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Newsletter #957: The “Getting Physical” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! 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.]

No store or no physical product? No problem. Whether you’re promoting software, services, or if you sell your stuff online, you still have opportunities to make your stuff more remarkable. Sometimes that means putting it in a different package (and putting it in your customers’ hands) to help people take notice.

Here are three examples:

1. Be in the right place at the right time
2. Help them throw a party
3. Go on a road trip
4. Check it out: Scrollytelling

1. Be in the right place at the right time

Photo from Laughing Squid.

Photo from Laughing Squid.

Instead of joining the sea of commercials for other reality shows, Super Nanny placed a line of fake toys in toy stores that included stuff like the Lovely Straight Jacket or the Baby Trap Chair. But when each curious (or appalled) parent picked up the box, they found it empty and with a call to action on the back: “There are better ways to discipline your child. Watch Super Nanny.” Parents in toy stores probably know a thing or two about child misbehavior (in fact, they might be experiencing it right at that moment).

The lesson: Sometimes the best way to get your fans’ attention is not to go where they’re expecting to see you, but where they need you the most.

Learn more: Laughing Squid

2. Help them throw a party

Photo by Speakeasy.

Photo by Speakeasy.

You don’t have to have a physical product to put something in your advocate’s hands. For example, Speakeasy, an app for finding party venues, celebrated their launch by throwing parties all over New York and Toronto. But to give their hosts a hand with promoting each party, Speakeasy created their own brand of vodka (using cheap, store-bought stuff). Their branded vodka gave each host a physical conversation starter for talking about the Speakeasy app. And to their surprise, it earned them raving fans for their vodka brand, The Dusty Rabbit, too.

The lesson: Help out the people promoting your stuff by literally giving them something to pass along.

Learn more: Speakeasy

3. Go on a road trip

Photo by my teammate, Laura.

Photo by our teammate, Laura. Thanks Laura!

Warby Parker is known for breaking the rules in the eyeglasses industry. They not only make good-looking glasses at a reasonable price, but they also sell most of them online. So to get the word out about Warby Parker’s online store, they took a yellow school bus to big cities across the country filled with their glasses and plenty of fun stuff to do on their “Warby Parker Class Trip.” And there’s nothing like a big yellow school bus parked in the middle of downtown to get people’s attention.

The lesson: Even without a physical store, Warby Parker got to connect with their customers and give them a taste of what their brand is all about.

Learn more: Warby Parker

4. Check it out: Scrollytelling

What is Scrollytelling? According to Nick Jones, it’s a “mouse wheel + stories.” The New York Times made it famous with “Snow Fall.” See some of the best ones curated here.

Check it out: Scrollytelling

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