You’ve got something new and exciting to share with your business community, and it’s essential they listen because you need them to respond to your call to action. You send out an email but notice that your open rate is pretty low, and you only get a handful of responses. What do you do next?
- Bang your head against the nearest wall and wish for a more engaged audience
- Send out a follow-up email and keep everything crossed
- Revisit your original message and work out a way to reach more people using all your available channels
The answer of course (round of applause please), is 3 and repetition is your not-so-secret weapon.
What’s the magic number?
Well, some people believe a message needs to be repeated at least three times to gain any traction, while others think that number is closer to fourteen.
In my experience, this varies significantly from organisation to organisation and finding your sweet spot depends on:
- Who you’re talking to
- The complexity of your message
- Your call to action
Why does it matter?
Over time, consistent repetition of your messaging will breed familiarity, which ultimately leads to trust. And you’ll need your audience to trust you if you want them to follow your call to action.
Worried you’ll bore people?
In short, don’t be. No one will be as interested in your communications as you are, so it’s unlikely that they’ll notice the repetition or be bored by it. And if you’re targeting the right people in an appropriate way, the odds are that you’ll see positive results rather than complaints.
How to cut through the noise, not add to it
- Make sure your message is relevant to the people receiving it. If it’s not, then it doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it – they simply won’t listen (or may get very cross)
- Check the timing of your message. Optimal timing will vary depending on your audience and what you’re asking them to do, but you want to avoid emails sitting in their inbox over a long weekend or your announcement coinciding with something firmwide and potentially more significant
- Think about the channels you have at your disposal. Mix up the way you send out your message to cover any ‘gaps’. People always have a preferred way of receiving information, but this isn’t the same for everyone
- Be consistent with your messaging so that there is little room for doubt. This means having a clear set of key messages set out before you start communicating – keep them front of mind and try not to lose focus
- Listen to feedback and act on it. If something works, do it again. If something doesn’t, make a note of it and try something different next time
For the most part, human beings are creatures of habit, and we are more likely to take action when we feel well-informed and trust the source of information coming our way – both of which are by-products of our old friend repetition.
If you’d like help getting your message across clearly, get in touch.