Takeaway: Commenting on popular Reddit posts in /r/entrepreneur is VERY effective and resulted in ~770 email signups in just a couple days.
EID #4 – Acquisition (Existing Platforms) – Commenting on Popular Reddit Posts
Overall Goal: 1000 subscribers
Timeframe: February 29, 2016
KR1 (90%): Weekly growth of 25% to my subscriber list (1000 subscribers by Feb 2016)
KR2 (50%): Weekly growth of 50% to my subscriber list (1000 subscribers by Jan 2016)
KR3 (10%): Weekly growth of 100% to my subscriber list (1000 subscribers by Dec 2016)
- Increase traffic to my landing page and email subscribers from reddit
- Set up an automatic system so I get notified whenever someone replies to me, and when a post has been created with certain keywords
Based on a previous experiment (EID #2), I sent PMs to redditors who replied in a relevant post (sent 40 messages in 1 hour which resulted in 16 signups, or a conversion rate of 40%), I realized /r/entrepreneuris a good opportunity to reach out to my target demographic.
Based on my backlog, this specific strategy is ranked high on my list because of the minimal resources to implement this, and the exposure potential is high.
The whole idea of how this channel works is this:
- I comment on a “hot” reddit post with a link to my website
- As the post gets more upvotes, more people will see my comment (i.e. link to website)
- My website gets more visitors and signups. New signups will read and be impressed by my first email guide..
- They upvote my comment. Now even more people see it and visit my site
- Rinse and repeat…
I’m not sure how I can make an accurate hypothesis for this one, but I’ll try…
The subreddit /r/entrepreneur has ~170,000 subscribers, of which ~500 users are online right now (Monday 12PM EST). If I was to filter for the “top” comments of the week, the popular posts have ~400 comments.
Unfortunately, Reddit does not provide the actual “view numbers” of a post. So instead, I’ll apply the 80/20 rule by assuming 20% of redditors actually comment on a post. Therefore, a top reddit post would have 2000 unique visitors. Based on this, my hypothesis would be:
If successful, I will get 40 new email signups because the conversion rate will be 2% (best guess) of the total visitors in a top post.
Step 1) Create a list of relevant topics that I’ll reply to
I only want to comment on posts that are relevant to my business. To create this list, I went through a lot of the old posts and made note of the type of posts that seem to recur. The type of posts that are relevant to my site are:
- Ideas for side businesses
- Entrepreneur doesn’t know where to start
- Local businesses (e.g. pressure washing, landscaping, etc…)
- Business ideas while in school
- Low cost businesses
Step 2) Create a system that will allow me to comment on “new” posts
I need to comment on posts while they are still “new” in order to gain early traction to ensure it’s near the top of the comments if it blows up. If I’m too late, my comment will get buried with the hundreds of other comments.
To accomplish this, I’ve used two methods:
Method 1 – Automated notifications by TrackReddit on Keywords
Based on the list in Step 1, I created keywords that would be relevant for those posts. For example:
I would then get an email notification whenever a post is created that has that keyword…
Method 2 – Twice a Day Notification Reminders to Check the “New” Tab
From what I’ve read, the best time to post on Reddit is around 8 to 10AM, and also 8 to 10PM (see: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/3nkwwa/the_best_time_to_post_to_reddit_east_coast_early/)
Therefore, I set two daily notifications at 9AM and 9PM where I will click the “new” tab on Reddit, and scour the list for relevant posts that weren’t picked up by TrackReddit
Step 3) – Create a message template
Blatant self-promotion on Reddit is considered a major faux-pas and would result in getting down-voted to oblivion.
For each post, I’ll try to customize my comment to make it as relevant as possible. At the end of each comment, I’ll add a template description of my business and a call-to-action.
The main thing is to follow permission marketing techniques and NOT to include the link to my landing page. Instead, I’ll explicity ask for permission to include my link.
Once someone replies to my comment asking for more info, I’ll reply to their comment with the link of my website. When enough people PM or comment me, I’ll add an EDIT to my original comment with the link to my website.
For example, here’s the template I prepared first…
Step 4) – Reply to PMs/Comments Immediately and Attempt to Initiate Discussion
To get an email notification everytime someone PMs or replies to my comment, I used Changemon, here’s a guide on how to set it up: https://www.reddit.com/r/ChangeMon/comments/32zmji/get_email_notifications_when_someone_replies_to/
My two main goals whenever someone publicly replies to my comment are: 1) provide a link to my landing page (so both the OP and other people will see it), and 2) obtain a testimonial/social from the OP to gain the trust of other redditors.
Here’s an examples of my replies to accomplish this…
Once I receive enough PMs or replies, I’ll edit my main comment with…
“[EDIT 1] – Received several requests for the link, so I’ll just post it here – [link to my website]”
To date, I have only used Reddit and Twitter (to a small degree) to advertise my website. Therefore, the majority of my web stats are derived from Reddit.
Here are some of the stats:
- Total Days: 38 (Dec 5 – Jan 11)
- Total Posts: 39
- Total Unique Sessions from Reddit: 1837
- Total Email Signups from Reddit: 768
- Conversion Rate: 42%
1) Do not include link in the first reply
I only did one test but it was enough for me to stop trying. For one of the posts, I included the link to my original comment and got downvoted immediately.
Instead, the best way is to ask for permission to include the link. Once I get some replies of people asking for the link, I’ll edit my original reply with a link to my website.
2) Commenting on Frequent Recurring Posts is Ineffective
Of the 39 posts I commented on, 11 of them were very similar and had the theme of “what are some small business ideas?”
These type of posts were ineffective and only resulted in 8% of the email subscribers. This is probably because people tend to get bored with these type of posts resulting in less upvotes.
Follow-up Action: Remove certain TrackReddit keyword posts to focus on the more effective topics… see below
3) Posts about “Unsexy businesses” and “Young Entrepreneurs Looking for Advice” are Most Effective
There were a total of three posts related to “unsexy/dirty business ideas”. Each of these three posts generated at least 165 upvotes and 225 comments, all making it to the front page.
Unfortunately, I was too late to comment on one of them and missed my chance. However, I was able to comment early on 2 of these 3 posts which resulted in 55% of my email subscribers.
Furthermore, 8 of the 39 posts were young entrepreneurs asking for some sort of advice. These 8 posts resulted in 17% of my email subscribers.
Follow-up Action: Add TrackReddit keywords that target posts with the theme “unsexy businesses” and “young entrepreneurs”
Commenting on posts relevant to your business in subreddits with your target demographic is an effective early-on marketing channel. The most effective method is to follow permission marketing techniques.
- Confirmed that /r/entrepreneuris a good platform for my website. Will follow this up with creating posts with valuable content, instead of just commenting on posts. Based on the the type of posts that yielded the most subs, I’ll try to write some guides focusing on “unsexy businesses” and also targeted to young entrepreneurs. I’ll post the experiment/results of this once it’s complete. Also just to be completely transparent, this post in itself is an experiment to determine the effectiveness of posting my marketing experiments in order to drive traffic to my website, while not explicitly linking to it. Of course, I’ll also post the final experimental report of this soon!
- Create experiment with a similar “commenting” approach on another platform, Quora. Stay tuned for the experiment for this one too!