It’s okay to repeat yourself and repeat yourself

Many companies and organizations seem to have a paranoia about repetition. Once they mention something in an email newsletter, a blog, or on a website, they don’t think they should mention it again. If someone suggests a repeat discussion of that topic, they’ll reject it outright, adding “we promoted that already” or “we already told our customers that.”

They do the same thing when reviewing website copy. “We’ve already mentioned this on another page, so we shouldn’t repeat it here.” Why not? “Because we don’t want to repeat something we’ve already said.” Again, why not?

It’s nice to think that your customers and prospects hang on every word you have to say. It’s nice to believe that they read every word of your newsletter or website in order. Guess what? They don’t.

All of us are overwhelmed by thousands of promotional messages every day, from the commercials that interrupt our favorite TV shows to the subtle displays on the floor of the grocery store. Even people who have photographic memories can’t possibly recall everything.

How can you improve your message’s chances of being retained? Brain research has clearly shown that repetition makes learning stick, so it doesn’t hurt to state your message and key benefits again. And again. Marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson says customers have to see your message 9 times before they’ll react to it, and many experts say the average person will only notice one message in three. Do the math, and you’ll see that your message needs to be repeated at least 27 times to get the necessary exposure.

Websites also benefit from repetition. While companies typically design their sites in a linear order, people don’t visit them that way. They dart in and out, drilling as quickly as possible to the pages that have the information they’re after. (That’s what you do, isn’t it?) Search engines often send them to specific pages instead of to your home or landing pages.

So if you only mention a key piece of information on just one page of 20, you run the risk that most visitors will miss it. If it’s something that every visitor to your site absolutely must know about you, mention it everywhere. You don’t have to word it exactly the same, but make sure visitors can’t miss it. Should I repeat that?