By and large, ecommerce marketers are well aware that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest can be used to generate leads.

But what about community sites like Reddit and Quora?

Despite their ubiquity, ecommerce marketers across the industry don’t realize that Reddit and Quora can be absolute gold mines for finding leads and prospects.

We get more conversions from Quora, but get more leads and traffic from Reddit. And, our conversion rate from Quora is higher than organic search or social media.

Brad Ervin, founder of Hippie Butter

If you’re not familiar with either service, both are information and content-sharing platforms that anyone can join.

What are Quora and Reddit?

  • On Reddit, users contribute to message threads, creating ongoing conversations focusing on a given topic.
  • Quora is structured in a question-and-answer format, where experts on a given subject can share solutions to common (or not-so-common) problems.

But who am I kidding? You’ve probably lurked on either one of these sites at least once (or constantly through the day, if you’re anything like me) within the past month or so, scrolling through content generated by other users.

Why Reddit and Quora are Marketing Goldmines

But have you ever considered the benefits of actually generating content for Reddit or Quora?

Like I said, both of these sites are full of qualified leads for your business –– no matter which industry you’re in. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

  • In November 2016, Reddit posted 8 billion page views, and 250 million active monthly users. The site ranks 11th in the US, and 26th in the world, in terms of monthly traffic.
  • Quora is a few years younger than Reddit, but has recently exploded in terms of traffic. In March of 2016, the site was generating 200 million monthly visitors. By April of 2017, that number had almost doubled to 190 million. This puts Quora within the top 60 websites in America, and the top 120 in the world.

But it’s not just that these sites generate a huge quantity of users.

The most frequent users of Reddit and Quora tend to be absolutely obsessed with the topics they follow. They expect highly-specialized, laser-focused answers, solutions, and other such content whenever they log on.

If the product or service you offer appeals to a Reddit or Quora user, you have a pretty good chance of gaining a new customer.

But, you can’t just jump into either Reddit or Quora and do a hard sell of your products. No one will pay attention to you –– and to win sales –– you need folks on these platforms to not only pay attention, but to like what you have to say.

Marketing on Quora and Reddit is all about subtlety.

On these platforms, adding value is the most important metric on the measuring stick. Though the nuances of using Reddit and Quora differ from one another, your goals for using both are the same:

  • Gather insight from a targeted community
  • Showcase your expertise and gain credibility within the community
  • Offer to help solve the problems the community members face
  • Forge a genuine connection with potential customers and peers
  • Organically grow your customer base without much hard selling (if any at all)

It will take some effort on your part to get in with the communities on these sites, but once others see the value you bring to the table, your customer base is bound to explode with highly loyal and passionate people.

Let’s take a look at how you can join in the fun and start using Reddit and Quora to generate a massive amount of traffic and sales.

Using Reddit to Grow Sales

The process of generating sales through Reddit is as follows:

  • Find the right “subreddits” to target
  • Become a valued part of these communities
  • Point users to your product/service
  • Profit!

Let’s break down exactly how to go about these steps in order to maximize your results.

Finding the Right Subreddit

To put it simply: Reddit is huge.

To make the site more navigable, Reddit is broken down into “subreddits.” A subreddit is a forum focused on a specific industry or topic. At the time of writing this, there are over one million subreddits to check out.

While that sounds like a lot to wade through, the good news is two-fold:

  • You can easily search for subreddits that apply to your industry
  • With over a million subreddits, you’re bound to find a bunch that apply to your brand

Yes, even if your niche is “painting pictures of monks looking at beer.”

You’ll want to be both broad and specific when searching for subreddits related to your niche. For example, if your company focuses on exercise tips for busy moms, you’d want to check out:

  1. /r/fitness
  2. /r/xxfitness
  3. /r/fitmama

You’d also want to check out subreddits that relate to your niche in a more indirect way. Using the example from above, /r/parenting might also be full of potential leads, as well.

Once you’ve discovered a good amount of subreddits, you’ll want to know for sure which ones are worth joining. Factors to consider include:

  • The number of subscribers to the subreddit
  • Trending topics within the subreddit
  • The amount of recent activity within the forum

Also, take a look at the quality of the content being posted.

  • Does it seem like many of the community members are actively interested in purchasing the solution you offer?
  • Or are they more passive in terms of their interest in the topic?

Along with this, consider the overall perspective of the community and the way in which members interact with each other. Remember, one of your goals is to become an authentic member of the community; if your personality or perspective clashes with the herd, this isn’t going to happen.

Here an example of a subreddit the brand Hippie Butter has joined, enough so to be listed as a related link (back to their ecommerce homepage) in the sidebar for an active community of more than 2,000.

On the same token, before you take the leap and join a subreddit, check out its rules and policies. While some reddit communities are rather laid back, others are pretty strict in terms of what you’re allowed and not allowed to post. In some cases, posting promotional content will get you banned, no questions asked.

Rules for /r/ecommerce

Getting “In” With a Reddit Community

If you haven’t already, now is the time to create an account on Reddit.

Unlike most other online communities, your Reddit profile doesn’t include a bio or anything like that. Anonymity can be your friend as you begin to wade into Reddit marketing.

All other Redditors will know about you when they click on your account name is what posts you’ve shared or commented on, and how many karma points (think “upvotes”) you’ve earned.

“wurstfinga” has clearly been active, and provided huge value, over the last five months.

Once you’ve created an account, you can either start requesting to join specific subreddits (some are private), or you can immediately join in discussions that appeal to you and apply to your niche.

Your goal now is to start building a reputation as a valued member of the community. Don’t jump the gun and begin posting your own content, or links to your website –– just yet.

Instead, focus on joining conversations and generating discussions just as you would with a group of friends in real life. Answer other people’s questions, ask your own questions, probe for more information. Link to content that helped you achieve a certain goal or overcome a certain problem.

In short: provide value.

Don’t just join a conversation to gain visibility, especially if you have nothing of importance to add to the discussion. Remember: just as you can gain credibility by getting upvoted, you can also lose it completely if people downvote your not-so-valuable comments.

Posting Your Own Content

Once it’s clear that a certain community appreciates you, you can then wade into posting links back to your own content or products.

However, when it comes to posting your own material, there are a lot of caveats.

As alluded to, you should avoid posting your own content before you’ve become well-known within the community. Redditors are acutely aware of when they’re being sold on something, and will likely ignore or downvote you if it’s obvious you only joined the community to peddle your wares.

An exception to this rule, however, is if you know for sure that your content is incredibly valuable. If, for example, your content has garnered positive comments elsewhere, go for it.

Also, if you plan on posting the same content to numerous subreddits, make it clear that you’re “cross-posting.” by including the phrase “xpost” or “cross-post” in your subject line for subsequent posts. This is about transparency and honesty.

Again, this community hates being sold to –– especially if the item or the sell isn’t really, really ridiculously good.

Once you’ve started posting your own content, it can be tempting to just keep pushing through until you generate discussions and leads. But don’t get overly-promotional.

Continue to post other people’s content, as well as comments and content that don’t link to your website. A general rule of thumb is to only post links to your own content or products 10% of the time.

Another thing to consider when posting your own content is when to do so.

Since you’re only posting your own content 10% of the time, you want to make sure these posts get in front of as many eyes as possible. Check out Later for Reddit’s Subreddit Traffic Analysis Tool to determine the best times to post in a specific subreddit.

Lastly, and this probably goes without saying: don’t be annoying.

Don’t solicit upvotes, spam subreddit boards, or use bots to post comments. As mentioned earlier, Redditors notice this kind of stuff –– and they don’t take kindly to it.

Be real. Provide value. The sales will follow.

Advertising on Reddit

Although the bulk of your activity on Reddit will be on generating organic traffic and leads, you can pay to advertise your content on the site, as well.

Once again, you should only do so after you’ve gotten in with a community and its members have reacted positively to your products or services.

When advertising on Reddit, you have three options:

  • Sponsored posts: Purchasing a sponsored post ad will pin your content to the top of a chosen subreddit, making it highly visible to anyone who visits that specific forum. Payment for these ads is per thousand clicks, so you’ll only pay when someone actively engages with your post.
  • Display ads: These are essentially banner ads that will appear at the top or on the side of a subreddit main page (or the front page of Reddit – if your budget allows it). However, one thing to note is users can up or downvote display ads; if the content you choose to display isn’t top-notch, it might do more harm than good for your brand. To set up a display ad, you’ll need to contact the Reddit team directly to determine timing and pricing.
  • Sponsored Q&A: Similar to Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” sessions, a sponsored Q&A session allows you to host a live chat of sorts with a subreddit’s community members. This will allow you to actively engage with anyone who joins, but places you and your brand at the center of attention. You’ll also need to contact Reddit’s team to set one of these sessions up.

While we’re on the subject of question-and-answer format posting, let’s move on to discussing how you can use Quora to drive traffic and generate leads.

Quora Marketing Tips for Super Qualified Leads

Quora is built upon the simple premise that people use the internet to find answers to their most burning questions –– and that someone out there will surely be able to help.

The process for becoming a respected member of the Quora community is similar to doing so on Reddit, with a few key differences along the way.

This section will focus on how to:

  • Create a proper Quora profile
  • Find the right topics to focus on
  • Answer questions in a valuable manner
  • Determine who among the “askers” are the most qualified leads

Let’s get started.

Creating a Quora Profile

Unlike Reddit, Quora allows you to create a fully fleshed-out profile detailing who you are and what your company specializes in.

To begin, you can choose to build your profile from scratch or connect it with an existing Google or Facebook account. Whichever option you choose, keep one thing in mind: use your company Facebook or Google account, rather than your personal one.

You’ll then be asked to choose the topics that interest you.

More topics become available depending on your initial choices.

Again, these topics should apply only to your interests in terms of your brand. You can always create a separate personal Quora account if you’d like.

Next, you’ll be asked to list topics that you know about. This step is incredibly important, as it’s where you can showcase your expertise in a variety of areas related to your industry. You can be rather broad with your choices, but it’s best to be as specific as possible.

“Marketing” is entirely too broad. “Digital marketing” shows you have a focus.

Also, like when choosing Quora topics to target, think about related subtopics that your target leads might also follow. For example, if you offer content related to blogging advice, you might also check out freelance writing as a topic.

You’ll then be able to fill out the rest of your profile, including your employment and educational background, company website, and bio.

Your bio doesn’t need to be long-winded (in fact, it shouldn’t be). But it should cover who you are, what you’ve done, and what your company is all about.

You can also provide a short description regarding your expertise in each of the topics you chose earlier. As you would when creating a resume, use these areas to list your accomplishments in these areas (rather than boasting about your skills).

Lastly, make sure you link your company’s social media profiles to your Quora account. This will allow you to easily share content when you begin answering questions in the future.

Browsing Topics and Questions

Now that your profile is all set up, you’re ready to start browsing topics and questions which apply to your industry.

As with assessing subreddits in terms of whether or not you should focus on a specific forum, you should do the same with topics and questions on Quora.

Topics are essentially forums that house any and all related questions. Important factors to consider when discovering topics to follow include:

  • The number of questions in the topic’s feed
  • The number of followers
  • The quality and quantity of unanswered questions
  • The quality and quantity of answers to questions that have been answered

The topic “freelancing” is admittedly a bit broad, but 245,000 followers presents a huge opportunity if your company is focused on helping solopreneurs in any industry.

When looking at individual questions to answer, consider:

  • The amount of followers the question has
  • How recently the question was asked
  • The quality and quantity of answers provided

Ideally, you want to target questions that:

  1. Have at least 5-10 followers
  2. Were asked in the past few months
  3. Don’t have many answers yet.
  4. Or, if a question does have a long list of answers, check whether or not the answers are valid and valuable.

As a bonus, you may want to also find questions that are ranking organically on the first page of Google for keywords that align with your business as it potentially means additional views to your answer.

Quora also allows you to follow individual accounts, as well. Use this function to follow experts who have answered numerous questions within your niche. Quora will then notify you the next time they answer a question –– allowing you to stay on top of trending topics in your industry.

Once you’ve discovered topics and questions worth following, you can begin focusing on answering questions and providing valuable content to the Quora community.

Answering Questions on Quora

Before you begin answering questions you’ve targeted on Quora, there are a few things you need to do.

First, check out the other answers that have already been provided. Answers with the most upvotes will, of course, be the ones you want to focus on here.

After reading through a handful of these answers completely, ask yourself:

  • Is there anything missing from the answer?
  • Is there anything you can expand upon?
  • Is of the information within these answers incorrect, disputable, or outdated?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you’ve found the perfect target for your Quora marketing efforts.

But don’t fire off an answer just yet.

Your next order of business is to prepare some epic content that will do one of the following:

  • Answer the original question better than any of the current answers
  • Dive deeper into and expand upon a specific area of one of the previous answers
  • Correct or clarify information from a previous answer that may be confusing or misleading

If you already have a piece of content that fulfills these goals, perfect. If not, you need to create it!

As a side note, using Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique is an insanely productive way to create the kind of 10x content we’re talking about here.

Once you have this content ready to go, you aren’t going to simply post a link to it as an answer and move on.

Instead, craft an answer based on this content.

Every answer you post on Quora should be:

  • Insanely detailed
  • Logically structured
  • Packed with links to various resources (your own and other people’s)
  • Written in a personal and professional manner

Now, you can link back to the content you’ve prepared in order to answer this question. But there’s a certain way to do it.

Check out Devesh Khanal’s answer to the question, “To build an online presence should I start with a blog or social media?” He answers the question, provides essential data from an infographic he created for his blog to back up his claims, and then provides a link to supplemental information regarding how to build traffic via guest posting.

For this answer, Devesh received 14 upvotes from other Quora members. Had he simply said “Oh, I answered that question on my blog a few years ago. Check out my answer here!” there’s no way his answer would have had such a positive impact.

Also, remember that you’ve already put a link to your website in your bio, which is visible whenever you answer a question. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to (in fact, you shouldn’t) include links to your content in every single answer you provide.

Rule of thumb: don’t force it. If the situation warrants a link, go for it; if it doesn’t, leave it be.

Think back to our 90-10 rule for Reddit. For every 10 questions you answer, only one or two should include links to your site.

Once you’ve answered a question, remember to share your answer on your social media pages. Chances are, some of your followers have the same question, and will be grateful that you preemptively answered it for them without them having to reach out.

As is the case with Reddit:

Be real. Be valuable. Be helpful.

And trust that your most qualified prospects will find a way to contact you when they’re in need of your services and products.

Hippie Butter is a great use case of exactly what to do on Quora to drive increased traffic to your Quora answers, become a trusted member of the community and drive traffic back to your site.

Founder Brand Ervin has more than 400 followers on his Quora account, which gets more than 1,000 views per month (more than 11,000 in total) thanks to his 44 answers to hemp related questions.

Brad has become a thought leader on Quora for hemp-product related questions.

Advertising With Quora

Before we dive into Quora advertising, you’ll first need to have an established Quora account, and then contact the Quora team to apply for the ability to use it. You’ll then be able to begin creating ads on Quora that target specific topics and questions that relate to your niche.

First, you’ll need to create an advertising campaign. You’ll give it a name, set your daily cost-per-click budget, and decide when you’d like the campaign to become active.

You’ll then select your targets for the campaign. This includes specific topics and questions you’d like to focus on, as well as where (geographically) your ads will be visible (if your company currently only serves customers on the east coast, you wouldn’t want people from California wasting your clicks).

Then, you’ll be ready to create your ad. Unlike a complex and highly custom platform like Facebook, Quora ads are relatively simple, consisting of a headline, body, and site link.

Minimalists rejoice!

Again, since the service is in its infancy, it’s not certain whether more features and options will be added in the future –– or if Quora’s advertising services are even all that effective.

If your advertising budget is rather small, it might be best to focus on generating leads organically for the time being.

Don’t Underestimate Reddit and Quora Marketing

Perhaps because they haven’t reached the mainstream in the way that Facebook or Twitter have, Reddit and Quora aren’t necessarily seen as prime locations for increasing traffic and sales.

But, if you go about it the right way, both of these resources can help you build your reputation as a thought leader –– and reach thousands (if not millions) of people in the process.

For Brad, both have been valuable resources for increased traffic and sales. Here are his tips, advice, and insights:

  1. On Quora, answer questions about your industry. For me, that’s the emerging hemp industry. I always post a link back to a blog post on my website for more information. On Reddit, I work to get backlinks to my new blog posts and product pages –– which offer valuable content and information for anyone looking for details about hemp products.
  2. Our conversion rate from Quora is higher than Organic Search or Social Media
  3. We get more conversions from Quora, but get more leads and traffic from Reddit.
  4. Take the time to write good answers and always have a picture and link back to your site. You can use Quora questions to come up with new blog posts, too!
  5. Make sure to place you link in the right Reddit Category or it will get deleted quickly and that doesn’t help anyone.