website attracts unusual visitors with short videos
When you spend your whole life
doing one thing, you often forget how interesting it might be
to other people. This is what happened to SSI, a 25-year-old industrial
shredding company in Wilsonville, Oregon.
Last year the industrial shredder
company updated its website. Aside from the general redesign,
the company added a new feature: movies. When visiting their site
(ssiworld.com), you can select from scores of short films of everything
from boats to refrigerators being chewed up by shredders the size
of an Abrams tank.
the first few months, the attraction worked well. Site visitation
nearly quadrupled as people began to forward the link to friends
and colleagues. This followed the mathematical growth pattern
of a typical website in which the more people link to it…well,
the more people link to it. The new site was doing its job.
But then something unexpected
happened. The shredding movies attracted the attention of bloggers,
and through them a popular cable TV show called Screensavers.
On March 8th Screensavers featured a visit to the SSI site and
showed some of the movies of couches, washing machines, and computers
being chewed to pieces. The show’s host pronounced the site
“cool.” His female co-host asked, “What is it
with guys and destruction?”
In the next few days following
the airing of the show, SSI began to get hundreds of thousands
of hits to its site. By the end of March it had logged up to a
half-a-million visits! The trend has continued unabated as more
and more bloggers have added the link to their own sites, exponentially
increasing its visibility to search engines across the web.
A cynical salesman might scoff
that these half-million people are not qualified leads. Admittedly
most of them are likely teenage boys who merely think it’s
cool to watch things being destroyed. However, one huge benefit
to having a half-a-million freeloaders drop in for the show is
that a generic search query for ‘shredder’ brings
up SSI first, to both teenaged boys and recycling tycoons.
If there is a lesson in this
it’s that you should never underestimate what can be interesting
to so many people. It was certainly not the intention of SSI to
increase its market visibility on the backs of adolescent males.
But in the age of the Internet, it was its intention to share
the common shredding demonstrations that SSI conducts on a daily
basis. And by sharing the entertaining spectacle of shredding
with the world, SSI also happened to attract the attention of
qualified leads. And, of course, watching things being eaten by
a shredder is just plain fun.