“LuxeFinds is a luxury lifestyle blog search engine for women.”
Now that’s a business description that could not have existed 10 years ago. It offers a service no one knew they wanted, to a very narrow niche, and taps a resource — blogs — that didn’t exist but now abound. It is an example of the power online marketing has, power that women-owned businesses are still reluctant to tap, according to Ditch Digital Dabbling: How Small Businesses + Nonprofits Can Master Online Marketing.
LuxeFinds is a technology-enabled business, one that relies of tech support, in this case founder Phyllis Cheung’s husband, to provide a non-tech service to non-tech customers, those who crave luxury, from wedding goods to fine linen.
The information overload of the internet has created a new online business sector: curation. How can you sort through the wealth of blogs and websites to find the ones that really match your tastes and needs? You turn to a curator, someone who selects the best sites for your purpose, from Parisian vacations to the latest trends in weddings, table settings, and skincare.
Cheung is the curator for women who buy luxury goods. She uses Twitter to follow a carefully selected set of blogs, vendors, and news sources to keep on top of trends so her site can feature the latest and the best for her market. Her regular blogs about beautiful events and beautiful things are accompanied by high-quality photos.
Pictures are worth a thousand words for Cheung. The photos she pins to her 118 boards at pinterest — from bow tie options to favorite quotes, from wedding themes to home decor — bring her 2,000 to 5,000 followers per day.
“The second I put a picture up, it gets re-pinned and goes viral,” Cheung says. “Pinterest is very visual. It won’t work for everything but it will work for businesses that have a lot of photos: travel, food, home decor, children, fashion. Your market there is huge.”
Pinterest is a rising star among social media but it may not be the best choice for many companies.Your goals and your market have to align with any media you choose. If, like LuxeFinds, your market craves beautiful visuals, Pinterest may be just what you need. But, as with every other social medium, go where your market is.
Since rebranding from a wedding site to overall luxurious living in September 2011, LuxeFinds is “now on track for 2 million page views [in March 2012],” says Cheung. “Pinterest alone drives over a million page views to LuxeFinds per month and we receive over 40 thousand repins per day.”
Even those who can’t afford a $300,000 wedding can be inspired by the ideas depicted and come back for more.
Cheung is very practical. As the mother of two who home-schools and runs her business, she focuses on what works for her business. She hires out work that she cannot do herself, such as graphic design, but has taught herself Twitter, Facebook, search engine optimization and, now, Pinterest. Her rules of engagement are:
- Know your competition. Find out what they are doing and emulate what they do well.
- Define your niche and find innovative ways to market to it.
- Follow where the trends are going.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new and see if it works for you.
Technology-based, marketed by social media, narrow but well-defined niche: It’s a whole new world for startups.
The online marketing survey gathered extensive data and benchmarks about how small businesses and nonprofits use online marketing and whether they are seeing results. For the executive summary, visit Ditch Digital Dabbling: How Small Businesses + Nonprofits Can Master Online Marketing.