Marketing Falling Flat? Consider the Rule of Seven

Marketing Rule of Seven Windy Lawson

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I joined someone’s email list the other day, and within an hour, I received an eleventy-billion word pitch on their latest program, which I could join for the bargain price of $15,000. Um, what? Apparently, this entrepreneur is not aware of the marketing rule of seven. So, let’s break it down.

The Marketing Rule of Seven has been around forever. I imagine caveman Og trying to sell Grog a rock on their first encounter and Grog immediately becoming suspicious. Og realized he needed to earn Grog’s trust before selling him the latest in rock technology. 

Og & Grog from NBC’s The Good Place

The Rule of Seven states that it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before someone is going to make a purchase. In many ways, marketing is like dating. If you proposed marriage to someone within 5 minutes of your first date, they would head for the hills. Sure, you can do it, but it is most likely to scare your love interest/prospect away. Why?

Know – Like – Trust

You have to know me before you can like me. 

You have to like me before you will trust me.

And you have to trust me before you will buy from – or marry- me.

Utilizing the Marketing Rule of Seven increases the conversion rate because it gives the prospect an avenue to know, like, and ultimately trust you. 

Breaking Down Interactions 

If the prospect needs seven interactions before they will make a purchase, what is an interaction? 

  • Reading a blog post
  • Watching a video 
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Reading an email
  • Reading an online review 
  • Every single social media interaction
  • A phone call, video call, text message or PM 
  • Seeing an advertisement

When you consider all the ways a prospect can interact with your small business, it should be obvious how quickly those interactions add up.

Consider this scenario: 

Sarah sees an ad on Facebook (1) and follows it to your website (2). She reads a blog post and clicks on the Call to Action to get a freebie (3). Her email arrives with her freebie and she’s encouraged to watch a companion video on YouTube (4). The next day, she receives another email from you (5)  with some follow-up information to the original freebie and is directed back to your blog (6) for more in-depth information. Because she’s interacted with your Facebook ad, she sees your Facebook business page as a recommended page (7).

By the time she’s followed your Facebook page, she knows who you are.

She likes you because you’ve provided her with so much free value.

And she trusts you.

When you swoop in with an amazing offer, she’s more receptive to it than she would have been the previous day.

Does It Always Take Seven Interactions?

As a girl who has spent an embarrassing amount of money buying things from targeted ads on social media, I can personally attest that it does not take seven interactions to get to a sale. Sometimes it takes one, sometimes it takes 12. The lower the financial investment, the easier it is to convert on fewer interactions.

But, keep in mind that the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. With every impression, we become desensitized to all impressions. How often do you notice ads on social media or YouTube? How often do you see every post on social media? #Never So, even when a prospect had the opportunity for interaction, there’s no guarantee that the single interaction resonated with them.

Applying The Marketing Rule of Seven

Marketing Rule of Seven Windy Lawson

In the example above, I shared possible interactions from a comprehensive marketing approach utilizing paid advertising, a blog, an email newsletter with a lead magnet, a YouTube channel, and a Facebook business page. But even if you aren’t utilizing multiple marketing strategies, you can improve your conversion rates by considering the rule of seven:

  • Networking: Whether you’re involved with in-person or online networking groups, actively engage with the other members and provide value before you share an offer, even a free offer. (A free offer isn’t actually free since the prospect is giving up something, most likely an email address in exchange for your offer.) You must be visible before you are known and known before you are trusted. When you interact with members, invite them to subscribe to your email list and provide value before asking them to do business with you. 
  • Content Marketing and Online Video: Guide the prospect through multiple interactions by linking to other, relevant content such as videos, blog posts, and podcast episodes.
  • Email: Segment your list to ensure brand-spanking-new subscribers aren’t getting notified of your latest offers 15-seconds after they subscribe, especially on premium offers. Create a series of emails to send to new subscribers that help them get to know you and provide value. 
  • Unpaid Social Marketing: Post connection and educational content consistently and include a Call to Action on every post. And, for the love of glitter, remember it is called SOCIAL marketing. Engage, engage, engage.
  • Paid Advertising: If you implement a paid media advertising campaign to sell a product, you may need to sacrifice reach (number of people who see your ad) to increase your frequency (number of times someone sees your ad). Remember, the higher the investment for your product, the more trust is needed. Consider using your ad budget to promote a lead magnet and using your email to build trust.

While it is possible to convert on fewer interactions, thoughtfully planning out a customer journey of multiple interactions and using the marketing rule of seven is a sure-fire way to increase your conversion rate and increase your sales.

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