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Case Study

How Blogging Builds Brands: One Watchmaker’s Path to 190% Traffic Growth

Steven Lee
CEO, DuFrane Watches

“Compared to last year, our monthly traffic increased from 12,800 visitors to 35,000. That’s a 190% increase!”

Slipping a DuFrane Bergstrom on your wrist is more than just “putting on a watch.” It’s a reminder of the meticulous passion for craftsmanship you once thought extinct. It’s telling stories over a good bourbon with friends. It conjures images of adventures you’ve had, and a few still to come.

DuFrane Watch artfully positioned with a glass of bourbon

These are the qualities DuFrane Watches Founder and CEO Steven Lee delivers in every timepiece he designs. And it’s the aesthetic he wants his brand to radiate.

So, he partnered with Matcha to build a blog that goes beyond the coils and springs of his creations and speaks to the individuality of his audience.

That blog is now an integral part of DuFrane’s brand. They use blog content to get their audience engaged on their website, on social media, and through email. And in just six months, it’s increased DuFrane’s website traffic by nearly 200%.  

Here’s how Matcha helped DuFrane build a brand as meticulous as its watches.

Building a lifestyle brand takes more than just promoting products

Steven Lee knows not everyone thinks about watches the way he does.

The former pilot considers details like the durability of sapphire crystals and 3/16 stainless steel with singular interest. He’s collected watches for more than 20 years and regularly attends gatherings of horologists who admire vintage Rolexes and debate the finer points of watchmaking.

“But that’s not my audience,” Steven says. “I’m after people who love to travel. People who are into mechanical things like motorcycles and cars. People who appreciate the craftsmanship of a good bourbon.”

He needs to connect with his customers through his brand, not just his product’s features.

What compounds this is the fact that a DuFrane watch isn’t an impulse purchase. Steven says the typical decision-making process is three months. We can’t expect one ad or email alone to close the deal.

Steven knows that his audience won’t pay attention to product message after product message, no matter how good that product is.

Instead, he wants people to associate his watches with a certain frame of mind. Like the excitement of heading out for a big adventure. Or the satisfying purr of a well-tuned engine.

In short, he’s built a brand that embodies a particular lifestyle.

How young ecommerce businesses use blog content for brand building

Brand building for a young ecommerce business (DuFrane celebrated its third anniversary in February 2) is essential for differentiating against larger, more entrenched brands.

This is even true for products that lend themselves to impulse buys. The reality is that most of your customers won’t buy on their first visit to your site, whether you sell $8 socks or $800 watches.

Digital marketing guru Neil Patel puts it this way:

Amazon is always just a click away. In all probability, these huge businesses will have similar products at a lower price than your ecommerce platform. So, you need compelling differentiation to make an emotional connection with your target audience.

It’s how Dollar Shave Club became the poster child for direct-to-consumer success. Not by talking product details. But by using a clear brand personality to connect with their audience.  

This is true for DuFrane as well.

“I can’t compete in SEM with a big watch manufacturer,” Steven says. “I could never bid on the term ‘watches’ and have the budget to win it.”

“The real differentiation is what someone thinks about when they imagine putting on a DuFrane watch,” he continues. “And the way I capture that is with creative content.”

But this was a challenge for Steven.

He’s not just the CEO of DuFrane Watches; his attention to detail touches every aspect of the product. He designs and oversees the production of each piece. He also packages and ships products and manages warranties. Spending time creating a blog and filling it with content would deter him from these important tasks.

Steven needed help. So he partnered with Matcha to create a blog that would reflect DuFrane Watches’ personality. Then, he used blog content to drive high-quality traffic to DuFrane’s website, attract new subscribers, and continue that conversation via email.

How Matcha helped DuFrane create a brand-building blog (and nearly triple website traffic)

With very limited internal bandwidth, Steven chose Matcha’s done-for-you Core package, which includes:

  • Four licensed articles each month
  • One original blog post each quarter
  • Paid social distribution budget and management
  • An analytics dashboard to see how the DuFrane blog is helping drive business

The plan also includes monthly content curation from the Matcha library and regular strategy meetings with Matcha’s content marketing experts.

“I like that this is a full-service offering,” Steven says. “The Matcha team interviewed me, learned what I wanted the brand to be, and then told me what to publish to reach my goals.”

Why licensed content?

It might seem a bit unconventional—a watch company helping its audience discover new trails to hike and journeys to take. But great branding isn’t just speaking about your product; it connects with people based on their interests, beliefs, passions, and lifestyle.

“When I first started DuFrane, I thought marketing was all about product or price point differentiation,” Steven says. “And sure, those factors play into it. But there are a lot of watch brands, both micro-sized and big incumbents. Real differentiation is what someone thinks about when they put on a DuFrane watch. The sense of adventure. I want people to say, ‘Hey, I learned about this great hike in Maine from a watch company.’ The way you capture that is with creative content.”

For a company like DuFrane, licensed content is a resource-friendly option that allows frequent publication of professionally created blog content. It’s how a one-person brand can consistently engage their audience with great storytelling.

It’s also how a small brand can generate enough blog posts to test messaging and audience targeting, build trust and awareness, and drive inexpensive but high-quality traffic.

By making ready-to-publish licensed content a big part of his blog, Steven is easily able to manage a publishing cadence even large brands would be proud of.

“I sit down for 20 minutes at the beginning of the month and publish five or six articles that Matcha has curated for me,” he notes. “I want DuFrane to be an energy. A vibe. A usefulness. These are the things licensed content from Matcha does very effectively and efficiently.”

Licensed content from Matcha makes it easy for DuFrane Watches to create a brand of adventure and exploration through their blog

 

Matcha complements those licensed articles with custom pieces like DuFrane Watches’ Guide to Looking Good: Texas Gentleman Edition. These branded articles speak to both the aesthetics of a DuFrane watch and to the company’s deep Texas roots.

“The original content I get from Matcha is very specific, very special, and catered to my brand,” he says. “They are fantastic articles.”

Driving traffic with paid Facebook distribution

DuFrane Watches facebook ad post

Steven’s second goal for the DuFrane blog was to use it as a generator of new traffic.

The Matcha Core package includes turnkey Facebook ad management by Matcha’s professional advertising team.

Matcha created and tested various ad copy, images, and articles across multiple potential target audiences on Facebook.

The ROI was incredible.

In six months, the traffic to the DuFrane Watches website increased by 190%!

Not only that, but the new traffic was very cost effective. The average cost per link click was $0.17, about 90% less than an average Facebook ad.

Steven also extends the lifespan of his content by using it in his email marketing.

“I have this phenomenal library of content to leverage, so I include it in my newsletter along with featured products and company news.”

What’s next for DuFrane?

DuFrane’s blog has become a robust resource for their audience. It’s created a brand that’s helpful, adventurous, and stylish.

Now, Steven is looking at other ways Matcha can help him convert that traffic to leads and understand the full business value of his blog.

Specifically, he’s just started using Matcha’s Lead Form Capture, which will show him what content someone read just before becoming a lead.

“I’ve been really impressed at the speed Matcha innovates,” he said. “They continue to expand how they help the small business person.”

Goals

  • Create a brand that’s differentiated not just by product, but by the emotions tied to wearing a DuFrane watch
  • Increase high-quality traffic
  • Better understand how a blog effects business goals

Strategy

  • Publish four licensed articles each month
  • Publish one custom article each quarter
  • Distribute content via Facebook ads
  • Track content-generated leads (new)

Results

  • 190% increase in website traffic in six months
  • Efficient $0.17 per link click
  • A robust blog that creates an aesthetic of adventure, craftsmanship, and style

If you’d like to know how a Matcha-fueled blog can differentiate your brand and help your small ecommerce business compete against larger players, we’d love to show you!

Click right here and we’ll talk you through how it can work for your growing brand.

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