The Rule of Twenty may be one of the simplest – as well as one of the oldest – concepts in marketing. It used to be called the “Rule of Seven,” but we’ve upgraded the name to reflect reality. Despite this change, the Rule still rings true today. Briefly stated, the Rule of Twenty simply says that your prospects (i.e. potential customer) should be exposed to your ads at least twenty times before they buy what you’re selling. When building your brand, this kind of consistent exposure is what eventually makes consumers recognize your name.
Another way to interpret the Rule of Twenty is called effective frequency. Effective frequency is the number of times a person must be exposed to a message before a response is made, an impression is made, an action is taken, or money is expended. But, the definition of “frequency” is what’s important here. Many companies will buy up ad spots with the hopes of saturating mainstream television, perhaps thinking that more is better. But, an analysis of effective frequency indicates that a “spray and pray” approach actually has an opposite effect, very often with consumers responding negatively to the ad. In other words, if you show an ad more than twenty times, you’re also in danger of making the advertising ineffective.
As customers we’ve all experienced that annoyance with being constantly barraged with an ad. That line between overkill – or “over advertising” – is a fine one. But, always remember that it’s just as easy to create a negative impression as a positive one.
A big part of branding is name recognition, and the Rule of Twenty can help you get there if you apply it conscientiously to your marketing and advertising efforts. In fact, if you have a social media audience that follows your brand and products, you can use the Rule of Twenty to promote products on all of your social feeds, without saturating the web with the same old ad day after day.
The web can help you do A/B testing and find out which ads resonate with your audience and track your costs for display in nearly real-time. Then you can only expose your audience to those preferred ads over a period of time.
How can you integrate the Rule of Twenty to help build your online branding?
- First, consider where you plan on reaching your target audience. You can intersperse marketing communications with your daily social media feeds as long as you have other content, such as blog posts or other helpful communications that are not overtly commercial.
- Harness the power of social media. Make it a practice to mention and promote a specific product or service several times a week over the period of a month using Facebook and/or Twitter.
- Add a promo to your blog posts, signature lines, and other high-traffic content where you know the right people will see it.
- If you have a budget for print media, consider doing an “ad blitz” – at least one promotional ad a week – over a period of a month or two in publications that reach your target market.
- Remember, the more active you are on social media, the more appropriate it is for you to promote yourselves. Try to strike a balance that relies heavily on customer interaction and conversations (about 80%), and the rest can be self-promotional (about 20%).
When done correctly, repeat marketing over a period of time will increase brand recognition as well as generate interest in your products or services. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various mediums, especially social media, for your marketing efforts. In integrated marketing, more often than not, the Rule of Twenty will involve reaching your prospects through more than one social website or media.
Using the Rule of Twenty in advertising and marketing today can help your brand gain exposure and convert new customers. It can also help you save money and time by eliminating ineffective advertising. If you’re interesting in finding new ways to market and advertise your business, we’d love to help. Contact us and let us know how we can help you build a powerful online brand.