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How to Advertise without Advertising

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-10-11 2:00 am --

Whatever the business, one thing is certain: people are becoming increasingly immune to direct solicitation. Ads are simply tuned out or DVRed away. No news there. Break through the clutter twelve times and a consumer MIGHT register the advertisement -- doesn't mean they will buy; just means they will remember it.

To be successful, businesses must advertise without advertising.

1. Entertainment. Zipit created a new age advertising campaign of legend when they hired Youtube sensation Fred to make short episodes of his online show that showcased the texting tool. (View it here.) Reportedly, they paid him in the mid five digits and enjoyed a 1000% sales increase. Businesses without that kind of money should take more note of the method: Find someone within the company with charisma, buy a $500 HD video camera, and do it guerilla style.

2. Expert Status. An essential component of any online campaign, especially those of small business, is the blogosphere's perception of that business. The new word of mouth is done on messageboards and in forums. Time and manpower should be focused on finding, joining, and becoming known in these forums, and writing expert level articles on business topics to be published online. Businesses can place links in their signature or in their profile, and if the messages and articles are good, people will click on those links of their own free will, without direct coercion. If a business has time, it should start its own blog.

3. Free Stuff. However unwarranted, people like and expect free stuff. This isn't necessarily all bad -- giving away things showcases a business' confidence and financial security. The trick is to never give away the same thing that is being sold, and to keep the giveaways relevant. The calendars and pens are overlooked and unappreciated these days. Put the business logo on products that draw the service to top of mind. (If the business sells nails, give away the hammer with the business logo on it.)

Indirect advertising works wonders where direct advertising only annoys. Successful businesses will continue to innovate not only their products and services, but also their advertising. Good luck in your business endeavors!