What are the best ways to quickly grow traffic for a me-too offering?

So me and my partner came up with a spin to Airbnb that we thought would allow us to create a nice niche for ourselves. However as anyone knows, a great website/service is useless if nobody knows about it. What sort of strategies have you seen fast followers use? Basically what cost effective ways can you you leverage buzz that someone else created to benefit your offering?


  • I wonder if I should answer your post or not. It looks like a big troll, but my intuition tells me you are serious. That’s why I take the risk to feed a troll and become ridiculous (after all, I’m anonymous too :o) )

    So you are a “fast follower” of Airbnb. Wow ! That fast ? Airbnb is well known worldwide for years now. Airbnb was founded in August 2008. A fast follower would have posted this before february 2009. You are six years too late.

    Second, you ask how you could surf their wave with a me-too business. You ask it here ? To innovative startup founders who fear fast followers with me-too businesses ? Seriously ?

    If you are not a troll, try to be a man. Please forget me-too businesses and do something really valuable.

    • Hey nope not a troll. I kinda knew I’d get responses such as yours.

      At the end of the day businesses are to serve customers. We feel we can serve a segment better than Airbnb. As for surfing on others success well why climb a mountain if there’s a cable car. I’m just trying to do what someone with the same situation would do.

      But you’re right maybe it’s the wrong forum.

      • A considered thoughtful response considering the tone of the initial response to your query. Well done – you do seem to have the maturity to run a service business.

        Not every idea needs to be completely original, and if you can find a way of better serving your customer, or can find a particular niche market, you may just succeed. You’ll never know until you try.

        I suppose a way to market your business is to concentrate on the differentiatin and demonstrate in real terms how this is far far better than the competition. At the same time,my ou perhaps need to also think of why Airbnb won’t themselves adapt business nuance? Or does their business model not allow them to do what you’re doing?

        Wishing you every success with whatever course you take…

      • Original commenter here: you should tell your story differently. Don’t present yourself as a “me-too” if you have something new and valuable for customers. My startup sells innovative software and I never say it’s a “Microsoft-me-too”.

        You should present yourself as a competitor for Airbnb on some niche market segments. This way you don’t depreciate your vision. It will be easier to talk on forums, but also to investors, customers, potential employees…

        That said, I can’t give you advices to increase your website traffic. I’d like to, but I’m not skilled for that.

  • Communicate with Courage

    Your business is small, but your ideas don’t have to be. Don’t let your communications be ordinary and forgettable. Like some of the biggest brands in the world, Apple, AT&T and McDonald’s, your company can evoke powerful emotions with your images, videos and messages if you just dig deeper and have a unique point of view that you can use to attract and build your community. Small businesses can take bigger chances and defy conventional thinking more easily than larger ones so use that advantage in your communications and do something unique and amazing for your audiences.

    Write down your message map with a statement that defines your business from the customer’s perspective and then your top three (no more) benefits to that customer’s life. Focus ALL of your communications into these messages and stick to them. As a small biz owner, we already know that you’re brave. The challenge is to let that courage shine through in everything your brand touches

  • Quickly grow, I’m not sure. But I’m a strong believer in investing in your existing customers to become referrers (whatever shape that comes in).

    We’ve found that it yielded the best ROI. (pretty obvious, I guess)

    Short of that, another way to short-cut acquisition is to find distribution partners. Whilst you may not have big marketing dollars, you’ve got a LinkedIn account and a phone. So you can start dialling.

    One thing we do at every board meeting is to spend 10min brainstorming what additional partners we can bring on board. Sometimes we have ideas, other times just scratches of the head.

  • As was noted above, your positioning of your offering is very poor.

    A me-too business – especially against a well funded giant like Airbnb – is utterly worthless.

    However, a business which caters to an existing underserved demographic of customer of Airbnb is not. This is called specialization.

    And the way to market is to utilize social networking to promote your message within the demographic you are seeking to provide a specialized version of Airbnb to.

    Your offering and message must be that Airbnb is lacking in some significant way or ways to serve said demographic, but that your company fixes this. Frankly speaking, I have a hard time seeing any such opportunity vs. Airbnb which said company isn’t already attacking or could easily attack – say business travelers or travelers with dogs/children/handicapped/vegan/religious ad nauseam, but that’s none of my beeswax.

    Your marketing efforts thus should be towards business travelers such as Flyertalk, pet owners via Dog/Cat forums, parents with young children in childrearing forums, EEOC departments, etc – or in other words, do exactly what Airbnb did but with a far finer grained focus than a huge generic marketplace can offer.

    A great example is a company I saw recently which was specializing in Uber for children. That company articulated very clearly how the needs of a service for driving children a la rideshare is different, and has a very different business model and operational strategy.

  • Do you have any idea how many eBay-ish companies were founded 15-20 years ago? Not a one of them amounted to anything, and there were hundreds.

    Don’t spend you time on a me-too idea.

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