Just because your interest happens to be in a competitive industry it doesn’t mean you don’t stand a chance. In this post I will tell you the real story and process (in 6 steps), that we applied to a healthy recipes website to win a national (UK) award (Good Web Guide Award 2014) as best website for health and beauty in the UK.
We will take you on the path of strategic thinking and INCIsive DEcisions we took to succeed. A few months ago, I was offered a challenge I could not resist taking. This homemade website called HonestlyHealthyFood.com was not growing as much as its owner wanted. The main topic of the website was the alkaline diet and healthy vegetarian food. Food and health these days are two very competitive topics to build a website and business around them, on the plus side these topics also have a huge market and a growing trend. To be more specific the core content of this website was healthy recipes and as you can see from the graph below from 2004 to 2015 the trend has been a growing one as far as the UK Google Searches are concerned. (Snapshot of Google Trends>Explore>Search Term>’Healthy recipes’)
It was a challenge also because the team and resources were very limited as the business was completely bootstrapped and had not received any external investment. Thus, it was even more challenging to try to win the Good Web Guide Award 2014 for the health and beauty category without increasing the tiny marketing budget.
Other than my general personal interest in health, I knew little about the main specific subject (healthy alkaline recipes) and to my surprise, the data available on Google Analytics at that stage were a bit superficial as in-depth implementations had not been done.
From the brief strategic review I had done I noticed that the open rate of the Mailchimp newsletter they were sending out twice a week was quite high.
Step 1: KNOW MORE by setting up Google advanced analytics segments and customise the implementation of the tracking code on the website I was able to gather much more details on the traffic. I could understand better what pieces of content were more interesting to returning vs new visitors and what was the content that was bringing in more search traffic, together with the drop-off pages and overall user experience throughout the website. Furthermore, I was able to track the use of the internal search function of the website and with the in-page analytics (using the add-on on Google Chrome) I was able to have a visual maps of the most clicked parts of the website and do minor changes accordingly.
Step 2: LEVERAGE THE LOYALTY of returning visitor
The question was: how do I deliver more value to users looking for advice on cooking and healthy eating with a tiny team?
We needed to get votes to win the award so we needed our visitors to help out.
Solution: Implement a live chat service and start the conversation with web visitors, however not all live chats are the same. My choice was Livechatinc.com because of its interface ease of use and scalability thanks to the apps that work very well on mobile devices the whole team could have it on their phones and ipads and pick up a few questions from web visitors at any time. (imagine the the amount of questions we were getting on a daily basis with over 5000 daily visitors).
I still needed to filter during certain times of the day so we decided to create a pre-chat login with facebook or email and name to build more subscribers to our newsletter and have a lower number of questions. LiveChatinc.com is one of our favourite because it also allows you to use pre-chat filters and sign-up forms so that you can reduce the number of chats whenever you need to.
We automated the livechat to softly solicit visitor that had spent a minimum time on the website to vote for us to win the award.
Result: A substantial increase in the monthly subcriber rate and a substantial amount of votes. Virtually every chat we were starting was a vote at least. (Including some of the automated ones that took no time from our team)
Was this enough? I am afraid not we needed more votes faster.
Time for a bit of viral content among our users and some ‘AWW’ factor.
Step 3 : Produce ‘Aww’ Content
At this stage my main question was: How do we make a wealthy, upper-class, young pretty woman to generate the aww factor with a quick-to-produce video clip. Luckily, Natasha (that’s her name) had a dog, a cute little dog called Lottie. I gave it the title of Chief Barking Officer and made it the star of the video to generate some Aww response and some more votes in return.
Easy video, It had to look real and homemade not overproduced. It was shot with an Ipad and edited on the iPad itself. It did require a bit of preparation but all things considered we were done pretty quickly in 3-4 hours.
Step 4: Email Marketing with Mailchimp pushing the Aww Video Clip
It needed to get a little more effective in terms of CTR (click through rate) on email marketing campaigns to make sure we would get enough people to take action and vote for the website. Thus, it was time to unleash the power of one of our favourite chimps ; The Mailchimp.
Step 5: Share, Share, Share on Social Media
Needless to say, social media did generate a significant impact while running for the awards. Especially if you have done a good job at delivering useful and interesting content within your network don’t hesitate to ask for your follower support because they will. We did not miss an opportunity to share, the video the images and the links on all social media networks. Out of 10 posts every day on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, at least 3 of them were asking our follower to support the website and vote for us. To manage our social media we used Hootsuite which we believe is a great tool you can use with a limited budget or even for free.
Step 6 : This is a secret step if you want to know this one subscribe to our newsletter and receive it via email