How can I promote my site in an interesting way while still keeping Mr. Wallet happy?
February 28, 2007 12:40 AM   Subscribe

Help me think of a publicity stunt for my website.

About three months ago I launched a site aimed towards the college crowd (it's in the profile) and I've been tinkering with ideas on how to get the word out. Of course, being a student I'm not too high up there in the funding department and seeing as I'm not interested in making monetary gain off the site, I can't persuade myself to spend much money on advertising it. So naturally, I'm a huge fan of guerrilla marketing and publicity stunts and have had a moderate success with them in the past.

Within the first month of the launch, I convinced a friend to put on an over sized chicken suit and walk around downtown holding a sign with the site's address. The response from everyone in the city was great (it was on Boxing Day) and brought the media out and the site had a one min. spot on the local news as well as a mention on a local radio station.

The chicken suit got some attention but it was far from original. I'm thinking about doing another stunt (possibly aimed more towards the college crowd) and would love some ideas to get the ball rolling. I'm a huge fan of the unconventional but any ideas will suffice.

Thanks MeFi :)
posted by 913 to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
How's the weather out there in the great north?
Maybe some snowart and your site's URL under would grab some attention?

Not incredibly creative, or long lasting, but maybe it'll catch some eyes and some blog noise..
posted by carpyful at 1:13 AM on February 28, 2007


One other idea that just occurred to me:
set a laptop and table up either in a high traffic area or library with a sign that says "Ask Me Anything" (ala peanuts). Then, hopefully people will come in with some questions, you show them your site and use it to answer their question.

The big sign and maybe funny costume(?) will get people's attention and show what your site is actually about.
posted by carpyful at 1:21 AM on February 28, 2007


The big sign and maybe funny costume(?) will get people's attention

He's tried that
posted by camcgee at 1:54 AM on February 28, 2007


Set up one of these?
posted by flabdablet at 4:22 AM on February 28, 2007


Hang blinking cartoonish signs around town, under bridges etc
posted by caddis at 5:08 AM on February 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


At prdirect.ca, you can send a short press release to all the local media in Toronto (for example) for $40
posted by winston at 5:14 AM on February 28, 2007


YouTube.

Make a stupid but funny video. It seems like you're targeting geeks like we who read Metafilter when you say "we might not be as cool." Get some film students to make something funny and people will pass it around.

I bookmarked your page because i love that stuff! BTW have you considered adding a currency converter?
posted by JJ Jenkins at 5:31 AM on February 28, 2007


This may be a little involved, but I think it would rock:

Go to a good bakery, and see if you can have a cake made in the shape of your own head. Even better would be jelly filled cupcakes in the shape of your head (and decorated to look like you..duh!)
Setup a little table on a sidewalk somewhere with a sign that says, "Watch While I Eat My Own Head!" with your url plastered all over the sign. You could also put out a little tip bucket just for the hell of it.

Proceed to eat your own head.

If I saw someone doing this, I would check out the site.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:39 AM on February 28, 2007


Oh..make sure you film it if you do it and post it to Youtube.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:39 AM on February 28, 2007


Once, to drive traffic to a project of mine, I gave my friends a goal. One million games played before the end of the month, and I'll host a pizza-and-beer party. It took about two or three before we hit that number, but it was a huge motivator. I made sure they didn't do anything like spamming, but from what I remember, they linked to it on their blogs and in forums they frequented. (The project in question was tons of fun, too, which helped it spread.)
posted by Plutor at 7:10 AM on February 28, 2007


Are you talking about the schoolr.com site? If so...
In advertising and promotion, I've always been a fan of posing questions to the viewer. Challenge them. It's a good way to engage them.
So...post flyers around campuses (or banner ads on websites if you have the $$$) that pose question that relate to the various resources on the schoolr site. Stuff like:

WTF is a TLA?
www.schoolr.com

I'll let you know where to send the consulting fee, if you use that. LOL
posted by Thorzdad at 7:11 AM on February 28, 2007


It looks like what you need is some content. Your site is not very graphic-intensive although that isn't always bad. Here are some suggestions:

- What if you did something like a blog-a-thon and invited local bloggers to a pizza party and then got students involved?

-Bumber stickers with the cool Schoolr graphic there. You could get round stickers and put them on phone booths, in bar bathrooms, etc.
- I think on the coolest sticker ideas are the ones that one has to apply hot liquid (urine, yes.) to see the message. Then it would say schoolr.com (put these in commodes all over the area.
posted by parmanparman at 7:13 AM on February 28, 2007


So this is a little besides the point, but I'm a college student, and I looked at the site, and honestly even if some publicity stunt got my attention and I checked it out (kinda like I just did with this post), there's nothing that makes me want to go back there again. The first several "searches" can be handled by Firefox's Google toolbar, and the others aren't relevant for me.

You need to offer much more to actually keep your visitors coming back. Have you been keeping track of your stats, seeing how many actual repeat visitors you have? Once you get visitors to become loyal to the site, they'll help with the marketing.

I like the ever-changing tag line, but just a bunch of search-tools doesn't actually help my GPA. You might want to be a little cooler, even if you're not Facebook.
posted by jesirose at 7:43 AM on February 28, 2007


I do not see your site in the profile. Did the mefi gods remove it for fear you were semispamming or something? Sheesh.
posted by twiggy at 9:04 AM on February 28, 2007


twiggy - in his profile, it's linked to (website), right next to his user name near the top of the page. It's sort of a non-intuitive place to look for it!
posted by muddgirl at 9:19 AM on February 28, 2007


Buy those Quaker breakfast bars in bulk and either staple a piece of paper or use laser printer labels with "Enjoy breakfast compliments of www.blahblah.com."
posted by spec80 at 10:17 AM on February 28, 2007


Engraved pencils are cheap. Get a bunch of those, hang them all over a friend so he's completely covered from head to toe and make him a hat that looks like an eraser. Then have him walk around campus or town with a sign saying "Behold the Pencil Man! Please Take A Pencil".

People can walk over and peel one off and then they have a school related promo item with your website address on it.
posted by gfrobe at 11:53 AM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Your site is essentially one step above links to some of the most well known reference tools out there. It doesn't actually do anything. Why exactly are you doing this?
posted by phrontist at 12:10 PM on February 28, 2007


gfrobe's onto something... if you had a logo with a pencil in it Pencil Man would be a very, very cute idea!

I'm kind of with phrontist and jeslrose though - a site aggregator by itself doesn't always give people a compelling reason to return again and again. If you could build a community around it (i.e. people contributing good sites to add to the list, or something) perhaps you'd have more more compelling reasons reasons to return. I have a feeling that someone's gotten a one-stop school reference portal out there though - might want to research your space/competition before undertaking anything taxing resource wise (time and money).
posted by rmm at 1:13 PM on February 28, 2007


I really appreciate the ideas and honest input - thanks everyone.

A few of the ideas that popped out at me:

1) The eat my own face in cupcakes - hilarious, very weird but I like being uncomfortable. (Cat Pie Hurts)

2) WTF is a TLA? I like the idea of posing random questions. (Thorzad)

3) Pencil man - I can just picture it now (for some reason I'm imagining the Duffman off the Simpsons "ohh yeaaah") (gfrobe)

As far as adding more content to the site, I'm always up for suggestions so if anyone has any please send them my way. Originally, I made the site for myself because I was fed up with constantly typing in addresses (toolbars are great but not always accessible when using public/school computers) I showed it to a few friends who liked the idea and wanted to be able to use it themselves, so I set up the domain. Why am I promoting it? Speaking for myself, its made my life a little easier so why not spread it around. I've always had an interest in marketing and I guess this gives me a reason to follow through with my ideas and gain some experience along the way.

Thanks again!
posted by 913 at 1:56 PM on February 28, 2007


UK student radio trick:

a) Buy a couple hundred cans of beans from whoever sells them the cheapest

b) Print replacement labels in a beans-like style but advertising your thing

c) Put a can in each cupboard in each student housing kitchen throughout the campus/university/whatever

Experience says everyone sees them, and surprisingly few people ever open the can to find out if it really does have beans in it, possibly fearing smelly cat food.

If you're in the US, caveat emptor because these days you might trigger a citywide biohazard exercise.
posted by genghis at 2:24 PM on February 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


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