Marketing Fundamentals: The Rule of 7

7 Things We Can Learn from the Rule of 7  

The Rule of 7 is a decades-old idea in marketing that suggests consumers need to see an ad at least 7 times before they’re ready to make a purchase.

In the world of modern digital marketing, the Rule of 7 is less about “ads” and more about “touches.” “Touches” are different forms of media that your audience encounters across several platforms. It’s not necessarily the same ad 7 times, but 7 similar ads, posts, banners, or videos that your audience encounters. 

After 7 touches, your prospect is primed to make a purchase. 

In honor of the Rule of 7, we’re going to discuss 7 key takeaways you can implement in your marketing strategy. Ready to dive in?

1. Repetition is key.     

The Rule of 7 is all about repetition. Most of your customers will not make a purchase after just a single advertisement—or 2, or even 3.

You have to repeat your messaging several times before it takes effect with your audience.

Think about how noisy the internet is with brand messaging. Paid and organic social media posts, pop-up ads, banner ads, video ads—your business is just one among many, many voices vying for your customer’s attention.

So how do you cut through all the noise? By telling the same story over and over. Human beings are hardwired to find patterns in chaos. Repeat your message over and over, until you see conversions.

2. Keep it consistent.     

Repeated touch points with your audience won’t be very effective if your audience can’t identify who the touches are coming from or what you’re selling.

Consistent branding is essential to maintaining your brand’s identity. Stick to colors and fonts within your established branding, use similar imagery in your ads, and keep telling the same story of how your business can meet your audience’s needs.

Your audience members receive countless messages from brands every day. Don’t let your brand’s messaging get lost in the noise because it’s unrecognizable.

3. The simpler, the better.    

Simple messaging is not only easier to repeat—it’s easier for your audience to understand. Complicated ads require your audience to use more calories to process. The last thing you want is for your potential customers to choose another brand over yours because your ads were too confusing.

Your touches should address a customer’s pain point, position your brand as the solution to that pain, and offer an obvious call to action. Take out the potential for guesswork and confusion by using simple language and storytelling.

By the time your customer sees your messaging 7 times, they should have a good understanding of the story you’re telling and how it relates to them.

4. Use multiple channels.    

Thanks to the huge number of channels at your disposal, reaching 7 “touches” is much easier than it used to be.

Experiment with social media, Google ads, email, video, direct mail—whatever methods you have at your disposal. The more avenues you can use to reach the same audience, the better. Using several channels at once to communicate the same message will help your brand stand out from the noise.

5. Don’t be so quick to refresh your creative.    

By the time you finish creating an ad, email, or social media post, you might be sick of it. After all, you’ve been staring at it for days or weeks, agonizing over the details. This ad could feel stale to you, even before it gets published.

The Rule of 7 is a sobering reminder that we, as marketers, view our own content very differently than our audience does. Your prospects don’t read every word of your emails or social media posts. They have to see your content over and over in the busy landscape of social media or their email inbox—at least 7 times.

Is your content “stale,” or are you just overexposed to your own brand? The next time you feel the urge to refresh your ad creative, ask yourself if your audience has had enough time to receive at least 7 touches.

6. “7” isn’t set in stone.   

Unfortunately, there is no magical guarantee that after 7 touches, your prospect will become a customer. There’s nothing inherently special about the number 7 for gaining conversions. Some customers take 5. Others take 15. 7 is just an average for you to strive for.

The important part of the Rule of 7 isn’t the number 7; it’s the idea of repetition, consistency, and diversification of channels.

7. Clear, consistent messaging works.

The main takeaway from the Rule of 7 is: it works!

Your audience has tons of brands vying for their attention all the time. When you make the effort to communicate with your audience in a way that addresses their needs, and you use clear and consistent language, you’ll stand out from all the noise.

If you know your audience, communicate with them clearly and repeatedly, and address how your brand can meet their needs, you will gain customers.

Creating a multi-channel marketing strategy with clear, concise storytelling is a tall order—and you’re already busy running your business. If you need an extra hand with marketing, schedule a call. We’d love to help you reach your target audience through digital and traditional marketing, so you can get the conversions you need.

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