Mar 242011
 

This guest post is by Matt Robison of Propdrop Web Development and Marketing.

In mid-April of 2010, I officially launched Pitbulls.org, a site for Pit Bull owners to connect with other owners and read accurate training and health information about their pets. At the same time it would help curb some of the myths out there about the breed, and promote rescue shelters in general. This was a cold launch with no prior promotion, and the blog started with only 20 articles.

By October 1st of 2010, after less than six months, the Pitbulls.org Facebook page had almost 40,000 Likes, and the site itself was ranking in the top three Google results for some of our main keywords.

I did no guest posting. I did close to zero link building. These more traditional, mainstay-type methods do work and they should always be part of your repertoire, but for this site I decided to go in a radical direction, ignoring the regular methods and seeing if it would pay off.

And it certainly paid off.

A steady stream of Facebook Likes

The initial key to everything rests in a Facebook ad that I ran sporadically from April to July. It was targeted at people in the US who had some mention of “pit bulls” in their Facebook profiles’ interest lists, and who had not already liked the page. Here is the ad:

Note that when I originally ran this ad, it had the old Facebook ad formatting, which had the image above the text instead of to the left of the text. Everything else is the same.

Three points to note about this ad, besides the targeting:

  1. The image used is also the main image for my Facebook page, establishing clear continuity.
  2. The ad asks a question, getting the user to say “yes” internally. Honestly, who would think that this dog is not cute?
  3. The ad contains a clear call to action: Become a Fan (when Facebook still used Fans, not Likes).

Most importantly, this ad did not link to my website. When someone clicked on this ad, it did not send them to Pitbulls.org. Rather, it sent them to the Pitbulls.org Facebook page.

Now this seems crazy. I’m paying Facebook to send traffic to Facebook. Imagine paying the girl behind the counter at your local coffee shop for a cappuccino, and instead of giving

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