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Unintentional Guerilla Radio Marketing Income

Radio Marketing

Radio Marketing

About 10 years back one of the local morning radio stations where I lived did a stunt with their intern where he tried hitch hiking around the country on Semi’s for a week to see where he ended up. It was a pretty popular show at the time, I’m not sure how many listeners they had tuning in but it was the only morning talk show in the area so it definitely had a good market share.

So, they send this dude off for a week and after the first week he makes it about 5 hours out of town and they were checking in with him a few times throughout the show. It was a pretty funny skit and people kept calling in to ask where he was. That first night I threw together a little site with a big map of the US and made a map of where he was going and where he was headed with a cut out pic of his head from their site. I figured it was worth a shot so I emailed the show the website URL that night; not thinking much of it.

The next morning I’m sitting there working, listening to the show and sure enough they said something along the lines of “one of our listeners put together this website to track him, check it out” and they read the site over the air. I couldn’t believe it, I almost fell out of my chair laughing and then ran to check the stats (good old extreme tracker!). Sure enough, the traffic started coming in. Throughout the day I’d just update the map in Photoshop with where the intern was at the time, and they kept reading out the URL. It wasn’t massive numbers, I think around 1-2k a day, but it was pretty cool for me at the time. Wanting to keep the traffic around for a bit I threw a quick Vbulliten forum up so that people could chat with each other, hoping that would be sticky enough and make it fun.

The next couple days were a blast, people on the forums chatting; and the radio station giving out the URL a few times a day. The people in the forum even started a Photoshop contest putting the intern in all sorts of compromising situations. It was pretty wild, the radio station loved it and told people to check out their pictures on our site. Then all of a sudden I get an email…

It’s some local guy who wants to buy advertising on the site. I’m like “holy crap”, so I just threw out a $500 per month price for a banner ad and the guy doesn’t bat an eye. He immediately sent me over the 500 bucks via PayPal. About 30 seconds later I throw up a link on the bottom of the site saying “Advertise Here” and overall I wound up getting about 5 more people who bought spots. It was pretty surreal especially since it wasn’t the plan going into it. To be honest I’m pretty sure if I did have the advertising links up there at the beginning they would have never read it on the air, so it worked out well to put them up on the tail end of their week long stunt.

After a month or two the forums slowly died out, the traffic dried up, and that was the end. Maybe someone out there can take away something from it and try to do something similar next time their local morning show is doing some zany stunt on the air. These radio shows usually have horrible sites & no marketing budget so they get a huge kick out of it. If you have a chance to do something similar it might be worth a little bit of time trying to hack something together and see what happens.

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