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  • Writer's pictureJenny Henderson


Updated: Mar 20, 2023

You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule for business. You know, the one that says 20% of your efforts should result in 80% of your profit.

Well, I’m here to extend this notion for specific areas within your business. This magic number can also be applied to your brand, your social media marketing, and your email marketing.

the 80/20 rule for branding


Ask any marketer or brand strategist and they will tell you that a great brand divvies up like this: 80% strategy and 20% visual.

So, why do so many businesses put so much onus on the latter?

Because, like the tip of an iceberg, we focus only on what we can see. But what you’ll be quick to realize is that focusing on brand identity alone won’t get you very far.

While a brand identity is great for building brand awareness, a brand’s real magic arises from its strategy. That’s 80% of the invisible operations like the business’s vision, mission, brand positioning, brand messaging, emotional benefits, values, etc…

While it’s the visuals we see more often, they’re only doing 20% of the work—mainly building brand awareness and providing an impression of the business. But what happens once you’ve got their attention?

To convert brand awareness into familiarity and trust—that’s all born from a brand’s strategy.

the 80/20 rule for social media


When it comes to how you market your business on social media, remember this 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be focused on education, entertainment, and inspiration. Only 20% should be used towards promotions.

Imagine a salesperson showing up with free samples 5 or 6 days a week and then, on the 7th day, they pitch you on the full product.

You’re far more likely to make a purchase after receiving so many free samples than had they been trying to sell you the same thing day in and day out.

Nobody wants to be sold to constantly.

So prioritize 80% of your content around educating and entertaining, and on occasion, talk about what you offer and how they’ll benefit from it.

the 80/20 rule for email marketing


When it comes to email marketing, subject lines are everything. On average, 80% of recipients will read your subject line but only 20% will actually read your email.

The golden rule for crafting a click-worthy subject line = BENEFIT+CURIOSITY.

But wait there’s more.

Not all that different from the 80/20 social media rule, your email nurture sequence should be 80% helping or solving your audience’s problems and 20% selling your services.

Only one out of every four emails you send should be focused on pitching your product or service. The three emails that lead up that email should all focus on a different problem your audience has and offering them insights or a solution to those problems.

When your emails become a dependable resource of insights and value, they’ll be keen to open them. Here’s how you can apply the 80/20 rule for your email nurture sequence:

Emails 1-3: Present a problem they have then offer a solution that they can apply on their own

Email 4: Present a problem they have then tell them how your product or service is able to solve that problem.

Then repeat the sequence. Feel free to sprinkle a few PS. addendums that gently mention your offers.

Running your business is all about building trust. Use these 80/20 rules in your branding, social media and email marketing efforts and you’ll be in fine form to succeed!

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Jenny Henderson is a brand strategist and business mentor. She collaborates with service-based solopreneurs to design memorable brands that allow them to make a living doing what they love. Since 2020, her branding studio has become a place where small business owners come to learn to think like a brand.


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