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How I Generated 1,861 Visitors from a Single Forum Post [Traffic and Conversion #10]

by Steve Scott | Join Him On Facebook

How to Increase Blog TrafficWelcome to the tenth edition of the Traffic and Conversion Series!

This monthly post describes what I’m currently doing to drive traffic to my blog and email list.

I missed last month’s edition.  (Long story)

So this time, I’ll compare traffic growth from July to what happened in May.

Plus, I’ll talk about how a single forum thread post generated 1,861 blog visitors and eight steps you can follow to get the same kind of traffic numbers.

To start, let’s go over the stats from last month:

July 2012 Statistics

First lets recap the stats from May (the last time I tracked my traffic):

  • 17,980 Visits 
  • 73.60% Bounce Rate
  • 1:50 Average Visitor Duration 
  • 4,339 Returning Visitors
  • 284 Email Subscribers 

So what happened in July?

Here is a screenshot from last month:

August Website 2012 Traffic

I use five metrics to measure the “success” of my traffic generation efforts. Here’s how they did in July:

  • 17,067 Visits (5.08% Decrease)
  • 72.82% Bounce Rate (1.06% Decrease)
  • 1:56 Average Visitor Duration (5.3% Increase)
  • 4,372 Returning Visitors (.007% Increase)
  • 793 Email Subscribers (279.22% Increase)

Overall, the traffic numbers have gone down slightly.  I’m still getting heavily penalized by the random Google Penguin update. But my “visitor value” has improved and I’m seeing more traction from my anti-Google strategies.

Also, there is good news from how my “conversion” numbers have gone WAY up.  I’ve almost tripled my email subscriber numbers.  This is mostly due to two major factors:

  1. Following a very specific guest post strategy
  2. Installing the Welcome Splash plugin

The combination of both tactics has helped to dramatically grow my email subscriber numbers.  So I’ll be covering them in detail in future blog posts.  Stay tuned for more details.

Okay, I’ve gone over the numbers for this month.  Now let’s talk about the main topic of this post….

How I Generated 1,861 Visitors from a Single Forum Post

An odd thing happened in late June. When checking my daily metrics, I noticed a sizable bump in email subscribers.  Naturally, I checked Google Analytics to see what was going on.  I discovered my site was getting a LOT of visitors to one blog post: 14 Free Traffic Strategies in 2012 that DON’T Depend on Google

All of this came from a single post on the popular Internet Marketing site: WarrorForum.com.  An awesome guy named Joe Mobley decided to start a forum thread about my blog post.  {Here is a link to the original thread}

Moreover, the forum post got a LOT of views by Warrior Forum readers because it ignited a hot debate between two members.  This resulted in a sizeable amount of web traffic to this site.

When the dust settled, my blog received 1,861 visitorsAll from a single forum post.

Warrior Forum Web Traffic

I don’t think the blog post was anything special.  And I won’t claim I did anything out of the ordinary to get this traffic.  The article just happened to be at the center of a flame war between two individuals with strong opinions.

With all that said, there IS an important lesson to be learned here…

Forum marketing can generate a significant amount of web traffic.

All you have to do is find a quality forum in your niche and it’s not hard to get lots of blog visitors.  I think this process can be broken down into eight easy-to-follow steps:

Step #1 – Create Great Content

Success as an authority affiliate marketer starts with great content.  Make it your #1 goal to provide valuable, FREE information and people will naturally link to your blog posts.

I’ll admit the 14 Free Traffic Strategies post wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever written.  In retrospect, I wish new visitors saw the articles that would positively influence their affiliate marketing mindset.  {Like my post about How I Would Start Over with Affiliate Marketing.}  With that said, I think most people learned something from the fourteen strategies that I discussed in this article.

Step #2 – Offer Shareable Content

Great content goes hand-in-hand with shareable content.  Readers should share your articles on a forum because they provide genuine value.

In addition, there is a major shortcut for getting people to share your content shared.  One trick I recommend is to create a numbered list of some sort.

It’s all about perceived value. Most readers like numbered lists because they’re full of bite-size tips that can be immediately implemented.

Furthermore, numbered lists sound a lot more interesting than your standard “how-to” article.  As an example, take a look at the title I used:

14 Free Traffic Strategies in 2012 that DON’T Depend on Google

This headline sounds WAY more intriguing than:

How to Get Free Traffic that Doesn’t Depend on Google.

Specificity and numbered lists are a great noticed in any niche.  From there, it’s easy to create something worth sharing.

Step #3 – Design a Killer Signature Line

Using a signature line is the best way to market on forum.  You want to link something of value that members can get for free.  My advice is to offer a lead magnet.

Example: My signature lines always include a link to the report:  111 Affiliate Marketing Strategies for a Six-Figure Income.

This link promotes my brand because it’s automatically posted whenever I leave a forum response.  Then members will see a link to a freebie that’s chock full of value.

Your goal with forum marketing isn’t to make sales. It’s to get people to take that first step towards building a long-term business relationship.  Keep this in mind as you’re starting forum threads and/or responding to other members.

Step #4 – Craft a Click-Worthy Forum Subject Line

Create a great forum subject line and people will click on it.  How do you do this?  The easiest shortcut is to study the threads/topics that get the most views and then write something similar.  Basically you’re piggybacking on the content that people already enjoy in this particular forum.

Plus, there’s a sneaky shortcut for creating “click-worthy” subject lines…

…Use copywriting formulas that already work for other marketers.

The right subject line can get a lot of attention.  That’s why it’s important to go with winning headline formulas.  One resource I recommend is the free Headline Hacks report by Jon Morrow.  Not only does Jon provide 52 proven headlines, he also gives specific examples on why each one is successful.

Spend a few minutes crafting the perfect subject line.  Use curiosity-based copywriting that hints at a solution to a very specific problem that people encounter in your niche.  Do this and people will click on YOUR forum thread.

Step #5 – Become a Thought Leader

You can’t depend on others to share your content.  Instead it’s best to be proactive about your forum marketing efforts.  The best way to do this is to demonstrate authority.

The biggest obstacle to forum marketing is getting noticed by others.  It’s not enough to respond to a bunch of threads.  You want members to think of you as a thought leader.

Thought leadership is about showcasing your expertise in a topic.  You can do this in a variety of ways:

  • Start forum threads full of quality content (like mini blog posts)
  • Answer specific questions with step-by-step solutions
  • Voice your opinion when you see bad advice being given
  • Interact and support great threads started by others
  • Link to other threads were you’ve helped people with similar problems (when applicable)

Ultimately your job is to demonstrate expertise in a niche. Really, the only way to stand out is develop the reputation as someone who really knows a lot about a specific subject manner.

Step #6 – Be Helpful (First)

Acting like a helpful adviser goes hand-in-hand with being a thought leader. Marketing comes secondary to providing value to other members of a forum.  You do want people to check out your site – But this should never interfere with developing a reputation as someone who goes the extra mile for others.

Step #7 – Embrace Controversy

I’ll admit it…

I had nothing to do with getting over 1,800 visitors from a single forum post.  This traffic is the direct result of a heated disagreement between two people.

The interesting thing?

Whenever someone else responded to this debate, the forum thread would “bump” to the top of the page where it was seen by brand new visitors.

The end result is my blog got a lot of traffic – Simply because two people decided to have a lengthy argument.

The lesson? 

Controversy will help your forum threads stand out.  The trick is to be controversial in a way that is congruent to your personal brand.

Example: I have a strong opinion about authority sites.  I truly believe they are a better long-term income strategy than building niche sites.  In fact, this is a topic that I recently discussed on the Adsense Flippers website.

My point?

Don’t create controversy just for the sake of creating controversy.  Have an opinion that comes from your personal experiences and clearly explain why it’s the best option – Even if this opinion goes against conventional wisdom.

Step #8 – Bump Your Threads (the ethical way)

Finally, there is another sneaky way to maximize your forum marketing efforts…

…Bump threads to the top by leaving quality responses.

Most forums list threads with the newest comments at the top.  One way to increase exposure to a thread is to “bump” it by responding to and/or leaving comments.

Normally, bumping is a frowned upon practice.  You don’t want to leave a comment with the sole intention of pushing it to the top of a forum.  With that said, it’s normal to respond to specific questions and comments on a forum thread.

My strategy is simple…

Don’t respond to all comments/questions in a single block of time.  Instead, post a response every few hours.  That way you’re providing additional value while consistently pushing your thread to the top of the forum.

Final Thoughts on Forum Marketing…

In the past, I thought forum marketing was a complete waste of time.  Now I see it as a viable way to get ultra-targeted web traffic.  But like other strategies – There’s a danger to spending too much time on one site.

That’s why you should:

Use the 80/20 rule of forum marketing <— (Tweet this rule!)

Follow these simple rules for maximizing your marketing efforts:

  1. Find the best forum in your niche and concentrate on that one
  2. Dedicate 15 minutes each day for forum marketing
  3. Design a signature line that links to a free report
  4. Respond to the posts that get the most views/comments
  5. Leave thoughtful and helpful content that adds value to the discussion
  6. Start 3 or 4 threads each week that are chock-full of quality information
  7. Craft subject lines that are click-worthy
  8. Bump these threads by spreading out your responses

I now know you can generate a lot of traffic from forums.  The trick is to maximize your time investment.  Just follow the eight-steps I’ve just listed and you’ll get great results with forum marketing.

Well, that’s it for this edition of the Traffic and Conversion Series.  I know I learned a lot from this random surge traffic.  Hopefully you learned something as well.

Questions?  Comments?

Respond below…

Take Action. Get Results.




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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Thu Nguyen

Congrats on your new traffic source as well as for these tips! Coincidentally, I have been visiting the WF just to see more of what the conversation there is centered around and even what products are popular. Well, it’s a land of it’s own because there’s so much information, it’ll take more than a month to devour.

Not the say the least, BSOs are everywhere it’s tempting. I believe you’ve hit yourself a ‘starving crowd.’

Congrats again and may the traffic and profits continue to increase!
Thu

Reply

Trent Dyrsmid

I am all for checking out the warrior forum consistently. We get lots of information there. The forums are indeed a great way to make yourself known and heard.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Thu,

I agree Warrior forums specifically is quite a crowded forums. It could be easy to spend hours upon hours there. Reading some great stuff, and some stuff that is (of course a little self serving)

While most posts WON”T garner that kind of action, it can be a great way to build traffic provided you work at it.

Thanks for dropping by!

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Trent,
I agree. While I won’t say everything on the warrior forum is “gold” there is a lot of good info there for people who are willing to look for it.

Reply

Mauro D'Andrea

Very inspiring post, Steve!
I have never seen a so in dept post about getting traffic from forum.

Till reading this I considered forums good only for building relationships, but this post helped me having an additional point of view.

I subscribed to a big forum few weeks ago, so I’ll try your concepts in these days.
Thanks Steve!

Reply

Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon

It’s really cool that the thread about your blog post caught on and got a ton of views! I guess having something like this happen is yet another after-effect of having a somewhat controversial post along with a great headline!

Thomas

Reply

Steve Scott

Thomas,

Exactly. It is part art, part science…and still a fiar bit of luck to get something to go “viral” like that. but if you are consistent enough and the material is “right” it will happen.

Reply

Jens P. Berget

Hi Steve,

It’s been a while since I’ve been on any forums, but I was fairly active on digital point. I received traffic from it, but the traffic I received was fairly low quality. It didn’t convert well. I didn’t have any good quality free report and that might be the reason.

Great post. Keep giving us the details about your experiences.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Jens,

I actually have NOT been spending much time on forums myself. This made me think it might be worth a little bit of time. (of course there is so much to do, that time can be hard to find)

Reply

Chris

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the reminder about how valuable forum traffic is, because it really has become an underrated traffic source. Plus if you follow the steps as you outlined and create that valuable, sharable content, you will often start to see your link being shared by other forum members and hopefully getting even more traffic!

Reply

Jamie Alexander

Haha was that the 1/2 billion thread.

That’s awesome stats. Especially the opt-ins. If you keep getting those numbers every month this blog will be huggggeeeeeee lol.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Jamie,

I certianly do not expect that “regularly” But I think if you make good enough content and put it out there enough it will happen frequently enough to make it worth your while.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

Reply

Marica Zammit

Impressive results!

It’s been a while since I’ve focused on Forum Marketing but if like you say, you manage to find a popular and active forum, then you can get great results.

With one of my sites (a travel site), I’ve had great success by answering questions on Trip Advisor’s forums … the bigger the forum the better!

I think that in today’s social media crazed world, forums are often overlooked which is a pity.

Thanks for sharing your experience Steve!

Reply

Steve Scott

Marica,

I would think that travel sites would be a particular good place for foum marketing. So many people look for those hyper specific questions that always seem to get brought up on forums.

I agree about forums getting the short end recently. TO be honest i have ignored them a bit in favor of social media too. But sometimes when everyone else is doing the “best” thing the 2nd best can get you a lot better results (less competition) so maybe we all need to look at forum marketing again…

Reply

Dr Becky

Steve,
Thank you for such a helpful article. As one who has just left her ‘brick and mortar’ practice to create an ‘online’ wellness center, these tips will prove to be invaluable. I’m heading straight over to ‘headline hacks’ to learn even more.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Reply

Steve Scott

Thanks Dr, Becky!

Good luck with your wellness center and i hope Jon’s Headline hacks are helpful (I certainly found them to be!)

Steve

Reply

Arwin Adriano

That was a very inspiring blog post. I think what makes it more valuable is not that because warrior is a big community but because the blog post was worth sharing at all.

Reply

Dan Norris

Nice one Steve, are you also looking at the conversion rates of this traffic? Have you found some forums better than others for converting? Or some strategies better at converting? i.e. how does someone else posting a thread about your post compare to you replying to an existing thread, or the traffic from your email signature etc?

Thanks again for the detailed post.

Dan

Reply

femi

I love this post .

Results !! The stuff dreams are made up of

I love it when i see others succeeding

Your transparency is wonderful

You are motivating me to do more

Thanks

Femi

Reply

Md Firdosh

i am using forum for last few months but i think i am not using it in a right ways that’s why i never cross 500 visitor from forum . After reading this article i learn few new things and it will surely help me to increase visitors from forum. Thanks to the author for sharing this article with us

Reply

Ehsan Ullah

I have been using WarriorForum from last 8 months and I’ve never seen any traffic from there. You really motivated me to use it in right way. Thanks Steve.

Reply

Steve Hughes

Hi Steve,
Another great article, i have only just started using WarriorForum myself and recently posted my first article, and am seeing some success.

I noticed that in your referrals list that LinkedIn doesnt figure at all ?

Is this something you don’t use? LinkedIn drives over 29% of my social media traffic. Its a untapped goldmine that many overlook.

Check out my Post in the Social Media Forum on Warrior if you get the chance, would love to get your thoughts.

Thanks again.
Steve

Reply

Jay

That’s right Steve, you did not directly cause the controversy, but were able to benefit from it. Once again, really nice detailed case study and lessons learned and how we your readers can hopefully apply those in practice, Thanks.

Reply

Chris

Hi Steve,

Does Forum Marketing still work?

Reply

Steve Scott

Chris — I think it still does for some. But I tested it recently and wasn’t too impressed with the results.

Reply

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