Have you heard of ‘The Rule of 7’? It’s a well-known marketing principle that states that prospective customers need to see or hear your marketing messages at least 7 times before they notice you and start to take any sort of action (though in today’s digital age, it’s probably at least twice that!).

But whether it’s 7, 17 or 77, the point is that your marketing activity must be ongoing and varied if it’s to have any chance of being effective.

Just stop to think for a minute about how you interact with brands in your daily life. First, you need to know they even exist; then you need time to get to know and like them, before eventually trusting them enough to become a customer.

Which means the more different places you and your brand are visible – both on and offline – the better. And remember that different people absorb information in different ways – some prefer written words, while others prefer images or videos.

It’s a noisy old world out there, so don’t worry about becoming repetitive. Not everything you do will cut through that noise the first (or even second or third) time you do it.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

There’s lots of different ways of reaching your target audience, so try and use as many as you can to maximise your chances of being seen and heard. For example:

Email marketing
With so many emails filling up inboxes these days, attention spans are short. So make sure you keep your messaging clear and focused, and always check that your email displays correctly (and any links work) by doing a test send to yourself first.

Find out what works best for your audience by varying the day & time of the send, as well as testing different subject lines. And, of course, always make sure you’re fully GDPR-compliant.

Social media
Check that the platforms you use are the ones where your potential clients or customers regularly hang out, and make sure you have a strategy – then stick to it.

Post a variety of good content regularly (check your analytics to find out when your audience is online). And don’t link all your channels so that you only have to post once – the content you post should be relevant not only to your audience, but also to the platform you’re using. Image ratios are different on each platform, as is optimum copy length and number of hashtags. Broken links and all those cut-off posts & broken links just look spammy and won’t impress anybody. So take the time to craft posts that speak to the right people in the right way.

Marketing collateral
Printed marketing collateral helps reinforce your brand awareness. It’s a great way for people to ‘touch & feel’ your brand and can intrigue them enough to drive them to your digital channels (or even to pick up the phone and call you!).

Blogging
While blogs are a great way to add value to your own website and help with SEO, you should also consider guest blogging on somebody else’s site. It helps position you as an expert in your field and increases visibility of your brand to people who might not know about you otherwise.

Advertising
Whether digital or print, advertising helps reinforce brand awareness and attract new clients. Print advertising can be hard to measure, so choose publications that are a good fit for your business and aimed directly at your target audience.

Always remember that not all ads are equal: depending on their placement, some will have more impact than others.

PR
Editorial coverage is generally perceived to be 3 times more valuable than the same amount of advertising space as it’s seen as coming from a neutral source.

However, because you’re not paying for it, always remember that press coverage can never be guaranteed, no matter how compelling the story. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try.

Entering (and winning) awards is a great way of getting PR; as is speaking at an event, or sponsoring a show or award – both are great for brand awareness, plus there’s also likely to be opportunities to get some pre- and post-event publicity around what you’re doing.

PPC (Pay Per Click)
The beauty of this form of paid-for online search advertising is that you only pay for the traffic to your website that’s generated by your ads – so if nobody clicks, you don’t pay.

Be everywhere
Don’t lose sight of the fact that with all your marketing activity, you’re aiming to reach your target audience in as many different places as often you can. Your name needs to be the first that springs to mind when they’re ready to become a customer, and that doesn’t come from one-off activity.

Consistency is key
It goes without saying that your messaging and branding need to be consistent across everything that you do. But you also need to be consistent in your marketing activity. Don’t try something once or twice and then stop because you didn’t see any direct results from it.

It takes time, effort and dedication to break through the gazillion marketing messages we all receive each and every day – there really is no ‘silver bullet’ for quick success!