We’re re-launching our course next week at a discounted rate and we’ll be teaching the same content strategy I share in this post, we use to grow Grow and Convert, and use to grow all of our client’s companies.
Those of you that have been following Grow and Convert for a while know I have a second agency that does AB testing for ecommerce companies called Growth Rock.
But since we started Grow and Convert, I’ve done almost no marketing for Growth Rock. It’s older and has a stable client list, so the business trucks along just fine.
The site gets around 1500 pageviews a month.
But that changed on July 2nd of this year. I published one post and in 2 weeks got over 50,000 visitors to it.
It did that thing where you get so much traffic it makes the rest of your Google Analytics traffic look like it’s zero:
Within a month or two, that post, which was about mobile navigation for ecommerce sites, started ranking on Page 1 for terms like:
How did this happen?
The article: A seemingly simple AB test case study
In our course, we teach six content frameworks. The bread and butter content framework for an agency is case studies. I’ve published many AB testing case studies on Growth Rock’s blog and most don’t make much of a splash.
So what made this one different?
On the surface it’s not a big deal. It profiles a single AB test: supplementing the famous “3 lines” hamburger menu with a bar of swipeable links on the homepage:
So how did this go viral in the UX community and get 50,000 visitors to our site?
Was it the crazy AB test results?
No. The conversion rate lift wasn’t out of this world. We case studied two AB tests. One increased orders by 5%, the other by 29% (a different company).
(29% is actually a big deal for a lot of ecommerce brands, but many people have published case studies like that before.)
Were there fancy graphics or interactivity?
No. If you read the article, it’s a lot of text with a few screenshots of data. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Was it my amazing writing skills?
No. Look at how boring the introduction is. It reads like a science paper:
Although I think the intro made a lot of sense for the right audience (more on that later) I’m happy to openly mock myself about it:
- “Recent tests suggest” – Oh thank you, professor, for enlightening us.
- “Many ecommerce sites could see an increase” – Way to cover your bases. Did a lawyer write this?
- “Instead of relying solely on the hamburger menu” You’re not even replacing it? I’ve been duped!
So what was it?
It was a combination of three things:
- The topic – knowing what your target audience cares about
- The uniqueness of data inside the post
- Community content promotion
The Formula: Topic + Uniqueness + Promotion
1. The Topic: I knew the hamburger menu was hated
I’ve been working with clients at Growth Rock for 3 years. So, I knew for a fact that my audience was annoyed at this seemingly boring “hamburger menu”.
In fact I knew that two groups of people were annoyed: designers and ecommerce management teams.
The former (designers) are, of course, design snobs and get annoyed by things like this. But this annoyance was spilling over to my customers: ecommerce directors and marketers.
The second thing I knew was that ecommerce management teams were really concerned about mobile conversions.
They were (and still are) down right stressed about it.
Most ecommerce sites started having the majority of their traffic be mobile back in 2017. But mobile doesn’t convert nearly as well as desktop. This makes my prospective customer very nervous.
It’s a huge pain point.
As a content marketer, how do you get this knowledge about some super specific pain point like hamburger menus?
We have discussed this in many blog posts and teach a process to know your users this well at length in our course. But in short, you need to do user research.
You can’t fake this level of content-customer fit. If you pick a topic that’s not interesting, the rest of your efforts are largely wasted.
In our course we try to teach a system to consistently pick topics that resonate with your customers. Month after month, week after week. We use this same process for our client work and get consistent results from it as we published in this case study.
2. Uniqueness: I had something novel to add to the discussion
Also by talking to clients, I knew that most people had opinions on this matter, but very few had published actual data showing the performance of an alternative to get away from the “reign of the hamburger menu”.
Like this graph in the post:
We have run hundreds, perhaps thousands of AB tests over the past 4 years. Most we don’t write about. I could have easily moved on and not written about this one either.
But knowing my customer and audience meant I knew there was something unique here.
I knew I had a post on my hands that fulfilled the specificity strategy to the T, which we go into in depth, with example after example in our course.
3. Promotion: I knew what communities to promote in, and one happened to hit
Promotion is an art form. Even if I got the first two factors right, it doesn’t guarantee 50,000 visitors.
But you also make your own luck.
If I did the same “content promotion” method as 99% of content marketers out there:
- Tweet it
- Share on LinkedIn
- Email my list
It would have gotten maybe 500 visitors max. It would build maybe 1 backlink. And it wouldn’t rank on Google for anything.
But I promoted it in two places only (and emailed my 1500 person list as always):
- Growth Hackers – They like case studies and data. But I couldn’t get it to trend and it didn’t make the newsletter.
- Designer News – As I said above, I knew this was a controversial topic amongst designers. It went viral. People loved it or hated it and sparked a ton of discussion.
This is our community content promotion technique at its finest. I spent maybe 30 minutes posting total. Then when it went viral I spent more time responding to comments.
(Does our course cover this also? Yes, we have an entire module with multiple lessons on content promotion.)
Did I know it would go this viral? Absolutely not. Don’t believe people who say they can predict these things.
But did I lay the foundation to allow this possibility? Yes.
The Three Factors that Helped Enable this Outcome
I did this with three things, all concepts we teach in our course:
- Deep understanding of your target audience – I knew my customer inside and out. As a content marketer for clients or a company, you may not have that first hand knowledge. In our course we teach how to get these kind of topic ideas from your customers and people in the industry.
- Knowing what makes good content – I have turned this into a habit: be on the lookout for unique, specific content ideas that appeal to your customer. Know what’s mirage content and what’s not. Know what other companies are writing about and where there are gaps that need to be written about.
- Having a Promotion Plan – Like I said above, most content marketers just stop at publishing and maybe tweet an article a few times and call it a day. I used the principles we teach of strategically promoting to get maximum results in minimum time. It won’t always work out this well, but if you don’t promote strategically, it rarely ever will.
Like I said at the top, next week we are discounting enrollment to our course from $749 to $499. True to everything we produce at Grow and Convert, we’re proud of the level of depth and specificity in the course. We think it’s the best course on content marketing we’ve seen. We skip the beginner level topics to go in depth on how to become a top 1% content marketer and produce amazing results for your business, your clients, or your company. You can read more about it here and ask us questions by email.
Questions about this story or how it applies to your situation? Just reply to the email and we’ll help you out.