Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2005
When I write sales letters for my clients, one rule I always start with is The Rule of 7.
I learned about The Rule of 7 from one of my good friends who once ran for political office. In his campaign, he made certain that his name appeared seven times in all of his radio spots.
Why? Because that’s generally the number of times required before a name “magically” sticks in the mind of a prospect. The Rule of 7 is often used in radio and television advertising. But this isn’t an isolated occurrence—the number seven seems to be a bit magical in other areas, like prospecting and linguistics.
Do you know the average number of times experts say you need to make contact with a prospect before they will be ready to commit?
Can you guess how many times linguists say a person must use a word before it becomes a true part of their vocabulary?
This “magic” is the reason I try to repeat my client’s product name or business name seven times in the sales letters I write for them.
The truth is, we’re not really talking about magic, here. It’s really about generating recognition for a name or a concept. It’s about embedding something in a prospect’s subconscious mind. It’s about branding. I use The Rule of 7 to write sales letters, but the idea can be applied to other areas of marketing, too.
Every person and every thing has an identity—and branding is about more than just a logo. A brand identity is about who you are, what you offer and the benefits of choosing you over the competition. The name you choose to operate under—whether your personal name, your business name, your product name, or your website address—is a link to all of that information. Repetition, which is what makes The Rule of 7 work, strengthens the recognition and recollection of your brand.
Now, all the “experts” may come back later and say that “seven” isn’t the right number after all. It’s nine. Or it’s five. Or it’s eight-point-three. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? Seven works well as a general rule. (Besides, it is a lucky number.)
Of course, I know that fulfilling The Rule of 7 is no guarantee a prospect will accept an offer. But I know using the rule increases the chance that a prospect will see my name or the name of one of my websites and think, “Oh, yeah, I remember Seductive Sales Letters” or “I remember Matthew Cobb.” Recognition and recollection—that’s what The Rule of 7 is all about.
One word of warning, though. Just because seven times is good doesn’t mean that seventy times is even better. Repeating the same name over and over again can grow annoying and cause prospects to quit reading. And then, you may not even be able to fulfill The Rule of 1.
About the Author
Matthew Cobb is an independent copywriter/consultant. He can be reached at email@example.com or by visiting (www.cobbwriting.com), where you can sign up for his monthly e-pub, The Copy and Content Clinic.