Is the 20th Time the Charm in Janitorial Supply Marketing?

Thomas Smith's "Successful Advertising"

Thomas Smith’s “Successful Advertising” first expressed the theory of frequency effectiveness in advertising.

I am often asked, “What is the optimum number of times someone needs to see my ad to make it stick?”

In short, there is no one, quick, easy, and accurate answer to that question.  Each market segment is different, each geographic area is different, and each of your customers is different.  A message that may impact one prospect as it directly relates to a situation they are currently dealing with may be quickly tossed aside by another one.

And, of course, the message and its delivery also come into play when trying to make a firm impression.  Today’s prospect wants to be educated, not sold.  Companies that engage in content-rich, educational marketing have a better chance of cutting through the clutter and staying top-of-mind.

So what does that mean for janitorial and maintenance supply marketing?  Provide education with your advertising.  For example, don’t just promote the product that is effective in killing bed bugs … discuss recent studies that show the actual increase in bed bug infestation in various types of venues, such as nursing homes, offices, and restaurants.

When I was studying advertising in college, the standard “three time exposure” was accepted as the optimum number of exposures before your message was “received.”  It was a theory created by Herbert Krugman  in the 1970s, and theorized that the first exposure to an ad elicited a  “What is it?” response.  The second exposure elicits a “What of it?” reaction with the third exposure creating the true reminder of the message and committing it to memory.

With the bombardment of messages today, through many different mediums, I find myself re-visitng a  proposition put forth by a British businessman, Thomas Smith.   In his guide, “Successful Advertising he claims it takes 20 exposures to a message:

1st Exposure – The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
2nd  They don’t notice it.
3rd  They are aware that it is there.
4th –  They have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
5th –  They actually read the ad.
6th They thumb their nose at it.
7th They start to get a little irritated with it.
8thThey start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
9th They start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
10th They ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
11th They wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
12th They start to think that it must be a good product.
13th They start to feel the product has value.
14th They start to remember wanting a product like this for a long time.
15th –  They start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
16th –  They accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
17th –  They make a note to buy the product.
18th They curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this product.
19th They count their money very carefully.
And the twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy the product.

Interestingly enough, Smith proposed this frequency effectiveness model in 1885 … long before the internet, smart phones, websites and blogs.

In the JanSan industry, I think there is a happy “sweet spot” in-between the widely-accepted Krugman model and the remarkably insightful Smith model for impressing your message.

The real key is to have consistency, professionalism, accuracy, and content in your marketing activities.

Janitorial Supply Websites: Where’s the Beef?

Where's The Beef

Check out this iconic 1984 commercial

In the iconic 1984 commercial for Wendy’s hamburgers , three elderly women were contemplating the size of the hamburger bun versus the size of the hamburger.  This short :30 commercial catapulted feisty Clara Peller into stardom with just three words … “Where’s the Beef?”

We’re not talking hamburgers, here.  We’re talking websites in the janitorial and maintenance supply industry.  However the concept is quite similar in delivering the “beef” to capture prospects and convert them into customers.  Just as Clara Peller continued to patronize Wendy’s in additional commercials, your website is the primary vehicle to initially grab attention, impress prospects, and set you apart from your competition.

What is the main reason people use the internet?  They are looking for “the beef” … information that will answer a question or solve a problem.  As explained in Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” model, people use search engines to research, visit websites, and make their preliminary purchase decisions.

Many believe that landing on page one of a search is the way to generate business.  Although having your website listing on the first page of a Google search is ideal, studies show people typically visit between 5-10 websites before making a decision. If you are listed several times on page one, it’s probable that visiting your site once will be adequate for searchers, and subsequent visits will result in quick clicks off the site.

Therefore, it is crucial that your website is impressive and delivers the beef in the first visit.

The initial split-second impression conveyed through your website is tied to the graphic layout and “eye-appeal.”  Is your home page attractive and inviting?  Does it immediately convey you have valuable information and expertise?  Will visitors automatically understand you are in the janitorial and maintenance supply industry? Are you professional-looking?

Past the initial looks, the real selling point of your business is the “beef” on your website.  And it needs to be prime beef, not choice or select.  And lots of it.

Do you have a full listing of all your manufacturers, descriptions, links to their websites, and links to MSDS sheets? Are you connecting on a personal level with your content?  Are there pictures of your employees with an invitation to contact the significant officers directly? People buy from people they know, like, and trust.  It starts with the introduction made via your website.

Is there a resource page that is updated regularly with timely industry information? What about a blog with regular postings of success stories of how you met customers’ needs or new products in your line?  E-Newsletters do “double-duty” these days as they connect with customers and can be re-purposed for website content.

We have evaluated hundreds of janitorial  distributor websites, and find that many are lacking the “beef.”  For that matter, there are many manufacturer websites that are also lacking content.

Many websites in the janitorial industry remind us of the Wendy’s commercial with the “big buns” … lots of fluff and maybe a small pickle.  Without the beef, these businesses are missing the online opportunity to differentiate themselves from the big-box, order-only competitors.

We offer several difference marketing services that bring the beef to your website and drive traffic to your e-commerce pages. Whether you need a complete website “re-boot” or a “re-fresh” on a few pages, we have a package to meet your needs.

Google’s ZMOT in JanSan Website Marketing: What It Is & Why You Should Care

The Jan/San sales cycle, as we knew it just a few years ago, has been changed forever. The main reason: the internet.

In a few mouse clicks, there is a wealth of information available to the janitorial supplies purchaser, such as product information, company reviews, and item pricing, to name a few.  Prospects can quickly evaluate any number of providers and products to solve their problems in minutes … sometimes seconds.

Purchasers’ proactive search for information has been identified by Google’s marketing gurus as the “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT.

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