Reduce your reliance on Google, diversify your website traffic sources, and open up new marketing channels with these 38 methods.
How to Get Traffic to a New Website – Neil Patel's Method Analyzed
How to Get Your First 1,000 Visitors Without Spending a Single Dollar (Neil Patel)
Here's a clever content marketing strategy from Neil Patel that he promises can deliver 1,000 visitors to a new site.
In this article I will explain Neil's content marketing strategy, comment on what I think are the pros and cons of each step, and then provide suggestions on how I think it can be improved and whether the 1,000 visitor promise is realistic or not.
The “First 1,000 Visitor Strategy” Explained
Neil explains how to get 1,000 visitors to a new site without spending any money in the following video. I've included a text explanation of the steps along with some commentary and analysis below.
Step 1 – Identify Your Target Audience
Neil says the first thing you should do is identify your target audience using the following criteria:
- Where do they hang out?
- What do they read?
- What are their interests?
- What are their fears?
- What are their goals?
- What are their motivations?
- What is their typical age?
- What social media channels do they engage with the most?
- Is there a particular gender that is most dominant in your niche?
The list of questions that Neil provides is a mix of both traditional demographic categories (i.e. age, gender) and psychographic data (i.e. interests, fears, goals, motivations, etc.). Demographic analysis focuses on external and physical qualities of a person whereas psychographics is interested in internal motivations which influence a person's decision making the most.
But there's a problem with Neil's suggestions – if you have a new site, how are you going to get demographic and psychographic information?
There are a couple options:
1) You can do expensive and time consuming research
2) You can make your best guess
Since this content marketing strategy is all about getting 1,000 visitors for free, let's throw out option 1. Instead, you are just going to have to make your best guesses.
Is guessing really all that helpful? Yes, it can be.
Instead of writing content without having any real notion of who you are speaking to, having a type of person in mind can focus your writing. It will help you write in ways that put the problems and desires of others foremost in your mind.
Step 2 – Identify What Your Ideal Audience Wants
Neil's next step involves analyzing the online feedback and dialogue already occuring around the content you want to create to help you get into the minds of your potential audience. Here is what he recommends:
- Amazon – Look at books in Amazon that relate to your niche. Look at 2 and 3 star reviews and what people are saying is missing from the information they read. Take notes and use that disatisfaction as indicators of what you want to write about.
- Quora – Go to Quora and look at questions people are asking, answers that are given, and votes received. The highest voted answers give you an indication of what people want in regards to content.
- Reddit – Go to sub-Reddits on Reddit.com and look at what is popular. Look for what posts are getting upvoted.
- These sources give you ideas on content that will work well in your space and what is missing that you should write about.
Overall, this is a fairly good methodology to get you access to immediate feedback from your potential market. However, this research could be exceptionally time-consuming.
Here are some things you can do to avoid spending way more time on this than you should:
- Determine the scope of the content you are creating. If you are writing a PhD dissertation, you can spend months on research. If you are wanting to write a 10,000 word guide on a topic, you need to limit yourself. Decide on a number of hours to spend on research and then allocate those hours to each of these three resources. It doesn't have to be an equal amount of time – one or two of these sites might be much more profitable for you than others.
- Outsource the research. You may not want to do this the first time, but if this proves to be a viable strategy that you want to repeat, outsourcing part, or all, of this research will really help you get through it quicker. You can hire and train a person to research all these sites or just one. Use places like Upwork to find workers with inexpensive rates and write very clear step by step instructions on how to sift through these sites, take notes, and then present their findings to you in your preferred format (or you can create a training video and visually show them exactly what to do).
Step 3 – Create the Most Epic, Mind-Blowing Resource on These Topics
- Use ideas from your research to create your content. List out everything you have learned.
- Go to Ubersuggest, input keywords related to your content, and look at the “Content Ideas” report to see what's popular and what's not. Popularity gives you an idea what content is being linked to, what is being shared socially, and what is getting search traffic. Look at what is not being covered in these popular content selections.
- Read comments on the popular blogs posts and pages in the “Content Ideas” report to see what people are complaining about, recommending, etc. that isn't being covered in this content.
- Write 25 headlines for your content resource, eliminate 20, take top 5 and run a poll in an online community (like a Facegroup group) on what people think is the best.
Step 4 – Create a Gated Content Upgrade to Encourage Social Shares
- Create a PDF, mini- course, or guide that people must share in order to get using a plugin like OnePress Social Locker to facilitate the process.
Neil breezes through this point in his video but it is another clever technique to get more social shares with the large content resource you've created.
We need to stop and explain for a moment both what a content upgrade is and what he means by “gated” if you aren't familiar with those terms.
A “content upgrade” is a way to offer something of value that is related to, but provides more value, than the free content that is in your blog post.
For instance, maybe your massive content resource is “The Complete Guide to Adopting the Perfect Kitten.” You give people a massive amount of information that walks them through the process of finding just the right pet. A possible content upgrade might be a PDF checklist that lists all the steps someone needs to go through in the adoption process. Instead of someone printing out your massive blog post, they can instead print out a 1 or 2 page checklist that walks them through the process in short form. It's basically a supplemental “upgrade” that is related to, and adds value to, what you have already written.
This checklist is “gated” because it isn't something you offer for free in your blog post. To get the upgraded content, your visitors have to do something for you first. In this case, they must share the guide you created on one of their social media accounts. The software that Neil suggests, OnePress Social Locker, facilitates this process for you. It only allows access to the content upgrade if your visitors click on one of the social buttons first.
Content upgrades are used in a variety of ways, most often to grow email lists (i.e. a visitor must provide their email address in order to get the upgrade). The reason why Neil is suggesting a social share instead is to help increase the visibility of the content you created. Remember, the goal is to get 1,000 visitors to a new site. A social share will help facilitate this goal better than building an email list.
Step 5 – Use Your Epic Content as a Promotion Opportunity
- Link out to blogs and sites that you reference in your content as resources. Ask them to share your article or link back.
- Ask again if they don't respond, ask for a social share which is more likely to get a response.
Step 6 – Have Push Notifications Enabled on Your Site, Pixel Visitors for Remarketing
- Activate push notifications on your website. This allows you to alert previous visitors when you publish new content to encourage repeat visits if they opt in.
- Pixel track visitors with Facebook or Google Adwords to remarket later on.
Analysis of Neil's 1,000 Visitor Strategy – Pros and Cons
In the course of 6 minutes, Neil presents a multi-step content research, creation, and promotion strategy. Let's look at its strengths and weaknesses and how we might improve on it.
- The approach starts with target audience analysis that includes both demographic and psychographic factors to help focus your research and writing.
- Content creation is based on actual market research. Anytime you can build content around what the market is telling you, its a win. Nice to see suggestions that go beyond the typical keyword research models. Clever leveraging of existing resources (Amazon, Quora, Reddit, Ubersuggest).
- The goal revolves around creating the best content resource in your industry. This has the potential of really launching a new site as a thought leader in the marketplace. Additionally, if the resource does well, it can continue bringing in traffic for years and can always be updated along the way.
- The gated content upgrade using social shares to unlock is clever. However, this only works if the resource can attract enough visitors that a small minority of them will share to get the gated content. Additionally, if their social audience isn't interested in your content, the share may not help much.
- Neil is incorporating strategic moves in every step. I really like that he is trying to leverage each step of the process for maximum effect from creation all the way to promotion.
- Target audience analysis is not based on actual research but on assumed facts. However, if you aren't wanting to spend money, its difficult to get this information with a site that has no traffic.
- Quora questions aren't always driven by the market. Plenty of businesses pose questions only to answer them as a tactic to get traffic to their product or service. Beware of these false signals when researching.
- The method is a very time-consuming way to get 1,000 visitors. Although you aren't spending any actual money, you are trading money for time.
- This method is somewhat dependent on site owners that are cited in the resource sharing your content or linking to it. If they choose not to, where is the traffic going to come from initially while you wait for search engines to index and rank the content?
- The 1,000 visitors number seems arbitrary and more driven by marketing headline click bait than any set number that will work for every site. Neil wisely doesn't promise how fast you are going to get those 1,000 visitors. The content may bring in 1,000 but how long will it take?
Suggestions for Ways to Improve This Content Promotion Method
- Develop a system for content creation research and outsource it to cut down on this very time consuming activity.
- Look at all Amazon reviews for a book, not just 2 & 3 stars. Learn about what people loved so you can include similar content.
- Realistically, you are probably going to have to do more outreach than just site owners you referenced if you want to get the content shared. Try joining Facebook groups that contain enthusiasts, experts, or your target audience and ask them for feedback on the resource you created so you can make it better. Some may be willing to share it or link to it. You may also want to do traditional backlink outreach, newsletter promotion, guest writing, or other methods to generate interest in the content.
- View your content resource as long-term, evergreen content that you should update occasionally to keep it as “best in class.” It's real power might be more int he long term than as a short term “quick win” for a new site.