Are these good ideas for promoting a website offline??

by edman78 22 replies
I have a local classifieds website for my county and want to do most of my promotion offline. I thought about setting up a table in different locations giving out free hotdogs and giving a business card with them. I would have a big banner on the table that says FREE hotdogs courtesy of my business name.

And i thought of getting a truck and wrapping it with my website logo and having a loudspeaker with a recording saying "check out my .com" driving through neighborhoods. It would be like the movie Black Sheep with Chris Farley driving around in that truck all decked out ahahaha
#main internet marketing discussion forum #good #ideas #offline #promoting #website
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Chris
    Those sound like great ideas. Not sure about the loudspeaker.

    Whatever you do... just make sure you are staying within your local ordinances.

    I spoke with a guy who runs an auction house here about a month ago and one of their marketing tricks is offering free food just before the auction and this brings them in lots of extra people. The kicker is... they put out a donation jar and the donations always cover their costs!

    -Michael
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    Internet Business Is Like An Onion... It Has Many Layers... And Sometimes It Stinks.
    Cook it for awhile in some nice butter or olive oil and you might be onto something!

    Money is Attracted to Movement (aka Action)
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  • Profile picture of the author Kerry Finch
    Originally Posted by edman78 View Post

    I have a local classifieds website for my county and want to do most of my promotion offline. I thought about setting up a table in different locations giving out free hotdogs and giving a business card with them. I would have a big banner on the table that says FREE hotdogs courtesy of my business name.

    And i thought of getting a truck and wrapping it with my website logo and having a loudspeaker with a recording saying "check out my .com" driving through neighborhoods. It would be like the movie Black Sheep with Chris Farley driving around in that truck all decked out ahahaha
    I am a little unsure of what you are promoting, i.e. getting people to list in the classifieds, use the classifieds, advertise on the site, etc. However:

    I'm sure you know your local community better than anyone here, so if you think your people will respond to these activities, then go for it. The hot dog option will cost you actual dollars and cents, but if you have the budget .......

    I like the idea of a 'donations' tin at your hot dog stand - but giving the donations to a local cause might earn you some more brownie points with the buyers.

    I would also have someone man the stand with you, so that the hot dogs can keep being sold if you take the opportunity to talk about your service to another customer.

    If you have a county fair, or other community gathering, you could sponsor someone else's hot dog stall, and just be there giving out your cards/flyers/magnets - whatever. Saves a lot of work.

    Business card? You are limited with how much you can say on these, but if you want to keep it small I would swing to a fridge magnet - they tend to hang around longer than cards. Maybe put a picture of a hot dog on it to remind them where they saw you.

    You could also consider having a competition for a free listing, free ad for a period etc etc

    What about a local radio interview?
    Get a good copywriter to put together a promotional flyer...... a lot cheaper than hot dogs and you can letterbox drop these (not recommended for hot dogs)

    I'd think twice about the loudspeaker.

    Best of luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author Susan Hope
      As well as the other ideas of yours and other posters, what about also hitting your local high street and go offer the store/business owners a free listing spot, tell them it's a launch offer, have a flyer with you that details your website, in particular, what the cost of a "featured" listing is and what they get for that and of course info on the flyer about how to get in touch with you, you may only end up with a bunch of free listings to go in but this does fill up your classified website with local real businesses and later on, you may well get business from them in the form of featured listings.

      Leave it perhaps a month or two at most and then go around again and let people know their free listing is coming to an end (end of launch period) and ask if they would like to keep their listing and give a price, which is cheaper than the featured.

      Don't forget to have on your site something along the lines of "please mention [ name of your website here ] when visiting any of our clients" - hopefully some people will actually do that so that when you return some owners might be very pleased with the extra customers you bought their way and will then be interested in your featured slots.

      If you check out your local yellow pages and the price for their one page ads you will be surprised at how much your local businesses expect to have to pay, which gives you plenty of scope for your pricing and being able to save them money.

      Do perhaps still have free, then a paid for listing, then a featured price at the top end.

      I am in the process of getting my own local portal to a point where I can go do exactly that in my local area and those are just some of the ideas I will be trying so if you do that, I would be interested to know what responses you get.

      Hope that helps some and if I have the wrong idea about what your classified site is meant for then big oops on my part LOL

      Sue
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      • Profile picture of the author BillyParadise
        Classified sites can go completely viral - the more people that use it, the more people want to use it. Make it indispensable.

        I used to do some work for a classified site that had an amazing 40% daily reach in the local area. They also had $10k a month in banner ads, while giving away text ads. I really wish I had some equity in that one!

        One thing they did which I haven't seen any other sites doing is to send a daily email with the new posts. We saw a huge traffic bump every weekday morning between 8am and 9:30 when people got in to work and read the daily listings. Only the listing titles were in the email, so people had to click to the site (generating those invaluable CPM impressions) to get the full info.

        Is there a transient / expat population in your area? If so, getting local landlords to post their rentals on your site is very helpful. Yard sales - events - all these things bring traffic.

        Hope that helps

        BP
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        • Profile picture of the author Keith Boisvert
          By classifieds do you mean just classifieds or something like a portal directory for businesses?

          If its just classifieds, then your target audience is residents within your town. Correct?

          If that be the case, you can employ tons of different tactics to get your message out. First you need to identify "who" exactly is your audience, meaning who do you want to reach exactly.

          For example, if your target customer would be someone looking to make some extra money by selling their stuff, then you target that crowd. Where do they go? Local laundrymats all have bulletin boards where you can tack up a flier. You can hit local swap meets and walk around and pass out fliers as well(both to visitors and merchants).

          You can also put a small classified ad in the "for sale" section of your local paper(where yard sales are listed". You can use Craigslist where people are already there looking for items to sell./buy.

          Just some ideas. Ultimately, once you determine your audience, just advertise where they frequent.

          Keith
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          • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
            If it's an online classifieds site everyone in your community can use door hangers with the URL and a great introductory offer like:

            "Get your classified ad online FREE"

            That way you get something into the hands of people in their homes where they can go straight to their computer and use the URL.

            The other stuff might be wacky enough to work.

            You could also consider working on getting some free publicity.

            If you do the hot dog stand you could raise money for a local charity and use the charity fundraising to get yourself in the local paper, on local TV and on the local radio.

            Even if you only mention the free classifieds and the URL you should get some traffic.

            And of course if you have a big hot dog day then you should raise some money giving you even more PR opportunities afterwards.

            Kindest regards,
            Andrew Cavanagh
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      • Profile picture of the author Thecatman
        Originally Posted by SusanneUK View Post

        As well as the other ideas of yours and other posters, what about also hitting your local high street and go offer the store/business owners a free listing spot, tell them it's a launch offer, have a flyer with you that details your website, in particular, what the cost of a "featured" listing is and what they get for that and of course info on the flyer about how to get in touch with you, you may only end up with a bunch of free listings to go in but this does fill up your classified website with local real businesses and later on, you may well get business from them in the form of featured listings.

        Leave it perhaps a month or two at most and then go around again and let people know their free listing is coming to an end (end of launch period) and ask if they would like to keep their listing and give a price, which is cheaper than the featured.

        Don't forget to have on your site something along the lines of "please mention [ name of your website here ] when visiting any of our clients" - hopefully some people will actually do that so that when you return some owners might be very pleased with the extra customers you bought their way and will then be interested in your featured slots.

        If you check out your local yellow pages and the price for their one page ads you will be surprised at how much your local businesses expect to have to pay, which gives you plenty of scope for your pricing and being able to save them money.

        Do perhaps still have free, then a paid for listing, then a featured price at the top end.

        Awesome post.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Chris
      Originally Posted by Kerry Finch View Post

      I like the idea of a 'donations' tin at your hot dog stand - but giving the donations to a local cause might earn you some more brownie points with the buyers.
      Yeah, to clarify... that was an example for an auction house that this post reminded me about.

      The auction house is in a rural area and it costs gas money to get there, so, even though it might not make up for the gas money... it still draws extra people in because it is the idea of free food and something to do. It's a loss leader, but they don't actually end up taking a loss.

      Also, I should point out they offer things other than hot dogs... basic home style family cooking, if I remember right, but not just as simple as hot dogs.

      I am not actually sure if they label the jar... "donations"... maybe they label it "tips". That would probably be more appropriate.

      Now, even though taking "donations" wasn't the main point of my post... if you wanted to ramp it up you could do a real donation drive. They just had one locally here where they did a radio remote with sponsors for a charitable cause. They did offer food for a donation and some free entertainment in the form of police dog demonstrations. This would have a higher up front cost, but could be worth it to get the ball rolling.

      The emailing lists of ads idea is really good. Also, you should have an automated email sent out the ad buyers before ad expiration to get them to renew.

      -Michael
      Signature
      Internet Business Is Like An Onion... It Has Many Layers... And Sometimes It Stinks.
      Cook it for awhile in some nice butter or olive oil and you might be onto something!

      Money is Attracted to Movement (aka Action)
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  • Profile picture of the author thenoob
    Offline Methods to promote a website
    12. Zip Baggies :Take a small zip close baggie (snack sizes work well) and include the following in it: Your Business Card, a Piece of Candy such as hard candy or a lollipop, mini flyer of current specials, discount coupon (optional) etc. Hand these out to the bank tellers, retail cashiers, at your kids sport events, every where you go!

    13. Hotels & Motels : When I stay at hotels & motels I leave a mini flyer, my business card and a mini coin canister for the maid! I put her tip inside the mini coin canister! Be creative when you leave tips for Hotel Maids, Waitresses, Waiters, Hair Dressers, etc. Don’t just hand them your business card, make it memorable! You can also buy cute little beaded change purses at your local dollar discount store!
    14. Housing Marketing : Print out flyers with your contact info (not your personal address), your website address & email address along with any current specials you are offering. Then contact local area mobile home park offices, apartment complex rental offices, housing developments etc and ask them if you can leave fliers in their office or hang on their tenants doors. Give the office employees a free gift or discount on their personal orders.
    15. Church Fests : A lot of churches hold a Spring and Fall Fest! Contact them about getting a table or a booth. A lot of times this will cost you under $15.00 for a space! Make sure you take products with you along with fliers, plenty of catalogs, business cards etc. Do a contest drawing at these types of events. Make up entry blanks that gather the customers info so that you can initiate contact with them again!
    16. Car Decals : Put your website address on your car. There are many local companies that provide decal services. Just check your yellow pages. Or you can even find online suppliers such as Stickers, Bumper Stickers - Sticker Giant . If your website address is difficult to remember use a vanity domain name that redirects to your main website. For example, let’s say you are in the credit repair business and your company name is CrediTronix with your domain being CrediTronix.com. A more memorable domain name would be FixMyCreditToday.com . This way when people see it on your car it would be easier for them to remember when they get home.
    17. College Campuses : Dorms & Housing Students are always looking to spend money! Drop off fliers and business cards to the College Student Center! They usually have bulletin boards, tables and other things where you can leave your information at for FREE!
    18. Hospitals : Contact your local area hospitals and ask for Human Resources Dept. The Majority of hospitals hand out New Mommy Diaper Bags filled with products, samples and other stuff for New Moms who just had a baby! It’s FREE for you to add in your information! You can get several customers by participating in these types of programs. You can also do this with local medical offices, clinics, dental practices etc.
    19. Donate a Product : to your local area Radio Station, they have numerous contests and they are always looking for sponsors! Your donation can be written off as a tax deduction plus you will get FREE Advertising & Business Exposure for your donation! You can also use the same method at local area Bingo Halls! They are always looking for sponsors of their Bingo Prizes! Bingo is BIG in a lot of areas!
    20. Contact Companies in your area to see if you can come in and set up a table in the employee lounge or cafeteria for a employee shopping break! These days a lot of companies will allow you to do this if you ask them!
    21. Local Area TV : Does your local area TV cable company have a local information channel? Inquire about advertising! These ads will reach thousands of potential buyers for you! I recommend you only use your website address for these types of advertising and not your personal at home address.

    22. Outdoor banners : Get a low cost outdoor banner printed up with your business information on it ( or just your website address). You can usually get them done for $55 or less depending on who makes it. You can have these outdoor banners displayed at outdoor music/concert events, outdoor children’s sporting events, outdoor adult sport events, outdoor neighborhood block parties, outdoor community events, carnivals, fairs, etc. You can even have someone dress up in a costume (such as a chicken suit) and have them hold your ad banner in peak traffic areas. Rarely do you see businesses using this system to generate traffic to their website.
    So there you have it ! Hopefully, you will employ some or all of these techniques in your marketing campaigns and boost your profits in return.
    Wish you all the success !
    (source : How can i made 5200$ in 58 days on my 1st online experience ? )
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      There are some fantastic ideas here.

      Not to shoot you down, but I would study these intently before I started on the ones you mentioned. Here's why...

      1. Giving away hot dogs for promotions may put you in the cross-hairs of local officials, i.e. health inspectors and permitting authorities. You might also check with your insurance pro to see if you have any liability if someone gets food poisoning or has an allergic reaction to something you serve.

      A lot of businesses here use the tactic to good effect, but they are offering the food on their own business premises, which must be insured.

      2. Driving through neighborhoods blaring messages through a loudspeaker works great in the movies, where the writers also write the results. In my neighborhood, it would be called 'disturbing the peace' and get you a citation and fine.

      Even politicians (smart ones, anyway) reserve the tactic to public areas (parks, commercial areas, etc.).

      Wrapping your van sounds like a good tactic, especially if you can put an attractive offer on the side. One which other drivers can take in in a few seconds and remember easily. Park the van near high traffic roads and intersections, and angle it so passing drivers can easily read it.

      If you're area has tall office buildings, don't forget to put your offer on the top of the van. When I worked in one of those upper floor offices, there was almost always someone looking out the window as they moved around the office...
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  • Profile picture of the author Emailrevealer
    One thing I do that really works is I hire a few pretty girls to wear my tee shirts and I send them out to the fair or the San Gennero Feast. With some cards. I get a ton of traffic the next day.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Zalesky
    One great way of getting noticed is having a decal on your car back window. I did it for one of my sites and while I sit in traffic everyday hundreds of people see my site and I get pretty good traffic flow from it coming from my area.

    Your seeing a lot of this now days where I am at so I am sure its working for other people also.

    Jason
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    • Profile picture of the author Emailrevealer
      Originally Posted by Jason Zalesky View Post

      One great way of getting noticed is having a decal on your car back window. I did it for one of my sites and while I sit in traffic everyday hundreds of people see my site and I get pretty good traffic flow from it coming from my area.

      Your seeing a lot of this now days where I am at so I am sure its working for other people also.

      Jason
      You have to be a really careful driver otherwise you get nasty emails...I took the decal down..
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  • Profile picture of the author Amy Bass
    One thing to mention. If you are using offline strategies to promote a site. Make sure the URL is short, easy to spell and very EASY to remember.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Chris
      Originally Posted by Amy Bass View Post

      One thing to mention. If you are using offline strategies to promote a site. Make sure the URL is short, easy to spell and very EASY to remember.
      Good point. Especially if you are doing radio advertising.

      URLs in radio ads and print don't count as backlinks and it doesn't matter if they have keywords in them. So, you could have a keyword optimized domain for online applications and a short redirected URL for offline promotions. This helps people remember it better and avoids mis-types.

      Example:

      jacksonvillefloridapizza.com might be your main domain and

      jfpizza.com could be your print and radio domain which 301 redirects to the main domain

      -Michael
      Signature
      Internet Business Is Like An Onion... It Has Many Layers... And Sometimes It Stinks.
      Cook it for awhile in some nice butter or olive oil and you might be onto something!

      Money is Attracted to Movement (aka Action)
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  • Profile picture of the author napoleonfirst
    Put the url in a car window. Also you can put it on your t-shirt.
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  • Profile picture of the author tush
    I found an incredible offline tool to build relationships, gain refferals and increase customer royalty. There is one point getting customers and another retaining. You might find this tool indespensible like myself.
    Small Business Owners Brought To You By Annette Tush
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  • Profile picture of the author TheRichJerksNet
    Advertising Offline

    * Create and Print out postcards from your computer and place these postcards on bulletin boards which can normally be found in places like the train depot, post office, and etc.

    * Some fast food joints have paper placemats and at times they use sponsors for advertisements, or coupons on these paper placemats. Find these fast food places and speak with the manager about being added on them.

    * Always write or print your domain name on any letters you send off in the mail, including paying your bills. You are paying for the mail so why not get the use out of the blank white space on the envelopes.

    * Approx $50 can get you a nice magnetic sign to putonyour car door.

    * Have a decal created and add your advertisment to back glass on your car.

    * Create bumper stickers and give them out

    * Run "Tiny" classified ads ( there goes an original idea ..lol )

    * Some weekly mags (most call junk mail) has free advertising spots check with the smaller papers in the small towns near you.

    * Sponsor a donations drive.

    * Create flyers and hand them out, tape them in local stores windows (if allowed), put them on car windsheilds (some states do not allow this).

    The ideas are really unlimited, you just have to think outside the box a little sometimes. Such as you hotdog stand (reminds me of the old days when you wanted something you opened a lemonade stand)

    James
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  • Profile picture of the author Lukmus
    Thanks for explanations, I too have a website, and it has helped me.
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    • If you have to promote a website... it should be done online... the fact that its a website, you are getting traffic online and not offline. You can do a self SEO. It doesn't need much of your time in a day.

      Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author mookinman
    There was a guy just outside Birmingham's very busy New Street station all last week handing out free credit card sized calendars with his website url's on the back.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Doyle
    Instead of giving away free hot-dogs ... take their contact info instead of handing out yours. If you want to do DIRECT MAIL (I hope you are) thne you got their contact info ... or you can also get their email this way. I wouldnt just hand out something for free without GRABBING something in return.

    And I guess everybody wants a free hot dog

    Good idea tho!
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