Call To Action Online Promotion Strategy – Be Bold Like P T Barnum


If PT Barnum were here today, I wonder what persuasive online strategy he would use to promote his circus, “The Greatest Show On Earth.”  Whatever he would come up with… you can bet it would be bold.

Barnum was one of the greatest promoters the world has ever seen.  His marketing and promotion strategies are still studied  by marketers today.

Barnum Was “Bold”

He used promotion methods that set him apart from his competitors.   Barnum use an old marketing strategy called… ” A Circus Barker.”  That’s the guy who stands and shouts out the benefits of purchasing a ticket to see the circus.  His job was to  “Call The People To Action.”  He had to  persuade folks to purchase a ticket and go through the door… then it was up to the performers to deliver.

Years ago, I traveled with a craft wholesale company to trade conventions.  We had our own “Circus Barker.”  It was the father of my boss, who was quite a large man full of energy and vinegar.  He stood right in the middle of the jam-packed isle, with a funny tall hat on, and called the crowd to action.  His job was to persuaded buyers to step inside our booth to see what we had to offer.  Once in the booth, it was up to the sales force to make the sale.

He was very successful.  Our booth was always over flowing with craft buyers.

What Was His Secret?

Before I tell you how he got them into the booth… I’ll tell you what he didn’t do.

He didn’t suggest.   “You might want to step into our booth to see the new products we just brought in from China.

He didn’t ask.  “Will you please step into our booth and take a look at the the new Halloween and Christmas stickers we are featuring this season.

Now… Exactly What Did He Do?

First, he first drew attention to himself by getting out there in the isle, wearing a funny hat and got the crowds attention.  No sitting in a chair in the booth hoping someone would walk in…  like so many of our competitors.

And more importantly… He “told” the buyers what to do.

“Place your Christmas ornament order now because we’re not going to take any more orders after this convention.”  (Which was the truth because we had to get our numbers in to our China factories.)

“Go into our booth right now and place your Christmas ornament order.  They’re the most unique ornaments you’ve ever seen and they are going to sell like hot cakes for you.”   (And he was right… the ornaments were unique, clever, and the price was right.)

What Can You Do?

In online marketing…we can’t wear a funny hat and stand out in the middle of the isle and be a “Circus Barker.”   However, you can “bark” your message on all the social media sites.  You can “bark” your message to your list.   You can “bark” your message to Google by using powerful keywords.  You can “bark” your message when you write articles.

When you have their attention…  you must bold in your “Call To Action” when directing folks to your opt-pages, sales pages and blogs.  “Tell“, (not ask or suggest), your prospective customer exactly what you want them to do.  And, be “Bold” about it.

Til Later,

Kathryn Griffiths

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Categories : Promotion


  1. Terrific post, Kathy!

    Your blog post, itself, is a huge bold Call To Action! Great advice to be specific and tell people exactly what they need to do next.

    Confused prospects don’t take action. They just disappear. And, most of the time, they’re gone for good.

    Point with an arrow, use a bright-colored highlighter, bold your text, change the font, enlarge the message .. do whatever ya gotta do!


  2. Slava says:

    Kathryn, excellent advice!

    P.T.Barnum was really an excellent entrepreneur. He had a lot of excellent tricks. Once he hired a really bad musician who was playing really badly from a balcony. Why did Mr.Barnum do it? His circus was across the street with very loud noises inside. People rushed to his circus just to avoid hearing the awful playing! 🙂

  3. MJ Schrader says:

    Awesome post Kathy! Thank you so much, PT Barnum was extremely clever and very brilliant. I need to “bark” my list more, thank you for the reminder.

    MJ Schrader

  4. Great post Kathryn. You are do right! People want to be told what you expect them to do. They respond to a call to action. Love your examples too!

    Celene Harrelson

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