A common complaint I hear from potential clients is “I want more sales.” When I dig in to their marketing, I generally find that they don’t have an allocated marketing budget and their level of marketing activity is far lower than it needs to be. One of the most pieces of advice that I offer is to suggest they follow the ‘marketing rule of 7,’ a marketing truism that’s been around since before Madison Avenue became a hub for the world’s largest advertising agencies. But I offer this advice with a twist – as the ‘marketing rule of 7 by 3.’
The marketing rule of 7 states that a potential buyer is highly unlikely to see or hear a marketing message, or to even seriously consider buying, until they’ve been exposed to our message at least seven times. Why the marketing rule of 7? Why not the marketing rule of 5, 6, 8 or 9? The answer lies in the data:
- 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
- 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
- 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
- 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
- 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact
What this tells us is that a potential prospect has to see our marketing message at least 7 times before they’ll buy from us! There are lots of reasons why people won’t buy from us straightaway. High on the list is trust. Market research validates this. Potential buyers need to get to know us, our reputation, and our product or service before they’ll be willing to make a purchase. Building visibility, familiarity and a good reputation takes time and a series of unforgettable contacts or touch points. How many contacts this takes will depend on factors like price, “need vs. want,” our competition etc.
This means our marketing message must be consistent and repetitive. We can’t simply run a couple of advertisements and expect customers to buy our product, especially in today’s noisy world. This explains why I talk about the ‘marketing rule of 7 by 3.’ With so many marketing messages competing for the attention of our potential customers, we can assume that a proportion of our marketing messages ‘go missing in action’ and aren’t in fact seen. For example, if I were to send out an email with the words ‘cash flow’ in the title, many email providers would mark it as spam – meaning that my potential customer didn’t even see my email. I work on the basis that potential customers don’t see one out of every three of my marketing messages.
Here are five ways you can leverage the marketing rule of 7.
1. Get Your Marketing Message Out Using Every Medium Possible
If for example you’re doing a physical product launch, you could:
- Write a series of relevant blog posts in the run up to the launch;
- Promote these blog posts on social media using a tool like CoSchedule or Meet Edgar;
- Run A Google Adwords campaign;
- Run a Facebook advertising campaign;
- Use Facebook Live and Periscope to tell people about your new product;
- Run a competition;
- Build out a board on Pinterest, optimised for SEO and promote selected pins;
- Build out a series of images in Instagram showing different ways your product can be used;
- Run a PR campaign;
- Get product reviews from respected industry thought leaders;
- Email your mailing list.
2. Appear Everywhere Your Prospects Are
Build brand awareness by ensuring you’re everywhere your prospects are. This includes events and conferences they attend, being active on the social media channels they use, having a ‘bread and butter’ promotional campaign running in between product launches and seasonal campaigns. This could be a regular advert in a monthly publication or Google adverts about your most popular products.
3. Build A Distinctive and Compelling Brand
Make sure that the visual representation of your brand is clear and distinctive so that anybody seeing your advertising instantly recognises it as yours. This means being consistent with the fonts and colours you use as well as the overall style of your visuals and placement of your logo. In the online marketing world, Melanie Duncan does this brilliantly.
98% of visitors to your website won’t buy on their first visit, and a high proportion won’t ever return. Remarketing, or retargeting advertising as it’s often called, allows you to put highly targeted, relevant adverts in front of these people, reminding them about your product or service. Better still it’s very cost effective. My friend, Christina Jones, is a remarketing ninja. I recommend that you check out her articles on remarketing.
5. Build a Mailing List
Whether your business is online or offline, build a list of prospects and potential customers who have given you permission to stay in contact with them.
Online, this is as simple as building an email newsletter. This doesn’t have to be fancy. What’s important is you communicate regularly with your subscribers in a way that adds value and strengthens your relationship. Offline it’s as simple as having a database of your potential customers and following a ‘keep in touch strategy.’
Our potential customers are presented with numerous marketing messages every day, it’s our job to ensure we stick firmly in their mind. Don’t get discouraged if your first, second or seventh attempts aren’t successful. Keep offering value, be consistent and potential customers will come to see you as the best option for their purchase.
Join The Conversation
Question: Have you come across the marketing rule of 7 before? How are you going to apply it to your business?
Explore These Additional Resources
- The Marketing Success Summit from 25 to 30 July at which I’m a guest presenter along with Brian Fanzo, Nathan Latka, Ian Anderson Gray, Josh Turner and Sue Zimmerman
- What Is Remarketing Advertising?
- 6 Business Lessons From PANDORA
- How Do Leading Brands Stay Relevant?
About Denyse Whillier
I help micro business owners (with less than 9 employees) formulate and implement the right business strategy so that they can make the transition to a small business (10 to 49 employees) and then on to a medium sized business (50 to 249 employees). I do this by helping them to increase profitability, continuously improving their business results and focusing relentlessly on their core priorities. A former CEO, I took a leap of faith when I left my 25 year corporate career to set up my London based business coaching and consultancy practice. Because of my practical experience in the trenches, hard work, warm, no fluff, down to earth approach, I’ve built a global reputation, and am delighted to have a client list in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
To find out more about the different ways of working with me, click HERE. If you’re familiar with my work and would like to discuss how I can help you grow your business, book a 30 minute informal Skype coffee chat using this link. There’s no hard sell. Just solid advice and a straightforward, honest assessment of whether 1:1 business coaching or business consultancy would be a good fit for your business, the results you can expect and how to get started.
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