Building a business is hard. Tons of work that is involved. No simple formula for success and the most painful part… you and your team are all alone.
Growing your business takes a lot of thinking and planning on how to actually scale your particular brand to the masses..
Even with all the tools that is available around us, building a business is still mind boggling..
In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia founded AirBnb. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies at first.
Both founders got their idea, because they can’t pay their rent.
Luckily, there’s a design conference happening at that moment and saw that as an opportunity to rent out their space since all the hotel rooms are booked.
They got a big break when 3 people booked their listing for $80 each. Both founders looked at each other with amazement…
They now know that the idea can get bigger… Later they got another partner, Harvard Graduate Nathan Blecharczyk, to help them with tech.
In 2008, they launched The site Airbedandbreakfast.com
But now, they have another problem in their hands.. The company needs some capital in order to run…
So what they did is to sell cereals… yes, cereals! And capitalized the election season..
The founders sold “Obama O’s” and “Cap’n McCains… In 2 months, they made a whopping 30,000 dollars out of it and it helped them fund their idea..
After which, they got tons of capital going in the company… and they became a global brand
Currently, they are now one of the leading brands for accomodation surpassing even some the global hotel chains in the world..
“It took Hilton Hotels to Build an Inventory of 600,000 rooms, Airbnb Got there at 4 years”
So how is this even possible and what can we learn from their digital strategy?
1. Use Amazing Pictures of Your Product On Your Website
In 2009, Airbnb was not making a significant amount of traction in New York. So the founders investigated the root of the problem..
At the time it was really frustrating to the owners since growth is one of their major goal in that key city…
That’s when they discovered that users are posting pictures using their camera phones and looks really unprofessional…
So the founders rented a camera for $5,000 and went straight to New York. They took photos of the apartments one by one on their own and this resulted to 3 times more booking on the listings
At the end of that month, New York’s revenue doubled!
In today’s digital world, you should always consider taking nice photos of your product..
Your product or service is a representation of your whole brand…
If you are a real estate agent then take nice shots of the house that you are selling
If you are a restaurateur or bar owner, then take nice photos of your food and drinks
If you are a distributor, take nice shots of your products
You need to invest if you want to be taken seriously. Your image and your brand is an asset that you should take into consideration.
2. Build Content Around Your Audience
Airbnb builds tons of content around their brand. It is evident with the videos that they distribute and guides that they publish on their site
But one important thing that I observed is the way they create content around their audience..
If you got to Airbnb Stories. You will see a handful of stories around their users.
This gives the audience the ability to relate to the brand and helps them get their message across
One good way that you could use this technique is by engaging with your current customers in your business..
Talk to them, build stories around them and share them to others…
Share how your product solved their problems, let other people hear about it so they can relate to your brand..
This will allow you to connect your brand to your audience emotionally.
3. Advertise Where Your Customers Are
In 2010, when Airbnb was still starting out and are strapped on cash. One of their main growth strategies is to post their listings on Craigslist..
What Airbnb would do is to notify you on your email that you can post your listing in Craigslist.
Airbnb knew that people on Craigslist are looking for short term rentals plus the platform has something that the then-startup don’t have.. USERS
Airbnb took this opportunity and funnelled users/customers from Craigslist to Airbnb
Most of the users in Craigslist will see the listing and will be attracted to sign up since Airbnb has better pictures than the ones posted in Craigslist..
This Strategy allowed them to grow faster efficiently
One way that you could use this strategy in your business is to find forums or groups that has the same niche/industry as yours
You can check platforms such as Facebook Groups and engage with the members in it
But, be careful…. You need to give value to the audience and not SPAM the group with your products..
One way that you can go about this is to join conversations in the group and give valuable advice to the members… connect and reach out to them
And get feedbacks from the community regarding your business
4. Build Content That Gives Value to Your Audience
In 2012, Airbnb launched a feature that would help users with vacation problems…
Most of the time, Airbnb users will have a hard time searching the internet for valuable information regarding the city that they are in
So.. Airbnb launched neighbourhood guides
It is a simple tool that describes the city that your in – dining, shopping and nightlife suggestion… It also shows the neighborhood around the area
So why is this important?
Creating content that gives value will allow your users to feel that you care… That’s one.
Also, it increases the engagement with your audience and increases their trust with your brand.
One way to implement this with your business is by creating content around your expertise..
If you are a chef then create articles that give tips or recipes to your audience
If you have a product then create articles around the topic that your customers are interested in..
Always put the customers first, check what they want and list it down
You will be surprised with the list of things that they want or need and create content around it
Airbnb’s journey proves to be something that we can all relate too. They are not wealthy to start with, they don’t have any unfair advantage over everyone. They are just normal guys that hustle.
All the techniques that they used can also be used by any business provided that they implement it and try it out.
Always remember that you need to build content around your brand. See to it that you give value and remember to use available tools that can help you distribute your content.
If you are looking for more techniques then feel free to download the book below while it’s free