A couple months ago, I sent an email to my subscribers asking them to name one struggle they were having in their business. The response wasn't surprising. The vast majority were having problems with lead generation and search engine optimization (SEO).
I took their advice and wrote a step-by-step guide to systematize the SEO process. I hit the publish button and 16 hours later, I had 94 targeted subscribers with a common pain point. There was no landing page, pop-up or even a visible opt-in form on the page. All I used were a few Facebook groups, Reddit and an ethical bribe.
The beauty of this strategy is that it's repeatable, scalable and free. Here's how you can do it step-by-step.
Step 1: Find social groups that match your target audience.
Your first step should be to analyze your current customers and find commonalities in their demographic and psychographic profiles. A well-defined target market will dictate which groups you join, the networks to promote on and how effective conversion will be.
In my case, it was solopreneurs who had recently adopted the practice of content marketing. Some examples are female lifestyle bloggers, brick-and-mortar startups and self-published authors.
Most of these people live on Facebook, so I joined every group that matched my buyer personas.
Step 2: Immerse yourself in the group dynamics and discover their needs.
The dynamics of social groups will vary by network. For instance, LinkedIn groups cater to a business-to-business community, while Facebook might be the better choice for business-to-consumer. Adopting the group's culture will be critical in your influence within the group.
All groups are not created equal. Some will work and others won't. The key factors to analyze are engagement, pain points and group size.
Since my article was on SEO, I was looking for bloggers struggling with search-engine traffic. I did a few searches and found a handful of groups with dozens of comments like this:
Once you narrow down the right groups, introduce yourself and mention something related to the group. This will put you on the radar for group admins and active group members.
Read other people's comments and answer questions thoughtfully. Congratulate fellow members on their wins and engage regularly with new members. Become one of them.
Keep in mind that you'll be promoting a piece of content to this group at some point. No one likes self-promotion. When you're an outlier, they call it spam. When you're an insider, you're just sharing.
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
Step 3: Write an epic post that solves a problem and offers an irresistible bonus.
You already know what other members struggle with. If you can fulfill their needs, then start writing. Your typical top-10 list won't cut it. You need to create a piece that will engage, resonate and cause people to take action.
I wrote a 74-step SEO checklist that outlines the entire process to rank any blog. The content will drive traffic, but the bonus generates leads.
Here are six examples of bonuses you can use for your masterpiece:
- Mini courses
Others are crushing it with this strategy too. Bryan Harris from Video Fruit has seen 20 to 30 percent opt-in rates on blog posts, and Brian Dean from Backlinko has had a 185-percent lift in conversions.
Step 4: Craft your group message, track your results and expand your reach.
Now that you've gained insider status, you need to craft a loving message to your group. Here's what my message said:
"Hey all, over the past month, I put together a massive guide on [SEO for blogs]. If you happen to make it to the bottom of the post, I'd love to get your comments on what you think of the process.
Hope this helps anyone struggling with [SEO and content marketing].
P.S. If you don't like details, step-by-step instructions and pictures, this one may not be for you…"
If the message is clear and you are reaching the right audience, the response will be out of this world.
I posted a similar message in five groups and tagged the URLs using Google's URL builder. This allowed me to segment group engagement and reach new Facebook groups with a similar demographic.
Since Facebook groups were working great, I took my post to Reddit. Within hours, I reached the top of the SEO subreddit and had floods of targeted traffic piling in. Other networks you can try are Quora, LinkedIn and Google Groups. The key takeaway is to engage in communities where your target audience lives.
Social groups are one of the most underutilized sources for leads. Within a week, I gained 230 new subscribers and over 600 social interactions from a single blog post. You can achieve the same or even greater results by following this formula.
It's not rocket science. Live where your audience lives, create content that solves a problem, offer a bonus in exchange for their email address and share it in a helpful way.
Which social networks have you found to be the most effective for lead generation? Let me know in the comments section.