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Newsletter #753: The “Make It Weird” Issue

{Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.}

People love weird stuff. We remember weird things, we talk about weird things, and we forward weird things. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how to add some buzzworthy weirdness to your business:

1> On the web
2> At the register
3> In the record books
4> Check it out: Weird Google search suggestions

1> On the web

It’s estimated that Google has indexed somewhere around 9 billion web pages to date — most of which aren’t worth showing a friend. But Lakeshore Branding is doing their part with their 404 page. It’s got some goofy copy, a flow-chart (explaining how it’s your fault you couldn’t find the right page), and even a couple cocktail recipes. We’re not suggesting you throw all business out the window in favor of some off-brand weirdness on your site. But if it looks like everyone else’s (right down to the 404 page), why would anyone talk about it? Try adding some personality to your footers, your tell-a-friend pages, or — if you must be all business on your site — try setting up a fun micro-site devoted to showing off your personality.

The Lesson: If you’re having trouble standing out among the billions of other web pages, adding some weirdness here and there makes it easier for the world to talk about you.

Learn More: Lakeshore Branding

2> At the register

There are lots of ways to create pricing that gets people talking. At Broker’s Bier Borse in Berlin, Germany, the price of any of their 16 beers is based on current popularity. As more patrons order a particular brew, its price rises. There’s even a large electronic ticker overlooking the bar. This supply-and-demand model also applies to their food, from breakfast specials to lunch-time sell-offs. If playing the stock market isn’t your style, you can make prices worth talking about by offering different tiered packages, or by sticking an outrageous price on one of your extra-special products.

The Lesson: Get people talking about how fun you are instead of how much they just spent with some weird pricing.

Learn More: Iconoculture

3> In the record books

If you’re trying to be weird, you might as well break a record while doing it. The Charleston Riverdogs, the Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, set the record for professional baseball’s lowest attendance with “Nobody Night.” Everyone except employees, scouts, and media were barred from entering the stadium. Instead, the Riverdogs turned the parking lot into one big tailgate party with discounted food and beer. They even set up ladders so fans could peek over the side to catch glimpses of the action. The fans loved being a part of it, and the Riverdogs are now in baseball’s record books.

The Lesson: Half-weird might not be weird enough. Instead, aim for the Guiness World Records of strange.

Learn More: Saul Colt

4> Check it out: Weird Google search suggestions

When you begin typing a search phrase into Google, the engine often displays a bunch of popular searches based on what you’ve already typed. But have you ever noticed how bizarre some of those suggestions are? In this article, Huffington Post readers submit some of the strangest ones they’ve ever stumbled across.

Check it out: Huffington Post

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  1. Nick S. October 22, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    Fantastic newsletter. I shared it with many of my co-workers. The best one in a long time. (Not a knock against previous newsletters – those have been very good, too.)

  2. John LoFranco October 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    It is very true that being ‘weird’ can also stand out as being original. Sometimes being a little too original will not attract any traffic, but if you provide just enough, a niche market can occur. Being weird can drive traffic.

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