If you run an online business you’ve probably learned that it’s a HUGE battle to get traffic, especially if your website is new.
You’ve got no search engine rankings, no connections and no idea how to get thousands of people to your site.
You have to fight to for every single visitor that you get.
I feel your pain. I’ve been there. But I learned how to overcome that problem by using reddit to drive high quality traffic to my sites for the last 9 months. It’s been a total game changer!
In fact, one simple reddit post got 625 sign ups to my brand new product in just 9 days. Yes you read that right! Not 625 visitors, 625 sign ups.
Not too shabby!
I’ll be honest with you. Right now, you will not be able to replicate these results. Why?
The truth is…
Redditors Hate You
If you were to start promoting your site on reddit right now, you’d be likely to join the thousands of “Reddit Marketers” that get laughed off of the site. You see, the trick to reddit marketing is, well, to not market.
Redditors aren’t big fans of self promotion. In fact, there is a special fiery hatred within every redditors’ heart toward shameless self-promoters.
They can smell marketers from a mile away, and they’re not afraid to let you know that they hate you. If they don’t like your post, they will downvote it, bad mouth you, humiliate you and try to get you banned.
So what can you do? Most marketers that I know have either actually got banned, or have just given up.
I don’t blame them either…
It’s true that reddit marketing is a tough cookie to crack, but I’m here to tell you, you can crack it. I’m going to show you how I use it to regularly promote my sites.
My First Shot Case Study
Way back in the day, Spring of 2014 that is, I decided to figure this reddit thing out.
I already liked the site, and I still visit it on a regular basis for an endless supply of GIF images to laugh at:
It was here that I witnessed some “Reddit Marketers” being treated in some of the worst ways imaginable. I knew I couldn’t do what they were doing, if I wanted my share of the 71 billion pageviews reddit gets each year.
At the time I ran a site that allowed me great flexibility in what content I could create. I found myself constantly using reddit to find ideas of things to write about.
Then it hit me…
A Reddit-Revelation in Plain Sight
I thought: I could come up with so much content that would fit in well in these subreddits.
This was an invaluable lesson…
In order to be successful with reddit marketing, you can’t be a marketer. You have to be a redditor
You have to share their passions! But more importantly, you have to share their hatred for self-promotion. Only share something with the community if you think it’s awesome.
That’s exactly what everyone else on the reddit does! It doesn’t matter where the content comes from, even if it’s from your own site.
After I realized this, I started to use reddit normally. I interacted on the site, posted cool links that I found and upvoted other posts. Just as the average redditor would do.
One day, I decided to post an article of my own. Here are the results:
(I have no idea why I was using Statcounter instead of Google Analytics back then)
reddit was the only public place that I had ever promoted this site. I only posted 2 links and they managed to get a large initial influx of visitors as well as “stick” and generate some consistent traffic over time.
Here are the 2 posts that I used on reddit:
Nothing too special about them right?
But as Confucius once said “It’s not the reddit post, but the redditor behind that post that defines you.” 😉
I knew I was onto something.
I moved on from that project, but I kept this in my tool belt. Over the past 9 months I have spent a lot of time refining and testing this process into a system that I’m going to share with you below.
There are 10 steps you need to follow to be successful on reddit. Skipping even one of these can ruin your reputation on the site, or risk get you banned.
Follow these steps closely, though, and you’ll have the power to send thousands of visitors to your site on demand.
10 Steps to reddit Marketing Success, and the Results that They Bring
1. Keep It Relevant
If you want to get large amounts of traffic from reddit, you have to keep your posts highly relevant to the users.
This means that the more that you can tailor your posts to the subreddit that you’re posting in, the better. Avoid posting content that addresses too broad of an audience.
This requires you to do a little bit of research into your subreddit and see what kinds of posts are already popular. Get a feel for your audience there. Then you will be more equipped to create a popular post of your own.
If the end goal of your site is to sell a product or get subscribers, you will need to do some customer development first.
This will ensure that you’re in touch with what your audience wants, while saving you a ton of time in the long run.
2. Only Post Great Content
Only post your best content on reddit!
Short and generic content will not perform well. It will also get down-voted and you’ll lose any valuable reputation points (karma) that you have.
Only post content that is in-depth, unique, well-written, helpful and actionable. Wherever you post your article, reddit users are going to click on it to check it out. What they think of it (either upvote or down vote) will dictate your results.
3. No Double Dipping
Don’t start getting greedy on me now! 😉
I’ll admit, the big win is addictive.
When you log in to your analytics account and see that spike in traffic and realize: “Oh yeah, I posted on reddit – and it only took me 2 seconds!”
Usually the next natural thought is “I should be doing this all the time!”
But that’s where you can get yourself in trouble. Stay out of “hot” areas. This means that if you just posted a link in a subreddit, let it rest for a while! I usually wait 2 weeks to a month before I post another link of my own in the same subreddit.
4. Have fun
This is possibly the most important point on the list that impatient marketers overlook.
This is why ‘the other guys’ are terrible at getting traffic from reddit.
You need to be a normal reddit user.
Remember, you can’t be a marketer, you have to be a redditor.
Interact with the rest of the site. Build up a post history that shows that you’re a normal user. Build up your karma points by posting helpful or funny comments on other posts.
Does this mean that you’re going to have to spend hours on end seemingly wasting time on the site?
All it takes is about 10 minutes a week talking about your favorite subjects or commenting on some of those funny GIF images. The interesting thing about reddit users is that they are generally very passionate about the site.
If they think that they smell a “marketer,” they WILL go and look at your post history and see if your posting pattern confirms their suspicion. If you have a good amount of normal posts, you will prove them wrong!
Not to mention “having fun” on subreddits relevant to your niche will give you a sense of what posts are popular there, so you can model them to create popular posts of your own.
Following the above guidelines has allowed me to achieve these results to the site that I am working with now.
reddit never existed as a traffic source for this site before I began applying these techniques.
Do you know what it took to get those 1,104 clicks from reddit? Drumroll please…
A grand total of 3 posts.
I’ll be modest and say that it took me a minute to create each post. That’s not bad traffic ROI for only spending 3 minutes.
Here’s a screenshot of the reddit traffic my first week helping promote this site. This was from a single post.
Follow these steps and they will allow you to keep a positive reputation on reddit and sustain the above results.
5. Address the Concerns of the Community Before They Have Them
Steps 1-4 can get you far, but if you want to take it to the next level (which I’m sure you do) you can’t stop there!
Addressing the community’s concerns before they have them ties in with step 4 on the list. If you post links to your site on reddit, there will be a lot of users that will to try to find an excuse to down vote your posts, report you to moderators, bad mouth you etc.
What you have to do is beat them to the punch and address all of their concerns before they can get a word in.
I’ll show you how I did it while promoting my first Udemy course.
You can use text posts to help you promote something. The idea is to provide value and explain yourself before you ask users to click through to your site. You can be honest about the content being yours as long as it is genuinely helpful
Here’s exactly how I did it:
Posting Udemy courses in the entrepreneur subreddit has been a hot topic lately. So many of the users there complain because people make terrible courses and spam the entrepreneur subreddit. There are some posts like this that are actually valuable content (like mine 😉 ) but many users want to ban these types of threads and down vote them viciously.
Even in the midst of all of that trouble, by using this technique I managed to attract zero negative comments, and make the controversial list because lots of users were upvoting, while others were down voting. In the end, making the controversial list only got me more traffic. More on that a little later.
6. Don’t Ever Let Your First (or second) Post be a Promotion
This should go without saying, but if you’re new to a subreddit, be sure to post a few other things in that there first before you decide to promote anything of your own. I made this point short, since the last one was so long. 🙂
7. Don’t Over-Promote.
You may think that if you don’t promote your site repeatedly in the same Subreddit that you’ll be fine. But this is yet another big reddit no-no.
reddit moderators and users can see your site-wide activity.
Not to mention that they have automatic spam filters.
If you post links to the same domain name too often you run a huge risk. reddit’s automatic spam filters will blacklist your domain, so that if ANYONE posts it, it won’t show up. They can also “ghost” your account which is a special kind of punishment for spammers. Getting ghosted means that none of your posts ever show up to anyone but you. So you can post as much as you want, but they will never show up to anyone else.
Don’t abuse the system, and you’ll be safe.
So what happened with the Udemy course?
Long story short, other people began to do my work for me.
reddit is a great source of content for everyone. If users see something of value, they will share it. I only posted that text post 9 days before I wrote this post.
Look at that—652 students enrolled in the course!
And yes, reddit is the only public place that I’ve posted the link. Other redditors shared my link in many other places, which boosted my traffic and got me a surprising amount of sign ups, considering I was only shooting for 50. I’ll attribute about 15-30 students to me privately emailing people. So let’s call it 625 students resulting from one post on reddit.
Here is how google analytics registered the traffic that I was getting:
Notice the high rate of engagement! All traffic driven to this campaign was very interested in what I had to offer, which again is no easy feat with many other traffic sources.
8. Share Your New Posts With Your Friends
Even if you do not have a team, you should still have a group of people or a network that you can share your content with. This step entails you sending your new reddit posts to your friends (or Twitter followers) that are also reddit users. If they like what you posted, they’ll give you an upvote, which will attract other reddit users, and get the ball rolling for your post to get very popular.
Whenever I post anything on reddit, I immediately send it to a few of my friends that are on reddit. This popular post of mine, started with just a few upvotes, by the first people that I sent it to.
Once it was upvoted, other redditors knew that the post was worth their time to check out.
9. Comment and Reply to Everyone
Activity on your reddit post breeds more activity.
This means that when someone comments on your post, reply to their comment to double the comment count. When posts have lots of comments, it gets more redditors to click on your post, and join the conversation.
You can even be the first one to comment on a link that you post. I’ve used this method before to explain the content that I’ve posted and get the conversation started. With the same post above, I’ve stayed very active in the comments, to add lots of activity to the thread.
Here’s the comment count:
This looks like a lot of activity on a post, although 10 of the comments are my own.
10. Be Humble
Most people take criticism on their post as a bad thing.
But you can use it as one of your biggest advantages.
When you post and reply to comments, be sure to keep your tone humble.
Not only will this help you with number 5 on the list (Address the Concerns of the Community Before They Have Them), it will also help you to get better at using reddit to drive traffic and customers to your website. When you reply to comments, be sure to learn as much from your commenters as you can.
If they criticize you use their criticism to ask questions.
State that you actively follow the rules, and that you aim to add value to the community.
The reddit self promotion guidelines they state: “It’s perfectly fine to be a redditor with a website, it’s not okay to be a website with a reddit account.”
If you follow this checklist, you will be following the rules of reddit.
Remind the community of this, and ask how you can better contribute your content. You’ll be surprised how much the commenters will help you get better at promoting your content.
I practice this in all of my posts, and it has allowed me to keep a very positive reputation on reddit, while learning how to get better at driving traffic to my sites.
To make sure that these points stick with you, we’ve created an infographic “cheat sheet” that you can always use as a quick reference.
Download it, share it, print it, but whatever you do be sure to use it.
Too Long, Didn’t Read–The Cheat Sheet:
11. Bonus Step: Advertise
If you have an offer that you’d really like to send a lot of traffic to, then ADVERTISE!
Getting started with reddit ads is super cheap ($5 minimum) and you can send targeted traffic directly to an offer for $1 for 1000 ad impressions.
Paid ads that I currently run get 1%+ click through rates when everyone else averages 0.2%.
That’s 5X the average CTR of reddit ads!
Not only are the click through rates good, but the traffic to my landing pages has converted between 20-25%.
I’m not 100% done testing this out yet, but I’m planning on creating a guide on this very soon once I get some solid results and continue to fine tune the process.
Stay tuned, and I’ll be sure to send it to you for Free!
Don’t be a “Reddit Marketer!”
Be a redditor.
Spend an extra 10 minutes a week to use the site normally, and get a feel for the community.
Follow this guide and you will be well on your way to being an upstanding reddit user, that also happens to own a website. You’ll also be well on your way to being able to drive thousands of visitors to your site on demand.
I’ll be hanging out in the comments, and responding to everyone’s comments and answering any questions. 🙂