In a survey conducted by Sales Hacker, 63% of people said getting traffic and generating leads is the top challenge for marketers today. The finance planning app Mint is considered an example of an “overnight success story” largely because they were able to generate 1.5 million users in just two years.
Mint.com (now known as Intuit Mint) is a finance planning app that integrates your spending, balances, and budgets across all your bank accounts. The company was founded by Aaron Patzer in 2006. He launched the app in September 2007 and sold it to Inuit two years later for $170 million USD.
So how did Mint manage to grow like this? And more importantly, how can you do it too? Let’s break down the 5 marketing strategies Mint used to get traffic and generate leads:
1. They Found Their Target Audience and Niche
When Mint started, they didn’t know who their target audience was. Having a product or service that can be used by a lot of different people widens your audience but simply targeting “people interested in finance” is too broad to have a real impact that drives lead generation. So be specific! Dream up your ideal customer and start tailoring your messaging and interactions based on that.
Mint did their audience research using in-person interviews, but you can also easily use online surveys or virtual interviews. The most important part here is that you take time to do proper research to make sure you’re asking the right questions.
Serial entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi says one of Mint’s earliest goals was to attract young professionals to their app. After talking to people that fit that demographic, Mint understood that they wanted to target people already interested in personal finance.
So what you can take away from this: You will gain more traffic and generate more leads if people are already interested in the niche your product/service is in. Ideally, this should be considered when finding your specific target market.
2. They Started Building Hype and Collecting User Data Immediately
Mint is an example of how you don’t need a ready product to get customers. You can gain your future customers by driving traffic to your site and generating leads first – get them hyped for your product! You can build relationships with your audience by talking to them and staying in touch.
Noah Kagan, the previous owner of Mint, generated an email list of more than 20,000 people interested in the app. Mint managed to do this by A/B testing various landing pages in exchange for early access. With those contacts, Mint.com was able to keep their interest by publishing newsletters that provided them relevant finance-related news (e.g.: when interest rates went up, etc.).
They also leveraged Facebook to engage with them more personally and authentically. This strategy is especially necessary today to humanize your brand and start conversations about your product. Mint’s founding CMO Donna Wells noted that 23% of users came from word of mouth.
Another bonus is that social media presence can easily boost exposure for your blog content. This brings us to the next point.
3. They Used Content Marketing
Mint is a great example of successful content marketing. Because they knew that their audience frequented personal finance blogs they wanted to become a credible source for personal finance knowledge. They generated traffic to their website by building a “content network” (i.e.: A collection of blog posts, interviews with well-known personal finance speakers, infographics, and any type of content that would catch the attention of young professionals wanting to learn how to manage their finances). This was then distributed via social media and via their blog.
If their audience had a question, Mint.com made sure they had a corresponding social media or blog post answering it. They did a lot of research looking at sites like Reddit to see what content was getting the best engagement which set their blog posts up for success. On every page, they included a sign-up form allowing users to sign up for their waiting list. This also helped them significantly in generating leads.
Additionally, Mint was targeting a bunch of high-traffic keywords as part of their SEO strategy. This allowed them to boost the traffic coming to their website significantly. By posting content consistently, Mint built up their credibility and trustworthiness not only in search engine rankings but also amongst their clients.
4. They Collaborated with Influencers
Mint.com used what today is considered influencer marketing to promote their app. They were able to collaborate with micro-influencers to do guest posts which helped lessen their workload. However, while Mint converted all their readers from personal finance blogs, this only accounted for 1% of Mint’s total traffic. 95% of their traffic came from being mentioned by online publications such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
Nowadays, social media plays a more essential role in your marketing strategy though, so you won’t want to completely rule out influencer marketing just yet! In 2020 MediaKix reported that 71% of marketers claim the quality of customers, leads, and traffic from influencer marketing is better than those from other sources.
5. They Sponsored Niche Sites
Mint.com was also sponsoring niche sites. Even today, Mint is still working with niche apps like Cameo which they used to run their latest campaign – one of the first brands to test Cameo for Business where they partnered with celebrities like Lance Bass (NSYNC) and Brian Baumgartner (The Office) to motivate users by having them record personalized shoutouts.
“People get excited when they see a celebrity, even if it’s a C-list celebrity, especially if they’re talking to them and celebrating them,” Keri Danielski (current Head of Communications) told Marketing Dive. “This millennial crowd is really starting to get into Cameo. It is a fun platform. People engage with it and like that human interaction.”
By working with platforms that are underused or new, there’s less competition. This means the chances of people seeing your content is higher! You don’t even have to find an entirely new platform. New services offered by existing popular platforms like Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts are a good way to boost your content’s visibility.
Be Like Mint, Set Yourself Up for Success
At the end of the day, there’s no one way to get traffic to your website and generate leads. You have to employ whatever strategy you can to set yourself up for the best chance of success. At the core of it all, you need to know your target audience and exactly how to speak to them. Then you can start collecting their data by building hype around your product. You can do this by collaborating with influencers and sponsoring niche sites or through SEO-driven content marketing.