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Case Study

How We Helped SESIRE, a Fledgling Sextech Startup Grow a Following from Scratch

by Paul David Perry, Co-Founder & CEO

Introduction

The setting

Here at LH, we’re not only passionate about Tech-for-good solutions that can improve every area of human life — we’re also a sex-positive bunch, which is why we’re big fans of sextech.

Sextech — short for sex technology — is a rapidly growing sector projected to be worth $37.2 billion by the end of 2023.

While many sextech companies focus on sexual health and wellness, others are alternative porn platforms like SESIRE.

User-generated adult content has been on the rise for a few years — in particular, subscription-based models that allow users to pay creators directly for their spicy content. 

The pandemic bolstered their growing popularity as many people — sex workers and ordinary folks alike — began turning to them to replace their income in the face of lockdowns and job losses.

But until now, sexy content creators have been at the mercy of their subscribers and the platforms that host them — and the industry is notoriously bad at empowering and protecting its creators.

SESIRE’s mission is to transform the subscription-based adult content industry — think OnlyFans, but without the dubious (and sometimes illegal) practices.

This might seem like one of our more off-the-wall clients, but since SESIRE’s mission is to empower sex workers — traditionally one of the most discriminated-against groups — it aligns with our values of supporting mission-driven businesses.

Here’s the story of our work together.

Introduction

The plot

SESIRE founders Sam and Graham set out to create an alternative to OnlyFans, the dominant player in the space, that would allow creators to work safely and receive their money on time. 

They knew that many creators had turned to subscription-based platforms during the pandemic as a survival strategy and that most are just ordinary humans just trying to make ends meet. 

OnlyFans has hit the headlines in recent years for all the wrong reasons, ranging from problems with their payout system to a lack of safety features and protocols for content creators.

Sam and Graham knew adult content creators deserved better, so they created a platform that would support and empower them. 

Built on Web3 technology, SESIRE boasts a host of features that empower adult content creators to take control of their audience, content distribution, and earnings. 

Because it’s built on the blockchain, the platform allows for cryptocurrency payouts that enable creators to access their earnings almost instantaneously as well as security features to ensure creator safety. 

To prove their credentials to the content creator community, they hired Khalii Wilde, an experienced spicy content creator and camgirl, as Community Director. Khalii is an ideal match for SESIRE’s ideal customer profile (ICP), so as the official face of the company, she could connect with its target audience and give the platform more credibility. 

SESIRE was pre-seed when the team reached out to LH for support. They were starting from scratch, and the website was still under construction. With a tight budget, they trusted us to build and execute a strategy from the ground up.

The Process

The script 

As with all our client engagements, we started by jumping straight into the audit phase, led by Will, our chief strategy officer. He went through SESIRE’s social channels, website, and brand positioning with a fine-toothed comb to identify SESIRE’s unique value proposition. 

Since the website was under construction, it gave us a blank slate to work with. Competitor analysis showed that the majority of similar platforms hadn’t given much thought to SEO strategy or blog content (with a couple of notable exceptions), so we knew our talented writing team would be able to plan and execute an SEO strategy that would blow them out of the water. The challenge was creating content that would move two very different audiences through the funnel: creators and subscribers. 

On the social media front, Will determined that the best platforms for SESIRE to focus on would be Twitter because of its lenient policy on NSFW content and TikTok for its potential reach. Our content strategist Adi researched competitor social channels and concluded that we could do better — most of the content was either juvenile or titillating and aimed at subscribers rather than creators. 

Since our two-pronged strategy was targeting both subscribers and creators, we knew that Khalii was the perfect face to host SESIRE’s TikTok content. Her experience as a spicy creator would appeal to both target audiences, and she would be able to speak with authority to the priorities and concerns of creators. 

Since TikTok has a tendency to delete NSFW content, we enlisted the help of social media manager Sylva to come up with a creative strategy that would appeal to both target audiences without violating any community guidelines. Together, Sylva and Khalii made the perfect team — combining strategic creativity with Khalii’s skills in front of the camera. 

Finally, we designed a guest posting strategy to position SESIRE as an authority in the sector and drive traffic to the website. 

The Process

Lights, camera, action!

Once we had the strategy set, it was time to put it into action. Here’s how we did it.

Blog

Aware of the, ahem, ins and outs of the adult industry, we were clear about one thing: we wanted to steer clear of the kind of juvenile content competitors were creating and stand out with well-thought-out, sophisticated posts that would appeal to both ICPs and drive sign-ups of both creators and subscribers.

The team got stuck into a fun and creative brainstorming session, coming up with topics that ranged from sexual health to tips for creating high-quality content on a budget.

Some of the pieces we wrote for the blog centered around problems in the industry, such as the “10 OnlyFans horror stories” piece. We also tried to entice top creators with large followings by creating a listicle of the best adult creators in the industry.

And when team SESIRE attended the AVN awards — the adult industry’s biggest annual event — we created a post about it to show that SESIRE has its finger on the pulse of industry events.

We also focused on creating SESIRE-specific pieces to highlight the value of the platform and attract more creators — for example, by shouting about the referral system that helps them leverage their fanbase to increase their earnings. 

In parallel, we also created subscriber-focused content, such as “How to use cryptocurrency to make payments on SESIRE.”

One thing that was unique about this engagement was SESIRE’s anti-OnlyFans positioning. While most brands shy away from talking about competitors in any capacity, highlighting the drawbacks of OnlyFans as SESIRE’s raison d´être made sense in this context. 

Not only was SESIRE built in direct response to these issues, but it was also a way to position an as-yet-unknown platform against an industry giant and differentiate itself based on its values. 

Of course, we didn’t just sling mud at OnlyFans or make baseless claims. All the anti-OnlyFans positioning was based on solid evidence and allegations being made against the platform not only by creators but also by US Members of Congress and the FBI — among others.

Social media

Meanwhile, over on TikTok, Sylva and Khalii got stuck into creative ways to build the right audience while circumventing TikTok’s limitations. 

Unlike Twitter, the platform takes a strict approach to NSFW content and regularly deletes videos and accounts that it deems too spicy or that reference the adult industry. 

Additionally, the majority of TikTok users view content on their “For You Page” — a personalized feed where TikTok recommends videos they might enjoy. Therefore, the challenge for creators is to come up with content ideas that appeal to the target audiences without being overtly explicit.

In many ways, Sylva and Khalii were the dream team for this task. As an experienced content creator, Khalii makes the perfect TikTok host, and Sylva is not just a social media manager but also a creative in her own right. 

They set about implementing a strategy with a regular posting cadence since regular posts are a must for successfully growing a TikTok following. 

The content mix included cosplay, behind-the-scenes videos of Khalii’s farm-girl-content-creator life, humorous takes on different aspects of creator life, and direct plugs for the SESIRE platform. 

Guest posts

Since SESIRE is taking a stand against industry malpractices, it made sense to write some guest posts and pitch them to respected publications. 

Every LH client receives an Earned Media Bible, a meticulously-researched list of leading industry publications curated by our digital marketing apprentice, Shakeera.

Armed with the EMB, the writing team set about creating two guest posts to challenge prevailing industry trends: 

  • “The toxic masculinity of OnlyFans”
  • “Prioritizing female pleasure in porn”
The Result

The happy ending 

The biggest win during our work with SESIRE was the TikTok channel. Starting with a brand-new account, in six months, SESIRE’s TikTok gained over 500 followers and 4,000 likes from 70 posts.

Although that might not sound like much, they’re solid results for a platform that actively penalizes adult content and where organic reach is low. Through her creative solutions, Sylva was able to grow SESIRE’s following while flirting with account violations. 

We also managed to snag SESIRE a mention in Europe’s top early-stage startup publication Sifted, with which LH has a close relationship.

SEO is a long game, and while clients can sometimes find it frustrating when they don’t see immediate results, this is the norm. SEO strategies help your website rank over time, not after the first five blog posts. We’re confident that our strategy — based on in-depth keyword research and constructed through high-quality content — will yield results for SESIRE in the coming months.

The Result

We help early-stage startups find their feet

Early-stage startup founders have a lot on their plates, and launching a marketing strategy from scratch takes time, energy, and expertise. 

That’s why for a lot of founders, outsourcing your marketing to an agency like LH is a smart move — even when resources are limited. Not only does it take a load off your shoulders — it’s also a great opportunity to brush up your marketing skills. 

Sam and Graham recognized this and were happy to take our team’s advice while also being willing learners who were keen to understand the content strategy. 

If you’re an early-stage startup founder looking for support with content, PR, or social media marketing, book a strategy call with me to learn more about how we can help you.

Let’s level up your content marketing.

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