Zillidy — a Toronto-based startup founded by Steven Uster in 2012 — is pioneering personal asset lending in Canada.
Small businesses and individuals throughout Canada that are seeking short-term cash loans are replacing their banks with Zillidy. What makes Zillidy so unique is that borrowers post personal assets such as jewelry or fine art as collateral. Zillidy loans do not involve personal credit checks, nor do they affect a borrower’s credit score in any way, making them an attractive alternative to a bank loan or credit card debt.
Zillidy was an unknown brand that was disrupting the established consumer banking industry in Canada. Essentially starting from ground zero, Zillidy faced nearly every marketing challenge possible for a startup:
- Build awareness and education of the new concept in the market
- Attract press coverage and other forms of social proof that validate and lend credibility to their innovative concept
- Build and nurture active communities in social media, sparking conversations and encouraging people to tell their friends about Zillidy via social media
- Publish authoritative content that challenges people to break their habits and think about a traditional industry in a new way
- Draw targeted traffic to the website, and convert that traffic to preliminary online loan applications
- Be nimble. Start with small and targeted marketing investment, and quickly reinvest ROI back into the channels that are working
We partnered with Steven and employed content marketing to help Zillidy address all of the challenges and goals listed above.
We started by making the website “stickier” by recommending engaging forms of content such as video, press coverage snippets and customer testimonials on the homepage. We also made several site architecture recommendations for funneling more visitors into the online application, thus improving the conversion rate optimization for the site.
Along with our team’s published weekly blog content, which typically covered Canadian startups and personal finance advice-driven topics, Steven also contributed with highly authoritative articles in places like the Huffington Post and New York Times.
Following each major press coverage of Zillidy, our Outreach team promoted the stories heavily through social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. The New York Times piece alone received nearly 1,600 social shares and 12 high quality links.
Since the beginning, we have stuck to our content marketing formula: plan, publish, promote, improve. It’s worked and continues to work.
Content marketing has delivered a great ROI for Zillidy, and we believe it’s the best organic marketing strategy there is for startups.
- During the first 9 months of 2013, we have achieved the following results for Zillidy:
- social media audience has grown from under 100 people to over 1,000
- Search impressions — as reported by Google Webmaster tools — increased 1,350% in the first ten months of the engagement.
- Over 2,500 unique social shares have been earned to editorial content from January through October 2013.
- Most importantly, online applications are steadily improving each month, and Zillidy is fast becoming a widely accepted alternative to traditional lending.