Some Of My Best Offline Growth Hacks
Growth Hacking always seems to revolve around Internet Marketing and mostly SEO.
In this post, we take a look at the other neglected bit of growth marketing: Offline Marketing!
There might be some other guru-related way to describe “Offline Growth Hacking” but my preferred explanation is to simply refer to “Offline Marketing” as anything AFTK, which is generally designed to push leads to an online sales funnel, i.e. “Offline to Online.
“13” might be unlucky for some but you may just get lucky to explode your lead generation by deploying one of these hacks.
What Will You Learn In This Post?
At the very least your mind will be expanded in the right direction!
You’ll learn how just one of these offline growth hacks could propel your business forward.
If you’re looking to generate more clients then this might just help.
Table of Contents
- Hack #1 “The FedEx Courier Hack”
- Hack #2 “Object In Mail (Bulky Envelope)”
- Hack #3 “Brand Yourself! Wear More TShirts…”
- Hack #4 “The Great Car Wrap”
- Hack #5 “Glue Money On The Pavement”
- Hack #6 “QR Code Business Card”
- Hack #7 “Have You Seen My Puppy?”
- Hack #8 “Urinal & A Coin. Say What!?”
- Hack #9 “Newspaper Stand Growth Hack”
- Hack #10 “Flyering Outside A Conference”
- Hack #11 “The Great Mail in Mail Growth Hack”
- Hack #12 “Leave Mugs In Offices”
- Hack #13 “Speak At Events…”
Hack #1 “The FedEx Courier Hack”
This is legendary and it works.
As ever, simplicity is key and this offline growth hack is entirely reliant on the psychology of your recipient receiving a “courier package” and the implicit “urgency” of a “signed-for” delivery.
Here’s the hack: go to any FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc depot and ask for a bunch of their branded envelopes and they’ll give you a bunch for free (already we’re off to a great start with this hack!). When you’ve got your envelopes obviously place whatever marketing letter you have addressed to your targets, and then go ahead and place a regular stamp on the envelope! That’s right. Just go ahead and place a regular stamp on the envelope and the package will still be delivered!
Of course, I’d advise that you test that it works by sending yourself a package but from my experience, it has always worked!
The awesome thing about this offline hack is that it will almost certainly guarantee that the recipient will open the package, after all, who wouldn’t? Try and it see!
Hack #2 “Object In Mail (Bulky Envelope)”
I’ve done this growth hack several times now and have had mixed success.
I had success with targeting like-minded creative folk, but this lead-hack fell flat when I sent them to lawyers; more about that at the bottom of the post.
OK, so here’s how it works: place an item (or items) in a regular envelope. Why? Because just like the FedEx hack listed above (#1) it triggers a massive surge of curiosity.
If you received an envelope with a bulky feel to it that clearly had an object inside, would you be curious to open it? The answer is, almost certainly yes.
Of course, the key thing here is to ideally place an item inside that is relevant and pertinent to the industry you’re targeting. For example, when I worked for a pre-Series A food delivery startup in Hong Kong called Plum we need as many users as possible and I experimented with this growth hack which absolutely worked and generated several hundred new users to our app.
Hack #3 “Brand Yourself! Wear More TShirts…
If you walk around (very likely that you do) and wear clothes (again, very likely that you do) then this one is a no-brainer: brand yourself!
Design a t-shirt with your logo (you can use Fiverr) and add a cool and catchy tag-line and you’ll become a walking billboard.
They say that you should dress for the job that you want, well, in this instance I’m suggesting you take that quite literally and explain to the world exactly what it is that you do.
How many people do you think you walk past each day? The answer to that question could be in the hundreds if not thousands. I live in Hong Kong which is unbelievably crowded and busy, but I’m also familiar with London and New York and the number of people we walk past and meet means that eventually, and mathematically, we will generate business just by wearing branded clothing.
I’d suggest printing a question on the back of your t-shirt could trigger a conversation that could easily lead to a new client.
An example of what you could print on the back of your t-short could be, for example, “Ask Me How I Can Get You On The First Page of Google Or I Work For FREE!” A statement as bold as that elicits curiosity and might just start a conversation!
Hack #4 “The Great Car Wrap”
Similar to the t-shirt hack above, why not place your brand all over your car?
If you don’t drive then persuade your Mum, Brother, grandmother, uncle or friend and for encouragement tell them that you’ll split a commission or percentage of the new sale or client with them. If you’re stuck in traffic you’ll be generating leads! Add a referral URL or some mode of tracking such as a QR Code or a promo code or just a URL that takes the offline-to-online lead to a capture form.
Wrapping your car in your branding is an example of offline traffic (quite literally) helping to get you more online traffic.
Remember that car wrapping is temporary!
You get one juicy client or a bunch of clients and you’ll have your ROI within no time.
If you’re proud of your business, which you should be, then you should be shouting about it from the roof-tops.
Hack #5 “Glue Money On The Pavement”
This one is a bit weird but it happened to me in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Here’s how it works: superglue a coin to the pavement, preferably an amount which would prompt most people to pick it up. In the UK we’ve got £2 coins (about $4) which are definitely worth picking up from the street should you see one. The same thing goes for Euro’s with the €2 coin. When the unsuspecting passerby picks up the coin and realizes that they’ve been duped they’ll likely feel a bit stupid and think that it’s (obviously) a prank. What they’ll likely do is look to their side (as they’re crouched down) and that’s when you have squared their attention!
By placing an advert or some signage relating to the “glued” coin and you might just snag further curiosity!
When it happened to me, the person that had set up this hack was promoting a £2 wet shave and the advert read something along the lines of, “Wet Shave For Just £2!” Of course, you should make it more catchy funny and actionable, but again, like all these hacks, the costs are staggeringly low and the ROI has the potential to be huge!
Hack #6 “QR Code Business Card”
If you’re still carrying around and handing out business cards then you may as well mazimize the potential that they hold.
Place a QR code (with a printed URL) on your card and encourage the recipient to hit the page on your site.
When the recipient hits the page then I’d recommend that two things happen:
- Make sure that the pages’ “look and feel” are exactly the same as your business card for continuity;
- Make sure that there’s an exclusive offer only available to the holder of your card!
For a pro tip I’d even place a big vanity image of yourself to remind the receipient who you are!
The importance of the landing page can’t be stressed enough: it’s vital that you encourage the recipient to enter their details (email at the very least) for a mega-promo, for example: a “once-off” 30 minute consultancy personalized phone call.
So, what’s the hack here? Maximize your business cards!
Hack #7 “Have You Seen My Puppy?”
“Have You Seen My Puppy?”
Well, She’s Beautiful Isn’t She!
That’s It. That’s the hack. It’s a bit of bait and switch but you’ve captured their attention.
Now, underneath the image you could write something like this:
I just wanted to share her with you to brighten your day up. If you’ve enjoyed my efforts to captivate your interest, perhaps I could do the same for your business? I specialize in capturing attention online and converting that into sales.
Place this in a highly visible area, preferably on a pedestrian crossing, and remember that all you need is just one or two hits and you’ll have more than quintupled your ROI.
For an extra take on this hack (assuming that it works for you) is to place a website relating to the “missing pet” as see if that gets some hits and inquiries as well!
This hack, like most of the others ones listed on this resource, is dependent on the recipient having an open-mind and appreciating your confidence, courage and gumption in seeking business, because, after all, you’ve demonstrated that you can do it!
Hack #8 “Urinal & A Coin. Say What!?”
OK, this one might be seen as being straight-up weird but this is another that I’ve seen and I loved.
Here’s the hack: when men go to the bathroom and stand in one of the urinal stalls they will do two things
- They’ll pee standing with their eyes staring down and in silence;
- And, when they’ve finished they’ll look straight ahead, turn around, wash their hands and leave.
These two steps take place in a few minutes and they could be seen as being a “golden opportunity” – the pun is totally intended.
With your target’s eyes now squarely looking ahead you can fix a sticker at their eye-level and print some catchy slogan or copywriting. Examples could be along the lines of: “See that 50 cents coin? You Can Probably Relate To That Being Your Advertising Budget. Contact Me For Creative ROI.” Now of course, improve what took me a few seconds to write! You get the gist though: it’s creative, punchy and might just snag you a client. Open up Google Maps and take a look at the highest concentration of “cool” startups that have “cool” bars near them. Hit the bars up on a Friday night, drop your coins and stickers and go for a drink yourself somewhere – heck, imagine how you’ll feel snagging a client with this crazy offline growth hack!
Hack #9 “Newspaper Stand Growth Hack”
This is a great little offline growth hack which I can validate works!
Now, of course, this hack can only work if your city has a traditional newspaper outlet, i.e. a “newsstand”. I can only vouch for what worked for me in busy metropolitan Hong Kong, but I am sure that this would also work in London and New York and other similar sized busy city.
Here’s the hack: go talk to the guy that owns the newsstand in a commercial district you know your future clients work in. Ask the owner to distribute flyers with every purchase that is made at the newspaper stand. What’s key to getting this to work is, of course, their cooperation, which can be achieved through the use of a tracking “promo” or “coupon” code which means that for every purchase or lead that is generated they receive a bonus or commission of the sale or other. I’d suggest paying them for distributing the flyers and incentivizing them to really do it by giving them a generous commission for every lead or sale or client that you generate through their efforts. Make sure the promo code and/or tracking mechanism is totally unique to them and track it!
This hack is totally dependent on cooperation, tracking and the character of the willing party within the newsstand, but if all the stars are aligned you’ll generate a bunch of awesome leads from this growth hack.
As ever, try it and see! There’s only one way to find out if it works.
Hack #10 “Flyering Outside A Conference”
I love this one because it is, as ever, simple and effective.
Every niche, industry, and sector has a series of conferences and typically one major one a year. For example, the Cybersecurity industry has thousands of events every year, here’s a site we dedicated to listing Information Security Conferences and you’ll see what we mean. OK, so nothing too special about what I’ve just stated, except for the growth hack, which is this: go flyering outside the main entrance to the event on the public sidewalk. Is it a “dick move”; I’d argue, no, because if you want to succeed in growth marketing (especially offline growth marketing) then hacks like this (which do work) require a set of balls and gumption and you’re not breaking any laws so long as you flyer outside the event in a public space and do not use any of the organizers branding.
You’ll probably be told to leave by the organizers but don’t fret and stand your ground!
Why is this offline growth hack so effective? It works because if the event is, for example, a B2B sales event within your niche, you’ll have all your potential buyers in one single location! You can’t beat that for mathematical coverage.
Why not just pay for a stand? Good question and the answer is: do it if you can! I’m assuming that you’re on a tight budget and that’s likely why you are reading our directory.
Hack #11 “The Great Mail in Mail Growth Hack”
Many people, and I am one of them, regards postage stamps as being a currency.
A stamp is like paper money: it has a perceived value and is exchanged for a service. With a postage stamp that service is of course that your letter or package will be delivered.
So, here’s the hack: send your potential clients (cold leads) letters with an enclosed SAE (Self Addressed Envelope) with a stamp – and make sure it is the type of stamp that you bought yourself rather than a company automated printed type which doesn’t reflect the value it withholds. Ideally, you want to ask your recipient a question and make it simple. Base it on, for example, a wedding RSVP self-addressed postcard or letter which states that you are, or you are not, able to attend. Re-phrase that concept by saying that you do, or you do not want further information regarding your business.
Why does this offline growth hack work? Because it is a tried a tested method that has worked. AOL became a major dominant player back in the late 1990s as being the ISP of choice because they gave away a tangible product you can touch and see and feel for free. The same, albeit more rudimentary approach, exists within this hack. I’ll explain it easier: would you throw a $1 dollar bill in the trash? No, I doubt it. Even someone who belongs to the three comma club wouldn’t. You may throw away something that has a value of $1 dollar, like say an unfinished portion of french fries, but you just wouldn’t do that with paper money. The same concept applies to postage stamps. The recipient will likely just fill in your simple “yes” or “no” question and bung it in the post than throw it in the trash.
Trust me, this psychology works and essentially means that this particular offline growth hack will continue to grow throughout the ages; well as long as we use postage stamps!
Hack #12 “Leave Mugs In Offices”
Full disclaimer: I haven’t done this but will in 2020!
As far as I know, this is entirely my own idea but I am sure I am not the first to think of this and certainly not the first to have actioned it. There’s nothing complex about this offline growth hack; it just requires confidence and at least $100 USD.
Here’s the growth hack: get a bunch of printed coffee mugs made with your logo on and a static printed URL and/or a QR Code. Make sure the copywriting is on point and also make sure you mention that you’re a local business and go visit every coworking space you can think of and just place a bunch of the mugs in the kitchenette, canteen area. That’s it. It’s a beauty, isn’t it!
Every meeting you go to, take two mugs with you. Even if you don’t have a meeting go to the coworking space and just, without shame, leave a few mugs lying around.
You don’t have any meetings or can’t get to the kitchenette area? Don’t fret, just leave two mugs with the receptionist. The worst the receptionist can do is to throw your coffee mugs away, but I guarantee you they will not – after all, why would they? A coffee mug has a practical use and as most of us realize you can never have enough good coffee mugs around!
What do coworking spaces and your mugs have in common? A lot of things actually. Startups employees and founders (and all SME’s in fact) will drink (copious) amounts of coffee, I can (also) guarantee you that. If you can solve a problem that they have the answer will be right under their nose – quite literally! You! Your brand and solution will be there.
There are a few other hooks and tricks to this growth hack that I will explain in my book and online course.
Hack #13 “Speak At Events…”
Out of all the other offline growth hacks, this one is the oldest and quite possibly, will return the highest ROI in a more reliable manner, and here it is: pimp yourself out to speak at events.
Speaking at conferences, events, seminars, meetups, heck even your local embassy, consulate events, will create a name for you and you’ll be networking with your audience the second you walk off the stage. The beauty of speaking at events (and I speak from experience since I am a regular speaker at Hong Kong digital marketing events) are as follows:
- You’ll brand yourself as an “expert” or “specialist” within your niche which you can remarket a dozen different ways;
- Everyone at the event will know who you are when you step off the stage and they will come to you to initiate a conversation;
- You’re forced to create a set of slides that you can constantly improve! Need an example? Scroll above! I presented this at OMP Day in Hong Kong in December 2019. The title was “13 Offline Growth Hacks!”
Those are my recommended, and much loved 13 Offline Growth Hacks!
Let me know what you think by dropping a comment below!
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