Case Study: Can You Launch a New Site With Twitter Alone?

Just over a week ago I launched a new site, I thought I would tell you how I did it and what the results were so you could learn from my experience. The small twist with this launch was I planned to use only Twitter …

Day after launch

Day after launch

After a week

After a week

As you can see, after I week the site had received 8,000 page views, from nearly 5,000 visitors. In fact, the reason why I didn’t post this case study earlier is that it is still getting visits and I didn’t want to draw conclusions too early. As well as visits, it also gained over 200 email sign ups, and was retweeted over 300 times.

Of course I have launched lots of new sites over the years. My friend Gareth and I launched a Fantasy Formula 1 site using Twitter earlier, but that was just a bit of fun. I wanted to see what would happen if I gave it a little more of a push.

The site I was launching is Social Media Work book – the site is for a forthcoming product I am working on, with a view right now to gain feedback about what people want to know about social media. This launch was purely to put it on the map, get some visibility and links. A secondary goal was to gain some opt-ins, but because it was not a priority I worked a plan that involved more of a viral element than to drive opt-ins.

So what did I do?

  1. First I built the site in WordPress using the DIYThemes Thesis Theme and the openhook plugin and sent small trickles of traffic to it to test response. In the lead up to the launch I achieved over a 50% opt-in conversion rate on the home page, which was higher than my expectations so I did not spend any more time on it, hence it is not the most elegant of designs but it works! Once the launch was under way and people were sent to my content page, opt-ins dropped to 6% at best, and 4.5% on average, but this is not surprising when you think the landing page people were sent to was not focused on gaining subscribers but on delivering content.
    Conversion Rates in Testing

    Conversion Rates in Testing

  2. As mentioned above, the goal of the site right now is to get people to submit social media questions in return for free goodies. There is a kind of catch-22 there as I need to know what people are struggling with before I can create the goodies, but I can’t get people to submit questions without that ethical bribe. Thankfully enough people submitted questions through the test phase that I had a challenge I knew I could answer right away.
  3. Consistently people were saying they struggled with issues around content, visibility, traffic, and getting clicks. I knew in my Authority Blogger Course materials I had a nice little report that I could repurpose quickly, and the launch was on.
  4. I grabbed my 102 Proven Headline Formulas report and created an e-cover graphic for it, slapped up a page.
    102 Proven Social Media Headline Formulas

    102 Proven Social Media Headline Formulas

  5. As my goal was a viral effect leading to visibility and links, I added the TweetMeme and Tell-a-friend WordPress plugins. TweetMeme worked very well, the tell a friend not so much. The benefit of a Tell-a-friend script though is that you can see what people are saying about your content, which is a very valuable insight!
  6. All what was left was to seed out into Twitter and ask people to retweet … which thankfully my followers did, over 300 times :)

Traffic Sources

I have to confess that while the experiment was to use Twitter, and Twitter did drive the majority of the results, other traffic sources did naturally come into play!

Traffic Sources

Traffic Sources

Had I got onto the Digg front page the traffic would have been far higher, but I wanted to see how Twitter would work out and that is what I focused on. You can see that Twitter was the main traffic driver, we can say that the majority of the “Direct” traffic was desktop Twitter application users as few to no people knew of the domain before launch, and Ow.ly is the Hootsuite URL shortener.

Limiting myself to Twitter did constrain how much I could do, and a multiple channel approach is always better, but it does allow me to hone my approach for future campaigns. I am a testing freak :)

Search traffic

Search traffic

Recall one of the aims was to get links to prime the site for search? With essentially this one free report I had met that goal already, which I did not fully expect to happen so quickly.

At the time of writing the site has gained around 80 links with around 5o to the report landing page. Not bad going so far.

Of course now I need to keep following up so that I do not lose the momentum, and I need to work towards creating and launching my product which is the whole point of the exercise!

If you are interested in what I do next and how that works out, then you need to subscribe now because I will be keeping you updated right here with progress :)

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