  8. Lead with Value
  9. Ask thought-provoking questions
  10. Be Educational
  11. Take a Stance
  12. Fear of Loss

Let’s take some time to unpack each of these a little bit more.

1.Tell a Story

Who doesn’t love a good story? I hate when someone says we should use a story, but then they themselves don’t tell us a story. Let’s start with a story. My nickname in high school was the Great One. It started the first day of my junior year. 

I had AP English with a teacher named Mrs. Nevil. Her nickname was Nevil the Devil because of how strict she was. Everything was going so well that first day. She was all smiles as she ushered her eager new students into the classroom. I was actually surprised by how friendly she was despite her reputation. 

And then it happened. She made the mistake of asking the class to tell her if she was mispronouncing our names or if we would like to be called something else. In my youthful desire for attention, I saw an opportunity to be funny. 

I raised my hand and when she called on me I said, ” I would like to be called the great one.” And just like that, she changed. This short kind woman grew 5 inches taller and significantly more stern. She then very loudly declared to the entire class,” YOUR GONNA HAVE TO EARN THAT RIGHT IN MY CLASSROOM SON!” My peers were stunned into silence followed by a round of laughter. And my face turned 3 shades of red. 

By the second period, the story had already spread. I entered the next class, AP history, to find my friend telling the teacher what happened. As I arrived the teacher looked at me, nodded his head and said with a smirk, “Welcome, O Great One.” And it stuck.

Moral of the story

The moral is sometimes it pays to stand out with a bold move. You never know the impact you can make unless you take action.  Stories can be so powerful and can definitely prove some amazing points.

If you’re selling a product (including a book), then sharing the story of how your product has impacted someone can be a very powerful selling tool. This is the same reason why user reviews have become essential for additional business. Reviews are just stories of other people’s interactions with your brand. Tell more stories.

2. Use Humor

What Superbowl commercials do you talk about the next day at work? The funny ones. You don’t remember the generic car commercial that just shows someone driving around some countryside like every other car commercial.

Emotions can be especially powerful. Make your audience feel something and they will remember you. Make them laugh and your brand will remain in your audience’s brain like a song you can’t stop singing.

3. Be Colorful

There is a reason that many brands have bright colors that pop out. They want you to stop and look. Colors can be used to convey specific messages to your audience. 

4. Use a Killer Quote

This option is fun because it’s pulling from someone’s established brand. Anyone who takes a casual stroll through Instagram will see how popular quotes are. 

One of our favorite places to get quotes is goodreads.com.  This website is mostly known for book reviews and recommendations. It also contains book excerpts and quotes from books and authors. This is a fantastic place to search for your next quote.

5. Use a Trending Topic.

Find something that people are already interested in. This is honestly best practice for any industry or marketing plan. Speaking to trending topics shows that you’re current and relevant. 

Here are a few places you can go to find trending topics:

  • Twitter– This is a great place to find hot topics as they happen. Twitter actually allows you to customize what trends you are interested in. You can also create lists of people to follow which can help you see what influencers in your space are talking about. 
  • Buzzfeed– Chances are if you have spent any amount of time on Facebook, that you have encountered a video or link from Buzzfeed. This site has news on celebrities, entertainment, and books. If those magazines you can’t help but glance at while at the checkout at the store came to life and followed you on Facebook, it would be Buzzfeed.

6. Video, Video, and More Videos

The highest performing content on Facebook is by far videos. It has consistently outperformed text, images, and link posts. 

If you are posting videos on social media, they should be uploaded directly on the site. Facebook wants to keep people on their platform instead of users following links to other sites. 

If you are adding video to your website, then simply embed the code from youtube. Youtube makes it very easy to plug and play your videos.


7. Use Startling Stats

Stats bring instant credibility to the speaker. We see stats in everything from NFL games to TED talks. They can be a very powerful tool to prove a point. 

Here are some helpful tips to use when leveraging stats:

  • Get your stats from a reputable source. For example, stats from a study conducted by Harvard will carry more weight than the same results from a little known community college. 
  • Use a visual aid. Sometimes stats alone can be difficult to interpret. Adding an infographic can often help the point to hit home. 
  • Google Scholar. Did you know Google has a special search engine just for scholarly literature? Google Scholar makes searching threw university and medical studies extremely easy. You can even look through legal cases.

8. Emphasize the Value of What Your Audience Will Get

Your audience is always searching for the W.I.I.F.M. What’s in it for them?  This dates back to our earliest days of man where our attention was literally a matter of survival. This carries over today in how we ignore the thousands of marketing messages we hear every day. 

Make it worth their time. Show them how to save time, money or energy and you have a recipe to keep them engaged in your content. This is why successful youtube videos usually include a statement of what you can expect from watching the video at the very beginning of the video.

9. Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

Example: Can you imagine what medical breakthroughs we could achieve if we could program cells within our bodies to repair themselves using artificial intelligence? 

Questions invite your audience to think of the possibilities. Tie these possibilities into your brand and they are forced to ask why wouldn’t they give you business or buy your product.

10. Be Educational

It was difficult for us to pay attention in school, but now that we are out of school we actually enjoy learning. Have you ever been scrolling through your Facebook feed and gotten stopped by a news story or fascinating video? 

Being educational in your content will instantly add value to your material. If they don’t get anything else from what you’re sharing, then they will at least learn something.

11. Take a Stance

Choosing a side pays dividends.  It’s really easy to strive to be politically correct. However, this isn’t the way to build a committed following. 

When you take a stand you could lose some audience members, but you will also attract the ones that will have a greater connection with you. You can take a stand and still be respectable and courteous.

Some of the most outspoken brands have the biggest followings. A perfect example of this is GaryVee. He is known for keynote speeches where he lectures businessmen for failing to take advantage of social media marketing.  He is easily one of the most influential marketers today. 

12. Scare Them.

No, we aren’t encouraging you to threaten or harm your audience. This tool instead relies on the fear of missing out or by portraying the cost of not taking advantage of your product.  

You can explain the value your brand provides by highlighting the problems your audience experiences. Tie this into your brand and it can greatly boost your sales. 


Next week we will dive into telling a better story. Mix and match these ideas for the ultimate effect. And always be willing to try something new. Stagnant brands stop testing and settle for delivering the same old message. It might work once or even for years, but eventually, it will hurt your business. Try all 12 or try none of them, but whatever you do don’t be boring.