Your prospects know everything. All this time, marketers thought they’d kept a lid on it. But the secret is out. The prospects that you communicate with have become keenly aware that you’re selling them something.

And it’s killing your online sales conversions.

We found the solution. Invisible marketing.

Psychology 101 tells us that observation changes behavior. Sadly, experts don’t talk about this phenomenon in marketing courses. You won’t even find much info in the cornucopia of small business webinars online.

It boils down to this: when a prospect remains fully aware of advertisement techniques, it changes purchasing habits. Not to worry, we’ll show you how to turn this trend on its ear.

The Trouble with Direct Sales

We don’t take issue with direct sales. Yes, after you’ve engaged, you have to ask a prospect to become a customer. But in the infancy stages of your customer relationship building, the hit-you-with-the-sales technique falls flat.

The audience will question every headline, every testimonial, and every product specification. They’ll think “man, that stock image is really unnatural looking.” Or “Yeah, I’ll bet that customer story is totally made up.”

This train of thought is not likely truthful, but it’s no less devastating to your bottom line. The question is: if you don’t sell directly, how do you make a profit?

Learn how to integrate invisible marketing, a.k.a. native advertising, into your marketing plan. You simply need to disguise your content marketing When you sell a product, make certain that the content does not look and feel like a bullhorn sales pitch.

Instead, it should look more like an article, entertaining video, quiz, or listicle. When you do that—and do it well—you’ve discovered a new truth about marketing content. And it may be difficult for you to hear at first.

This Is a Tough Pill to Swallow

Truth is: marketing is not really about sales at all.

Marketing is about opening a conversation with people who are going to buy a product anyway. That’s an important distinction to make.

Repeat after me:

Marketing. Is. Not. About. Sales.

Instead, marketing techniques that actually work will focus on engaging people who are set to buy. It’s the job of your landing pages, website, and email marketing to convince these people that you’re the right choice.

And you need invisible marketing to do that.

How to Make Invisible Marketing an Integral Part of Your Plan

The way we see it, there are four rules. These pillars separate quality native advertising from in-your-face techniques that turn prospects’ noses up.

Rule 1: Sell through education.

The prospects who land on your sales page, they’re not looking for a pitch. They want answers. When you sell through education, your marketing techniques fly under the radar. To explain this thoroughly, we’re going to give you a very powerful example.

Remember when we discussed the art of quizzes?

Here’s one teaching moment in action:

This is no product. You could argue that it’s not really a service either. At least not in the traditional sense. However, this exemplifies good marketing. It starts a conversation that teaches something to another person who needs something. In this case: clarity about themselves.

Rule 2: Entertain while you enlighten.

When you sell a product and/or service, you are talking with someone, not directly pitching to her or him.

Well, if the conversation proves boring, you can kiss your customer engagement goodbye. This is why your marketing pieces must entertain while they enlighten.

That means fusing a little personality into your content. While we never advocate punctuating your marketing with fluff, that doesn’t mean entertainment doesn’t hold water.

Look no further than Jake from State Farm. In case you’ve forgotten this classic ad, take a stroll down memory lane below.

In this shining example, viewers learn while enjoying a chuckle. They become aware that insurance agents keep themselves available through the wee hours of the morning, but the content entertains. By extension, it becomes memorable.

Rule 3: It’s a conversation—a two-way conversation.

You’re the sculptor of your content. The words belong to you. However, this is still a conversation we’re talking about. (See that uncomfortable truth about sales versus talking we mentioned above.)

Moreover, the conversation can’t be lopsided. Any piece of marketing content must get people nodding their heads. We realize it’s impossible to open up a two-lane conversation channel on most digital outlets.

Sure there’s your social media channels and the comments section. You could also add your contact info on your sales pages. While that’s a start, the conversation must be a two-person dialogue the second the audience reaches the content.

Look at this headline:

This headline opens up a multi-person channel of communication. It asks a question of the audience and puts them in a situation. For your business, this situation is likely something the audience already deals with in some form or another.

Often, in marketing content, we see claims of a 4-hour workweek or a push-button solution to a particularly pesky problem. While these claims have an appeal, they don’t automatically strike up a dialogue.

The snippet above piques curiosity, and the content that ensues will likely have them asking themselves questions, thinking deeply, and engaging. They won’t know they’re being sold anything at all, which is what native advertising is all about.

Rule 4: The content focuses on user stories.

In other words, native advertising/invisible marketing tells the story of your customer. Let’s face it: people like to hear about themselves and talk about themselves. Most of us are “guilty” of this.

But truly skillful conversationalists know when to make chit-chat all about the other person. Their hopes and dreams, their career, their family, and their passions.

Storytelling enables you to highlight these facts. You can outline case studies, project scenarios, or sneak in a few story-driven testimonials. When people see themselves as the protagonist, they’ll forget they’re looking at a piece of advertising.

They’ll think they’re a part of a conversation, which they are.