Want to attract more customers to your business? You could go in for traditional or social media marketing. But according to startup Crew, you'd often do better to build something cool and give it away.

According to a new blog post from the company, 62 percent of its revenue comes from customers it attracted though what it dubs "side projects" -- tools or resources that it produces besides its core offering.

That's an impressive slice of revenue, but could this technique work for you? Absolutely, insists the post: "People hate being sold to. But when you make something valuable you're not even really selling. You're showing off. It's why side project marketing is taking over the world."

If you're convinced, the next obstacle is obvious -- what should you build? Answering this question makes up the bulk of the helpful post, which offers all sorts of suggestions for entrepreneurs looking for side project ideas, such as:

1. Help you customers choose.

Of all your offerings., which model/package/design should an individual customer choose? One great type of side project is building a tool to help them decide. "Are you selling bikes? What different types of bikes do you offer? Mountain bikes? Road bikes? Hybrid, cruiser, folding bikes? What about creating a tool that will help your potential customers choose which option is best for them?" the post elaborates.


2. Help your customers improve.

What is it your customers are going to do with your product? Could you offer them tools or advice to do it better? "Frontapp builds a tool that helps companies provide customer support, but a huge part of good support is good communication. So they built http://www.goodemailcopy.com--a side project site that offers best-in-class copy examples from great companies to inspire and educate their potential customers," Crew offers as an example.

3. Do your customers' donkey work

What would make your customers lives easier? Can you gather the tools and resources they need into one place for them? Crew offers more examples: "Bonsai knows its freelance customers have limited time so, one of their most successful side projects does the legwork of bringing hundreds of useful freelancing tools together into one place. While the folks at InVision knew their audience of designers would appreciate a free giant package of UI kit."