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Off-line marketing of forums

GofD

Well-known member
#1
We all know about AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, contests, cross-promotions and so forth to promote and market your online communities. But I'm interested in what things you might do OFF-LINE.

What kinds of things do you guys do to market or promote your forums? Over the years, we've put together promotional materials that have been given away at events and in our case, in stores. We've had small gatherings of members and moderators and we've attended launch events in NYC at which we've garnered further publicity. We've also done a few press releases (boo!), and had minimal coverage in national and international newspapers.

I'll attach a sample of the card we put together last summer - 2000 down, 4000 to go! These were done as 4"x6" double-sided glossy postcards for an event, and we've used them as our promo cards since.
postcard-flyer.jpg

postcard-flyer-side2.jpg

You?
 

erich37

Well-known member
#2
looks great!
I am wondering why Ingvar is not shelling out a few bucks (eahhm... billions) to buy your operation... :rolleyes:
 

AnthonyCea

Well-known member
#3
Any offline marketing of a forum would really depend on the type of forum you are running, if you have a tractor collector forum you could promote by giving Ball Caps away at the local farmers market or flea markets, if you are running entertainment forums you could give free T-shirts to Go-Go girls at the local bar !!

I think you get the idea !!
 

GofD

Well-known member
#4
Sure, Anthony, I get the idea. I'm not looking for other's ideas to use for my own. I'm just curious in what ways other people have ACTUALLY promoted and/or marketed their own communities. I'm interested in hearing what's worked for other people in their own situations. It's a discussion. :D

Susan
 

Kim

Well-known member
#5
I like your cards Susan.

I haven't done any offline marketing for a site for years, but we did for a chat site we had years ago. Did some print advertising, it wasn't very sucessful, but I can see it really would work for your site :D
 

GofD

Well-known member
#6
I'd love to do more like these, but it was a LOT of work. Three days solid, if I remember correctly. Still, I can see doing bookmarks and/or fridge magnets like this. We did T-shirts once, but found that we now wear a lot of our own T-shirts. :p

I've heard of guys with auto forums doing bumper stickers and/or 'Invite Cards' to put on the windshields of cars that suit the forum content. Anybody doing anything else inventive?
 

Kim

Well-known member
#7
I have seen cars with forum specialist auto urls on them, always kind of get a grin out of that :D
 

FredC

Well-known member
#8
I just got my first thousand forum business cards in the mail today. My intention is to mail a dozen at a time to any member that requests them.. To leave at the veterinarians office or pass out at dogs shows, seminars, K-9 working events, etc, etc..

I think if they (the cards) get into the right hands they will do very well for me considering the relative inexpense it took to have the cards printed. And since it really only has the site address and a description, they will never expire.

DCF_BC.jpg
 

GofD

Well-known member
#9
I just got my first thousand forum business cards in the mail today. My intention is to mail a dozen at a time to any member that requests them.. To leave at the veterinarians office or pass out at dogs shows, seminars, K-9 working events, etc, etc..

I think if they (the cards) get into the right hands they will do very well for me considering to relative inexpense it took to have the cards printed. And since it really only has the site address and a description, they will never expire.

View attachment 11778
Nice!

We've sent cards to members on request also, as well as to people in our service directory. I also always include a couple in any other mailings I do - contest giveaways, thank-you notes, etc. I do regret putting dated info on these as we have still 4000 to give away! But, I got them on 60% discount, and they credited me back because they screwed up the delivery date so they were really cheap considering.
 

FredC

Well-known member
#10
Nice!

We've sent cards to members on request also, as well as to people in our service directory. I also always include a couple in any other mailings I do - contest giveaways, thank-you notes, etc. I do regret putting dated info on these as we have still 4000 to give away! But, I got them on 60% discount, and they credited me back because they screwed up the delivery date so they were really cheap considering.
lol you quoted me before i could correct my typos. :p

Those are all great ideas id never considered, we frequently send off contest prizes in the mail to. So thats another great way to get them in more peoples hands.. Ill probably have more invested in postage then the cards themselves when its all said and done.
 

Dean

Well-known member
#11
Stickers, mugs, business cards, t-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, fleece jackets.. the timing needs to be right, but those things work. We will be doing hats next.

With regards to Susans site, we do the equivalent of putting inexpensive promotional materials (stickers) in the various individual stores.. and are quickly becoming the defacto forum for that reason alone.

And yes, postage can get expensive, especially to Australia.
 

kilcher

Active member
#12
I just bought business cards for my 2 newest forums. http://vistaprint.com has an offer right now - 500 for $10 w/ free shipping, it's the TV offer in the upper right-hand corner of their website. For $10 you can't hardly go wrong and could do really well depending on who you're marketing to and your ability to get cards into those people's hands.
 

Onimua

Well-known member
#13
I've been wanting get some t-shirts for my site but really don't know where to find and get some cheap. That and business cards are my main focus as far as off-line marketing goes.
 

GofD

Well-known member
#14
These suggestions are good for those forums for which they are good. Weird, but almost all communities are different - they respond to different things. Hence, the discussion. Carry on...