The Strange Truth About Repetition

When you’re working on your emails, you might wonder, “How many times do I have to tell somebody something?”

Repetition is almost magical when it’s used correctly.

And there’s something very strange about repetition, something only a handful of people who write emails know.

The Best Way To Start

Before you can leverage the copywriting tactic of repetition, make sure you really know what your prospect wants.  Weave strong connections between both the prospect’s emotional and rational needs, and the benefits you deliver.

Carefully consider your benefits, prioritize them, and boil them down to a core handful of statements you believe will resonate most effectively with your prospect.

Bake them into every email you write.  There may be one benefit that towers above the rest, something you know is so well received by a prospect, that it deserves to be sung out in every single email.

How To Prevent Repetition Burnout

If you’re worried that the prospect will quickly perceive your emails as all the same…

Nothing but recycled, shopworn facts over and over…

Here’s the solution.

Plan your email sequence content.  Figure out in advance how to present essential information in a fresh way in each email.  You can:

  • Turn your core benefit into stories, which immediately gives you an infinite number of ways to present it.
  • Write a mini-case study, or use a testimonial.
  • Describe a before and after scenario, the surprising ease with which a struggle went away, or the achievement that results from action taken.

Let’s say the core benefit you need to get across is, “100% of the people who use my technique have finally put an end to procrastination.”

There is nothing wrong with turning this message into a tagline, or a positioning statement.

Your readers will not get sick of this, and they will actually begin to believe what you say.

This brings us to the strange truth of repetition.  Repetition actually creates credibility.

Why Repetition Works

Researchers with Fairfield University in Connecticut and Fordham University in New York studied the effects of the repetition of information and published an academic paper, Reading is Believing: The Truth Effect and Source Credibility.

If you’d like to read this paper, let me know, and I’ll send you a copy.

The authors, Linda Henkel and Mark Mattson, found that we tend to

believe something simply because we’re constantly exposed to it.  Their research reveals that…

“Familiarity may create an illusion of truth for statements when people lack source-specifying cues, especially cues regarding the reliability of the source.”

This is great news for businesses just getting started.

If you are the source of the claims in your emails, and you don’t have social proof sources yet such as client testimonials, your new business can still build the credibility that’s essential for conversion.

The challenge is to use repetition in a thoughtful, structured fashion that will keep your prospect engaged, informed, and moving through your funnel.

And… make sure what you have to say is what the prospect really wants to know.




About Paul Talbot

Paul wrote his first ad in 1979, and is one of a select group of copywriters who has

worked in sales and sales management. He has been a National Director of Sales

at AOL and a Senior Vice President at CBS.

Paul thinks strategically and listens to his clients carefully. He is motivated by

getting his clients results. Paul lives in Coronado, California with his wife Ellen.

Paul’s email is

Read his blog at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top