Do you remember years and years ago when one of the most common ways to grow traffic to your website (especially when starting off) was online forum marketing?
Basically the idea was to:
- Find a forum relevant to your niche
- Contribute real value/content to that site by responding to others
- Create a link back to your website in your signature
What’s really cool is that this strategy really worked, it just took time… And sometimes it took A LOT of time. But it paid off if you were consistent and on the forefront of hot topics in the forum.
So, when Facebook got popular and advertising started taking over, a lot of people moved their focus there. They made groups, fan pages, and used their walls in place of going to forums that had established communities.
What happened here was that everyone started to follow the “shiny object syndrome”, where they wanted to go to the “hot thing” and make it big there. The ole’ forum approach wasn’t sexy anymore.
Here’s another history lesson… do you remember Yahoo Answers? It was a website that people asked questions about a bunch of topics and people were able to answer. If your answer was good, people voted it up and it got more attention. The concept was pretty cool and it allowed readers who were looking for solutions to quickly and “reliably” find the best answers.
Going back about four years ago (2012), I was running an animation and video production agency full-time called Video Sales Lab. It was my main income generator while Matt and I were doing other projects on the side. During this time I was trying to figure out how to break out of doing video work for just internet marketers and get more in the spotlight of Silicon Valley startups and corporations with large marketing budgets.
This got me discovering some massive animation agencies who work with Google and Facebook designing their videos. These were companies charging $10k for 60 seconds of animation. Madness, I tell you! Here I was with as solid of a team and could produce the same for about $1k-2k/60 seconds with a healthy profit.
My goal turned into: CRUSH THE COMPETITION… without paying for ads since I didn’t have a crazy budget. Online guerilla marketing style and personal connections is what I wanted to work with. As long as I could scoop up a bit of the market’s attention and close some deals, I’d be stoked (and I’d raise my prices to increase my margins).
As I was researching competition, I stumbled upon a site called Quora.com. Some of the competitors had been posting there. I had no clue what it was, but I immediately got interested. In a nutshell, it’s Yahoo Answers but with questions and solutions I’d actually use. Also, it started out with much more of a savvy audience in tech, marketing, and entrepreneurs.
Basically I equated Quora to a new-age forum that allowed you to immediately seek out targeted audiences, answer their questions, immediately gain trust with them, and link back to my site.
Now my goal turned into to… CRUSH THE COMPETITION… by just outranking them on Quora through upvotes and getting more attention. Much simpler of a goal than before!
And that’s exactly what I did…
My first post on Quora was in 2012 answering a question from someone who asked, “Where do most startups get their product demo videos made? How much do they cost?”. Look it up on the site, it’s still there… and it almost has 34 THOUSAND views… for free!
Now here’s the kicker, the traffic didn’t come quickly. I actually only posted that one answer on Quora and didn’t touch the site for almost a year (stupid me).
It wasn’t until I stumbled back to Quora after getting an animation lead that said they came from there. Ah-ha! Free lead from writing a 3-minute post on there from a year ago. Right then is when I dug in and started to dissect how to grow the ranks and do more of the same.
Here’s what I found and still holds true today on Quora (from my experience):
- Seek out questions that you can answer with helpful value. To get some quick wins, go after questions that show they are ready to buy NOW. For example, the first question I answered was asking where to get a video made and what is the cost. I couldn’t get setup much better than that to pitch my service.
- Don’t pitch to pitch. Add value where it best fits with the question. There are a lot of people that go for the close right off the bat. Give good value and drop a link in your post for people to contact you for more information. No problem with that.
- Be one of the first to answer the question. The quicker you answer someone’s question, the more likely you are to rank at the top of all the answers. On many occasions, I’ve noticed that I have about half of the upvotes as someone below me, but they were about 3 months late to answering, so I win. Constantly be searching Quora for questions you can answer and then answer immediately.
- Get upvotes. You need to leverage your following, friends, email list, team, or family here. To get my first 20 upvotes on my first answer, I just asked my family and contractors. I know it’s not what Quora wants, but I was playing scrappy. I was there to crush my big money spending competition. After you get a decent amount of upvotes paired up with a timely response, then you’re sitting pretty. At this point you want to keep trying to get upvotes by sharing on social media or any other means you can. It’s all about leveraging the people you have access to.
- Link back and capture leads. In any of my “money answers” where I am pitching my service, I make sure to link back to my money site. This site should always have a way to capture that lead. It’s best if the page you link to is specific to Quora and shows off a bit of your clout on there. Anything to build more trust with them works. These people are usually hunting around multiple sites, so you want to capture that lead and follow up immediately to gain trust.
- Rinse and repeat. You never know which post is going to be the one that pops off and sends loads of targeted traffic. Make it a goal to answer a couple of questions per week and get a little upvoting team put together. Play scrappy and help each other do the same. Shoot, just email Matt and I and we’ll happily help you out with with some upvotes!
With the method outlined above, I was able to create an evergreen flow of traffic that still produces leads to this day.
Before Quora, I relied very heavily on my personal connections and referrals for new business. I never ventured into paid traffic or content marketing for this business.
After Quora traffic started kicking in, I began receiving about 5-10 leads per week who were looking to purchase animations immediately. I was used to handling about 5 leads per MONTH, so this was a time when I started partnering up with another animation agency to sell my leads.
This process helped me succeed and break into the Silicon Valley startup community and corporate marketing budgets. It helped me raise my animation rates to $3k-5k/60 second and profit much more. And it also helped me expand to a point where I could not handle all work myself. It forced me to think bigger and leverage others to really scale my business. All of this gave me higher profit margins and more time to focus on projects I’ve had on the back burner.
At the end of the day, this method isn’t sexy. It’s not paid advertising and it’s not immediate. But I will tell you, of the few traffic guys and gals I’ve told my results to who are savvy in the market, they have never heard of anyone using Quora like I do. I’ve never shared this with an audience, so I really hope that you put this process on your weekly to-do list (or have your VA do it).
Let us know when you’re ready for some upvote help, we’d be happy to get you ranked!