Successful businesses are usually successful because they give their clients something they need, want or enjoy. When you give people something which is fun and something that they love they will recommend it and share the information.
Today we live in the most shareable time known to man, with smartphones hooked up to the internet and free social media platforms used daily by millions, anything that you share online these days has a high possibility that it could be shared on social media.
This online sharing is a form of free advertising and if you create a product which is fun then it is likely to get shared a lot.
Take Cyanide and Happiness over at Explosm.net for example. They create simple yet very funny online strip cartoons. These strip cartoons have a huge following and get shared by thousands of people regularly.
There are four artists who create the cartoons which use a simple style, the characters all have a similar look and now they have branched out to having their cartoons made into moving animated cartoons that are shown on their website and shared on YouTube.
They make money from several sources which are ad revenue from YouTube and ads shown on their website, they sell merchandise and books online and they visit comic expos where they promote and sell their merchandise.
They do not cover their website with ads, they have a few showing but they are trying to not overdo it and keep true to their art. What they want to do is create fun cartoon strips that people love.
What is impressive about this business model is that technically anyone can grow a business and a fan base without advertising. Every time they create and share a funny cartoon via Twitter and Facebook, other people share it on their accounts allowing their connections to see it.
And any of those connections that like the cartoon also share them and it isn’t long before the cartoon has been shared thousands of times sending a lot of traffic to the website.
Not everyone is capable of drawing great cartoons but there are many things that you can do which give fun to people and can result in shares which generate free traffic. These business models generate money simply from having a fan base that love their creations.
Another example are the websites the Onion and WundergroundMusic. Both of these are spoof news story sites, The Onion has a social news slant such as religion and politics where as WundergroundMusic is focused on the world of electronic dance music, rave and drug culture.
I see their stories being shared all over social media, they are pretty popular. The cartoons and articles all link back to the sites where they people can read them in full. Their sites show advertising and sell merchandise as you know but the great thing about being a ‘funtrepreneur’ as I call them is that you have a far greater chance of having your name spread far and wide for free as people will share your fun stuff.
I am not saying that you will not do any form of paid advertising or sponsored promotions, you might need to do a little at the start or you might decide to really ramp it up and get your brand spread further and faster. What you will not need to do though is spend money on advertising like many other businesses just to get your products and name seen.
I guess it is a bit like that old saying, ‘You build it and people will come’ when it comes to fun stuff online, ‘You create it and people will share it’. Using Cyanide and Happiness as the example again, every comic strip they produce and share has their branding and website name on it so even if the images is taken and used like I have done in this post, the person looking at it can still see what they need to search for or where to go to see more.
When it comes to fun stuff people spend hours doing it, go to Youtube for 5 minutes and see how many hours you waste going through funny fail videos or music videos. I often go to Cyanide and Happiness for inspiration and ideas about ‘fun posts’ and spend ages just reading the comics.
The other thing to remember with this kind of business model, when you create something funny like a cartoon character you own the copyright and you have the designs/skills to make unique branded merchandise like T-Shirts pretty fast. There are none of those ‘same old same old’ t-shirts you see all over SunFrogShirts and social media where everyone is trying to sell a ‘I Can’t Keep Calm I’m A ….’ or a ‘I’m A Nursing Assistant, What’s Your Super power?’ bland T-shirt.
When people love something, they are willing to spend money on that thing as this Hello Kitty fan is willing to show… (picture Source: Usai @ usaikitty.blogspot.com)
This is a small world, we have so many territories that we can now sell to and we are at a time where we can run these businesses from our homes. Think of the popularity of characters like Garfield, Snoopy and Hello Kitty, it is possible to create your own fun range and promote it online using social media.
Before I became a writer and began using Facebook and Twitter, I used to print and sell T-Shirts using eBay, I was always excited and blown away when I had to post T-shirts from my home to places like the USA, Australia, Russia, Singapore, Italy, Malta and Taiwan. It really is a small world!
Anything is possible… when it is fun.