How to Use Reddit AMAs to Send HUGE Amounts of Traffic to Your Site
For those out there really embracing the content marketing game, Reddit is a secret gold mine. It has monstrous amounts of traffic, and even better, most of your competitors eschew Reddit because of its well known “trolling” culture.
This situation is great for you if you decide to splurge on some Reddit marketing. Reddit has over 250 million users, 853,824 subreddits, and 50,000+ diverse communities, so there is definitely a market on Reddit for whatever it is you are selling online.
With Reddit, there are two main ways to promote your business:
- Paid advertising
- Organic reach
While we’ve never done paid advertising, we have been successful with organic reach. We’ve done three Reddit Ask Me Anythings (AMAs) over the last year and a half, and each time those AMAs have led to our biggest traffic spikes on Google Analytics. We crush our lead goals every time we do a Reddit AMA, and some of the seriously big businesses for sale on our marketplace have come directly from a Reddit AMA.
We’re still seeing referral traffic coming in from our Reddit AMAs as well. Here’s a quick snapshot of our top referrers in January 2018:
We had 649 people come to Empire Flippers from Reddit. That comes close to matching our YouTube referral numbers, a platform we’re WAY more proactive on. In fact, our last Reddit AMA was almost three months ago and was by far the smallest AMA we’ve done compared to the first two, but potential customers are still finding us through Reddit.
Let’s break down our system for doing Reddit AMAs and how you can copy us. We used this same five-point system to get to the front homepage of Reddit, coming in right at position #11!
The great thing about this strategy is that it really costs you no money (outside of time) and it can lead to big jumps in traffic. If you have systems set up to collect email and do retargeting, this strategy can be a huge long-term win for you.
So how can you get results like ours for your business? Let’s dive in.
5 Steps to Successfully Launch an Ask Me Anything (AMA) That Sends You Traffic & Leads
Step 1 – Finding the Right Subreddit and Reaching Out to the Moderator
An AMA is where you post in a certain subreddit who you are, what you’ve done, and open up the thread to the entire audience of that subreddit to ask you any questions they want. Usually, you’ll see people who have successfully done something cool do an AMA. Often actors and other celebrities will do them, but it is by no means limited to just the star-studded.
Empire Flippers did three Reddit AMAs over a year and a half, with the subjects focused on buying and selling an online business, building a remote team, and the digital nomad lifestyle in general.
Once you have your focus topic (and expert) in mind, it’s time to start hunting for subreddits that make sense for that topic. Subreddits exist on literally almost every subject you can think of, so regardless of your niche there is probably a subreddit community out there that caters to it. Usually, the people in these subreddits are going to be more passionate and educated on the niche, too.
Before you go into doing a Reddit AMA, make sure you really are a topic expert at what you are going to be talking about. If you’re not, you’ll likely find that the subreddit turns against you and the AMA hurts more than it helps.
Also, while the entrepreneur and various business subreddits are fantastic audiences, AMAs are not limited to just the make-money-online niche.
We chose the entrepreneur subreddit for our first AMA and then, for our next one, went to the mainstream subreddit iAMA to get the most attention possible. It was this second AMA that saw us get to the homepage of Reddit.
I would advise you to start off with a smaller subreddit until you really understand the platform. You can use a directory like Redditlist.com to find a subreddit or do a quick Google search to find the subreddits that have good activity.
For example, our niche is entrepreneurship:
Entering that simple search function of site:Domainname.com + “keyword” brings up everything relevant on Reddit.com to the keyword I’m researching.
By the way, this is a really useful search function for ANY site where you’re looking for relevant information. It’s especially helpful if it is like Reddit where everything is a bit chaotic to an outside viewer.
As you can see, we found two entrepreneur related subreddits here.
This is a pretty big group, with over 370,000 subscribed people interested in entrepreneurship and actively participating in conversations.
While the subreddit you choose doesn’t need to be this large, you should look for a subreddit that is actively posting new things and communicating with each other.
Once you find the right subreddit to host your AMA, it’s time to reach out to the moderator. Every subreddit has a moderator or sometimes multiple moderators (if it’s a big community). You’ll want to ask them if they’re okay with you doing an AMA. Some moderators have special rules for AMAs to prove you really are who you say you are, amongst other things.
For example, in one of our AMAs, the moderator asked us to post from our personal twitter accounts to prove that we really were the people giving the AMA.
While you don’t always have to contact the moderator, it’s a good practice. Often the moderators can help promote your AMA to the entire community, and they can become great advocates that can drive more people back to your AMA.
Now that you know the community you’re targeting and have reached out to the moderator, there’s nothing left to do but promote to your list and social media that you’ll be doing an AMA. Ideally, you want to send the link to the thread where you’ll be appearing at least a few days before you do the AMA.
Step 2 – Revving the Reddit Engine
I mentioned earlier that Reddit has a pretty well known “trolling” culture. This fact turns off a lot of would-be Reddit marketers since Reddit is infamous for its user base hating even the most subtle of promotional material.
That is why I really recommend using Reddit IF you already have a good-sized audience. You can do a successful Reddit AMA without having an audience, of course, but an existing audience can go a long way to building trust with other Redditors if you can get them into the AMA.
This step is all about letting your audience know about the AMA.
We send out multiple emails to inform our list, including a solo email on the day we do the actual AMA. Also, we reach out to any influencers we have to ask them if they would also share our Reddit AMA with their audiences. Good candidates for these are people who you’ve done guest posts or any kind of content collaboration with us in the past. Most of the time, people are pretty willing to help promote your AMA; it’s an easy ask since it’s usually just a social share or a quick email for them to write.
Once your Reddit AMA thread is live, it is time to go through ALL of your social media groups that are relevant and post a link to the AMA.
We belong to a ton of Facebook groups related to the AMA such as dropshipping, Amazon FBA, and niche site; we knew that those group members would want to participate in the AMA.
Be careful about posting the AMA in too many groups too fast. If you’re like me, where you’re in a TON of different communities, you might get a slap on the wrist for posting the AMA in too many groups too fast. I got put into “Facebook jail” for a couple of days because I belong to a TON of different communities and, despite every post linking to the AMA being handwritten on the spot, it looked to Facebook like I copied and pasted (maybe I’m too fast of a typer, hehe).
In addition to social media groups, look for other subreddits related to the subreddit you’re giving the AMA in—that way you can cross-promote in that subreddit about your AMA.
This entire step helps combat the trolling culture on Reddit in a big way. You get people that already know, like, and trust you into that thread, then they’ll start asking solid questions that get the entire show on the road.
What is nice is that people that love your brand will likely downvote any of the trolling comments so, for the most part, you and the other people that visit the AMA won’t see them. Instead, they’ll see a bunch of people asking great questions and you providing great answers, which then prompts them to ask their own questions.
And the cycle continues!
Step 3 – Gaming the Reddit Algorithm
The Reddit algorithm, as far as we can tell, comes down to mainly three things:
- Engagement: People actually replying to your AMA, asking questions, and you responding to them quickly with answers.
- Freshness: How new the latest comment is. By always having more comments coming in, it will keep your AMA “fresh.” If there is a lull in new comments, look for threads where you can keep the conversation going to retain that “freshness.”
- Upvotes: This action is where people actually click the “Up” arrow on your comments and replies. The more of these you get, the more exposure you’ll get across Reddit. It is possible to actually appear on the front page of Reddit if you get enough upvotes, so this is a super important metric for exposure.
By getting a whole bunch of signals from these three factors, you’ll rank high in the subreddit and you’ll have a shot at appearing on the Reddit home page (or at least the most viewed listing in that subreddit).
In order to score high on these three factors, you need to be hyper-responsive during your Reddit AMA. Upvote all the good questions you get, reply as fast as you can, and don’t ignore nested conversations where someone replies to your reply. Nested conversations can go deep; responding to these conversations is important to freshness as well.
Step 4 – Using a Team to Be More Responsive
Using a team can increase your ability to respond to questions in a big way.
Not everyone will have this option, but if you do, you should definitely utilize this advantage. We got our entire team to log into their Reddit accounts at home to help upvote the good and downvote the trolls. This effort helped quality questions move to the top of the AMA and gave it an overall appearance of high-quality, which of course led to more high-quality questions.
Another thing we did is have our staff trawl through the various questions being asked, looking for one they could answer comprehensively. So while Justin was answering his questions, we would be busy answering others. Of course, only Justin’s account could be used to answer the questions since he was the one doing the AMA.
We would copy and paste the question and our answer to Justin via our Slack channels, and he would modify the answer to match his voice and post it. This process allowed us to answer hundreds of questions far faster than if we were going at it alone. We believe this hyper engagement led us to getting more organic views, too.
Step 5 – Create a Content Spreadsheet and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Edits
Before your AMA begins, you should create a content spreadsheet. This sheet will contain links to thought pieces, case studies, how-tos, and any other useful popular content that you’ve written on your site.
Since the main goal is to get people off the AMA and ultimately into your email list, this content sheet acts as a little “cheat” sheet of places to send that AMA traffic to. Whenever someone asked us questions about deal structuring, we’d send them to our Definitive Guide on Deal Structuring, or when they asked us if we have any case studies of selling an Amazon FBA business, we could send them to our $1.7 million case study.
This is a great way to promote your website under the radar. People love being sent to more in-depth content, and it allows you to retarget them later or, even better, get them as a lead on your email list when they do go to read that content.
Also, having this content sheet will prevent you from having to answer questions in-depth over and over again. Instead, you can just keep giving out a link to that piece of relevant content with a few lines explaining why they should read it.
As your AMA progresses, you’ll probably find people asking other questions over and over again. Your team, or you, should be updating this content spreadsheet over the course of the AMA to give easy access to links that can answer popular questions.
Next, you will want to edit your original post throughout the AMA explaining more of who you are, what you can offer in a non-promotional way, and adding links where these readers can become leads.
We typically do three edits on any Reddit AMA that we do. The first edit is really just to tell everyone thanks for showing up and asking so many great questions. We will usually put a link in this first edit meant to capture leads.
In our case, we had people asking a lot about valuations and what kind of business models they should buy. So it made sense for our first edit to include our two lead magnets: our valuation tool and our free ebook of the most popular online business models.
We usually like to do this first edit an hour after the AMA has begun, because this update shows people we weren’t there just to be promotional upfront. New people that come to the AMA can see plenty of people have been asking us questions for a while and usually won’t be annoyed by the two promotional links that we edited in later.
In the second edit, which can happen any time you like between the first and third edits, we might add more places for people to follow what we are up to, sending out general links to our blog and podcast.
The third edit is the wrap-up and the conclusion, where w again thank everyone and add any other relevant links that are important to us.
For example, we got a lot of people asking if we were hiring. While getting new applicants wasn’t the main goal of the AMA, we still included a link to our most recent job hiring post to attract potential talent to work with us.
Is Reddit Worthwhile for Your Marketing?
The answer is… it depends.
If you’re building out simple Amazon affiliate sites, probably not. But if you’re building out a real brand or an SaSS business, then I would say yes. Reddit has a ton of traffic that covers almost any niche you can think of, and their users will gladly promote you to others if you win their trust first.
It is all about flying underneath the promotional radar, providing solid value, doing a good pre-launch before your AMA starts to rev the engine, and being quick in responding to everyone engaging with you (a team and content cheat sheet is super helpful for that).
A successful AMA will see you get a HUGE spike in traffic. While Reddit leads are known to be notoriously flaky when they get off Reddit (i.e., they don’t opt in), we haven’t found this to be our experience. Quite the opposite actually. This spike has led to an overflow of leads for us, and we’ve gotten multiple six-figure businesses that decided to sell on our marketplace.
Once the AMA is done, you’ll still get residual traffic from your Reddit AMAs for months to follow. All those social signals hitting your site will also lift up a lot of the SEO work you’re doing with your content, so it is a win-win in every way.
As long as you follow our five steps, you’re going to be ahead of 99 percent of the marketers out there trying to make Reddit work for them.
Let us know if you decide to throw a Reddit AMA using these strategies. If you do, comment below. We’d love to hear how it turned out for you!
Photo credit: baloon111