The Rise of Side Project Marketing: Part 2

Earlier this week we explained a little about side project marketing; what it is, what it is useful for, and the effects it can have upon your main business. Unsplash, a free picture database, is an excellent example of side project marketing. Many companies love to use it to satisfy their high-quality imaging needs, be it for their website, blog, or social media, yet few people know how it actually came about…

Unsplash’s roots began from a brand named Crew. Crew, at the time, was a start-up for people who wanted to create their own products but needed help with design and development. After launching the site, Unsplash sent major traffic to Crew’s website and since then, Crew has launched many side-projects to market their company. Mikael, founder of Crew explained how the launching of their side projects saved their start-up:

“We had no money. We changed our business model and had 3 months worth of cash left to turn things around. If we didn’t we were toast. Done. We needed to find customers. But no one knew who we were. A marketing budget? Please. We were just trying to keep the lights on”.

Crew created Unsplash by giving away all of the additional photos they didn’t include in their website redesign for free.

Yet, how does the side project link to the core business? Consider the words of Brian Clark: “Give something valuable away in order to sell something related”. The point is, you want to create value for others in the form of perhaps apps or websites which you can build on the side without forgetting your main business. If people enjoy your side project, chances are that they will find your main project, and so the traffic begins.

What can you take away from this case study about Crew and Unsplash? Firstly, the main idea of Crew was to target creative people in need of freelance designers and developers, therefore they put together a side project which encouraged these clients and freelancers to come together in one platform. If you are considering creating a side project, you’ll want to ensure that is it related enough to your original business to easily attract the traffic back to your main focus. Below are a few more points about side-project marketing

  • They need to be useful and valuable to your consumers
  • They need to be low maintenance and easy to control
  • They are a breath of fresh air to your business and are often exciting for everyone involved
  • If you give things away and are generous, your audience will often respond well

Do you have any ideas of a side-project that could work for your business? 

Written by

Total Merchandise | Editoral Team

Our editorial team is drawn from a pool of experienced promotional merchandise product team members, account managers, marketers and other contributors. With such a wide range of skills and experience, they write about many aspects of promotional merchandise, wider marketing and business matters, as well as company news updates.

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