I was recently asked to help with some marketing for a school which is starting to do car boot sales to raise funds to refurbish the school hall. They already do all the usual things like putting ads in the local press, leaflets, posters, etc. The missing piece of the equation seemed to be a website that would allow some free or very low-cost digital marketing.
I offered to put a website together for the school car boot sale, naturally enough using Office Live. The basic pages were built in an hour, and a domain name was then associated with them. The domain name chosen was http://www.grey-court-car-boot-sale.co.uk/ because it needed to be something people could remember, easily relate to and that search engines would pick up:
The next step was to drive some traffic to the site. First of all, meta-descriptions and meta-tags were added to each page, based on the type of searches people might do if looking for a local car boot sale. All the basics were carried out such as submitting to Google, Yahoo and MSN/Live search, along with a request for a directory listing on dmoz.org. A few other free online site submission tools were also tried, just by searching for 'submit website' and 'submit URL' - be careful if you try this as they all want a valid email address which tends to get bombarded thereafter. The only downside with all this is that the indexing process associated with these tools can take weeks, and the car boot sale is at the end of November!
The next approach was to start building links. Fortunately, there are lots of free directories listing car boot sales, community events and so on. So far, the site is appearing on Carbootjunction, com, Gumtree.com, Vivastreet.co.uk, Wherewecango.com, Free-Events.co.uk, FreeLondonListings.co.uk, and AdZooks to name but a few. It's quite time-consuming to register with all these directories but hopefully the extra traffic will make the car boot sale a real success. The Site Reports tool that comes with Office Live allows you to ‘add an event', which is being used each time a new directory listing goes live. It provides an easy way to track where visitors are coming from, as well as seeing the keywords they are typing, which can then be used to fine-tune both the website copy and meta-tags:
An email press release will sent out shortly to the local press and local councils, both of whom will hopefully include details of the car boot sale and it's website on their events pages.
Lastly, adManager was activated within Office Live and the £25 free credit is being used to ‘buy' search marketing ads on MSN and Live.com :
Here's hoping for a successful car boot sale and lots of funds raised for the school!
Tim Kimber, UK Office Live Lead, Microsoft