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Getting Your Message Across: How To Repeat Yourself Effectively

zen-marketerEver feel like you’re serving up the same marketing message over and over again? Like Bubba in the movie Forrest Gump, it’s as if you’re on hands and knees scrubbing the same spot, enumerating all the ways you can serve shrimp.

It’s OK…every marketer feels the drudgery of repeating yourself sometimes. But just because you know the difference between shrimp creole and shrimp étouffe, doesn’t mean your customer does. It’s your job to market your product and services with enthusiasm.

That means repeatedly telling the story of your business that may feel to you like last week’s leftovers.

You’re not in a rut; you’re just intimately involved in your business. The edge where a customer’s recognizable transformation occurs starts to blur. Just as fish are the last to discover water, you can be so immersed in your business that you’ve forgotten what’s fabulous and inspiring about it.

But it’s there at the tip of your nose. And when you repeat yourself in the right way, your customer hears your message as if for the first time.

So what’s the “right way?” How to you effectively repeat yourself without sounding lackluster and dry?

Don’t Assume People Are Bored With Your Message

No response usually just means that it hasn’t “clicked” yet. Your ideal customer may see a blog post, an article, a tweet, email or PPC ad; and still not even register that you exist or that you solve a problem they currently have. Remember that people are consumed by thousands of messages daily. Advertisers and marketers vie for attention at every turn. So don’t assume that your customer has made a decision about – or even noticed you.

Your solution or product may not be on their radar – yet. Unless someone specifically tells you, “I got it; no thank you.” (via an unsubscribe, un-follow, or un-friend), then you’re still in the running. At the same time, keep at it for the benefit of the unhappy soul who’s never been exposed to your message. It’s an endless cycle that often takes up to 17 repetitions to evoke a remarkable impression. So market proudly.

Keep Open Loops in Your Marketing Story

Allow your message to gap in places. Create some space so that your customer’s mind automatically tries to fill in the empty bits. They will; it’s only natural to connect the dots. Leave some room to expand and fill in. Think about it, when you see something that looks complete, you take it for granted. However, an open loop forces the mind to connect it, naturally triggering an irresistible, albeit small synapsis that may not have occurred if your message had neatly answered every question.

Great marketing cracks open curiosity by inviting the customer to do some work. The mind must engage. This usually means introducing a problem and leading the customer to the edge of something painful and familiar. Don’t worry, they will go there, like the tongue to a toothache. Even the suggestion of a problem starts the cycle.

Resist Jargon

Explain things as if you’re talking to an intelligent child. Bury scientific or insider terms like “extracto-caster 8” (I made that up) and talk instead about solving that irritating problem they have. Shine the spotlight on the customer’s problem, their relief, the destination… and you’ll think of plenty of other ways to tell why your fancy-named “extracto-caster 8” revolutionizes your industry.

“Keep it simple, sweetheart.” Picture someone saying asking “Why?” and “I don’t get it.” Answer that, and you’ll show your value in a way that personally touches your customer. Most complicated problems come down to something elemental. One magical copywriting tip every marketer must know is to find that sweet spot and describe it to someone at about a 6th grade reading level.

Spread Yourself Thin

A commitment to consistent marketing tactics allows you to skate the surface of your entire offer while taking the opportunity to go deep on just one facet of your product at a time. When you blast your audience with too much at one time, your message loses its power and your readers lose interest. Paint a clear picture about just one benefit, dropping deeper when you must.

Think “portion control.” You never want to sate your prospect’s appetite. You want them hungry for more. One big information dump kills the promise, the evolution of your story. If you resist revealing the whole enchilada, then one message will never be enough, and your marketing touches remain tantalizing.

Recognize the Consumer’s Buying Cycle

One of the most common marketing mistakes, especially if you are the sole marketer of your business, is failing to time appropriate messages to your buyer’s need and receptivity. If you repeatedly place the wrong type of marketing material in front of a buyer who isn’t ready to hear it, you’re wasting your ability to connect with them.

A marketer’s perspective naturally tends toward one of three areas. All are important, but let’s face it; everyone has a “favorite spot.”

  • The “Giver” Maybe you like providing information. You could write content-rich articles all day long. (If that’s you, you’re a giver.) That’s great, until finally your customer realizes there is a real problem that needs to be solved. Congratulations, your content has done its job. Your prospect is awake and aware, and ready for the next step. Are you?
  • The “Helper”As they move toward a solution, this is where a marketer’s role is to pull back the curtain and show the way. You’ll start explaining how and where to get more information. Your marketing materials at this point must address specific scenarios: “if/then” questions, action steps, “how-to” articles resonate best with the customer in this phase. (If this is your strength, then you’re a helper.) Hand your prospect tools that lead to a decision. Provide concrete formulas and steps, like “What’s next?” “How to make a decision,” and “What to look for in X.”
  • The “Closer” Finally, your customer is ready to buy. They’ve narrowed the field and compared solutions. (If this is your favorite part, you’re a closer.) Marketers used to prove their highest value here, as they handed off a customer to the sales department. That is, in the years before the explosion of information available on the Internet. Now that everyone is on equal footing with the average salesperson, the closer’s job doesn’t seem so sexy.

Your customer already has gobs of information – so much information, in fact – that many non-closing types falsely believe that the customer doesn’t need any more. Au contraire, mon frère. You must map and chart this vastly overlooked territory of modern online marketing.

Some elements crucial to the decision-making process:

  •  Scripting actual words you’d use during a phone call with a client
  • Describing future after-purchase steps
  • Showing ease of product delivery
  • Outlining your guarantee
  • Explaining your terms and why they’re beneficial to your customer
  • Describing the client/provider relationship
  • Declaring how you’re different from your competition

Today’s marketer must pay as much attention to this part of the campaign – if not more – and get this right.

Freshen Your Attitude Toward Service

Modern marketing is all about being there – over and over again. You’re story won’t win people over if it’s a one stop shop. As your skill with the repetitive marketing process grows, you’ll start to savor the opportunity to tell it. Consider the woman in Arabian Nights wife who told nightly parables. She told them to keep her husband from killing her in the morning, yes; but also to transform him into a kind and loving man. As you serve your customer with your marketing messages, your patience benefits you, too.

Marketing is never a one-way street: As you get into the groove of this “rinse and repeat cycle” of marketing you may even discover…

Some fringe benefits: You should be using at least a few of the big (free) social sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Quora, Amazon to share across all the online marketing channels where your customers are talking. Chances are you’ll discover a sweet byproduct – feedback. Engagement allows you continually repeat and reframe your offer to serve your ideal clients even better.

As your community grows, your responses and adjustments will make an impression on the very people who will become your customers. If you consistently show up and take part in the conversation, they may even share your content with others like themselves. A viral white paper, video or eBook compounds your marketing efforts and establishes you as a leader and an expert.

On another level, your community perceives the authenticity behind your business when you reiterate your offer in various ways. People notice. That swell in commitment becomes your long-term advantage over your competition. Before your very eyes, your marketing becomes part of your brand.

Warning: no slacking at this point… your customers are depending on you. Repetition means you’re in it for the long haul.

Finally, there’s this… every time you repeat yourself, you’ll see more of your business through your customer’s eyes. If you do it right, you could fall in love with your company again. After all, enthusiasm is contagious.

About Jen McGahan

Jen McGahan helps companies and business owners go far and fast.

19 thoughts on “Getting Your Message Across: How To Repeat Yourself Effectively

  1. As a teacher of martial arts to small children, I can say that consistency and repetition are very, very important.

    So is the “portion control” you mentioned… ya just can’t overload these little fellas.

    I teach my Black Belt instructors to use ‘disguised repetition’… each the SAME OLD THING… a new, different way.

    We teach ’em a forward roll. Then we make them do it in a line. Then from opposite sides of the room. Then outwards in a circle. Now INwards toward the center of the circle. Careful not to hit each other!

    Now let’s have a forward roll contest. Jimmy’s is fastest. Kaitlyn’s is quietest. Sarah can do it over an obstacle.

    And so on.

    Seems like we’re doing a lot of different things, but really it’s a repackaged forward roll. But no one is getting bored. Just better and better.

    I can tell you from experience that repetition and consistency gives a feeling of security to the little ones. The same subtle messages over time sink in.

    ALSO from experience: repetition and consistency give a feeling of assurance to adults as well. That’s why they will buy from YOU when the timing for them is right… because YOUR message was consistent, and you found new and different ways to say the “same old thing.”

    Heh. 😉

    Thanks for this article. RT-ing it now for the sake of small biz and blog owners as far as my reach goes.

    Keep Stepping,


    • Kurt that makes a lot of sense. Repackaging something in a different way to have the kids do it again and again makes a lot of sense.

      Consistency goes a long way for so many people. I mean just showing up and being there all of the time really helps people recognize you.

      It’s like, hey your they always in that spot in a fitness class. So people see that consistency.

  2. Kurt and Ian. Hey, I never really thought of it in terms of “muscle memory” or physical skill. I like that! On another note, the reason adults find it so difficult to learn to play a musical instrument or learn a new language is that it takes repetition. No 40 year old wants to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” ad nauseum, but a 5 year old is perfectly happy with that. Maybe being like a little child has it’s perks! Thanks for the comment.

  3. The “portion control” thing has my wheels turning. Thanks, Jen. I think that’s where I could use some work. In practice, is this more about how you roll an offer out (slowly with small “portions”)? Or is it about what you focus on throughout the actual sales page (take one aspect of the offer and run with it, while not digging as deeply into other aspects)?

    • Adrianne, great question. I think the answer is “both.” It depends on how the reader found you (through social media, a PPC ad, etc) and your customer’s expectations. While I’m still a believer in the long sales page, where you roll out all the juicy parts, I think the trend is toward smaller chunks and relationship-building. The way people fly around the Internet, you’re lucky to get a full minute with your audience. So regardless of the campaign, clearly hit one point at a time while grooming expectations for consistent content or followup. I hope that’s not too convoluted an answer!

  4. Thanks for the gentle reminder that if they haven’t told me, “No” then I still have a window of opportunity! :-). Going deep on just one facet of my product at a time is sage advice I can relate to. A great article, Jen! One I’ll keep referring to in the weeks to come! Thank you!

    • Thanks you, Suz. Marketing can be a bit of a marathon. I know salespeople who nip discouragement by actually training themselves to relish those no’s, even when they do come. A “yes” always comes on the heels of a “no!”

  5. An excellent reminder and just what I needed to hear today. I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to repeat a story at a dinner party if even one person there has heard my story before. I never want to bore anyone or seem like I’m relying on the same story. So for me, constantly repeating the manifesto for my new business and explaining it with my rehearsed “cocktail line” feels like I’m being a broken record TO ME. I will drop this mentality now and see that explaining my business over and over IS my job and it’s not boring to me or anyone else as long as I am passionate! Thank you.

    • Kelly, great observation. I know exactly what you are talking about! When I look around and see that the most successful people are never sheepish about repeating their message in any way shape or form, I realize it rather becomes them. Good luck in your new biz!

  6. I think we also have to recognise that the posts we write are often presented in a different way, although they may cover similar topipcs and themes. People receive messages in different ways so one article might not attract a person but another, written about the same topic but presented differently, may grab their attention. I do believe there is mileage in going over ground again, and new readers might not trawl back to read older posts.

    ENjoy the journey.


  7. For sure, Mandy. Excellent point about new readers and different triggers, and the unlikelihood that they’re browsing your site’s older posts. Thanks for the reminder that it’s all new to them.

    • Michal, I doubt your marketing sucks if consistency is your strong point. The secret (as in life) is to persist, even when one marketing tactic fails. Marketing’s all about trial and error.

  8. Back in my Army days, I was a Green Beret. We had training on how to withstand an interrogation. You wanted to stay within your circle. Your circle was very simple – didn’t do anything wrong, were an American, wanted to speak to an American representative. The key to the circle was to listen to what was being asked and then redirect it back to the safe area of the circle.

    You are probably asking what this has to do with this post. You need to have a circle and stay within it for your business; at least when first meeting someone. Have a short idea of what you want to tell someone, listen to what they are saying and relevantly direct it back to your circle.

  9. Brilliant analogy, Mike. Actually, you’ve hit on another interesting by-product of the philosophy of repetition: the creativity energy behind active listening.
    By the way, I’m a big fan of the Green Berets; thank you for your service.

  10. Pingback: Hustle and Serve -- The Jetpack Method for Engaging Customers

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