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How Offline Promotion Landed 300 New Blog Visitors

This guest post is by Kyle Taylor of The Penny Hoarder.

I’ve been blogging for six short months and I’m bored.

I still love writing new content, but like many of you, I have spent so many countless hours commenting, tweeting, and begging for backlinks that I’m simply too bored to keep it up.

What makes the situation worse is that I have spent months establishing myself as a unique brand in my niche, yet I’ve been employing all of the same marketing strategies as my competitors. My marketing is the first impression I give potential readers and, by reusing old strategies, I have been leaving readers with the impression that I was just another personal finance blog. Sure, the traffic has grown, slow and steady, but I decided that I needed to do something different this summer; not only to grow the site faster, but to make marketing more enjoyable for myself.

My experiment

My first move was to step offline. Offline is a scary place, but there happens to be millions of people out there that have never heard of my blog. And these are the kind of people who aren’t trolling comment threads and message boards like the rest of us. I wanted to reach them and I was confident that once they found me, I could hook ‘em.

bumper sticker

My bumper sticker

I once read in a ProBlogger article that when advertising online, you shouldn’t necessarily send people to your homepage. Rather, you should sent them to a page deep within your blog. I decided to run with that advice and apply it to my offline endeavor. Instead of promoting my entire blog, I picked a popular article on my site titled, “I Get Paid to Buy Beer,” bought the domain iGetFreeBeer.com, and permanently redirected the domain to the article hosted on my blog.

Maybe it wasn’t quite what Darren had in mind when he shared that advice, but what the heck?

It had all the makings of a page ready to go viral offline:

  • A rather juvenile web address. Check.
  • An article that represented my blog well. Check.
  • And, well … free beer. Check.

My hope was that some of the new visitors would like what they saw in the article and start exploring the rest of the blog. The downside of promoting a separate web address was that we wouldn’t be promoting our actual brand or website. However, I was hoping the novelty of “free beer” would successfully launch our regular website to stardom, or at the very least, bring about world peace.

Naturally, this type of article and domain address was perfect to market to the under-30 demographic. To promote the new domain, we had simple bumper stickers made and hired willing college students from Craigslist.com and Fiverr.com to put the stickers up around their college campuses, apartments, and hangouts.

Results

All told, we spent about $120 dollars. The printing cost us $45 for 250 bumper stickers. And five college students were paid $15 each to put up 50 stickers in their towns.

The campaign is only in its second week, and we have already had more than 300 new visitors come from our bumper stickers. At $0.40 per visit, our costs are certainly cheaper than an AdWords campaign, and there is no telling how many more visitors we will get in the coming weeks.

It’s also easy to track our campaign using Google Analytics, because the visitors show up as a “referring site.” Plus, using the Advanced options, we can look at our visitors’ cities to see if word-of-mouth has found us readers in locations other than the ones we targeted with our stickers.

Get creative

Start brainstorming ways you can promote your website that you haven’t seen done before. Get crazy. Have fun with it.

Maybe you could make a video of yourself planking and post it on Youtube? Maybe you could give out free lemonade at the beach and put your blog’s logo on the cup? What about passing out flyers at the farmer’s market?

The strategy you choose will largely depend on your site’s niche, but if you want to be different then everybody else, you are going to have to start thinking differently about your marketing.

Have you ever completed offline marketing—or done something completely outside the box? Let us know how you went in the comments.

Kyle Taylor is a personal finance blogger that blogs about weird ways to make money at The Penny Hoarder. Connect on Facebook or join the newsletter and get our “5 Wackiest Ways to Make Extra Money.”

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Comments

  1. Blimey Kyle thats just a brilliantly creative mind you had there. It shows how boredom can often lead to the most unexpected of things. You know what the funny thing is tho.. your idea involved the idea of free beer… and isn’t it true that when ur offline and had a glass of beer or two ( or more) that your mind goes all over the place and starts thinking of loads of possibilites. And guess what… if your like me you NEVER ever write them down to look at them with a clear head later the next day.

    How good is this though now? Next time I have a beer or two (or more) I shall automatically think of your post here and grab a notepad and jot unusual things and thoughts down that come to mind. Bey you might find lots of others will be thinking the same lol.

    Now where’s that beer… I’ve got some thinking to do :-)

  2. Steve says:

    The Real Problems and Nicely solved , Little confusion about point 7 yet………try to solve it out, However thanks for informative post

  3. This is thinking out of the box. Nice attempt. However, out of those 300 how many stayed? Did they feel cheated?

  4. Liz Ayling says:

    @Himanshu, my thoughts exactly. Are these visitors one-hit wonders? The target market of the stickers was college students, who are probably on info overload. Both the routing domain and the blog name have alluring titles, but people have a habit of gazing in and grazing onwards to the next wacky titled site/ blog. Are they in the personal finance market too? That said, Kyle has a good point about not forgetting the offline equation. I am about to do a book, not an e-book, to get mine going down the offline route. I think there’s method in both Kyle and my madness. Kyle, do let us know how the stats go when your campaign is over.

  5. Dan says:

    Are the visitors exploring your site, or are they leaving after reading the one article?

  6. Hey Kyle! Brilliant idea man! I used to do a ton of online marketing I.e flyers, roadsigns, post it notes etc..

    I may go back and revisit these sources and step out the box again.

    One cool trick I used to do is go to the local bookstore and put my flyer inside all the books in my niche.

    Just a cool tip 8)

  7. Sounds like you had a good bit of luck with this. The big thing is how hard it is to measure! It doesn’t come up in your referrals in Google analytics. You only have to look at some of the biggest websites in the world who use offline marketing techniques to realize that it does work though. As you say creativity is the key!

  8. Sherlogic says:

    i agree with this quote

    “Get crazy. Have fun with it.”

    Creative thinking sometime make us feel crazy, but no body people want to be crazy. So, if we crazy to get more innovation to thinking about the problem, we’ll be special one.

  9. Gregory C. says:

    Creative idea, but seems like a lot of work for 300 visitors, but I could see you taking this idea very far.

  10. Kudos to you for a brilliant idea to bring new visitors to your site.

    I’m not in that demographic, but your post was an interesting and funny read and didn’t seem misleading in any way. I don’t see any reason why visitors would be disappointed. (At least that’s my take Himanshu, comment #1)

  11. Wasim Ismail says:

    Sometimes the craziest ideas work. Reminds me of when I did hot pockets, where I made small pocket with some inserts in them and stuck them at the bus stops, public toilets, you name it. With a crazy heading like “Looking for a Job”.

  12. It’s an interesting theory, but you’re not going to capture a pre-defined crowd.
    You’re going to have a bounce rate unless you have the perfect, global product/site.

    I love the idea though, if someone can make it work, it’d be great!

  13. Now this is a killer marketing idea for your blog! Fan-friggin-tastic if you ask me.

    Makes me wonder what other untapped “offline” marketing ideas there are out there that could work.

  14. Duncan Lamb says:

    Where did you get 250 bumper stickers with a custom design for $45? I have been googling all over looking for a source… lowest I can find is about $150 for that many. Please reply!

  15. Wow, what a creative way to market your blog! Love the idea- it is something I would never have thought of! Will have to have a brainstorming session now on things to do on my own site!

  16. Hi Kyle,

    Creative tips.

    The key here was that you had fun with it. Avoid being rigid, thinking certain marketing strategies are the ONLY marketing strategies. Get silly, have fun, be light, and you attract all sorts of creative ideas which are well outside the box.

    These ideas pique interest. They make people think, and act quickly. And we want people to act quickly, on their emotions.

    Thanks for sharing.

    RB

  17. Where did you get bumper stickers so cheap?

  18. Hey Kyle,
    It’s wise to start thinking outside of the box. If we keep doing what everyone else is doing then we will keep getting the same results.

  19. Justin Dupre says:

    Interesting experiment. It just goes to show that when you use creative ideas in marketing the results will usually be good.

  20. krissy knox says:

    @Kyle, What fantastic ideas! I have often thought of doing offline promotion also. There are so many ways to do it. And I’m thinking of even more things you can do to get more of a student fan base. Do more with the students. Have a meet and greet with them or something. And then announce it amongst them. They just might want to stick around and here what you have to say. Make sure you have business cards or some cheap sheets that could be printed up. You may find this an expensive way to go, but think about the ROI. I don’t know how it would be worked out, but something like this could be done at a college, or outside college parameters if the college doesn’t allow it there. Or to whomever you feel your audience is geered to — you could perhaps be a part of a job bank or something for college students, teaching them how to make money. I am not sure what your niche is exactly, haven’t been to your blog yet, but I am going to go look in a minute! Just remember, whatever you do, make the people you visit or speak with turn into potential readers, then once you meet them, or even get to know them, go a little further and make them “sticky”. Ok, I don’t know why I am telling you all this, you know more than I do, I am the newcomer, I have earned almost no money to date, LOL. Hope something I said sparked an idea.

  21. Blog SEO says:

    That’s really interesting. With everyone either saying ‘move to online’ or everyone actually moving to online, it’s quite hard to consider offline as part of the overall marketing mix. Maybe there’s a small gap in the market and prices are a little cheaper because of the influx in online. Cheers.

  22. James Greg says:

    Really amazing! You surely took a step that many fear. Many people are seen trying to market themselves online but it is not sure that all these online techniques would work. It was a great idea to market offline, I now see many ads about sites on many television channels and I think the idea is great. There are many people who believe the T.V more than the internet, for example the old people and they tend to follow what ever they see on T.V, this is one type of audience and believe me it is in a huge number.

    I tried flyers once but that didn’t prove very fruitful I guess I timed it wrong and tried to reach the wrong audience. But I still strongly believe that marketing offline would certainly add something to your publicity.

  23. Gabriella says:

    I wish I had a bumper sticker, but I may get a few side eyes…. hmmm….. I remember when they had bumper stickers on Facebook – off-topic

  24. Offline promotion indeed is still important. On my private blog I talk sometimes about my passion windsurfing, so ordered some big stickers to put on my sails and I had already some great feedback from other windsurfers who discovered my site, because of those stickers.

  25. Marty Ware says:

    I have just started a new blog that is targeted towards stay at home Mums! I live on the beach and there is a walk that is packed with Mums every morning walking the pram while exercising! Me and my daughter will be handing out flyers soon! Just go to where the market is offline and promo to them!
    Cheers Marty

  26. I tried handing out printed cards once. It didn’t go to well. But I might have to look at offline again.

  27. Brilliant idea! I’m working on something similar. I have friends that put up tags around LA and they’re going to help me do a live-viral campaign of Eating In Bed stickers all over the town. Hopefully it will work as well as your campaign is going!

  28. My niche is busy moms and I am brainstorming to come up with new ways to reach them. I have a good twitter following, and a decent facebook following, but need to reach even further out like you did. Will give your idea some thought!
    Bernice
    Resources for managing your home, family and life

  29. Nikhil Gupta says:

    Thats awesome! I am gonna try something similar in my city. I am also planning to do some offline media promotion such as local magazines and newspaper ads. It is a lot cheaper as well as brings much more localized traffic :)

  30. Don’t mind my laughing, but offline marketing is not something new!!! Hey, folks, it’s what everybody did before the Internet. This post struck a nerve because lately I’ve been reaching out more often directly to business contacts — whether I met them online or not — and it’s paid off. Relying on online marketing exclusively to rope in customers, unless you’re selling products directly from your site, is not going to result in all the new business you want, particularly if you’re selling services. I love this new invention: offline marketing. Bravo!

  31. Great Idea but It’s gonna be harder to track who actually came from your bumper stickers, a good thing about your idea is when people see your ad somewhere other than the internet I think it will seem a lot more professional to them. Redirecting your domain is a good idea but you run the risk of people feeling tricked, but has they say you have to risk it to get the biscuit so great Idea thanks for sharing

  32. Kyle,
    The campaign stuff is nice idea and you could track through analytics as well. Thanks for sharing the article. – Manickam

  33. Nice campaign Kyle! I don’t have anything about free beer on my site, but I can definitely see how I can make a similar campaign work for me. I’d love to know the results of the campaign, and I may be trying out something similar as school is starting back :)

  34. After reading your article, I clicked over to your blog and, I took ‘home’ a different message than you might have expected from this article alone. While, I agree that thinking outside the box can sometimes gain a blogger the edge, it’s crucial first to give readers a solid reason to come back day after day…something tangible that benefits them, makes them smarter, healthier, happier or wealthier. And, by the measure of your blog, you’re doing a good job of it. I, on the other hand, am getting good at the ‘mechanics’, but falling short in the ‘packaging’ department

    Google just pulled the rug out from underneath me within the last couple of days, don’t know why…probably never will, but maybe it’s for the best; maybe it’s the goad I need to break away and move on…discover a topic I can get excited about, one that readers can get excited about too.

  35. cterrell says:

    I’ve never thought about offline marketing for my blog. I get good traffic but getting strategic about how to market offline can really bring traffic to my site. I will definitely use this advice.

  36. With Adwords becoming so expensive, it might just be time to go offline. Offline is the new online in many ways. A DM piece is a lot more persuasive and memorable than an email. Thanks for getting me thinking.

  37. Kyle, your results were indeed phenomenal. Hope this gets more and more people to think of off-line marketing as not an outdated method, but a strategy that can work quite effectively.