A blog is one of the most important places that any company can use to nurture its brand. From awareness to sales a blog is crucial for anyor start-ups to acquire customers, maintain relationships with current ones and enhance sales.
In fact, many companies still believe a blog is only a way to improve the brand awareness. However, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases.
Today one of the most significant challenges for any company is to generate enough leads to sustain its revenue growth.
I blog for passion, fun and because It gives me the chance to research into topics that I find fascinating. However, I do know the power of blogging, and that is why I use my blog to experiment and test the strategies that are most effective to fuel growth online and offline.
In this article, I want to show you some acquisition channels I became aware of while reading a book, Traction,by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.
I already explained in this article how to put down, identify and keep using the acquisition channels that will bring you the most traffic, leads, and sales.
Here instead I want to show you some practical examples of how you can use some of those channels to grow your.
I will use my direct experience but also look at how famous marketers like Neil Patel, Jeff Bullas, Tim Ferris, Pat Flynn, Larry Kim and some more use them.
Some of the data I will use will come from Similar Web. Before we dive into it, a little disclaimer.
The tool is relatively accurate. In other words, you won’t get the exact number, but you should look at it more as a range.
and for instance:
- Avg. of Metric/Actual Traffic: 406.37%
- % of Data within 70-130% of Actual Traffic: 22.00%
- Spearman’s Correlation w/ Actual Traffic: 0.827
- Standard Error: 0.0504
- Data coverage: 87.41%
As you can see “% of Data within 70-130% of Actual Traffic: 22.00%.”
It means that Similar Web was accurate on almost one-fourth of the sites analyzed. Yet that accuracy swings between 70–130% of actual traffic.
Therefore, let’s say Similar Web says traffic of a site is 100K monthly. Consider that more as a range (from 70–130K monthly visitors) rather than an actual number.
In short, take the data as a reference rather than an absolute number. However, that range will allow us to understand the underlying strategy that each of those marketers is using to speed up growth.
Some interesting data about top online marketers
Everywhere you go, you can find a list of the top something in any discipline. In reality, those lists mean all and nothing. For this analysis, I used a metric to discern between top marketers: traffic.
However, whether a marketer is top or not can be classified in dozens of other ways. You will forgive me if I picked traffic as a metric, but that seemed to be a decent heuristic to determine the influence of someone online.
Considering also that as a blogger I want traffic to reach more people. Of course, traffic itself isn’t valuable because you want it to be qualified.
In short, if you reach millions of people but only a tiny fraction is interested in what you, then your effort is wasted.
Therefore, another metric I took into account is organic traffic. In short, at least 30% of the traffic of those websites come from search engines.
Having clarified those aspects. Let’s jump into the list of the top five marketers/websites I dissected for this article/report:
If we look at those websites total visits they have all an impressive reach:
You may expect that websites with this kind of reach have low engagement metrics. However, the data below shows a different story:
Also, each of those marketers uses several sources to grow their traffic, therefore generate more leads and sales.
The main acquisition channels are direct traffic, organic search, referrals and social media.
Let’s have a better glance:
What topics are they ranking for?
By looking at this data, you can see how the most critical acquisition channels for most of the top marketers are direct, organic, social media and referrals.
Let’s dive into each of those channels and how to grow them up!
The importance of direct traffic to assess your branding strategy
Direct traffic is critical. First though, let’s define it. Direct traffic comprises sources that are accessing directly to your website for several reasons.
As specified on Moz there might be several reasons for getting direct traffic. Some of those are the following:
1. Manual address entry and bookmarks
2. HTTPS > HTTP
3. Missing or broken tracking code
4. Improper redirection
5. Non-web documents
6. “Dark social.”
While part of some direct traffic might be due to technical reason and the inability to track all the referral traffic that gets to your site.
Direct traffic is critical as it points out that your investments in branding are paying off. In fact, people are looking actively for your website, and this means that they might spend more time on it.
This isn’t just a theory but can be backed up by some data that Moz has gathered:
As you can see above, direct traffic seems to point out that users that come through it are more loyal compared to all other traffic sources.
How do you grow your direct traffic? You need to invest a bit in increasing your brand awareness. For instance, below some ideas:
- Guest blogging: when FourWeekMBA” that links back to my homepage. a guest post on another site link back to your site through the branded keyword. For example, when I blog on another site, if it makes sense I’ll link back to my blog by using the branded keyword “
By using this strategy, I’ve noticed some volume picking up lately:
This, of course, is still a very small amount of search volume, yet not bad as a first site. You can do the same thing with interviews.
- Interviews: if getting interviewed by other blogs also have them link back to your site with the branded keyword, like above.
- Social media: why social media? Well, when people will recognize your brand on social media, there are more chances they’ll search for it on Google. If this becomes consistent, also your branded keyword will grow in importance and you’ll get more direct traffic over time
- Community building: the same applies to community building. If people learn about your brand, then they will actively search for it
- Go off-line: meeting with people at events is another great opportunity to grow your brand, this your direct traffic
- Spark curiosity: you can also be more creative. For instance, I remember a story Neil Patel tells often. When he was trying to grow his brand “Neil Patel” he had a bunch of models go around the city with a billboard that said “Neil Patel” When people so that they started to search for “who’s Neil Patel?” That hack helped him create some traction
How do you know you’re on the right path in growing your brand, thus your direct traffic? First, of course, you can monitor the growth of the direct traffic over time.
Second, and most important, you’ll notice if you’ve been successful in your branding effort if your branded keyword gains some momentum.
What is a branded keyword? This is simply the keyword that includes the name of your brand. Take the keyword “Neil Patel.”
This is a name of a person, but also the name of a website and a brand. Neil Patel has been implementing several strategies to grow his brand. No surprise that direct traffic is one of the primary sources for his site:
As you can see the branded keyword “Neil Patel” has a monthly search volume of 49,500 searches! This didn’t happen overnight, but it took years of hard and smart work.
Why organic means a sustainable business
Organic traffic is what you get from Google and other leading search engines which is not paid. In short, you’re producing quality content that Google ranks because relevant to an audience that is searching an answer for specific keywords.
Building organic traffic might be the holy grail to grow an online.
However, it isn’t easy at all. I’ve been struggling for almost three years to build up a consistent stream of organic traffic that would allow me to monetize my blog. I’m still working on that.
The truth is that organic traffic takes time and the proper strategy. Ahrefs.com suggests 7 strategies summarized below:
1. Choose the right words to target in your SEO campaigns to increase traffic quality
2. Make a good use of your competitors’ keywords
3. Answer the questions of your potential customers
4. Go long-tail and forget keyword stuffing
5. Revise your oldand update it
6. Get some paid social media promotion
7. Don’t blindly follow every advice about website traffic you can find online
Beside those strategies that are pretty useful, I also suggest the following:
8. Use structured data to allow Google to better understand your web pages
9. Target lower volume and less competitive keywords that solve a specific issue for your users (in a way this connects with point 3 & 4)
Organic traffic boils down to providing useful organic traffic will increase each month.for your target audience, so that they’ll share it with others. When you consistently do that, your
Neil Patel also suggests some interesting strategies in this blog post, I’m going to summarize the ones that I find most relevant:
- Syndicate Infographics on Community-Based Networks
- Tactical Competitive Auditing
- Optimize for Long-Tail Keyword Variations
- Resource Page Organic Outreach
- Build Awareness of Your Site Through Public Speaking
Social media strategy to grow your blog traffic
For many either social media experts and for some SEO “experts” those are two separate channels. In reality, they’re not. In fact, what matters is bringing qualified traffic to your blog.
When this happens Google measures the user engagement and experience to understand the relevance of your content. Thus, decide whether to rank it higher or not.
That is why social media is critical for SEO. If you bring qualified traffic back to your blog that is almost the equivalent of a proper SEO strategy, that will over time grow your organic traffic.
No surprise, the top digital marketers we analyzed so far, also use social media as the main distribution channel for their online.
As you can see Facebook has the winning hand. Followed by Twitter, and YouTube. Some top marketers, like Tim Ferris and Pat Flynn (fourhourworkweek and smartpassiveincome), use mainly Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Others, like Neil Patel, are quite transversal and can get an audience from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube , and LinkedIn. It is interesting to see also how Pocket seems to play a critical role!
Can you double your traffic from social media? According to blog.kissmetrics.com you can and these are the strategies you can use:
- Develop a Sharing Schedule
- Never Share the Same Message Twice
- Optimize Your Content for Each Network
- Monitor Your Results
Let’s give a look at the last, yet extremely importantdistribution strategy: referral traffic
Referral traffic is what you get from other websites that are either linking out to your websites or from some social media platforms like Quora, Growthhackers.com or Zest.is and so on.
As you can see neilpatel.com is the one that performs the best:
Once again Neil Patel suggests a few practical strategies:
- Guest blog on industry blogs
- Leverage local partner sites
- Strategically comment on blogs
- Create ego-bait
- Get active on social media networks
But where is he getting most of the referral traffic? According to SimilarWeb those are the five top communities/referrers that are bringing traffic to Neil Patel’s website:
If this isn’t enough here’s a nice infographic with some great tips:
Also, to improve overnight you referral traffic, this is a list of 500 places where to syndicate your content.
Also, to growth hack your blog I also have four community for you that can help you out! Keep in mind though; you can leverage on those communities if you produce relevant and quality.
If not, you’ll not see any improvement:
Many digital marketers operate likedistribution strategies as something that works separately from each other. In short, they lack a holistic view of it.
Instead,distribution is as much about SEO as it is about social media and other acquisition channels. Even off-line marketing is relevant for SEO.
In fact, when people meet you at an event and look for your brand online, that is data that Google is recording.
When that data becomes consistent your brand name starts to gain some traction, and that is also how Google will send organic traffic to your site.
The same applies to social media. When you gain relevant traffic to your blog. That is a way for Google to understand through user engagement whether that web page is relevant or not for specific keywords.
Those are simplifications. However, this is to remind you thatdistribution is about keeping a holistic view of your strategy.
In fact, what matters at the end is how much, qualified traffic, you can get to grow yourand get a consistent ROI.