Dental practices that SUCCESSFULLY use advertising to attract new patients understand that posting an advert or two every now and then is woefully inadequate. Successful advertising requires the implementation of campaigns that are made up of MULTIPLE and CONSISTENT impressions on your target audience.
The term that describes the number of impressions required for a consumer to respond is ‘effective frequency’. Depending on who you take advice from, the optimal number of exposures range from 6 to 20.
In his widely acknowledged book, Successful Advertising, Thomas Smith determined that consumers need a total of 20 exposures. He described the buying journey as follows:
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.
You can imagine that it would be relatively easy to get your message out to your market 20 times using SEO and social media advertising. But consider this; Thomas Smith wrote Successful Advertising in 1885!
Consumers have always required repeated exposure to a message before acting on it. So, if you have become disheartened by a lack of immediate response to your marketing efforts, remember that your message becomes stronger and more compelling with every additional impression.