How One Successful Publisher Uses Book Sales to Drive Website Traffic

How the Motley Fool Uses their Offline Presence to Drive and Monetize Website Traffic

The Motley Fool boasts a strong online legacy, combined with—from its earliest years—a strong offline product presence. The company began as a pioneering partner of AOL in 1994; shortly thereafter, was launched. By 1996, The Motley Fool had published the first of eight best-selling books in partnership with Simon & Schuster. Subsequently, several additional books were self-published under the Fool Publishing brand.

While not as huge a chunk of its business as, say, its subscription newsletters, the Fool books sold at retail—both online and offline—continue to be an active part of the company’s media products efforts.

“We certainly believe that having a significant multimedia and offline presence is important to driving our business,” says Brad Clark, Chief Marketing Officer. “People who experience The Motley Fool offline, through our syndicated radio or print commentary or our published books, feel a connection to our philosophy. And once those folks feel that affiliation, they come to our website.”

Technological Advances Make Driving Website Traffic a More Sophisticated Exercise

For the books sold 10 years ago, The Motley Fool was unable to take advantage of the sophisticated technological capabilities that are available today—targeted landing pages, dedicated URLs, controlled testing, etc. Current efforts at the company, however, are definitely geared toward integrating their marketing efforts, PR campaigns, and product design—as well as linking their media products to specific online efforts.

“In the past,” explains Sally Adams, Vice President of Media Products and Communications, “we were very much directing people to Now, we’ve become much more strategic about driving people to specific, targeted URLs or landing pages. We probably won’t set up separate websites, however, because we want to continue the general brand awareness that we’ve created for Rather, we’ll continue to set up navigation on our home page where visitors can simply click to go to the special product page.”

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While Fool’s Retail Presence isn’t as Strong as it Used to Be, it Still Remains a Significant Source of Driving Website Traffic

While The Motley Fool doesn’t currently have as strong a presence in the retail space as it did several years ago, the online monetization opportunities are definitely in place. Selling books and other media products through retail partnerships—if only at breakeven profitability—seems to be an obvious place for the company to invest. And, of course, the products should include a marketing message or response mechanism to drive buyers online.


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