Note: this works best for businesses that sell primarily online. If you’re a local business, skip to the end for specifics.
Reddit is one of the most popular websites on the Internet. With over 1.7 billion monthly visits, there are more eyes on Reddit than nearly any other website on the planet.
That being said, most advertisers absolutely hate it. Conversion rates are significantly lower on Reddit than nearly any other ad platform, mostly owing to Reddit’s nature as primarily a platform for gathering information — not one where people go regularly to purchase products or services.
Because of this, many small businesses believe that Reddit advertising is generally a waste of time. And for the most part, I’d have to agree with them.
Except… there’s a slick, secret strategy that basically nobody is employing that can let you bypass those poor conversion rates in a flash.
And the best part? It’s doesn’t cost you a cent.
I call it our Value Machine strategy. Stay tuned, playa.
In order, the steps required to pull off a successful Value Machine are:
- Create a new Reddit account
- Join 3–5 subreddits (online communities) related to your product or service
- Write a 2–3 paragraph post per week offering some sort of value to your target audience. For example, if you’re an electric car company, write a short post detailing the best way you’ve personally found to extend the battery life of your electric vehicle. Reply to all comments
- Write everything in the first person. At the end of each post, write your username. Most people think a formalism like this makes you look “old”, or out of touch — but the real purpose of this gesture is to help associate your name with the value you provide the community
- After 8–10 posts, include a brief mention of your business at the end of your post. Something like “thinking of starting a small battery business — what do you guys think?” Gauge the response — if you get any negativity whatsoever, you haven’t built enough value yet. Shelf it for another 8–10 posts
- Once the community hears that you run a business, you’ll likely get a significant amount of support right off the bat. Fight your instinct to start selling like crazy. Keep dripping out value on a weekly basis, and only ever include a one or two sentence sales message at the very tail end of your post
- Keep most of your “sales” in DMs and chats to avoid appearing spammy. Eventually, hire someone part-time to take care of managing your Reddit presence
And voila! That’s it.
Once you’ve built up a strong following in one community, you can move on to another in a similar niche.
Or, if you’re going for speed, you can build them all up simultaneously. Just know that this runs the risk of annoying your target audience. And once a subreddit dislikes you, it’s very hard to get back in their good books (Reddit can be sort of an “echo chamber” in that way).
If you’re a local small business selling physical products or services, then the Value Machine strategy changes — but just a little bit.
Instead of joining communities related to your product or service, join a community related to your region (usually by city). For example, since I’m in Vancouver, I’d join the reddit.com/r/Vancouver subreddit.
Now that you’re in, instead of merely providing value like the normal Value Machine, you should add a local region-based callout to each post.
Something like “Vancouver Electric Car Owners — A Quick PSA”. Then include a value-oriented post about how most Vancouverites can squeeze an extra 20–30km out of their electric car batteries with a simple trick.
After 8–10 good posts, you can mention your business in the same manner described above.
Remember — for this strategy to work well, you need to provide real, honest value to the subreddit’s readers. Make sure your posts are intriguing and thoughtful, and not just copy-paste content from somewhere else.
Congratulations friend! If you’ve followed the steps up to this point, you now totally freaking own a small, local niche of several hundred customers! And your audience will only grow over time. Nice.