Using Promotional Products To Grow An Online Community

Feb 29 09:49 2008 Gareth Parkin Print This Article

Online communities might be all the range at the moment but how do you get more people to sign up to yours - promotional items and promotional gifts could be just the answer.

Among the hottest web sites these days are community portals and social networking sites. Community sites are nothing new in the online world – AOL has always been based on community,Guest Posting for instance – but the word and the concept is taking on a whole new popularity and meaning today. Sites like Facebook and Myspace have taken off into outer space by combining new technology with old marketing knowhow. Tell a friend to bring a friend and the party just gets bigger and bigger.

Most online communities grow on the “tell-a-friend” principle. Promoting gifts and trends using social networking sites has become the single fastest-growing advertising niche in years. If you run an online community or business of any sort – discussion forums, photo community, blogging site or even an online store – you can make the “tell-a-friend” principle work for you. All you need to do is play into a few natural human desires and fuel them with promises of free promotional items. Here's one way to grow your online community with promotional products.

  1. Start with a logo or slogan – something that is recognizable and unique and yours. Yes, we're talking about branding here. If you haven't got a recognizable logo or slogan, it's time to develop one. Something that will scale well and be adaptable to between 1 and 4 colors is best. Something that will look good whether it's t-shirt sized or small enough to fit on a coffee mug is best.
  2. Choose a variety of promotional products scaled from small to large. You might consider refrigerator magnets or stickers (ones that can be used as laptop tattoos are especially popular with the younger crowd), coffee mugs, mouse mats and t-shirts for instance.
  3. Work out your promotional products plan. What do your members have to do to earn each prize? Your plan will vary according to your community type. A community forum might offer a “Prolific Poster” sticker embossed with your logo to members who start the most threads each week and a t-shirt to any member who refers 50 new members. A blogging network might offer a range of promotional Products to those who post the most articles, gather the most comments or garner the most ad-clicks.
  4. Create an easy way for your members to share your offers with others. Add buttons to your site to allow them to easily add your site to sites like Digg, Del.icio.us, Myspace, Furl and other social bookmarking and sharing sites.
  5. Publicize your business gifts! Letting your members know that you're giving away cool shwag for bringing in other members is vital to the success of your promotion. Get a picture of your site t-shirt – preferably on a hot model – and post it right up front with the label “Get one of your own!”
  6. Keep track of referrals so that you can pay out your rewards when they're earned. Remember, every time someone earns a t-shirt or other promotional gift with your name and logo on it, they'll continue publicizing your site whenever they use your gift!

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

About Article Author

Gareth Parkin
Gareth Parkin

Gareth Parkin is the co-founder of Ideasbynet, the UK's leading online supplier of promotional items and custom printed promotional products.

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