Are We There Yet?

If you’ve ever taken a trip with young children (or even annoying adults), chances are good you’ve been subjected to cries of, “are we there yet?”  As adults, we may not say it out loud in whiny voices, but that doesn’t mean we’re not just as impatient to get to our destination.

We want things to happen quickly. We yearn for instant gratification. We’ve probably always been impatient, but technology, which makes our lives better in so many ways, has exacerbated our demand for instant results. Admit it; if a website doesn’t load immediately, you’re on to the next option. Don’t even try to pretend you don’t do that!

Marketing expectations fall victim to our impatience as well. True story: I once worked as a marketing director for a company saddled with an owner (my boss) who knew nothing about marketing except that his competition did it. He finally agreed to try email marketing using a well-known email marketing service. Within 15 minutes of launching the campaign, he was standing in my office asking how many new clients we got from the campaign. I am not kidding or exaggerating! Talk about being impatient!

My old boss is an extreme example, but every organization wants to see results from its marketing efforts sooner rather than later. Not only is it really frustrating when you don’t get traction quickly, but it can also be challenging to explain why your marketing dollars aren’t providing a quick return on investment to non-marketing types and board members.

You work hard to target prospects with powerful messages about all the good work your organization is doing. You make an effort to keep your website content relevant and fresh. And you do everything you can to maximize the Google Ad Grant. So why aren’t people persuaded to take action the first time they see your message?

The Rule of Seven

The Rule of Seven is an old marketing adage that says that a prospect needs to see or hear a marketing message at least seven times before they act. The number seven isn’t cast in stone but you get the idea. Marketing is an on-going process. Rarely, if ever, will a one-and-done marketing approach be successful.

It’s a Crowded and Noisy Space

People are bombarded constantly with messages and it’s difficult to get past all the noise to be heard. At any given time, there is constant noise from organizations clamoring to be heard. In the interest of self-preservation, we’ve created a filter over time to block out the constant noise, or at least lower the volume. That filter prevents your message from infiltrating the viewer’s consciousness until they see it multiple times. The truth is that no matter how much great work your organization is doing, your potential audience isn’t sitting around waiting to hear from you. They’re busy living their lives and you may not even be a blip on their radar.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Even if you’ve really worked hard targeted the right people, you have to have a frequent presence to have an impact. When it comes to marketing, out of sight is definitely out of mind, at least until you’ve penetrated that crowded, noisy space. If people see your marketing message infrequently, or even worse, once, it’s not likely they’ll remember you or your call to action. People are pressed for time and sometimes lazy, so they often take the path of least resistance. You have to consistently keep your message in front of them, so you remain top of mind once they decide to act.

The Main Reason: They Don’t Know, Like or Trust You (Yet)

The real reason people don’t jump for joy and act the first time they see your message is that they don’t know you. You have to give them time to get to know you, remember your name and your message. From that point, they will (hopefully) start to like you. Over time, they’ll eventually start to trust you. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people who try to scam people under the false pretense of a nonprofit organization, so it’s understandable that it takes time to prove that your organization is worthy of a person’s support. Once they trust you–trust that you’re legitimate–then, and only then, will they be ready to act.

So how much time are we talking about? How long does this process take? Realistically, probably longer than seven contacts. So, give your Google Ad Grant some time to work and don’t hesitate to reach out to for help. You might not be there yet, but remember, it’s a journey, not a sprint.


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