Imagine this: You’re sitting in a conference room with your colleagues. You are brainstorming what to do for a client retention campaign. You know your boss “hates emojis,” so you’ve scrapped them from consideration for the emails. And her boss is “tired of product-forward marketing.” (Doesn’t everyone already know what you do and why they need it?) But every idea you and your colleagues come up with has a whiff of repetition. So, to keep the bosses happy, you decide to change things up. Without a clear strategic plan or even a test consideration, you’re going to focus on your 30-year anniversary to retain your clients.
Sound familiar? It’s easy to let gut feelings drive marketing strategy. You reason that because you are bored of the same colors, formats, offers, and stories, therefore your clients and prospects must be, too. But that line of thinking is a trap.
*Buzzer noise* Of course you’re sick of your own marketing! Hours have been spent fine-tuning every detail, as you carefully craft and review each piece. You have years of historical references of past campaigns and messages, tested and confirmed as successful.
But it’s important to remember this simple fact: Your audience doesn’t know as much about your marketing as you do. They likely don’t read your emails or letters word-for-word. And they certainly don’t spend months thinking about each campaign.
Marketing repetition isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing.
What if Coca-Cola became bored with their polar bears? What if Wounded Warrior Project stopped telling hero stories in their TV spots? Or what if Virginia became convinced their iconic campaign “Virginia Is for Lovers” needed to retire? The repetition of these messages and tactics is part of what makes these campaigns memorable.
There’s a long-standing marketing rule of thumb that people need to hear your message an average of 7 times before they consider buying from you. Most modern marketers agree that in today’s environment, that rule may be more like a 7 times 7 rule. Just as successful real estate relies on location, location, location, successful donor marketing relies on repetition, repetition, repetition.
Here are four ways to use repetition to your advantage:
- Value your controls. If you have a control that beats out a test year after year, that’s great! Be thankful to have found a strategy, subject line, or cadence that motivates your prospects. Lean on it until it ceases to perform, regardless of its over-familiarity to you personally.
- Tell the same stories across channels. Your prospect is checking her mail, email, and news feed. Make sure your messages are consistent wherever she is. An Adlob (ad-like object) is a great place to start the messaging strategy in your multichannel campaigns. It provides a channel-agnostic blueprint for the consistent message, tone, and imagery of a multichannel campaign .
- Repeat your Call-To-Action (CTA). The best long form messages (like emails and direct mail letters) have CTA repeated throughout the piece. Consider including the CTA “above the fold” or first scroll, or in a handwritten font on a side bar, or in the P.S., or midway through the appeal. Or all of the above.
- Remember: You are not your client! This important reminder often gets obscured in the sometimes overwhelming myriad of decisions that marketers face. It is never a good idea to let your own personal likes and dislikes color what campaign performance data tells you.
Your prospects likely won’t notice a repetition in your marketing tactics, but what they will notice is a repetition in the way you treat them, over and over again. And that’s what creates loyal, lifelong advocates of your brand.