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 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.
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.
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.
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.