The power of 3s

For all the tricks and traps of SEO and online marketing, you still need to take good ‘ol fashioned human behaviour into account. CHRIS THOMAS

Chris Thomas

By Chris Thomas

A few years ago I stumbled across a fascinating website from a New Zealand gentleman called Sean D’Souza. His website offers another perspective on marketing from a psychological perspective.

One of the marketing techniques D’Souza promotes is the idea of the “Power of 3s”. It’s something I’ve never forgotten, and I try to integrate into my blog writing, week after week after week.

For some reason, our brains really love 3s – ABC, 123, three musketeers… you get the picture.

We understand and retain communications more readily when we’re fed three at a time. If you start to bombard people with, say, 10 marketing messages in a row, retention drops off significantly.

The idea is to look at your communications quite simply. So if you’re a designer, use just three colours, three columns, or three elements per design.

If you’re a marketer, try cutting back your “feature list” to three main benefits (or at least pull out the best three and highlight them separately).

Don’t use more than three fonts per design, and keep the visual elements in a design to just three main ones.

I really like using “threes” in my writing, particularly when I’m putting together a proposal or helping to write web copy. It really can make the page “sing”! If there’s a benefit to a product, I’ll either increase it to three, or cut it back to three if there are more…

So for example, in a proposal I might write, “…following our SEO process, your website will rank highly, it will be found, and it will drive new business”.

Sometimes I might bullet point key benefits into threes. For example: “Your new website will:

  • Rank highly.
  • Be found.
  • Drive new business.

Breaking down your messages into threes helps your reader absorb your message and just seems to “ring true” every time.

Visit D’Souza’s Power of Three’s page here to learn more…


Chris Thomas heads Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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