I’ve met comedian Steve Hofstetter a couple times over the years, but I don’t know him that well and I’ve never worked with him personally. But I do know that he’s a hustler who has always worked hard at marketing himself which is why I decided to check out his website yesterday and see what he’s up to.
What I found was more than a few clever features, which I thought it would be helpful to share with you today. Here’s some things on his site that jumped out at me that may also inspire you.
1. His “Million Free Downloads” Album Gimmick
The first thing that jumped out at me on his site was the prominent link that reads “We’re giving away one million free downloads of Dark Side of the Room,” which is basically a plug to get visitors to download a free copy of his album. Now, I have no idea if he’ll actually be able to give away that many copies of the album, but it’s a really clever approach for a couple reasons.
First of all, to the average person visiting his site it conveys that there’s a lot of other people who are already downloading this album. It makes it seem very popular (even if it’s not), and psychologically reinforces that this is something worth checking out and being a part of much more so than if it was written as a plea “begging” people to download the album.
The second reason why this seems very smart to me is because it sets the table for a great PR hook to get press for Hofstetter and his album. Assuming he manages to give away the million downloads – and I’m guessing he’ll figure out a way to make it happen – then he’ll be able to reach out to the press and get stories written about the comic who gave away a million albums. It’s a great hook for an article and I’m sure he’d get some free attention for it.
2. His College Rep Program
Hofstetter plays a lot of college shows and he’s clearly made a serious effort to embrace that crowd and build his fanbase on campuses to generate even more gigs. He’s gone so far as to create his own College Rep program, through which he encourages students to spread the word about him. He’s turned promoting him and his work into a giant contest where he will reward his best promoter with an all expenses paid trip to New York or Los Angeles at the end of the year.
As you can see on the page, Hofstetter has laid out lots of ways that his “reps” can earn points ranging from very simple things (mention him in a tweet) to much more complicated tasks (get him booked on your campus). He also features a list of people who have taken on the challenge of becoming his rep at their various schools, which again conveys that this is something people view as worth doing. Even though Hofstetter’s doing this will colleges, I think just about anybody could do something similar with their own fans.
3. He Invites His Fans To Play Poker With Him
Mixed in amongst his typical social media accounts, Hofstetter includes his online poker username and invites people to seek him out and play poker with him online. This is a brilliant way to connect with fans and engage with them. It also shows how literally every thing you do and every interest you have can be turned into an opportunity to connect with and grow your fanbase.
Hofstetter even takes it one step further on his poker page by referencing that he plays exclusively at Full Tilt Poker. I wouldn’t be surprised if he reached out to them and got them to do some kind of sponsorship deal – after all, he can say that he’s got a lot of fans who will want to play where he plays and that could be valuable promotion for him. If that’s the case, his poker playing now becomes great for fan engagement and an opportunity to monetize, even while he’s just doing something he would do anyway.
4. His Email Signup Is Prominently Displayed
I keep telling people how important it is to build your mailing list, but people still have their doubts about the power of email. Hofstetter clearly does not. His email signup form is prominently displayed in his header and there’s other opportunities for you to get on his mailing list throughout his site – for example, if you want to download his free album you have to give up your email address. Speaking of which…
5. He Understands The Value Of Data About His Fans
Not only does Hofstetter clearly make an effort to capture email addresses on his website, he also tries to capture other valuable data about his fans as well. For example, when you go to download his free album, you hit this page which asks you to declare if you’re a college student or not.
Once you’ve answered that question, you get taken to a page where you fill out your name, zip code, graduation year and school (if you’re a college student) in order to download the album. This means that Hofstetter has a ton of information about the people who have downloaded his album – he not only knows where they live, but has a sense of their age, and even knows how many students who may have seen him at a college this year will still be in school when he comes back next year. Really powerful stuff.
Of course, I’m not saying that you need to do everything that Hofstetter is doing – what’s right for him may not be right for you. But I hope that checking out some of the creative things he is doing will inspire you to think about how you can get the most out of your own website.