Effective frequency is a term widely used in Marketing. It is the study of how many times a prospect or potential customer is exposed to an advert before they decide to purchase a product or service. Humans are exposed to around 5000 ads per day – especially the millennial generation. I consider this quote from StopAd, and look up from my desk.
As I sit here writing this blog post I am exposed to the following:
- McDonald’s coffee cup on my desk advertising their loyalty card.
- My Desk Pen (Which I love to chew by the way so it’s usually in front of my nose) advertising some company service (I just wanted a free pen at the time).
- My colleague who loves to wear T-Shirts of his favourite band (Not sure “Killswitch Engage” is my thing! ?) but he does play “Kiss from a Rose” very well indeed on a Friday night!!
- 3 Company signage boards. They’re all successful businesses with lovely logos.
- A Facebook notification! One of my friends is selling a Sony Bravia 32” Television.
- Nice cars in the car park. That nice and shiny black car is cleverly branded with a little badge, so I know where to go and buy one from.
- An eBay email alert reminding me that they have found items I am searching for.
- The Radio reminding me to go a see Mick George (the local skip hire company). These guys have had good success with radio ads. Tradesmen often listen to the radio.
- A text message – Reminding me of my dental appointment in 25 day’s-time, (like I’ll remember).
- An Email from POF telling me that some has winked at me. Saucy! I’ll check it out later.
All of the above has happened in the last ten minutes.
But which ones are most effective?
That eBay email alert
The introduction of the ‘save this search’ function, means that eBay have cleverly managed to capture the interests of the buyer. This then results in eBay alerts. They poke potential buyers at the moment the a product arrives on the market. Thusly, it gives the buyer an advantage over any potential competition. This feature is commonly adopted by other top selling sites. It’s not just a clever tool that buyers can turn on and off. Moreover, eBay can keep communicating to you to keep you in their own marketplace.
This is a into the effective frequency process. Most users are likely to immediately open the eBay app once a ‘saved search’ is triggered via email.
Plenty of winks
This is natural functionality that Plenty of Fish (Yes the dating site) have integrated into their app. The feature allows users to express feelings with simple one click actions similar to Facebook’s like button. Of course, this feature is a great user ‘retainer’ deployed using email marketing. We all want to know who showed interest in us, you never know Catherine Zeta Jones might get fed up of Michael Douglas.
The lengthy process known as “Effective Frequency”
Here is a very interesting Model “Thomas Smith” uses in his guide called Successful Advertising.
- The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
- The second time, they don’t notice it.
- The third time, they are aware that it is there.
- The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
- The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
- The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
- The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
- The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
- The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
- The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbours if they’ve tried it.
- The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
- The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
- The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
- The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
- The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
- The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
- The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
- The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
- The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
- The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.
The first time I saw Smith’s theorised process, I related to it immediately. But, only to certain products. Effective frequency in my own opinion is not something that is applicable to all products or services.
That contentious argument
As we know, if you need a tree cutting down, we go to people who are recommended by others or found in local directories etc. It is not necessarily a process that we would use when there is an immediate requirement.
Although it is possible that exposure may make you recall someone you know whom maybe a local tree surgeon. Smith’s ‘Effective Frequency’ model works better for impulse buys, or disposable products and services that are needed on a regular basis. Niche services such as tree surgery are barely necessary for the average resident of the UK.
The stages of entering “Effective Frequency”
So how do your customers begin to enter the stages of exposure to your brand?
There must be a demand for the product or service. If a product or service is required, it is likely younger age groups will educate themselves by completing a Google search. Depending on the search term, it should return a series of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). These are all ads/videos by companies advertising on the google search engine platform.
The user is likely to view the results on the first page, which is around 17 ads (both paid and organic). Customer’s are immediately exposed to these ads, videos or blogs relating to their search.
If it is a product that you are selling, exposure times may be a longer and require additional marketing channels to enhance exposure. Usually we see television ads used as a an extremely good channel for effective frequency to work (but they are extremely expensive for the average size business)
I argue that the internet is the most common place for businesses to spend their marketing budget. Facebook ads, YouTube Ads, LinkedIn Sponsored content are all excellent for starting the process of “Effective Frequency”. These platforms allow you to target age, gender and even down to the industry which the person works in. Remember the entry stages of effective frequency are like a cold call. The audience may not be in the market for the product at this stage.
Once your ads are shown, visitors will click through as they show their curiosity.
The most important part in the process
Once a potential customer has landed on your website or landing page, you must gain the trust of the visitor and educate them. The main goal of this page is to capture the visitor’s information. Please note that visitors may not be at the right end of the buying decision, so It is essential that you capture their email address for further ‘Effective Frequency’. Sometimes it can be a mistake to , according to Nigel Botterill, “Puke on your customers”. Don’t try to sell to them. Give them time to make their decision. here are some ideas to capture their data:
- A downloadable guide
- A subscription to join a mailing list
- Request a call back
- Register for a webinar
- Grab a offer
- Limiting spaces available – register now.
- Start with a free trial
- Book a demo
- Get a free sample
Once you have captured the interest of your subscriber, congratulations. Although they have expressed interest at this stage, it is still imperative to continually advertise your brand/product to these visitors as they may not yet be in the market to buy and may still be considering.
The final stages of “Effective Frequency”
Online is tough marketplace. A lot of businesses enter the market each day, so the competition is fierce. It’s important to imprint your brand/product onto the mind of your subscribers.
A proven and popular way to achieve is by creating further touch points. Here are two suggestions that your competition may not be using:
- A Personal email – welcoming on board, or just saying hi.
- Phone call – see if you can help them. It does depend upon the product/service of course.
From these two touch points, you should be able to qualify and gauge where the customer is in buying process. It is at this point that you should then introduce autoresponders.
Autoresponders are email marketing’s most powerful weapons. They are simply “emails” that are deployed based on user actions, here are some examples:
- Subscribing to a list
- Unsubscribing to a list
- Opening an email
- A contact clicking a link
- A contact’s date occurring – this is great for birthday offers and reminders.
Autoresponders can be deployed in sequences which is a superb way to deliver “Effective Frequency”. The beauty of deploying this through email marketing is that you can measure the effectiveness, as the platforms have in depth reporting to see who opened and clicked through on the campaign. To see this in action register your interest with Easy Email Marketing.
Smith’s ‘Effective Frequency’ model is purely theoretical. I doubt there is a ‘one size fits all’ model that can be used for every product. But with much certainty we can all agree on one main thing. If we don’t email a customer regularly enough, someone else will. And, that someone will be at the forefront of the customers mind when they do have a need.
Write an autoresponder sequence, create a series of promotional emails and see whether or not the effective frequency model works for you.