REPEATING YOURSELF ISN’T A BAD HABIT

I’ve noticed that many companies exhibit an unusual paranoia about repetition. Once they mention something in an ad, a brochure, or on a website, they don’t think they should mention it again. I’ll often hear them react to a recommendation by saying “we promoted that already” or “we already told our customers that.”

The same thing often happens when they’re reviewing copy for a website. “We’ve already mention this on another page, so we shouldn’t repeat it here.” Okay, 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 brochure or website in order. Guess what? They don’t. We’re flooded with thousands of promotional messages every day, from the commercials that interrupt our favorite TV programs to the subtle displays on the floor of the grocery store. And even those people who have photographic memories can’t possibly recall everything.

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. For example, marketing guru Jay Conrad Levinson says customers have to see your ad 9 times to react 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 the ad needs to be repeated at least 27 times to get the necessary exposure.

There’s another reason repeated repetition is not a bad thing on websites. While most sites are designed 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. (Think about it: you do the same thing.) If you include a key piece of information on just one page of twenty, 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. Do you want me to repeat that?

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