Finding the right audience for making content work is like putting the a plant in the right type of soil. Make conditions right and it will flourish. If not, the content basically dies, withering away being ignored on the grapevine of this terrible analogy.
The problem of finding where to place content with the intention of reaching a certain audience is called targeting. Targeting is, not to understate this, usually the wanton fireball of poor logic that results in terrible marketing.
The most creative, imperceptibly designed, well-structured, well-funded campaign cannot flourish without the correct targeting. Imagine trying to pitch a client a viral campaign for gay marriage for, say, Facebook users who also like Kim Davis. You get the point.
Targeting is tricky. You may know where your audience is, but the only way to access them is through expensive ads. Or when you do have the budget to support advertising, there may not be enough people in a given location to support your goal (think of a local business offering services in a small geographic area). Some audiences live in places that you can’t even advertise and that you can’t likely integrate in with easily.
Every once and awhile though, all the planets align. You find a chance to place things you make into communities where they naturally fit.
White Whales: Growth Hacking Big Communities
The original content strategy (itself a fireball by now) for this site included content devoted towards Etsy sellers, a fairly niche community and segment in terms of interest as it relates to marketing. Most Etsy sellers do not engage in traditional paid digital advertising in the same way, say, a website would.
One pattern I quickly picked up about this audience was the prevalence of social media groups designed to self-promote products within their Shop to other Etsy sellers and to help new shop owners learn how to improve their existing Etsy shop.
In other words, the perfect audience for Etsy Shop related content.
Step 1: Search
A simple search on Facebook under Groups showed a number of Etsy private groups. I simply applied to be part of them. Obviously, you want to shoot for larger groups here.
While there were a lot of warnings about requirements, I seemed to be accepted to groups pretty easily.
Step 2: Ask An Admin
The next step is pretty obvious: message an administrator of an group an ask them if you can post an article.
My name is Matthew Deal. I have an Etsy related article that I wrote and would like to share from my blog , which covers marketing, design, and content.
I’m sure you get a lot of requests like this, but it would be valuable to your community, and I’d be more than happy to answer specific questions that someone has (Re: Etsy Marketing).
I did want to make sure it was okay from an admin first. I wrote this in response to some posts on the Etsy Marketing Google+ Community.
Full Disclosure: There’s a small popup on the page for my newsletter. Other than that there aren’t any pitches to buy anything or anything else. It’s just a (very) new site and I’m trying to get some exposure.
Let me know what you think. I’m also open to any feedback you have on the article even if you decide not to post it.
It’s as simple as that. Some group owners will say yes, others will say no. The point is that you’re honest and upfront about why you’re contacting them and what you stand to gain from promoting to their group.
This isn’t joining groups and posting up links without their permission — it is quietly, politely, asking to share good, relevant information to an audience that would be interested in reading it.
The result was an initial win for the site that didn’t have much traffic or exposure. Conversions rates for e-mail subscriptions for the month skyrocketed from around 2% to 13%.
Is This Scalable?
Measuring how scalable this method is can be questionable. On one hand, there are certain communities that will be absolutely hostile to this method. The success here was really due in part to me not pushing any actual sales or product and offering high-value content in a low competition niche segment (this is a huge assumption).
I also think this is easier to pull off when the narrative frames you as an individual person vs. a large company or organization.
This is also, to a certain degree, about relationship building. I still won’t randomly post to any of these groups. I still request permission and participate within these groups regularly to increase my Etsy street cred as it were; it’s time consuming, but worth it for access to a relevant audience for a subject I like writing about.