The power of subtle advertising: Small ways to make a big impact

The FAQ section of your website is a great place for subtle marketing messages.

The FAQ section of your website is a great place for subtle marketing messages.

By Henry Brown

Sometimes, marketing doesn’t have to be totally in-your-face. The best marketing techniques are often subtle. They encourage consumers to take advantage without them even realizing it. Whether you’re selling a product in a store, attracting people online or hosting a conference, these tips will apply. Let’s go through some ideas.

Customer reviews & testimonials

Nowadays, you’ll find that most websites offer reviews of their own products. They won’t write them on their own, of course. They’ll trust customers to do that for them, so those ratings serve as an important reference for interested potential buyers. The thing is, you’ve got ultimate control over them. If you want to delete awful reviews, that’s up to you. Ideally, you shouldn’t be doing this. Instead, trust in your products and services to gain good ratings, and consumers will do the advertising for you. If a bad review does pop up, publicly respond in a positive manner, making it clear you’re willing to make things right for the unhappy customer.

Brand awareness

Subtle marketing means constantly making your customers aware of your brand without them realizing it. This happens all the time in any store you walk into. You’ll be given bags with logos on. Lanyards will hang from the necks of employees. What about branded pens, badges and more? It’s all there to make sure that you know who you’re dealing with. If a customer leaves your store and doesn’t remember the name of it, you’re doing something wrong.

Demo stations

This will depend entirely on the nature of your business. If you’ve got a product that you’re able to demonstrate in-person, do it. Consumers don’t necessarily see this as marketing or aggressive advertising. It’s subtle because the consumer is genuinely interested in trying something new. While it might seem in-your-face from a business point of view, there’s no pressure on the consumer here. If they want to try it, they can. If they don’t, they don’t have to.

Viral images & videos

Setting up a YouTube account to make advertisements really isn’t the way to go about it. Your business will only succeed so far by doing this. People don’t go to YouTube to watch ads. They go to Youtube to watch entertaining videos. So, why not follow this method? Create viral videos that will get shared to lots of people. In the process, include branded details such as clothing and logos. If you’re lucky, you might just get a lot of interest out of it.


When it comes to your online website, FAQ’s are particularly useful. The way in which you write them is crucially important when it comes to subtle advertising. You need to put a positive spin on everything. You want a potential customer to be enticed by the FAQ section – not put off. If you’re overly negative, you’re not fulfilling the requirements properly.

We’ve only scratched the surface of subtle advertising today. There are loads of ways to do it, and you see them on a daily basis without realizing it. Open your eyes and realize that there are so many possibilities here!


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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