<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=763991110377089&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Startup to Success: Businesses That Only Used Online Marketing to Make it

In the case of two personal hygiene startups, a promising social media site and a personal finance business, there was a defined magical moment when almost overnight these businesses seemed to take off.

In these instances, this moment wouldn’t have been possible without the internet.

Take a look at what some superstar startups did to utilize the power of the internet and see how you can implement some of the same strategies:


Taking the title of one of the first successful viral marketing campaigns, Orabrush launched in 2009 with nothing more than a YouTube video. The creative approach and viral video “Bad Breath Test – How to Tell When Your Breath Stinks” garnered a dedicated online fan base and today has over 17 million views.

At the time of its debut, Orabrush took an unconventional approach using internet marketing. The video created a high level of awareness for consumers online. This transformed into a demand for the product in retail stores. Orabrush is now sold in 3,500 Walmart stores worldwide just by leveraging a newer platform.

Marketing takeaway: In the case of Orabrush, the company created one high-quality, funny video that took off. Don’t spread yourself thin by putting 50 percent of your effort into a variety of different things. Instead, pick one creative solution and give it 100 percent.

Dollar Shave Club

In the event someone would suggest Orabrush found its success from its originality, consider the brilliance of the Dollar Shave Club. Much like Orabrush, the Dollar Shave Club found victory armed with nothing but a YouTube video nearly two years after Orabrush’s launch. Within 48 hours, Dollar Shave Club received two million views on YouTube and 5,000 orders.

Humor has a lot to do with this viral video, but it isn’t everything. This bold use of content marketing was memorable because it caused a visceral response.

Marketing takeaway: Great content will make for an emotional response, and in turn, will become memorable for your audience. There’s nothing extra special about Dollar Shave Cream razors, except that “they’re f***ing great.” Separate your company by providing a unique and fresh stance.


In 2006 when the personal finance startup Mint stepped into the scene, the public brushed it under the rug. Fighting to survive, the company adopted an aggressive online content strategy using a blog. The blog, “MintLife,” offered news, tips, videos and even infographics to become a serious resource for the financially curious. Over time, they built credibility and converted their audience into loyal customers. Three years later, Mint sold for $170 million.

Marketing takeaway: Don’t just produce content about your company, create content that is helpful and you’ll create a loyal fan base that keeps coming back for more. It takes time and dedication— content marketing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.


Initially, Pinterest relied on advocates and not numbers. The intriguing website attracted thousands of signups using its members-only service and limited its use to create exclusivity. By being coy, the website built and sustained a big buzz and trusted its users to recommend the site. Now, Pinterest has over 10 million users.

Marketing takeaway: People make decisions based on recommendations from those they trust – mainly our friends and family. One of your goals should be to turn your users into personal advocates that spread the word using social media services and word of mouth.

Sometimes a solid internet marketing plan is all you need to reach success. These examples of internet marketing done right arguably provided more longevity than any one-time traditional marketing campaign could have offered.

Client Spotlight: Medical jewelry company uses search to succeed

Health is everything. When mother and entrepreneur Toni Bissell’s daughter was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, life changed. While the family began to work to develop a new diet, learn how to check blood sugar and administer insulin injections, they faced an additional problem: medical ID’s.

According to Bissell, one of the harder tasks of helping her daughter adjust to being a diabetic was getting her to wear her medical ID bracelet. It was then that Bissell recognized an opportunity to design, develop and provide fashionable medical jewelry. N-Style ID has been a successful small business for over ten years now.

“A lot of kids have conditions that other kids make fun of them for. Part of starting it [the company] was to give something to these kids to make them feel special,” Bissell said.

Life Saving Fashion Statements

With fashion forward bracelets and necklaces, the idea behind the business was also to transform the need to wear the jewelry into a desire to wear it.
The company is always evolving to keep up with trends and offers a wide variety of bracelets for diverse tastes. They provide durable bands for youngsters, sports bands, bangles, charm bracelets and even chains.

Better yet, with N-Style ID you only need one ID plate with your medical information. The ID plate is actually interchangeable so you can wear a number of different bands for multiple styles and occasions.

Becoming and Being the Best

With no brick and mortar stores, N-Style ID relies on its online visibility to reach out to those who want to make a statement with their style and circumstance. Bissell sought out search marketing to help her business flourish.

“The problem is that I have this great product and I couldn’t be found,” Bissell confessed. “I needed better rankings in the search engines where I deserve to be.”

The process of pushing her business forward has been working with time and serious effort.

Since working with SEO.com, N-Style ID has seen an increase in search engine rankings and website traffic. At present, revenue driven by our targeted keywords is up 76.20 percent year over year, accounting for a 700 percent return on investment. Additionally, all of N-Style ID’s 27 keywords are ranking on the first page.

“It takes time and nurturing to see results with SEO. This past year has been great. It’s not an overnight fix but the momentum has sure picked up,” said Bissell.

SEO Tip: Minimize loading time

Loading time for a website is a major contributor to page abandonment. The average internet users have a very low tolerance for a page that takes too long to load.

Research has shown that the slower a page loads, the higher your bounce rates will be.

Internet users expect the same web-browsing treatment on their mobile devices as their desktop. So how long are mobile web users willing to wait for a site to load before they go elsewhere?

In a small study of internet users, participants revealed that while using a mobile device they are willing to wait around 6-10 seconds before they abandon pages.

Around 79 percent of online shoppers who are dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from the same website again; their overall experience includes loading time. Keep in mind that your website performance has a direct correlation with shopping behavior. In fact, 47 percent of people online expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less. If it takes longer than three seconds, you increase the likelihood of abandonment.

To help speed up your website, try a few of the following:

  1. Use a content delivery network with servers across multiple locations to deliver content to users more efficiently.
  2. Utilize browser caching so the next time a visitor returns to your website it will load faster.
  3. Minimize redirects. Keep redirects that are necessary, but never have more than one redirect to get to a resource.
  4. Optimize images by keeping image sizes to a minimum to help users with slower connections.

A one second delay in page response can decrease customer satisfaction and will cost you about 7 percent of your conversions. When it comes down to it, know that speed matters on the internet.

Industry Events

SMX East: New York; October 2-4, 2012
Pubcon: Las Vegas; October 15-18, 2012
Inbound Marketing Summit: Boston; October 23-24, 2012
SES: Chicago; November 12-16, 2012

SEO.com Events

6 Months of Free Local Marketing Giveaway — Enter to win!