Hi all, and welcome to Branding Basics! Unlike a college course that would charge you $600 to learn — this is for free! Like the article posted by Stephen (which is a great & must read) this will give you a few ideas on branding, ranging from almost free to fairly cheap ideas. Read on!
BRANDING: A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
Now that we know what branding is, how do we go about it? On this board (and the others like it) they talk about bringing online people to your site. This little thesis is for the offline world (i.e. the real world).
First off, where are the people in the real world who would even ever come to my website? Well, they are everywhere. Nobody openly confesses that they visit them - but almost everybody does - even if it is just out of curiosity (I have even found cookies to adult sites on my 96 year old granddad's computer - go granddad!)
To make people aware of your site venture in the world, you must first off not be afraid of what others think. No, I'm not suggesting you place an announcement in the church bulletin or anything that extreme, but you must be aware some people may be offended. So, to begin we will start off places to go to not offend anyone or almost no one.
Places to Brand Your Site (or product)
Believe it or not, people who go to these types of clubs are not offended by nudity - hard to believe but true.
Bars and Clubs
This is usually a younger crowd - but the majority of the guys (and yes even a few of the girls) have gone online to view adult sites
College Bulletin Boards
How To Brand Your Site
Now that we know of a few places to go, we will now get into the products for branding your site. These ideas will cost you a few cents to a few dollars but all should be able to afford them (we need to save up the money for the site's bandwidth our branding effort is going to bring in, right?)
You can make very cheap flyers at Kinko's or any other copier place. Make them black and white to save money (7 to 8 cents each for a few or 5 cents each for a two-hundred or so). You then take these flyers and post them up at college bulletin boards (the physical ones not the online ones). Every college has these boards and 95% of the target audience is 18 or older. Many colleges require you to get a stamp of approval on them to be posted. Hogwash I say - and even if you do go to college I'm sure they wouldn't accept these flyers anyway. Just put them up. These flyers may be up an hour or a few days depending if people take them down or not. The next step to this is to cut slits into the bottom of the flyer with the URL on each of them (so people can tear off the slit but leave the rest of the flyer up).
Many people smoke and the ones who don't often have matchbooks or a lighter. Like others, I also collect matchbooks. These can be fairly cheap and easy to hand out. Where ever you go, leave a matchbook behind - on a counter, on a table, or even drop some around on the ground (I have seen people pick up matchbooks off the ground before). Every one you meet hand them a matchbook if you think they seem open enough about this type of site.
Okay, this one may take a few balls to wear in public - but there are several other options to promote your site without you actually wearing your site's shirt.
a) Go to a mainstream club where they are having a wet t-shirt contest. Not only is it beautiful scenery there but great way to get your shirts out (though you won't be making any money selling them). Hand out the shirts or even better yet (this has worked) ask the club to sponsor the contest - and the contestants who enter need to wear the shirt. It will get the site's name out to everybody there - and also the girls will also keep the shirt or give them to their boyfriend.
b) Here in Dallas (where I live) we have a large night spot area called Deep Ellum. I'm sure most of the other larger cities have places like this. Every Friday and Saturday night there are thousands of people slowly driving and walking the several blocks of the clubs location. For this idea, you will need at least two girls or guys (or more depending on how many words your URL is). Create a t-shirt with your site name on them - but the key is to make each shirt only have one word -- EX: say your site name is womeninheat.com - so create a shirt with WOMEN then one with IN then one with HEAT then one with .COM. On the back of the shirt do the same thing but backwards -- the shirt with WOMEN on front but .COM on back) Have the girls walk down the streets side-by-side with these shirts so the front will say womeninheat.com and the back also says womeninheat.com. This will truly get allot of attention. No, I'm not saying get permanent tattoos - but the removable kind.
BONUS: Want possibly free promo in the local paper - when you have the girls walk down the street, call the local papers (more often the alternative papers will do the story or photo) and tell them you saw something strange on the street and they should check it out! Or even take a pic yourself and send it in.
No, I'm not saying get permanent tattoos - but the removable kind. These are fairly easy to get - just do a search on the web. Send in your logo and site URL and get these removable tattoos. Paste them on yourself, your friends or just hand them out. People will definitely make comments on them.
Ok, these ideas are only touching the surface of branding your site. Just use your imagination and I'm sure you can come up with several other ones. No - these will not drive huge traffic to your site but every little bit helps and the ones who do visit the site come because of your branding ideas are going to go to your site because they want to check it out - not like where you place a link in a list and have hundreds or thousands of people clicking it for the free pictures.