The staff behind YouBeauty.com wanted to debut the site on July 1 with an established readership. After beta launching with a Facebook page and a social network sweepstakes in January, the site had 15,000 Facebook fans and a mailing list of more than 10,000 consumers by its launch.
“It was a place to start engaging and getting visitors a taste of what was to come,” says Steven Lindseth, CEO of YouBeauty.com, about the Facebook page. “We were expressing our editorial voice and built up a bit of a following.”
YouBeauty deployed its Facebook page to give consumers a taste of the site’s eventual offerings but also to gauge the content interests of its target audience. The preview period was particularly important because many of the articles YouBeauty linked to had appeared in scientific research journals – not exactly light reading. But one post that linked to a World Health Organization article about mobile phones’ health implications elicited 13 comments within a few hours.
“What we were really amazed by were the comments we were getting on Facebook and the discussions that were started,” says Lindseth. “People engaged with the Facebook page and really got what we were planning to do.”
He adds that 10% of the site’s July traffic can be directly attributed to its Facebook posts. Much of YouBeauty’s Facebook following is thanks to a six-week sweepstakes that rolled out in April.
Working with social marketing platform Extole, YouBeauty asked consumers to “like” its page and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to New York to attend a taping of The Dr. Oz Show and meet Dr. Mehmet Oz, not coincidentally a co-creator of YouBeauty.com. The site also encouraged entrants to share their participation with friends, incentivizing the promotion by giving a $300 L’Oréal gift bag to the consumer whose referred friend won the trip.
“Certainly you want to make these things viral if you can,” says Lindseth. “Incentivizing that kind of virality seems to make a difference.”
The incentive also benefitted sweepstakes partner L’Oréal. The entry form included email opt-ins not only for YouBeauty’s newsletter but also to receive messaging from L’Oréal. “Somewhere in range of 10,000 to 11,000 [consumers] who liked us also opted in to take [L’Oréal’s] info,” says Lindseth.
YouBeauty is still determining how best to harness its own mailing list, Lindseth says. The site didn’t begin emailing its members until the July launch because it wanted to maintain the Facebook page as the pre-launch hub. Now YouBeauty sends out emails “a couple times a week” and is examining whether to introduce separate newsletters on niche topics.
“We’re taking it slowly,” Lindseth says.