I have hit 10,131 monthly unique visitors to this blog!
If you have been following my blog for the past few months, you know I started GrowthText 5 months back with a mission to grow it from nothing to 10,000 monthly visitors without relying on SEO.
I just wrapped up the 5th month and hit the target I laid down 5 months back.
On this post, I’m sharing the traffic techniques I applied this month to reach my goal.
So, let’s dive in:
Month 1: 626 unique visitors
Month 2: 2428 unique visitors
Month 3 and 4: 2641 and 2671 unique visits respectively
June 2016 Traffic Report
Here is month 5.
The numbers below include June 1st through June 30th:
There were 10,131 unique visitors in June.
Average session duration was 1:45 minutes, compared to 2.13 minutes we had last month.
The bounce rate was 68.80%, lower than what we experienced in May, which was 77.98%
The stats indicate we’re getting more targeted traffic this month than we had last month.
Though we had more general traffic this month, we’re getting even more targeted traffic than in the past month.
We don’t sacrifice quality of traffic even though the volume of traffic increased.
Now, let’s see where our traffic is coming from…
Apart from implementing traffic techniques that have proven to work for me over the past few months, this month I spent the majority of my time and energy hacking the biggest social media – Facebook; and it pays off big.
Facebook traffic drove the highest numbers of views according to the analytics report above.
Desktop and mobile traffic combined, we had 7,583 sessions from Facebook.
That accounts for 56.3% of the total traffic we had.
How do I drive traffic from Facebook?
1. Leverage Facebook groups – I joined and shared my content in Facebook groups related to my blog topic.
2. And Facebook ads – At the same time, I am running ads on Facebook to drive traffic to Growth Text.
Since I have to pay for the ads, I wrote a course to sell to visitors to recover my ad cost.
Traffic is funnelled to a lead capture page; once someone opts in on the page, they are led to the course that covers my ad cost.
Here is something interesting…
I made more money than what I’ve spent on buying Facebook ads. So I get traffic, build a list, and make money just by using Facebook the right way.
To show you how I get Facebook to work for me, let’s start with how I hacked Facebook groups traffic…
Most of the time when I post in an active Facebook group, I see optins to my lead capture page nearly immediately.
Simply because Facebook group members are fixated on their interest, making them a super targeted audience.
As long as you can provide quality content that will resonate with your audience, people will be eager to check you out, often within minutes.
Just like most things that work online, marketing in Facebook groups is a numbers game.
You can’t just join 2-3 Facebook groups, post your content and expect massive traffic right off the bat.
You need to scale up what’s working.
To see great results:
1. share your content in as many Facebook groups as you can find that are related to your niche.
2. Follow a process that allows you to work as efficiently as possible so that you don’t waste time on unproductive activities that doesn’t bring results.
After all, we’re after the traffic and growing email subscribers, not dwelling on endless group comments and discussion.
Time is money and as we invest time, we want to maximize the results of that time spent on Facebook group marketing.
Let me share with you the process that allows me to maximize my results for the time I spend driving traffic by posting in Facebook groups:
Step 1: Locate and Join the Right Facebook Group
First, I seek out Facebook groups that have an audience that would be interested at my blog content.
As I’m in the “get traffic” niche, I know my target audience usually hangs around in groups related to blogging, WordPress, Internet Marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing.
I use the above as keywords to pull up related groups in Facebook search results.
I join as many groups as I can locate and wait for the admin to approve me.
A lot of groups are “closed groups”.
This means that the admin must approve me before I can join.
Most of the time, I get approved within 24 hours after I sent in the request to join.
Step 2: Private Message admin for Permission to Post
This is a huge time saver.
Contrary to conventional teaching which tells people when joining a new Facebook group, do not share a post; instead, you should first engage with the community, join discussions, ask questions, answer people’s questions blah blah blah…
There is nothing wrong with it, but it takes a lot of time to do it.
If you’re participating in 2-3 Facebook groups, that’s manageable. But not when you’re working on 100’s of groups.
I don’t follow this conventional wisdom.
It’s not efficient.
Instead, I focus on creating really high quality content on my blog first then go straight to the admin to ask if I can share it with the group.
If I get a green light from the admin, I share my content straight away when I first join the group.
Note: I don’t even post the – “Thanks for accepting me to join this group, looking forward to network and learn…”.
I share my blog content as my first post and ignore the rest.
If you really produce high quality content, most of the time the admin will be more than happy to let you share it with the group even when you’re new to the group.
Let me show you an example of what I did:
I joined The Content Marketing Lounge Facebook group managed by Nathan.
I sent a private message to Nathan to ask permission to share one of my blog posts with his group.
Here is what I wrote to Nathan:
Here is what Nathan replied:
When I had green light from Nathan, I went ahead to post it in the group.
Here is my post:
You only need one piece of helpful content to repeat the process with all Facebook groups that you join.
Here is what I sent to Danavir when I joined his group- Copymonk.
Here is what Danavir reply:
Step 3: Engage, Engage, Engage
Once I’ve shared my content, I always actively participate in discussions whenever I get a response from group members.
If all you do is just post and then disappear, you’re not going to have much success driving traffic from your post.
Once I’ve shared my post, I always check in a few times a day on the groups to respond to comments and answer questions they may have asked.
Here is a screenshot of my participation in one of the groups after I posted my blog post:
Here is another one:
As I actively participate in discussions, more people begin to take interest at what I have shared.
More and more people begin to check out my post, subscribe to my email list and share my content on Facebook.
Facebook groups are great places to drive very high quality traffic to a blog.
Participating in a few Facebook groups won’t send you massive amounts of traffic;
But as I said, it’s a number game: when you participate in 100’s of groups, the numbers build up.
To get this to work, you only need one piece of great content to start.
Take the time to scan through a few Facebook groups you want to target to see what interests them most, write a good article…
… One that provides helpful solutions for the concerns of the niche, post it on your blog, then find as many Facebook groups as you can within your niche to share it.
Once you have distributed your content in the groups, your content will work hard at getting you traffic and email sign-ups within the first few days.
When the traffic starts to dry up, you can write your next blog post and repeat the process.
Once you have the list of Facebook groups that works for you, you only need to produce more content to scale up the volume of traffic to your blog.
Though this is not a passive traffic source (you’ll need to write content, share it, and engage with group members);
Once you have a massive list of Facebook groups with members that show interest in you and are responsive to your content, you know you have a ready audience waiting for your next group post with a link to your newest blog content.
Facebook groups are a great traffic source, but it has its limitations.
There are only just so many Facebook groups engage with.
At some point you will run out of Facebook groups to market your content to.
In order to grab the attention of a much larger audience on Facebook, you want to get in front of as many Facebook users in your niche as possible. They don’t all belong to groups.
Pay for ads.
Below I show you how I buy ads on Facebook to drive high quality traffic to Growth Text to grow my email list… while making money doing it: all the costs are covered as I go.
Yes – you heard me right.
All the costs are covered as I go, plus I make a profit.
At the same time as I actively participate in different Facebook groups, I run ads on Facebook to drive visitors to my blog.
Here is what I got out of the ad campaigns I ran from June 1st June 30th:
– Drove 5561 visitors to Growth Text
– Added 2818 new subscribers to my list
– Added 633 new likes to my brand new Facebook Page
I drove traffic to a lead capture page on Growth Text where I sell a t-shirt marketing course I wrote based on my successes with Teespring.
Immediately upon arrival on my site, someone bought my course and I recovered the money I had spent on the ad.
I spent $4230 on ads and made $4559 out of it.
I came of out the campaign with $329 in profit.
Let’s take a look at my results in a little more detail…
I ran 2 Facebook ad campaigns at the same time; here is the first campaign:
Campaign 1: Lookalike Audience based on Growth Text email subscribers
Facebook allows advertisers to upload a list of emails to its Ad Manager which then looks for audiences similar to the ones on your list.
These similar audiences are called lookalikes and are chosen based on their past preferences and current interests.
This allow us to create super specific targeting for our ads.
As I have collected a list of email addresses for the past 4 months on Growth Text, I was able to enter the list into my Facebook Ad Manager to create a lookalike audience and run ads to them.
Here are the results of this campaign:
– 3,602 people clicked on the ad
– 1,811 leads (opt-ins) were collected
– $1.47 per lead conversion (what each opt-in cost).
Campaign 2: Lookalike Audience based on Growth Text visitors
Apart from the email lookalike audience, the Facebook Ad Manager can also be used to generate lookalike audiences from visitors to a web site, creating an even larger targeted range.
When I launched Growth Text in February, I set up a Facebook pixel on the site so every visitor who landed on my blog was tracked.
This allowed me to create another lookalike audience to run ads to on Facebook.
Here are the results of the 2nd ad campaign:
– 1,959 people clicks on the ad
– 1,007 leads collected
– $1.56 lead conversion.
From 2 campaigns combined, I collected 2818 subscribers in 30 days.
Now, let’s dive into the details of how I structured my opt-in and sales funnel:
Step 1: Facebook Ad
I had this ad created.
Those who click on the ad are sent to a lead capture page on Growth Text. Optin is required to access a free guide.
This is the only ad layout and graphic I used for the entire 30-day June campaign.
I was multitasking during the whole month: serving my web design clients, my first priority, while blogging and promoting Growth Text in between tasks; I didn’t have the spare time to do any split tests.
Since the ad was converting at around 3% and I was experiencing positive ROI, I could bear with it and let it run as is through the entire month, even though the profit was not up to par.
For campaign 1, I set the ad to target a lookalike audience based on the email list I uploaded to Facebook.
For campaign 2, I set the ad to target a lookalike audience based on Growth Text visitors.
The lookalike audiences’ parameters were set for the United States only.
I targeted everyone between 20-54 years of age whose primary language is English.
There is a setting for interests, but I can’t show you my target interest choices because my ads are still running as I’m writing this and I don’t want to invite competition.
By targeting my ads to a custom audience (lookalike audience) combined with the right choice of interests for that audience, Facebook can look at its database and put ads in front of the most targeted audience, people who have an avid interest in your information and products.
Among its ad layouts, Facebook offers Desktop Newsfeed (big screen) and Mobile Newsfeed (small screen).
After running my campaign for a few days, I quickly found that the cost of conversion on Desktop Newsfeed was almost double what I was paying for mobile ads.
In other words, I was seeing more conversions from mobile devices than from desktop computers and laptops.
So I only ran ads to mobile devices for most of the 30 days.
Step 2: Collect emails on a landing page, immediately offer a course to those who opt-in to my email list
Those who click on my ad (still running) are taken to a lead capture page.
On that page there is an offer for a free guide.
In order to get the guide, viewers must opt-in to my email list.
The email subscribers are shown a t-shirt marketing course sales page immediately after they opt in.
At the top of the sales page, I tell the subscribers they’ve been sent the free guide via email.
Just below the notification, I show them my t-shirt marketing course using graphics and pertinent information.
Step 3: Follow up emails
If you’ve been in marketing for some time, I’m sure you know that most people don’t buy something the first time they see the offer.
No matter how well a sales copy is crafted, it’s not easy to convert cold traffic into buyers immediately because they don’t know you and aren’t sure if they should trust you.
What did I do about that?
I created an email sequence to send to my subscribers back to the sales page in the coming days.
We’ve heard all over the place that it takes an average of 7 emails to convince a person to buy, but due to the lack of time, I wasn’t able to write that many emails.
I came out with just 4 follow up emails.
The first is the welcome email with the free guide, followed by 3 emails which I sent one per day.
The emails are loaded into AWeber (my autoresponder) which sends the email sequence out as scheduled.
Those who did not buy immediately were sent the sequence to keep the offer fresh and immediate.
I set the follow up emails in my AWeber account:
That’s how my entire funnel works.
There are different prices for my course depending on the package chosen by the buyer… some buy this and some buy that.
All combined, I have accumulated $4559 in sales for the course using different campaigns.
I use JVZoo to manage my sales funnel.
Here are my JVZoo sales reports:
For the June campaign, I spent $4230 paying for ads.
I came of out the campaign with $329 profits while collecting 2818 email subscribers to my list, which is where ongoing profits are to be made.
The best part is, I found my targeted audience on Facebook.
These are not just people who sign up for free content, they are buyers actually spending money buying products.
I can now continue running ads to the same demographics and keep getting the same results month after month until I have exhausted the audience on Facebook.
This becomes a predictable and sustainable source of lead acquisition and customers.
I had 4,720 in direct traffic this month. This accounts for 36.5% of the total traffic.
These visits occurred when I emailed subscribers to notify them of a new post and when friends told friends to go read Growth Text (referrals).
Other Traffic Sources
I had some traffic channel in from JVZoo.com, Google search, Twitter and the Warrior Forum.
That’s it… and the rest of the traffic sources are too small to report on.
So there you have the traffic sources that brought traffic to my blog in June.
Now let’s take a look at the list building part.
Here is my main list subscriber growth in June:
According to Aweber, my subscribers grew to 950 in June.
In May it was 727.
I increased my list 30% in 1 month.
That’s the main list.
My content upgrade offer on this post added another 12 subscribers to my list in June.
Accumulated subscribers: 182.
That’s my 2nd list.
As I showed you earlier, I ran 2 Facebook ad campaigns in June and added 2,818 new subscribers to my new list.
That’s my 3rd list.
Combined, I have 3,950 subscribers on my list now.
Going forward, what’s my traffic strategy?
5 months ago, I embarked on a journey to grow Growth Text from a brand new blog to 10,000 monthly unique visitors without relying on SEO.
5 months later, I had accomplished my journey by getting 10,131 unique visitors in the 5th month.
Within 5 months, I accumulated 17,735 unique visitors to Growth Text and built a strong following.
Going forward, what’s my traffic strategy?
To be successful at anything, it’s the 80/20 rule. Including traffic generation.
Over the past 5 months, I ran numerous traffic experiments.
Some didn’t work, and some worked extremely well.
I will narrow down the traffic sources to what worked best for me and optimize my system.
Traffic techniques like influencer marketing, email marketing, Facebook groups marketing, and Facebook ads are my winners.
These are the areas where I’ll be spending 80% of my energy in the upcoming months, tweaking and perfecting what I’ve already done successfully.
I’ll take what I’ve learned over the past 5 months of experimentation and optimize my existing system/implementation.
Apart from that, I’ll spend 20% of my time and energy on testing new traffic sources which have not worked for me so far, but have a lot of potential.
I’ve yet to crack communities like Inbound.org, GrowthHackers, and Reddits.
By spending more effort on them, I strongly believe I will be able to add these to my traffic channels.
Guest posting and SEO are other areas I haven’t had time to put worthwhile energy into. They’re on my to-do list for the coming months.
Over the past 5 months I’ve hit my traffic target without relying on SEO, but I didn’t overlook it.
I still do on-page SEO things like optimizing title, description, h1 tags etc., but those are simply a standard part of building a web page.
I didn’t spend any effort on getting backlinks to my blog, performing serious keyword searches, or any of the other extra tasks that are part of serious SEO, and that are normally required if you want to be found.
And yet, I still achieved enviable traffic numbers.
SEO is a long term play. Unless you’re in a niche with very little competition, you can’t expect to rank on Google within a very short time using only SEO.
In the short term, other traffic techniques I’ve implemented over the past 5 months brought my site plenty of excellent, targeted traffic much faster.
Now that the first 5 months have passed and Growth Text is “aged” a bit, it’s time for me to pay more attention to getting quality backlinks to my blog posts and get it ranked to Page 1 of the search results.
That’s the overall direction I’m heading.
Working on a brand new blog and so many, many traffic sources over the past 5 months has been a lot of fun.
I hope you are finding value in the monthly traffic reports, which will be useful for quite a long time to come.
If you have been following my journey, I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Let me know what you have learned from the monthly traffic reports I’ve been sharing.
Or maybe you have a question or two you’d like to ask about the traffic building techniques I used?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.
17 thoughts on “Case Study: How I Drive 10,131 Unique Visitors to My Blog in 30 Days Part Time While I Run My Web Design Business”
Great work, Verena.
I have really enjoyed watching your traffic grow month after month!
Matt, thanks for following my journey all the way since day one. I appreciate your support.
Congrats Verena 🙂
It looks like you built the traffic through brand marketing. The direct traffic is second to the top.
You’re welcome, Japs. I get direct traffic when I email my blog subscribers to notify them of a new post. I believe they do tell friends to check out my blog posts too when they like it. That’s when I get extra direct traffic.
So much traffic In such a short time, and the best part of it, is the story behind the result. Completely different from most advice out there. Just curious, if this will work for every niche?
Yes Francis, my traffic techniques work for most niches. As long as our content provide values, traffic generation becomes easier. It’s so much easier to get others to spread good content across all platforms. If you spend time working on good stuff and get it distributed across multiple platforms, you’ll definitely be rewarded with more traffic, more subscribers and more sales.
I too have started a blog in March (15th) and I’m currently at around 300 visitors a month with 500 page views, all comes from Google as I wrote over 100 posts after some long tail keyword research. I am hoping to increase ranking by building some links (the area where I lack interest and talent). Your blog helped me look for other alternatives for traffic and I’m always learning a thing or two in every post.
Looking forward to reading more. Cheers!
You’re welcome Asif, glad my content helps. Keep me in the loop to let me know what kind of improvement you see.
This is one of the best posts I´ve read on this topic so far. Amazing work.
That’s great to hear, Jens.
I forgot to add my question: How many posts were published when you first shared you stuff in Facebook groups?
Jens, I had 12 blog posts on Growth Text when I first shared my content on Facebook. I should have done it earlier. Didn’t do it because I was busy testing other traffic sources. Facebook groups are at the other end of my to-do list. If I were to start all over again, I would do it when I had my 1st blog post up. It doesn’t really matter how many blog posts you have, it’s the quality of the content that counts. As long your stuff resonates and is helpful to your target audience, share it even if that’s the only piece of content you have. Oh yes, remember to get your lead capture forms set up first, trust me, you’ll see optins very quickly.
Do you use Post Planner software for your posting on social media sites?
I would like to know, what programs and software you use to keep your on-line business running smoothly.
Gil, I don’t use Post Planner for social media posting. I use Thriveleads and Sumome to create lead capture forms. Of course, Aweber. That’s my email service provider.
Great strategy Verena. I supposed being a freelancer gives you more time to dwell into these?
You are right, Mickey.
You really are one of a kind. I have never thought that I would find a page like this. Let me tell you a little experience of mine about SEO.
I had written around 10 articles and posted them to famous article directories, 10 or so, with my link on the author section. That took my 1 week, I do not exactly remember. My blog have risen up to 26th place on Google for the keyword “Affiliate Marketing”.
But of course, that was really long time ago. I believe that your experiences will guide our way.
1- Create a Facebook account
2- Join FB Groups
3- Post valuable information with a link below it
I think that should be the summary. You may add a few things to this if you like ;).