Can a newInternet content startup reach a milestone of 1.5 million unique visitors on its website within seven months of its launch, with zero to little search engine optimization? Put differently, can a young website notch up a substantial visitor traffic with zero reliance on Google or Bing search engines? The answer is yes, and below I explain how we steadily grew our traffic for Renomania, a website that offers homeowners with ideas and support for home décor projects, to a point where we were attracting more than 320,000 unique visitors every month just seven months into our launch.
Of the million-plus visitors we have received from day one, two-thirds have come from our social media efforts on organic and paid strategies. A whopping 33% are direct (people typing the URL directly into the browser bar), leaving just a miniscule 3% from organic Google search. While it is obvious that social media marketing has worked extremely well for us, below are the six reasons it rocked!
Knowing the audience inside out
The marketing strategy must be designed around the targeted audience, which in our case was urban homeowners interested in home décor, or considering a home renovation or remodeling project. From our industry experience, we knew that home remodeling is an extremely social experience as majority of homeowners ask for advice from their circle of friends. We therefore decided to focus on reproducing this social experience online, through helpful blogs with creative ideas and advice on everything to do with home décor. The results were spectacular, as many of our blogs notched up page views running into several lacs within weeks of publishing.
Creating a strong value proposition
When there is no dearth of useful home décor content or advice online (this was a big reason why we decided not to spend our limited resources on SEO), what would make a person visit our website? This question forced us to create a powerful value proposition in the form of high-resolution photos of actual Indian homes, a gap that lied unfulfilled on the Internet until our launch. The best proof of uniqueness of a website’s value proposition is visitor stickiness; or the number or proportion of its returning visitors. Over 33% of our last month’s visitors were returning visitors.
Leveraging the power of Blogs
We realized early that blogs with practical and useful advice are great entry points for most people when they’re planning a home décor project. We therefore paid extra attention to writing great blogs, distilling our decades of professional experience into simple-to-understand tips and advice that actually helped people plan their projects better. Many of our blogs also become a hot topic of discussion among homeowners and professionals as people came forward and shared their own experiences through comments and responses. Also blogs on Regional Homes were a great hit.
Surgically using Facebook’s ‘Boost Post’ feature
Even the best blogs need to be marketed well. We used Facebook’s ‘Boost Post’ feature surgically; working with small sums of money to promote our blog to early audiences. Once these people read the content and liked it, they were only too happy to share it and the resultant word of mouth meant that we did not have to indiscriminately spend money promoting our content.
Focusing on the mobile device
The high-resolution images we publish are best seen on a laptop or a desktop’s large screen. However, early on we realized that over 65% of our visitors used a mobile device to access our website. We therefore decided to optimize our website for the mobile device to better suit our audience and launched the iOS and Android app alongside.
Nurturing a community for your visitors
A thriving and well-engaged community ensures visitor stickiness. Discussion forums, blogs and similar interactive tools are great for interaction between visitors and nurture a sense of community, where people trust each other with their advice. Also, a great community means that its members will first turn to your website for any help or advice.