How did we increase traffic by 502.2%?
Increasing website traffic has been a priority since I joined Cinnamon. After a year and half of consistent efforts we had grown our website traffic for 502.2%!
Since I joined Cinnamon, we've been working hard to improve our website traffic. This was my main goal, and after the first six months, I created a blog in which I explained how we increased our traffic by 87.37%. That blog, which we published almost a year ago, was really popular, and as time went on, we reviewed some of our most popular blog entries, including this one, so I decided to look at our data for the period spanning from 10.08.2020, when we started working on organized marketing, to 28.02.2022. I couldn't believe we'd grown 502.2% in a year and a half! This is incredible!
In this blog article, I'll show you how we raised our total website traffic once more. We will compare the year and a half before any organized marketing to the year and a half after structured marketing to show you the impact of digital marketing can have on increasing the number of visitors.
Every software company's top priorities are development, new leads, and hiring new personnel. Marketing, on the other hand, is typically overlooked during this process. There is a lot of work to be done simultaneously on many fronts in the early stages of a company, which puts your marketing at a disadvantage. As is normal, when you don’t invest properly in your marketing, we see the following:
Random postings to several social media profiles.
Using Google Analytics as a decoration.
Random paid campaigns for Google.
This is always a clear indication that there is no concrete marketing strategy being developed, but rather, we use a little bit of this and that. With this type of approach, companies figure out the hard way that traffic has barely improved despite a lot of money being invested. At this time, the majority of businesses recognize the importance of a well-executed marketing plan that has a specific objective and approach in mind. August 10th, 2020, was the day I arrived at Cinnamon and we started our journey with Digital Marketing.
Our Instagram on August 10th, 2020:
Our Facebook on August 10th, 2020
Our LinkedIn on August 10th, 2020:
These were our primary social media profiles. However, they had very few followers and very little interaction.
Diagram 1. Statistic overview for February 01.2018 - to August 10.2020 timeframe
Digital Marketing Strategy
The decision was to form 2 directions for our digital marketing:
Emphasis on social media for employer branding
Website traffic increases using off-page SEO.
The universal goal was to grow the overall social media platform and website traffic. We have followed this process for the last year and a half, working every day to figure out how to attract new audiences to visit our website or our social media channels. There were a lot of changes in the content that we implemented by constantly AB testing, and we experimented with the copy, tone, visuals, etc. a lot.
In order to fully utilize our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, the following questions had to be answered:
What is the communication strategy?
What to post?
When to post and how to schedule?
Which hashtags do we need to use?
Should we use paid ads?
1. What is the communication strategy?
Cinnamon wanted to demonstrate to both our clients and potential employees that we are experts in helping them expand their businesses or careers. When dealing with both clients and potential customers, it was critical to strike the correct balance between warmth and professionalism. We had a lot of success when we were able to connect with our audience and those with similar interests. At the same time, we invited them onto our social media channels and greeted them with postings about our workers, their work, and their accomplishments. We connected with them on their own content by liking, commenting, and having fun debates with them.
2. What to post?
Branding ourselves for our future employees requires us to present our office culture in the best possible way through pictures, stories, and video content on our social media platforms. We started by showcasing our current employees through portraits and professional life questionnaires, but after a while, we started expanding into other types of social media content, such as infographics, technical content, anniversary posts, etc. Gradually, the whole design of our content changed as well.
Exhibit 1. Post about Martina Blažević on our Instagram.
Exhibit 2. Post about technical content
3. When to post and how to schedule?
To figure this out, we needed to create a 12-hour time range. A lot has changed with our targeting as well. In the beginning, we focused on Croatia and the US, and now we have included a third country of high interest, which is Serbia. Our Croatian and Serbian audiences are in completely different time zones than our American audience. We needed to test 12 different times for posting. To go even more into detail, we posted every day but postponed posting time for 1 hour every other day. For instance, on Monday we posted at 3 a.m., on Tuesday at 4 a.m., on Wednesday at 5 a.m., and so on, until we figured out what time brought us the most engagement. After that, we started testing the times that were the best for us on every single day of the week, until we figured out what the best days to post were. Finally, we created a schedule focusing on the best days and hours, which significantly simplified content preparation. Since then, we have changed our posting rhythm four more times (every 6 months).
4. Which hashtags do we need to use?
Hashtags are still important due to branding and visibility, which are their most effective uses on every social media platform. We utilized hashtags to expand our audience and increase brand awareness. When users search for a brand, they will see the relevant hashtags they are using or our branded posts in the results when using specific hashtags. This usually brings new followers and potential customers. Relevant hashtags that have large amounts of posts under them are not the best ones to use due to heavy competition. Therefore, a mixture of big, medium, and small hashtags and rotating them every other week are the most suitable option. In addition, we started using our own hashtag called #zerobullshit
5. Should we use paid ads?
Paid ads can be used to grow your platform or as an extension to promote your content. We used paid ads only as an extension of promoting our content, since growing an account on any platform with paid ads does not mean the audience that is coming will actively engage with your content like the one you are bringing in organically through your own engagement. The beauty of paid ads is that they allow us to target a specific audience. We used paid ads only to help our HR reach out to as many candidates as possible for our various position openings. We tried a lot of different things with the visuals of our ads, but we came to the conclusion that minimalist ads with simple text are the best fit for our employer branding and the people we want to reach.
Exhibit 3. Our latest hiring ad example.
In order to grow any website, you need to start with the fundamentals. And that is an SEO analysis. SEO analysis is the process of closely examining your website to gain a better understanding of how well it has been optimized and what can be done to help improve it. Our website was fully optimized, meaning that our on-page SEO had the most properly defined factors crucial for indexing our website, which helps with Google ranking. The biggest on-page factors that affect search engine rankings are:
Image alt texts
An ideal web page should do all of the following:
Be hyper-relevant to a specific topic
Include a subject in the title tag
Include a subject in the URL
Include a subject in the image alt text
Specify the subject several times throughout the text content
Provide unique content about a given subject
Link back to its category page
Link back to its subcategory page
Link back to its homepage.
After completing the SEO analysis, we moved on to keyword research. Keyword research is the process of determining popular search engine terms. When various sets of keywords were created, we included them strategically in our content, so that it appears higher on the search engine results page. This is extremely important for your organic traffic, but it includes a lot of testing to find out which keywords work well and which are underpowered. We have changed many KW’s in the last year and a half, and this is still an ongoing process.
Being a software development company, we agreed that the best direction to take would be by creating high-quality, in-house blogs on various subjects in design, software development, marketing, project management, and so on. Our employees are professionals and experts in their fields, so their blogs can bring a lot of knowledge to anyone reading them, but they can also attract possible clients. We also reward writers financially to make sure we have a steady stream of quality content. We included the keywords we found to perform best in every blog. When this was done, we started posting on a strict two-week schedule. With only two blogs per month, we managed to create a lot of time for our employees to write high-quality blogs in a stress-free environment. The last step was to 'push' our blogs with off-page SEO:
Exhibit 3. Our blog examples https://cinnamon.agency/blog
Off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages. Building backlinks is at the heart of off-page SEO. Search engines use backlinks as indicators of the quality of the content. In other words, a site with many high-value backlinks will usually rank better than an otherwise equal site with fewer backlinks.
There are three main types of links based on how much money they make: natural links, links built by hand, and self-created links.
Natural links are editorially given without any action on the part of the page owner. For instance, a travel blogger adding a link to a post that points toward their favorite hotel is a natural link.
Manually-built links are acquired through deliberate link-building activities. This includes getting customers to link to your website or asking influencers to share your content.
Self-created links are created by practices such as adding a backlink in an online directory, forum, blog comment signature, or press release with optimized anchor text.
We have heavily focused on all types. Our own employees were the key to building natural links through posting our content on their own social media channels, thus creating an organic audience. Manually-built links were established by connecting to various specialized websites such as HARO, Medium, Pocket, and many more. Self-created links were established by reaching out to specialized forums with our content for discussion purposes. We also started working heavily on our PR, creating special announcements for all of our media partners such as Večernji List, Poslovni Dnevnik, 24 sata, etc.
Knowing how search engines work and the attributes they are looking for when ranking your content is crucial when trying to create content that ranks well. A lot of thought and work goes into increasing web traffic. Considering how much-targeted traffic SEO and social media platforms can generate, the time and effort spent on them are utterly justified.
Public relations, in general, focuses on influencing public opinion. PR is becoming an important aspect of marketing communications in the current fast-growing market. Besides using our own digital marketing, we needed to find a way to reach out to broader audiences. As a whole, marketing's performance is affected by public relations. We started to invest a lot of resources to create a positive and welcoming environment by building up connections with many different news companies that have written articles for us and about us. This was a long process to start with because we wanted to avoid sponsored articles as much as we could, so we needed to find a way to get news companies to write about Cinnamon. By building up our traffic, we started being noticed by companies, and we were using the same logic for the articles that we used for our blog-the higher the quality of writing, the more people would be interested in reading about it.
With the Digital Marketing Strategy finished, the tough part was to work on it every single day, moving consistently one step at a time. Ultimately, it paid off. We increased the overall traffic on our website by an incredible 502.2%, plus we increased our following on every single social media platform and overall engagement.
These are our results:
Picture 1. Current Instagram page parameters.
Picture 2. Current Facebook page parameters.
Picture 3. Current LinkedIn page
These are the exact numbers that we tracked:
Total reach: 3,528,848
3,528,848 users saw our content while on Facebook. "Reach is the number of people who saw any content from our page.
Total engagement: 23,294.
23,294 have engaged with our content. "Facebook engagement" is any action someone takes on our Facebook Page or one of our posts or ads.
Total followers: 1356.
We started with 647 followers and gained 714 new ones.
Total reach: 542,172
542,172 users saw our content while on Instagram. "Reach is the number of people who saw any content from our page or about our page.
Total engagement: 10,367
10,367 have engaged with our content. Instagram engagement is an action someone takes on our Instagram page or one of our posts or ads.
Total followers: 2,280
We started with 221 followers and gained 2,059 new ones.
Total reach: 166,749
166,749 users saw our content while on LinkedIn. "Reach is the number of people who saw any content from our page or about our page.
Total engagement: 18,919.
18,919 have engaged with our content. "LinkedIn engagement" is any action someone takes on our LinkedIn Page or one of our posts.
Total followers: 2,701.
We started with 543 followers and gained 2158 new ones.
Diagram. Google Analytics, in June of 2021 we moved to a new GA, so we are showing the results from August 10th, 2021 to June 1st in the first picture, and in the second we are showing the data from June 1st to February 28th, 2022.
When I started working in Cinnamon, we had a year and a half ago a total of 22136 users on our website. After a year and a half of focused marketing, we have reached 133307 users, which is an increase of 502.2% in a year and a half.
Modern business growth necessitates an effective digital marketing strategy. In order to grow your business, you need to get your brand in front of as many people as possible. While digital marketing may appear straightforward, there are numerous actions that must be taken consistently if it is to be a successful endeavor. We're thrilled with the outcome, especially considering how little time we had to get there.
As a final note, I'd like to express my gratitude to the whole Cinnamon staff, especially Evelyn Guzmán for joining me on this marketing adventure. From the design team that created all of the visuals to every employee who has submitted a blog post and everyone who has helped Cinnamon grow in small ways, and big ways, thank you. Let's triple our efforts!
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