Big Mill B&B’s Social Experiment
The first seven years
Social Media Launched From a Solid Foundation
Big Mill’s kickass website is replete with stunning photos, content
that charms and magnetic on-page optimization for search engines.
Chloe’s main website is HTML, not WordPress, first launched in 1999. Site crafted by Deep Creek Arts.
Go Mobile or Go Home
Chloe was an early adopter to mobile, which in 2013
represented about 15% of her non-blog web traffic.
The $99 “Last Minute Special” has proven to be a win-win mobile marketing
strategy, filling rooms that would otherwise go empty for the night.
Staking Her Claim
Although Williamston, NC (pop.< 6000 residents) is a mere spec on the map, Chloe uses
keywords on her website and blog to gain exceptional regional visibility in organic
is the closest major
city to Williamston –
30 miles away
Chloe uses the
“Publisher” tag (aka “rich
snippets”) on her main
website so her brand/
photo displays on organic
results for bigmill.com
Reviews “Booster Program
It’s a challenge to get anyone to take the time and/or figure out how to leave an online
review. There are particular obstacles when it comes to leaving reviews on Yelp and Google.
But authentic reviews are the lifeblood of new bookings. We developed the Reviews
Booster Program to make it easier for owners and staff to connect -- using a personal
invitation with a physical reminder (biz card) once a positive relationship has been forged.
Google Analytics for 30 days of traffic and top referral sources
11/22/13 – 12/23/13
Establish Google Authorship
is attached to
all content Chloe
to reinforce her
She keeps it
personal – her
photo is her brand.
Chloe’s Blog: Picture Perfect Marketing
Chloe’s Blog been
on WordPress from
her first post in
April of 2007.
Photography is her
passion – and using
amazing photos to
help tell stories and
remains a significant
contributing factor to
her blog’s popularity
Every image is
optimized for search
engines – and now,
Pinterest in mind.
Put Google Analytics Plugin on WordPress Dashboard
These stats for Chloe’s Blog are
fairly typical throughout 2013.
Her blog averages between 4500
– 7000 visits per month.
Her bounce rate is always
amazingly low. People find what
they searched for and Google
rewards her for that.
It was in May of 2013 that we
began to pay attention to the
referral traffic she was getting
Pinterest wasn’t even a channel
she spent much time and energy
developing! In 2014, we’ll put
more attention there and see
Pinterest : The Biggest Surprise of 2013
Chloe’s presence on Pinterest is a modest one – only 25 boards. But she’s consistently seeing 15 25%+ of traffic to her blog coming from Pinterest. We can attribute some of this to her content.
Even though she’s currently uploading only 15% of her own content, what she puts on Pinterest
speaks the language of Pinterest’s prime demographic – crafts and recipes and gorgeous photos.
Want to follow along? www.Pinterest.com/bigmill
Blog Visitors Add Chloe’s Blog to Their Pinterest Boards
When search engines point people to Chloe’s Blog, we can quickly see the trend in
reverse - the same items are being pinned from Chloe’s Blog TO Pinterest boards.
Because we now see so much pinning from the blog, we always use Pinterest-friendly
alt-text (which is also keyword friendly) under every image to get more bites of the apple.
Check what’s being pinned from your website/blog: www.Pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com
Facebook Early Adopter
We were using Facebook from the first day they let
local business owners create “fan pages.”
In the early days of “the gold rush,” Chloe had multiple custom landing pages
built and offered a free gift in exchange for “Liking.”
When Facebook changed to the Timeline, we developed an easy-to-update cover
photo design that reinforces the Big Mill brand. Every blog post is cross-promoted
on Facebook, but Chloe will tell you straight away - Facebook is not a marketing
basket into which Big Mill has ever put many eggs. That will not change in 2014.
If anyone comes to check out her G+ page from Google Maps, a link from organic search,
the website or the back of her business cards, the “i”s are dotted and “t”s are crossed. It’s
a pleasant place to land and she’s getting “circled” sometimes 20-40x a day.
We make it easy for
new followers to
find her from
G+ Local and G+ Personal Profile Pages:
These are excellent places to resurrect content from the early days of Chloe’s Blog
Of course, every new blog post
is cross-promoted on Google+
Local and Chloe’s personal G+
Status update descriptions are
written with keywords in mind.
For this, Google rewards her
efforts, often showing her G+
updates in organic search
results -- sometimes within
minutes of posting!
Because Google has now deemed hashtags important,
she’ll start using them with every update. Social media
“rules” are in constant flux. We help Big Mill stay on top of
the new – sorting the wheat from the chaff as it relates to
her target audience and visibility marketing goals.
Branded YouTube Channel:
A work in progress – but great to add to the content mix
Twitter – Perfunctory Presence:
Big Mill has been there for years -- with a beautiful branded background we created
for her. But to be honest - Twitter isn’t a primary marketing channel for Chloe.
Almost every Tweet has been automagically posted from another source – but this
strategy works well enough to keep her page from looking abandoned. Recently, she
got an unexpected confirmation that at least one person reads her Tweets. She was
45 minutes from home and ran into a previous guest from a few years back who had
read news on Twitter earlier that morning that her old red truck had caught on fire.
Using Email to Nurture Relationships
We stopped using Feedburner in 2012, opting for more control
to the look and feel of the email updates subscribers received.
Yes, there is a bit more work involved to customize the template
but the increased click thrus and reader feedback make us smile.
Emails Her Subscribers Love Opening
Chloe sends 2 types of email to her list of nearly 1000 subscribers
Quick “Alerts” to check out a new blog post
Will She … or Won’t She?
Stay Tuned for 2014 and Beyond
This Success Story was prepared by Jody Murphy – jodymurphy.me | 804/794-6073