Frequency, Frequency, Frequency and the paradox of the Net

The #1 contributor to success in advertising, without any question whatsoever, is frequency. "Repeat yourself until everyone is annoyed but your accountant," says my friend Jay Levinson.

Most of the time, creative entrepreneurs lose interest long before their marketing message loses its power.

The challenge online is this: smart people are bored by frequency. The people you’re trying hardest to reach won’t sit still for repetitive messages. I used to read a certain blog religiously, but after the 300th irrelevant post about his new book, I had to flee. I haven’t been back since.

So this is the dilemma. If the most powerful asset online is permission, the privilege of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to the people who want to get them… and the most powerful tool of advertising is repetition and frequency, which the majority of prospects cringe at (but which works) what to do?

I think there are two strategies that are shaping up online.

The first: burn your permission. Every time you have something to sell, either buy enough ads on popular sites to achieve frequency, or just burn out your core base by repeating your message over and over again. At least you’ll make enough money to be able to rebuild your audience later.

The second: go easy on the frequency and embrace your audience. Give them what they want (interesting, new stuff) instead of what you need (frequency). Play for the long run.

I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong. But I do think actions have consequences, and you should be aware of them when you make your choice.