McDonald’s has done a lot of things right over the last 80 years to become the world’s largest restaurant chain (by revenue).

One of those things, which other winners like Amazon.com, Spotify and The Gap also do, is leveraging “The Recency Effect” to ensure that every time people pass a McDonald’s, their brain pays attention to it, and as a result, they think about stopping and going in.

What is The Recency Effect?

You know how when you talk about a specific car, and then you start seeing that car everywhere? That’s it!

The things we’ve seen recently stand out to us more. Our brain pays more attention to what we’ve seen a lot of recently.

The more we’ve seen it, the more we look at it.

Don’t Be Invisible

As you know, the first step to a store visit or a sale is grabbing the customer’s attention. You don’t want to be the Invisible Man out there. And even when customers have bought from you before, you often have to keep grabbing their attention to get repeat visits and sales.

So if you want:

  • More attention in the marketplace,
  • Customers to be more familiar with you, and
  • To think of you as their #1 choice when they’re ready to buy what you sell…

…then you should use the Recency Effect, too!

5 Tips for Using the Recency Effect to Increase Store Visits and Sales

Exactly how do you make the recency effect work for your brand or store?

  1. Advertise more: Anything you can do to show up and, yes, interrupt people’s day and their attention, will help your brand break through the noise and hit the parts of their brains that matter. Spend more on ads. The more people see your ads, and the more retargeting you do (advertising both to cold and warm prospects), the more impact you’ll have on customers’s hearts and minds. Sometimes we worry about annoying customers but forget how many times we need to see advertising and marketing for it to actually register with us.
  2. Increase your relevance: “I don’t care about that kind of thing.” Every one of your customers has specific persona attributes, interests, loves, hates, pains, needs, desires, and goals. If you’re an Italian restaurant chain, are you leveraging everything we love about Italy in your ads? And what’s unique about each local area you’re advertising in? Customs, word usages, interests, likes and dislikes are different in Boston than in Los Angeles. How can you address what people in each area care about most while staying true to your brand? Answering these questions will pay huge dividends for your brand in the form of more store visits, more sales, and more loyal customers. There is a massive difference between a brand that runs the same ads for the whole country and one that localizes. The customizing brands create more connection with customers, create more loyalty, and win in the long run.
  3. Be consistent with your branding: There has to be something (usually a logo and specific color set) that people see everywhere you show up. With consistent identity, they know who and what they’re looking at.
  4. Show up: “I see you guys everywhere!” Run social ads, search ads, ads on smartphone apps, TV, radio, Instagram, Facebook, Google, YouTube… the more platforms, channels and placements you can do the better. Be everywhere customers look, and you’ll become famous to them. That kind of familiarity makes people more comfortable with you brand and more likely to buy.
  5. Put it all together: Strategize how your placements and touches work together to drive customers from awareness to purchase. Are you reaching people with videos that create retargeting audiences you can use to drive lead generation, online sales, or store visits? That’s just one example of using both the top of the funnel and the bottom in one advertising strategy. We consistently see that the brands that run engagement ads, video ads, and retargeting ads get better results from their conversion ads. And it can drive more search engine activity related to your brand name.

If you work on those things, you’ll leverage The Recency Effect.

Do that, and you’ll see a measurable effect on your bottom line.

Brian Carter

An IBM futurist and top expert recommended by LinkedIn, Brian Carter has been a trusted influencer for over a decade. He's built programs and been a keynote speaker for companies like Microsoft, NBC-Universal, Citrix, Marketo, Salesforce as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways based his 15 years of cutting-edge work. Brian is a bestselling author you may have seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.