Nike, Ebay, and Augmenting Campaigns With Passive Marketing

Passive marketing techniques can augment your marketing campaigns and overall marketing strategy, amplify and support your messaging, and extend your effectiveness into new channels. While the kind of purely automated marketing techniques you see advertised in popup ads don’t work, not all passive marketing is bunko. Passive marketing is like the difference between fishing with a bobber and fishing like a pro—going where the fish are casting to them. You’re going to go hungry often as not if it’s just sit and wait, but imagine if you do both. You can take advantage of some powerful passive marketing opportunities in conjunction with your active marketing strategy.

Flesh Out Your E-mail Tagline.

We receive a lot of e-mail messages that don’t position the sender well. Your tagline should have a brief bio and links to your LinkedIn channel. You can add others, but only do so if they’re fleshed out with content and you consistently interact with prospects there—don’t send people to follow you in places you’re not active.

Avoid the bio being just a resume entry – you’re not applying for your own job. But don’t make it a sales pitch, either. Explain what problem you solve – you personally as a professional (or the company if you’re CEO). Focus on the direct benefit/impact on your prospective clients (from their point of view). What value do they derive? What goals do you ultimately fulfill? Include a differentiator – something that is tangible, specific, and competitive. Brand it, and maybe include a link to a case study, brief, or your latest article.

Gary Frisch of SwordFish includes a recognition or award in his signature. Thanks to FitSmallBusiness for this example and for rating MadPipe’s The Corporate Story blog one of the best business blogs of 2018.

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I put my photo in my tagline to underscore the fact that, with MadPipe, you’re always still dealing with an identifiable person. But more importantly—and this is one of our defined core company values—the person on the ground can solve your problem. There’s no gatekeeper—you’re talking to the right strategist or consultant. Take stock of your company values and make sure they’re reflected in HOW you communicate, not just the content itself.

Put More Into Your Voicemail or OOTO Message.

The ‘leave your number after the beep’ thing was hip and cool in the 1980s, when it was on a cassette answering machine, but not anymore. The “I’m gone to the Bahamas—back in 2 weeks” doesn’t win prospects in the meantime. Use this as an opportunity to set up the sale. Instead, put a promise on offer. “I’ll be checking e-mail once/day at least. I’m ready to help you optimize…” Make it compliment your email tagline but not redundant. But keep it short – no one likes long waits for the beep or a monologue once they’ve determined it’s not a human being responding but an if/then rule.

Consider giving them a REASON to give you information (if phone) or more information (if email). In other words, you could ask a key question that shows you’re already working to partner with them to solve their problem. When you come back, you may have already gotten insights into your prospect’s visionary goal, core pain points, or functional needs. You’re exchanging value for value – making it worth their while to stay engaged and wait for you. Be sure to mention your website or send them to a case study or downloadable executive briefing. It’s amazing how many voice mail recordings don’t ever give the caller an action they can take NOW that will inspire more thoughts and questions!

Use Autoresponders to Maximize Your E-mail List.

Sure, it takes some involvement to send out a newsletter or an e-mail drip campaign, but some of that can be automated in episodic or serial format. In other words, you could have a sequence of emails that every new contact gets x# of days or weeks after being added to your list, or a series of emails they get that are always timely/current so everyone gets the same email at the same time.

Getting the contact info is as simple as having something valuable to offer and a good, visible place to put the lead capture form on your website.

In some situations, you can capture more contacts by creating content that goes beyond a sales brochure and into the realm of offering key value (like an industry grade research report or a tool to partly resolve, identify, or clarify their needs). It must offer something worthwhile in exchange for that info – earn it with more than a sales pitch. Say briefly what that bottom line benefit is, and put it where people will see it. Make sure there’s an autoresponder or an instant message that thanks them and assures them you’re not going to SPAM, especially if your system or IT department requires double opt-in (i.e. if they need to click a confirmation link to complete the subscription).

Leverage Your Business Card or Hand-to-Hand Collateral.

There are people who market their businesses/profession quite successfully with NO business cards. When asked for a business card, Steve Pruneau of Free Agent Source asks for your mobile number (now he’s got that info) and immediately texts you a prepared digital vcard with contact info. Now you have each other in each other’s phones. The contact is more immediate, and the info doesn’t become the back side of a memo to buy milk stuck in a rental car visor. But if you do a lot of networking in person, your business cards and other paraphernalia should at least have your website address and LinkedIn profile. If nothing else, it takes very little space to mention your twitter handle – like @madpipe for people in the know.

Companies often change only the name and contact info for each executive’s business card, but it’s also possible to change the tagline. A personal tagline for each executive, more in tune with the value THAT professional uniquely provides may be more effective. It’s an experiment, but it’s an option. Plain is fine: I’d rather get a plain card with something valuable added by the person the card names than a clear plastic card or fold-out card I have to find room on my mantel for.

Consider leaving space on your business card and signing every one you hand out. There’s a card from Nike CEO Phil Knight on eBay, signed by him—other than that, the card is quite plain, but it makes a statement! You can also put a powerful stat or metric on the back of your card.

MadPipe’s first-year business cards had a different inspirational quote on the back of each card, which became a talking point beyond the handshake and a way to align on values between execs. Second and third-year cards had a different quote on each card from our own Twitter feed, so it was even more personalized to the messaging we were putting out.

Engage Your Followers & Cultivate Reviews.

If you’re a retail or related brand, garnering reviews can amplify the value you bring. Companies like CustomerLobby can help get you more reviews and even make it easier for clients to review you. They follow up with clients to actively ask and facilitate the technical process and then consolidate those reviews on the page. This effectively created a customer retention ‘department’ which can augment account management activities by your sales force. This stuff is the classic ‘no-brainer’ of passive marketing. If you’re a local business, ask your website consultant to recommend appropriate optimizations for your main website also.

There are other passive techniques—from swag bags to car wraps—but beware of putting a lot of time, money and effort into something that’s supposed to be “passive” and turns out to be an end in itself. It rarely pays off.

Passive marketing techniques aren’t just for the lazy business owner, they’re a part of any well-rounded digital marketing strategy. There’s no substitute for active marketing (content and direct outreach) but, if you’re willing to do both, you’ll be a cut above competitors who don’t get this kind of advice. For more help like this, consider engaging MadPipe – we’re in your corner.

MadPipe – handing out marketing reality, before it’s too late!

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides leadership in marketing, educational programs, and organizational transformation for brands that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, writes a Forbes column, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, and Success Magazine.

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About once/month, Corporate Storyteller and Digital Ecologist® Daniel DiGriz weaves together interesting stories around organizational transformation, education, and marketing.

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