Do you know why Upworthy.com gets more than 3 million unique visitors per month? It’s not because they publish better content than everyone else.
In fact, most of their content isn’t even their own.
It’s because they understand why we ‘like’ and share content with our friends. They understand virality, and they know how to manufacture it for big traffic. Upworthy is only one of several examples of marketing strategies that bring big traffic. There are others, and you can use them yourself.
If you want big traffic for your site, you certainly need to learn a thing or two from these awesome examples of marketing strategies. Here are six, using actual numbers where possible.
Groove is an online tool for SaaS & eCommerce customer support, but that isn’t all that they do well. They are also great bloggers. After running a successful (and traditional) inbound marketing blog, Groove felt like their approach wasn’t getting them where they needed to go. They decided to spice things up a bit, so they shut down their blog (which was actually garnering a respectable 1,000 pageviews a day) in favor of something new.
They started sharing their deepest darkest secrets as a business. Groove currently makes about $35k per month in revenue. I know this because they told me. They’ve also shared their conversion rates (3.2% and 8%), and some of their biggest failures. They’ve told us everything that companies usually leave private. Why? Because it made them stand out.
The Groove blogging strategy is based on a single idea: talking about the amount of money they make each month. At the bottom of every blog post, Groove displays a small slider proudly touting their current revenue and their target goal of $100k. Pretty simple idea right? Why does this work?
The Groove blog is among my examples of marketing strategies because it takes advantage of a core human desire that we all have to compare ourselves to others. It is a phenomenon know as “social comparison” which Wikipedia defines as a “theory centered on the belief that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluations.” In other words, we evaluate ourselves based on what we see in others.
This might sound unhealthy, but it is an ingrained human trait that Groove is simply leveraging for their own marketing strategy. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it has already brought them big traffic. In their first five weeks they gained more than 5k new blog subscribers and more than 500 new trial signups.
Big Strategy: Leveraging social comparison and sharing actual data about their business.
Big Win: 5,000 new blog subscribers in less than 5 weeks
At first glance, the KISSmetrics blog doesn’t look like much. The design is a bit dated and the content doesn’t feel all that unique, but it doesn’t have to. The KISSmetrics blog gets amazing traffic, and they do it without writing any of the content on their own.
A few months ago, KISSmetrics co-found Neil Patel shared that the blog receives more than 350k visitors per month, with blog traffic resulting in more than 70% of the new signups for their product. The long and short of it is that the KISSmetrics blog is huge driver of traffic, so how did they do it?
Patel outlines a strategy that includes compelling content that readers love to share.
- Free online guides (reusable content).
- Actionable & practical post topics.
- Highly engaging infographics.
There is more to the story. The KISSmetrics blog is driven by guest contributors. There are no KISSmetrics bloggers! This saves the company a ton of money, and actually helps them drive growth becuase of our own need to share the things that we create. When a new guest author gets a post published on the KISSmetrics blog, you can bet that they share it with their fans, resulting in a ton of free virality and social traffic for KISSmetrics. After years of work, the traffic has compounded to an amazing rate.
The KISSmetrics blog is successful because they embrace content that is highly shareable for both its readers and it writers.
Big Strategy: Highly shareable content.
Big Win: More than 350,000 visitors per month, contributing 70% of total new product signups.
Upworthy.com is a headliner when it comes to amazing traffic and a unique approach. They have recently shared that they have more than 3 million unique visitors per month. This is insane traffic. Where does it come from?
There is a long-held argument that virality can’t be manufactured. While I’m not interested in settling that debate right here, Upworthy certainly proves that we can do a lot to at least help manufacture it. In their slide presentation The Sweet Science Of Virality they outline their approach.
- Find Amazing Content – A hero, a villain, or an epic story arc–the first step is finding something that will inspire people to share.
- Frame It – A great headline and a killer story arc make for a good reason to click. Amazing content still needs proper framing.
- Back It With A Solid UX – Which share buttons get the most clicks, the ones on the top or the left side? Upworthy knows.
- Rely On A/B Testing – Upworthy tests several headlines before they begin–every time. Always be testing.
- Go Get Lucky – You can’t force something to go viral, even if it’s good.
Virality is a mixture of great content, a compelling story, and the right environment. You have to nail all three of these things to go viral, but that is where the traffic is. Upworthy has found the sweet spot.
Big Strategy: Amazing content, plus a compelling story arc, plus a scientific UX equals manufactured virality.
Big Win: 3 million unique visitors per month.
Smart Passive Income
Pat Flynn was laid off in 2008, but he didn’t go and get another job – he started working for himself. Since then, he has been able to earn more money and work less hours running his Smart Passive Income blog. It sounds pretty good right? How did he do it?
One of the first things Pat launched was a podcast that has since been downloaded more than two million times and its listeners have given it more than 500 five-star ratings. In the podcast Pat consistently provides helpful advice, and tells his listeners how he has achieved success. But that isn’t all of the content that he has created. Pat has launched several successful money-making websites and shares all of his knowledge with the world.
His first big success was a website that he created for the security guard training industry. Once he got it up and running he immediately documented how he did it in a 20-part blog series and gave it away online. Now, more than 50,000 readers consume his content, purchase his training courses, and make purchases through his affiliate links.
The key to Pat’s success is his transparency. He has an entire section of his website that is dedicated to breaking down his monthly income reports. Few are brave enough to publish this type of information, so visitors take notice when it is there. Pat has built an empire that now earns him more than $50k each month, and he did it all by sharing his process and results with the world.
Smart Passive Income
Big Strategy: Extreme transparency, and the non-stop ability to share useful content that is backed by personal experience.
Big Win: $55k in monthly revenue and more than 50k blog subscribers.
In 2012, John Saddington deleted his Facebook page and his Instagram account. He saw Facebook focusing “more on profiting off their users than providing value to them” and decided enough was enough. He left forever, but it left him with an itch that he needed to scratch. Soon after his exodus, John developed an idea for an Instagram alternate that he would later call Pressgram.
A few month later, John put his ideas and sketching into a formal offering and launching his first ever Kickstarter campaign. He used the Kickstarter site, and his WordPress blog, to tell his story. As it turns out, that story resonated with a few people. Before the deadline, nearly 500 people backed his idea with $56,500 in funding. It was an epic win, and it spawned an active community.
Pressgram is a great app, but the most compelling part of the product is the story that John tells. His ability to craft a story and generate a following is noteworthy, and definitely worth emulating. He is honest, transparent, and welcoming. He really makes his readers feel like they are along for the ride. Getting users to buy into a product at that level is not easy, and certainly nothing to shrug off.
Big Strategy: Tell a compelling story that people resonate with. Use passion, integrity, and honesty as the guide.
Big Win: $56,500 in Kickstarter funding and an active user base.
Why Do You Need These Examples Of Marketing Strategies?
There are thousands of ways to drive traffic to your site or blog, and these are just a few of the examples of marketing strategies that you can emulate. So, why do we need them?
The idea isn’t to copy one of these strategies down to the last detail, but that we can learn from those who have gone before us. We can begin to emulate them in our own marketing efforts, because these are proven strategies that have worked time and time again.
So, which one is right for you? There probably isn’t just one. We all need to find our own stride. Part of the success story for each of these examples is the way they incorporate their own personality and approach. Don’t get stuck trying the same-old content song and dance. Mix it up and find your real growth potential.