There are many different types of traffic sources. Some of the more common ones are:
- Paid Ads
- Niche communities
- Social media
#1 and #2 is outside the scope of this guide.
Let’s talk about #3 and #4.
These are places where people with the same interests or in the same niche congregate. “Water cooler” conversations take place here.
So if you love baking cakes, you’d join a baking community to learn more about the tips and tricks on how to bake the perfect cake, and also to get support along the way from fellow bakers.
(the above is an example from the eyes of a consumer)
If you’re a baking coach/expert and you run this as a business, you’d also join a baking community with the primary goals of providing value to the members by interacting and engaging with them, and providing value in the forms of tips and tricks.
(from the eyes of a business owner)
Since you’re reading this guide, most likely you belong to the “business owner” type.
Nevertheless I want you to see that for the same example, we can have 2 completely different types of motives. This means you must be strategic in how you approach this.
Alice is thinking of homeschooling her child but she doesn't know how to do it. She joined a homeschooling community as a consumer/learner.
On the other hand, Lisa is a homeschooling expert. She teaches parents and homeschool teachers how they can homeschool children using proven methodologies for success.
Alice is Lisa’s target audience.
Go where your target audience already hangs out.
Overarching community strategy
Below I’m going to briefly mention a few platforms/places where you can search for your niche communities.
Regardless of which ones you choose, the strategy remains the same -- to provide so much value to the community that they have no choice but to notice, like, and trust you.
You do that by:
- Interacting and engaging with members (reply to their posts)
- Providing useful tips and content that help members
- Supporting and cheering members’ wins (uplifting them) or encouraging them when they’re down (like, reply, share / retweet)
In his book “The Embedded Entrepreneur”, Arvid Kahl calls this “Engagement, Empowerment, and Valuable Content”. It’s a great book that covers in detail how to build an audience by embedding and immersing yourself in the target audience you wish to serve. I highly recommend it if you want to dive deeper into this topic.
To summarize, you want people to miss you when you’re not around 😉
You enter the community not with the mindset of selling them something (even though you are). You enter the community with the mindset of making friends and serving plus helping the members.
Eventually a segment of the community will check out your profile → go to your website / lead capture page → opt-in to your email list → become your customers.
That’s how you make this work.
At every stage of the funnel, there are going to be drop-offs, and that’s perfectly fine. You can’t satisfy and please everyone.
Optimize your profile
Most people’s community / social media profiles are boring. They’re not optimized to “hook” people in to find out more about them.
The result is people leave your profile as fast as they came in.
Instead, you want people to think to themselves: “This person is interesting. Let’s follow / befriend him and check out his website.”
Here are some examples of boring profiles:
- Marketing coach for personal trainers
- Founder of SEO agency - SEOFirst
- Public speaking coach
People reading the above will think to themselves: “So what? I've seen those hundreds of times.”
Here are things you want to have in your profile:
- How you can help your target audience (not just anyone, but your target audience). You can use this format:
- I help [target audience] [solve their problem / get results] [without pain point / fear] [proof]
- I help personal trainers get consistent clients every month without spending a fortune, like I have for 34 trainers in 10 countries
- I help bloggers reach the top 3 Google spots for their chosen keywords without waiting for months, like I have for 67 bloggers across 7 niches
- I help working professionals improve their public speaking skills without embarrassing themselves in front of their boss and subordinates. Past clients include Forbes and IBM.
- If there’s not enough room to write the above, feel free to adjust. E.g. You can skip the [pain point] part.
- If you’re just starting out and don’t have proof yet, you can skip the [proof] part and add it later.
- Make sure what you say is true. Don’t fake it. People are smart. They know if you try to trick them.
- A friendly / professional picture depending on your industry. Never use a stock photo or a photo that’s not you. People want to see the real face behind the profile.
E.g. My Twitter profile
Some communities you can join
The largest social media platform with close to 3 billion users, Facebook has tons of groups covering all kinds of topics you can think of.
I’m not going to bore you with screenshots of how to search for Facebook groups. It’s pretty straightforward.
An example of engaging and being helpful to others:
With over 400 million users on Reddit, this platform also provides a good opportunity for you to find a community that suits you.
Subreddits are specific communities talking about a specific topic, while Reddit is the main site. Subreddits is to Facebook groups what Reddit is to Facebook.
See this on how to find a relevant subreddit.
Independently-built communities in the creators and entrepreneurs arena
- Indie Hackers -- a community of creators and founders, leaning more on tech creators
- Hacker News -- focused on computer science and entrepreneurship
Dropping links in communities is generally frowned upon.
Be careful of dropping links; post content directly instead
Make sure you follow their rules. Otherwise you’ll get kicked out from the community.
Instead of dropping links to your blog post, you can simply copy and paste your post content right into the community.
I know what you’re thinking:
1/ No need to worry about SEO duplicate content as it’s a totally different ballgame
You can always do SEO in the future when you have the time and budget to do so. Make sure to post content to your site/blog first before posting anywhere else.
2/ Nobody follows everything you do/put out, even your customers and subscribers.
You’re just a very very tiny part of their lives. This means no need to be afraid they’ll see the same content in different places. Even if they do, so what? It serves as refresher training.
His post about “Landing pages that convert” on his site:
The exact same post on Indie Hackers:
And on Twitter:
Make sure not to only post content all the time as this could also be regarded as self-promotion.
Content + Interaction = Trust, Likability, Authority
Content + Content + Content = Self-promo
What do you think of someone who only posts content without interacting and engaging with other members? It doesn’t take long for people to know that he is in the community for his own selfish benefits.
Don’t do it. People are smart and they’ll notice it immediately.
Instead, do a combination of posting content + interacting and engaging with members.
Here he is interacting and engaging with people:
And below he is posting valuable content: