It’s been a really fun month and a half since we launched Grow and Convert.
We’ve had the chance to connect with tons of really interesting people from all over the world, and help them with their content marketing strategy.
Every month we share our stats and some learnings to go along with it.
This month we’ll look back 2015 and share what we did, what we learned, and how we plan to ramp up moving forward.
We have just under 4.5 months to hit our goal of 40,000 monthly unique visitors.
Can we do it?
2015 by the Numbers
Since launching our site (Nov.17), we’ve had just shy of 3,000 unique visitors. 2,943 unique visitors to be exact.
The arrows above show when we published posts, and typically you’ll see correlation between when we published the post and spikes in traffic.
The high bounce rate 82.40% is due to there being only 5 pieces of content on our site.
We’re getting 1.41 pages per session which should increase as we add more content to our site and link pieces of our content together.
You’ll notice towards December, there were much smaller spikes in traffic — this is because we did less promotion of our content in December due to:
- Being busy with our full-time jobs
- Not wanting to do heavy promotion around the holidays
Breakdown by Acquisition Channel
Referrals drove the highest amount of traffic at 1,081 new users — almost all of the referral traffic was driven by Inbound.org. So far, three of our posts have made it to trending on Inbound — but all of them hit trending during the holidays which lead to lower traffic.
You can view the Inbound.org stats for the three articles here:
Our Content Strategy Unveiled: How We Plan to Grow to 40,000 Unique Visitors in 6 Months (67 Votes, 9 Comments)
Building a content team: Hiring Freelancers vs. Inhouse vs. Outsourcing (99 votes, 41 comments)
How to Find, Evaluate, and Hire Writers (80 votes, 9 comments)
(Other) was from the one GrowthHackers post that trended “Our Content Strategy Unveiled: Our Plan to Grow to 40,000 monthly unique visitors.” On this post we received 37 votes and 7 comments, and that led to 406 new users and a higher pages/session
Here’s a more detailed view of our social traffic. Facebook came in at number one driving 566 new users. Most of the traffic came in via our network from the launch of our first post.
Twitter was the second highest driver at 195 new users but accounted for the highest session duration.
LinkedIn surprisingly came in third with significantly less traffic — however the only promotion that we did was via sharing updates on our newsfeed infrequently. The rest of the numbers are too small to report on and have anything significant to say.
Breakdown by Content
Here’s a snapshot of our stats for each of our posts.
I won’t go too much into the details on this one — I’ll explain why numbers are so low for most of the posts in the art of promotion.
One thing I do want to point out is how high average time on site is. This is our indicator that we’re producing quality content. However, one thing to note is that time on site can fluctuate depending on how your promote your content. Being that these numbers were generated mainly from communities and social, I’d say these are pretty solid time on site numbers for each of the articles.
Where we are relative to our goals
If you remember from our first monthly stats update, we created some exponential growth curves to see how we are tracking every month (we also pointed out that you should take them with a grain of salt).
Here is where we are on the traffic curve.
The dip is because November’s number was from only 2 weeks of data, and we had a bunch of initial traffic from our network sharing our opening post. Overall, nothing to be too excited about either way — promotion hasn’t really begun yet.
List building is also on track:
Our list has been built exclusively by converting visitors on our site (no guest posts, contests, or any off-site tactics yet). We’re using Optinmonster (not an affiliate link) and here’s how our different popups are converting:
Keep in mind the conversion rates in this image are opt-ins per views-of-the-form, not opt-ins per pageview. So, for example, 65% in the first row means 65% of the people who clicked the link offering our hiring writers guide filled it in.
Also keep in mind that for forms that are giving away a content upgrade, not 100% of the opt-ins are new emails, because existing subscribers will often opt-in to receive a guide, or PDF, or whatever. The reason we (and you) should make existing subscribers opt-in to bonuses on your site is that you always want to maintain a list of who downloaded what, so if you’re thinking of releasing a product related to a certain subject you have a sub-list of people who already showed interest in that topic.
What we like about these conversion rates is that the site-wide scroll-based popup is converting at 3.7%, which is in general a pretty good number. A decent number are clicking on the “JOIN US” button on the homepage (also a good sign). And finally, the content upgrades to our recent hiring writers posts are showing interest as well.
Now, let’s talk about promotion.
The Art of Content Promotion
Content promotion is an art, not a science.
Every post you write requires a different strategy — there are different communities to post to, different audiences that will find the content valuable, and different channels to use to drive traffic.
Also, the strategy changes every year — what worked last year most likely won’t work this year due to changing rules and marketing practices.
This is why it’s important for me to network, read, and find out what other people are doing — that’s the best way to research new promotion strategies. Then it becomes equally important to test my research for myself and tweak the approach, because most of the time the way someone else approached promoting their posts will not work for me.
Once I find a tactic that works, I try to replicate that tactic for every post and scale up what’s working.
There are a lot of variables that come into play when talking about content promotion: the content itself (is it good? do people want to share it?), the timing of when you post it (posting during the holidays/weekends may lead to lower traffic), if you hit trending or not on the different communities you post to, the influencers that come across your content, etc.
This is why content promotion is an art, not a science.
So far, we’ve done very minimal promotion of our content. Pretty much just the basics (social sharing and interacting with communities).
Our first post we only shared via Facebook to our personal networks (875 unique visitors) — this is because it was announcing our blog and what we planned to do with it. It was an opinion piece and didn’t add a ton of value right off the bat. I plan to heavily promote this article in the coming months now that there are other valuable pieces of content on our site.
Our second post (1355 unique visitors) we shared via GrowthHackers and Inbound and got a natural lift of social traffic from those. However, there’s still a lot we can do to promote that piece — we can find other communities on social networks (Facebook, G+, Quora, etc.) that are made up of marketers that would be interested in what we’re doing to grow to 40,000 people. We can do outreach to people mentioned in the post that might want to share our content with their networks. We can reach out to content roundups that talk about content marketing posts and see if the author will include our post in their roundup, and a whole bunch of other things.
Our third post (223 unique visitors) we only sent to our e-mail list and posted to FB.
Our fourth post got a lift on inbound (616 unique visitors), was sent out to our e-mail list and our social accounts, but hasn’t been shared anywhere else.
Our last post also only got shared on inbound and via our lists(128 unique visitors), but hasn’t been shared anywhere else. Also, it was only posted two days before the end of the month, which is why traffic is so low.
January is going to be the month of promotion + new content that reaches a wider audience.
Here are some of the things we’ll be testing for content promotion in January:
- Creating a list of communities that we could publish our posts to — know some good ones? Add them in the comments.
- Creating a list of e-mail newsletters in the industry that we can reach out to — know some good ones? Add them in the comments
- Syndicating content on platforms that have built in distribution such as Medium and LinkedIn
- Finding more communities inside of social networks where marketers and entrepreneurs are active
- Find some slack groups that marketers and entrepreneurs are a part of
Any other ideas or things you’d like to see us try? Post ideas in the comments below.
Our Plan to Ramp Up Traffic Going Forward
In order to hit our goal, there’s a number of things we’ll have to do to get to 40,000 monthly uniques.
January: We’re going to focus on going broader in terms of our target audience to appeal to more marketers. We’ve been pretty narrowly focused on tactical stuff so far that only appeals to a small subset of people — but we’ll start going broader but still cover things in depth. We’ll focus more on promotion now that we have a base of content on our site, and we’ll also need to try to get more than 4 posts per month going forward. We have some surprises coming your way this month — but our goal is to hit 7,500 uniques for the month of January.
February: We’ll likely start introducing guests posts on our site and also start guest posting on other sites to increase our visibility. We’re going to target industry publications that have a large following of people in our target market. We’re also going to shoot for 8–12 posts per month. We should be in the 12,500–15,000 unique range in Feb.
March: Likely a combination of all of the above, and introducing webinars to get our name out there and to share more in depth content with our audience. We’re also going to shoot for press coverage in March to give us a nice lift going into our final month/goal. For March we should be in the 20,000–30,000 unique visitor range.
April: Final push — we’ll be doing everything we can to get us over the line -press, guest posts, contests, interviews, — you name it! We need to hit our goal by April 17th, 2016.
As I mentioned at the top, the most exciting part about this project has been exchanging emails with readers and learning about their businesses, what they want to hear more of, what they like, and just getting to know our small but growing Grow and Convert community.
To follow our journey and join this community, just click here and tell us where to send updates.
Questions? Let us know in the comments.
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