I used to believe in the conventional marketing idea that if the audience isn’t buying, it’s because they haven’t seen your offer enough times.
The rule of 7 is that a prospective buyer needs to see your marketing message at least 7 times before they truly decide whether to buy.
From my decade of marketing experience — especially the past 5 years of consistent rhythm of offers — I haven’t found this idea to be true...
Most buyers see my offer 1–3 times before signing up, if they sign up at all.
If an offer isn’t a good fit — or if there isn’t enough of a trusting relationship — they can see the offer a dozen times and still not buy. And by that point, they’re experiencing what’s called “ad fatigue” — they’re tired of seeing the offer. The relationship between the business and the audience begins to erode.
Here’s a 3-part checklist to figure out why your audience isn’t buying:
Your potential buyers need to see a specific offer at least once, and I would suggest up to three times within a month, before you know whether they’ve decided to buy.
More than three times in a month, and they’ll probably be entering Ad Fatigue.
It seems to me that many of you aren’t letting your audience know often enough about the thing you’re trying to sell.
Maybe you don’t want to come across as salesy. Rightly so. Much of marketing out there does feel salesy… but you don’t have to do it that way.
I aim to do my marketing in a heart-based and authentic way, and my audience seems to like it better than most other marketing they’ve seen.
Whatever you’re trying to sell, it is important to let your audience know, up to three times this month, about that product or service. Next month, move onto another product/service, or try saying it in a very different way.
If you’ve done this, and you’re surprised how few of them are buying, then it’s likely one of the following issues: Match or Trust.
How well-matched is your offer to their wants?
Have you surveyed your audience about the options you could offer? For example, every few months, I poll my audience about the upcoming courses I could teach, and see what they vote on. I then offer what is popular.
OK, you’re offering the right solution for the problem they wish to solve right now. However, is the price a good match for them? How would you know? Ask them what they’ve bought — or have considered buying — to try to solve that problem. Compared to those options they’ve considered, is your price in the right range?
What about timing?
When people don’t buy, they sometimes say “it’s not the right time” but in my experience, that is often a courteous excuse that “it’s not really a good fit for me” because when it is a great match, they will buy it anyway.
The exceptions are live events and services: maybe they’re going away in the next few weeks and literally cannot engage with your event or service in that same timeframe, but they really want to. Hopefully, you’ll offer a popular service or event several times a year so you can catch them the next time.
If there is a match in interest and price, but you’re still surprised your audience isn’t buying, then there’s one issue left…
Over the years I’ve met people who have good-sized audiences (sometimes thousands of email subscribers) and yet, their sales are still quite low.
They’ve done the surveying to know what their audience wants.
They’ve made sure to send several emails about the offer or use FB Ads to reach their warm audience several times.
Still, few sales.
If you’re experiencing this in your business, I’m willing to bet that it is a trust issue:
Often, it’s a mixture of both.
Topical Credibility is earned in one of two ways:
My favorite way of earning trust is by sharing helpful, authentic content consistently. It’s also the easiest way for someone to spread the word about me — by sharing my content forward. They’re proud to be able to share something good, and their network benefits from the content. It’s a win-win for everyone.
General credibility, on the other hand, comes from the spirit with which we approach our marketing. Are we often trying to “get people to do something”? Or are we genuinely trying to be helpful, even if they never buy?
Do we consistently demonstrate that unattached generosity?
The audience can feel your intentions.
Start by understanding which marketing tactics to avoid — using those may be eroding the trust with your audience.
Sadly, I’ve seen many heart-based business owners who are genuinely caring and gracious in personal communications, suddenly turn into a different person when doing their marketing.
They use tactics like put FREE in all caps… but they would never do that in an email to a friend because it looks tacky and feels manipulative.
The simplest way to think about it: approach marketing to our audience like we approach communicating with a friend we care about. Gently share your offer, and hold loosely to agenda.
In other words, follow the principles of authentic marketing.
By paying attention to these 3 factors — Reach, Match, and Trust — you’ll keep improving your marketing until one day, you can simply whisper and your audience will buy. They trust you, you understand them, and you’re consistent with reaching them.
You’ve deservedly earned their purchase!
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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