Ever wondered why 3 always works? Have you encountered marketers who convince you in just a snap? There’s power in 3. In fact, the rule of 3 is a universal rule that origins can be found within our very biology. The rule of 3 is applicable to almost every subject there is, from art to economics and of course – to marketing. In fact, it’s one of the top secrets marketers across the globe use in getting a lot of yes’s from people. Many marketers and psychologists alike believe it’s the most impactful way of arranging thoughts and ideas in persuasive and lasting manner. In this article we’re going to uncover the power of 3, the science behind it and how you can harness it in your marketing and business.
The Rule of 3 and the Human Brain
So, what’s so magical about the number 3? There’s no accident that the rule of 3 is so pervasive in our stories, history, comedy and educational studies. Just think about the fairy tales you grew up reading; Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Three Little Pigs, Three Blind Mice etc. And let’s not forget religious fables and famous literature “the Three Wise Men”, “the Three Stooges” and “the Three Musketeers.” Well, we can safely say it’s no coincidence. It all comes down to the way humans process information.
Patterns are a lot easier to remember than an odd sequence of events or facts and it just so happens that 3 is the smallest number required to create a pattern. The rule of 3 follows the brain’s mapping rules which makes things much easier to remember. Once a pattern is formed, the brain can easily digest the information and process it in memory. When marketers follow this way of constructing their promotions, they can make anything persuasive. In a world like ours today of short attention spans and countless competitions, the power is in 3.
The Rule of 3 and Marketing
When marketing to people, it’s very easy to want to present a huge list of “bests”. We tend to believe that the more options there are, the better choice we will make. But the truth is, the longer the list the more confusing it gets. That’s just how we work, it’s the top 3 that makes the most impact to us and the rest just don’t matter. The odds aren’t in more options, it’s in less.
There are a few types of customer responses when they are faced with options more than 3. These are some of the utmost reasons why you need to stick with the rule of 3:
- Information Overload – as much as we like to think we’re highly complex individuals who can take in vast amounts of information at once, studies show otherwise. If we have too many choices our brain gets confused. If we are confused, we may make the wrong choice which could cause us harm (whether financially, physically etc), so the brain likes to have choices but not too many. Overwhelming your customers with information about the product, or giving them endless options will put your potential customer off from buying.
- Low Quality – there is that subconscious thought of finding long lists to be low quality than short lists. It makes things appear like a desperate move rather than a sure one. It will make you appear as if you have no confidence in your first few offers.
Here are a few of the best examples of the rule of 3 within marketing and politics:
- “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
- “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”
- “Location, location, location”
- “Blood, sweat, and tears”
- “Mind, body, spirit”
- “Stop, Look and Listen”
- “I came, I saw, I conquered”
The Marketing Perspective
Each marketer has his or her own ways of persuading people. But no matter what the strategy they apply, taking advantage of the power of the rule of 3 will always give greater benefits. Marketers who have applied the rule of 3 have proven that mapping sales and marketing signals directly to the brain can persuade customers much easier than otherwise. There are some ways that are proven to be effective which you may also apply in your own business. Here are some of the few:
- Don’t offer or post up long lists of options to avoid confusion and scaring clients off
- Categorize your products and offers and shrink the variety into 3 types
- Pick the top 3 problems that your clients face and offer them the right option they can choose for each one to solve their problem.
- Focus on the top 3 benefits that your clients or customers can get from each offer you make
- Present brief but on-point and solid proofs as to why you’re suggesting each of these solutions
- Showcase your portfolio but don’t list everything down. Only list down a few but biggest achievements that your company had attained. Those that would really catch their attention.
- Know your competition or competitor. Be competitive compared to them.
Getting to Know Your Market
There’s no better way to achieve a good market than following universal truths to it. A marketer must learn how to adhere to these things in order to attain success in spite of all the skepticism that goes around in the minds of potential customers. The power of 3 is one of the most undeniable truths of all time and every market should know how to use it well. Applying the rule of 3 on the type of market you’re targeting is very important. You need to know your market better in order to know how to market to them. If you know what your market wants and needs, the rule of 3 can play its role perfectly the way it should. So, let’s get into this.
Practical Ways to Apply the Power of 3 in Your Business
The power of 3 is not limited to just having great taglines for your business. It can also be applied in various ways such as time management, setting your goals and as previously mentioned, in your offerings to clients.
#1 Focus – It always helps to have a goal for the day. Before you start your day, think about top 3 things that you must accomplish. This will serve as your “measuring stick” for the success you’ve accomplished for that day. It also helps if you write it down and place it somewhere you can easily read and see. It helps to be reminded of each goal as you progress through the day.
#2 Long Term Goals – Long term goals also need attention and even in this, the rule of 3 still applies. Think of top 3 things that you would like to reach within a span of a year or few years. No matter how much pressure there is in accomplishing more, it’s always best to stick with the most important few. Remember, each of these will have sort of “sub-efforts” for you to accomplish. They will have their own objectives and processes that you will need to go and walk through. Anything too much and overwhelming will not give you the success that you are looking for.
#3 Strategies – You may not believe it but the rule of 3 in your strategies also help a lot. Don’t stick with just one strategy because it might not work in some ways. And don’t go beyond 3, as we all believe it to be confusing. Choosing top 3 strategies that come in different variations is enough for you to get your marketing pumped up. Each of these strategies will show their strengths and weaknesses so at least you have options to choose from when things don’t go the way you want it.
#4 Choosing Your Market – In choosing your market, you could also have at least 3 different types as your priority target. Since you know your product very well and who it is for, it won’t be too hard for you to choose. Start with those that are undoubtedly going to utilize them, then to those who are most likely and to the less likely but very possible clients.
The Power of 3 & Marketing Your Business
The Power of 3 helps from a broad range to a smaller-scale level. This is why it is a well-known and widely-applied universal rule. Marketing your small business can be hard at first. But when you master these practical ways to apply the rule of 3 in your marketing techniques, you will find it much easier to do.
It is important for every marketer to do follow ups. Don’t trust your first pitch of marketing nor your whole page of pitching to convince people. Once they sign up for subscription, never let them go! And of course, as we all know, the rule of 3 in doing follow-ups is a great number to stick with. However, it’s not the limit. You can do follow-ups as much as you want but don’t go below 3 times or you will lose your chances.
Your logo represents your company. If it looks confusing and not soothing to the eyes, you could get misunderstood. Choose a logo that is clean, simple and professional. If possible, go with 3 colors or less. Sticking with 3 elements on your business card such as your logo, your name and contact number. Don’t make your business card look like a small brochure.
Let’s admit it, we are all used to seeing sales pitch pages that are as long as our grocery list. Traditional marketing and pitching simply don’t work anymore and there are several reasons for that. For one, traditional marketing involved a lot of talk and this simply doesn’t have the same personal effect in written text. Second, we are constantly bombarded with information more so than ever before, adverts are pitched on all types of devices and mediums, our brains are saturated with information overload and we haven’t got time to read your long sales pitch. Lastly, linking to the previous point because we now live in an ‘instant society’, where information needs to be conveyed easily, with little effort, otherwise our attention goes elsewhere. So when you market your pitches, make them short, direct to the point and clearly stating what benefit it provides/what problem it solves. Know what they would like to hear and what kind of help they would need from you and focus on that. Make them feel like their questions have been answered the moment you started talking.
It’s always good to give people options in your offers. Don’t make them feel trapped with just dealing with one or confused with too many. Give them 3 things that you think is best for their need. Let them know the benefits that they can get from each one and the downsides if there’s any. Present these options in a manner of “good, better and best” without the need to say these words directly. It also helps a lot when you structure them in 3’s. Organize your thoughts and ideas in a manner that makes it easy for your client to understand. Doing your offers this way will help them come up with a good decision that will most likely be favorable to you.
3 Rules That Can Shape Your Market
In order to attain success in our business, you have to understand and know your market. If you know the way they think and how they work, it’s easier for you to shape your market in a way that responds to their needs. The Rule of 3 does an excellent job in helping you shape your business like as if it was custom-made for them. Here are some helpful tips that you can apply:
Think Like a Customer
Like people say, in order for one to empathize they must get in other people’s shoes. The same is true if you want to be successful in your business. Think as if you are one of them. When you put yourself in the perspective of your market, you will find that these 3 things are necessary to figure out:
- Reason – why your market decided to start looking for your solution. There is always a reason why people look for something. They don’t just do it for the sake of it. They look it up because they need help. Think of top 3 reasons why they were looking for the kind of solution that you offer and understand each one so that you will know how to be THAT solution for them.
- Places – where they would go to look for information. The most common place to go for everyone is Google. In some cases, they would go to reputable websites and people who can give them great recommendation. If you know the top 3 places where your market would go for these things, you will know how to position yourself and get ahead of the competition.
- Preconception – about your company. Before they would come to you, they most likely have a preconceived bias or opinion about your company. People would not engage with a company unless they know something about it. It’s important that you know 3 possible and common preconceptions about your business so that you will know how to approach new clients and potential market.
Think Like a Competitor
Your competitors may not be directly doing anything against your company, but they are always working underground to be the better choice over anyone else. If you want to be successful, don’t disregard them. Find out about your competitors, who they are and what they offer. Don’t think you’re too safe just because you have a better price for your products and services. Bring out your product’s best forte’s and get ahead of the competition.
Think Like a Product
It may sound a little bit odd but thinking like your product is also very important. It will enable you to put yourself in the shoes of what you are selling and see if the features would be sufficient for them. Think of 3 things that will make them the “superstar” of all the others. Constantly seek to improve in those strengths so that they will not be categorized as obsolete too soon.
Christine has been working in the field of freelance for just over 7 years, specializing in copy-writing, social media and voice-overs.
Describing herself as a "social media bee 24/7", Christine has an undying passion for photography and music.