The words “subtle” and “marketing” aren’t often used in the same sentence, except when accompanied by the word “not.” But that doesn’t mean all your marketing efforts have to be in your face. In fact, some of the best calls to action can be added in the least likely of places.
Here are just a few of my favorite subtle marketing approaches:
I like to think of business cards like resumes: Once you hand them over, you only have a few seconds of attention span before your card gets filed away in some dusty old Rolodex (or tossed in a trash bin.) Capturing interest and curiosity during these precious few seconds can transform your business cards from forgettable to incredible. (I’m sorry…I couldn’t resist the rhyme.)
In a world where digital address books, searchable email and LinkedIn now dominate contact management, we need to rethink the purpose of a business card. Make it actionable by adding a strong call to action with a follow-up link. For example, you might use the back of the card to promote a piece of evergreen content, or to offer a discount on your products/services.
Note: Please don’t use QR codes on your business card. This is worse than wearing socks with sandals.
Like the aforementioned business cards, email signatures are too often taken for granted. If I had a nickel for every time I saw someone use “Sent from my iPhone” as their default signature, I’d finally be able to buy that new book of clichés I’ve been meaning to pick up. And yet signatures provide you with an excellent way to pique curiosity and turn it into a conversion.
The average business person sends and receives over 114 emails per day. Just think about how many people outside your company catch a glimpse of your signature over the course of the year. By adding a strong call to action in your email signature and periodically updating it throughout the year, you’ll be able to nonchalantly promote your most important content and offers to a large group of individuals who already care about what you have to say.
Here’s an example of how we use this technique at Red Bamboo:
Bonus points: Add google URL tracking to your signature links to measure how often it drives traffic to your website.
It’s tempting (and easy) to stop marketing once the sale is complete. It’s also silly. Existing customers have already shown they’re interested in your business, and there’s no reason you to stop upselling and cross-selling after completing a transaction.
That’s where transactional CTAs come into play. Whether you give receipts, invoices or purchase orders, almost every business documents customer transactions. These items can be the perfect place to include additional deals, incentives and product info. This might not be new for many retail readers. For example, supermarkets and clothing stores do an excellent job with this, giving you contextual coupons to use on your next visit. But I have yet to see a B2B or services company take advantage of this tactic properly.
That’s it for my techniques. Now it’s your turn. What subtle marketing techniques are you using to convert more business?