The ON World of OFFline marketing

Ok, now if you've started reading this article thinking that its going to be the same story about the business cards carrying your logo and company name, you are right. Hey, dont reach for that back button already. Okay, since business cards is one of the best ways to publicise your site, I had to mention that. But that does not mean it ends here. Read on to discover more.

Now, I mean AFTER you've read this article, shut down your computer, give your sore eyes some rest, get that bottom out of that squeaking chair and go out, implement the publicity tricks mentioned here.

Right so, your Bermudas and t-shirts are on, but hey, that brings us to our first suggested trick. Why not wear a t-shirt that's got your company name logo and a punch-line on it. Come on, don't put this off the list just because you don't want to get it printed. I've got a better reason to make you search for a screen printer in the yellow pages. You don't get just one t-shirt done. You get a bunch of t-shirts done, depending upon your budget. And so you wear these t-shirts day in and day out, NO. You distribute it. Whatever your site is based on, its got to have some people visiting it. No matter what you do it's impossible to have no one visiting it. You can easily get about 10 people on your site, even if you sell skunk.

But this is not what you need. You need more zeros suffixed to that 10 right, and that's why your reading this article. Okay so find out who these visitors are, try and contact them (you could have already collected their e-mails for newsletters and ask them to send their shipping address). Now, send one of your t-shirts to them as a "gift" or "prize" for something that they have done on your site. Lets suppose if yours is a web hosting firm, they get the t-shirt as a complimentary gift. They happily wear your company's t-shirt, because they think that they took a right decision since they are already getting returns and you get that much deserved advertisement. Now, if your budget is not astronomical, send your t-shirt across to people only from those areas where your target audience is located.

Now, as an under effect, these people will also send their friends to your site, 'coz they could also win/get something out of the site, isn't it. Now, this is where you should start thinking out of the box. You could send Bermudas (not the one your wearing), smart college bags, pens with your company name and website printed on it (really cheap, but then your 'winner' is not a moving billboard) and so on. If you target the local market, you could send a pizza delivered to your customers. You could visit a book store, meet the manager, and ask him to place a bookmark in every book that's sold, and you guessed it, this bookmark has your company name and website written on it.

So basically the possibilities are endless. It all depends on what you are selling; target your marketing technique accordingly. But your product is that funny thing which simply cannot be marketed the way I say right. Wrong. Let's take the example of a site selling dog food. Now tie up with a pet shop and give a free pack of your best dog biscuit to every customer who has just bought a pup. So, you see, its not that you can't do it. It's just that you think that you can't do it.

Here are some whacky and weird things that I've discovered to make your product 'visible'.

- Hang your white towel in the gym in such a way that your company name sewed with red on the bottom is easily visible.

- Put your site name on your car. Remember how Mercedes is read on back of every, well, Mercedes simply self promoting it. Try to put the site name on the back, coz this is the place most people following you are going to see. Now how you balance the size and color is up to you. Make sure you don't look desperate with that sticker. It should look as though you are running a satisfied business and it doesn't matter (though really it does) that whether your pursuit visits the site or not.

- Send out birthday greetings to your best customers and potential customers. No, don't start searching for e-greetings. I said greetings, physical cards. They hold a lot deeper value compared to its virtual counterpart. And it shows that you are making sincere efforts to please customers. Again, going back to the earlier formula, this will elate your customers and make them loyal customers.

- Take placard to any sporting event. Lets suppose soccer. Go to support your home team in a home match. Take along with you some placards that have a suggest score line with victory to home team written on it, and your site address nicely fixed on the bottom line. Distribute this in the crowd, who first of all display it all around for the T.V. cameras to catch it and then they take it home, preserve it for some time, see your site name often and now become customers. Simple, huh.

Now, one very useful trick to promote your site is one which exists right in our campuses. Confused? Well, let's clarify. University, college or school students are a great way to put your product across. Its like all bowling pins are stacked together and you just need to roll the ball. Metaphorical. Let's say, you've got a firm selling pets. Now, you could go meet the principal/head/president (or whoever is the authority) to hold a quiz competition in their campus about nature and wildlife or geography or anyother topic which would exhibit your product. Now, this is where you are getting loads and loads of publicity. Try making this a city effort, a state effort, whatever your pocket can handle, and hold these final inter-college events in your premises (hire a hall if you don't have a decent enough premise). Contact the press; they would love to put your event on page three. Moreover, the students, their friends and all will also become aware about your services.

You could use other competitions also. It might be a karate competition, if your selling martial arts goods, a poster-making competition if your selling stationary, a elocution or debate instead of the quiz and the possibilities are endless.

You could also sponsor a lecture/seminar by people who have been in the field and would not overwhelm you with their charges. This could also get a good press coverage, and if not that, at least a mention in the events section of the news-paper, whereby your companies name is disclosed.

So, having said all this, I don't think you would disagree that there's a wired world out there. The sky is the limit for such ideas, and if you get some, please inform me as well. Find contact details in the About the Author section

Shashank is the founder/editor of Pick14 - The Netizen Magazine. This magazine deals with topics based on computer and internet related subjects and caters to a wide range of audience from casual surfers to the most sophisticated webmasters. You can visit this magazine and subscribe for free at http://www.pick14.com. If you also have similar ideas, please inform Shashank at [email protected].

You may publish this article in your e-zine, magazine or anything as long as you also include the 'About the Author' note. Please inform us after you have published the article.

In The News:

Welcome to the Promoconomy  The New York Times
Packs and Promotions  FC Barcelona
Lot 99 Is Site of Promotion for Drivers Who Commute  University of Arkansas Newswire
When no one wants a promotion  Business Standard
Where Can You Advertise for Free?  Small Business Trends

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