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Experiment: I’m creating a Sub-Reddit Community to promote Sneaker Deals (Have 5,000 now)

Hi my name is Steve. I’m a bit of a sneakerhead, and I wanted to build out an email list of people to send sneaker deals I find. Why not try to make money doing something I love & know alot about.

I tried a couple of different platforms to build an audience first (Instagram, Twitter), but the one that caught the most steam is my own Sub-Reddit.

So far I’ve been adding between 100 and 300 new subscribers per day.

image.png.9d5934e1fabf14c7341455b78f56bb3b.png

 

I’m going to do an experiment where I try to hit 10,000 subscribers, and I will document my progress in the comments of this post.

 

Follow me along the way!

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My goal for this reasons for creating a Sub Reddit community:

  1. Build email list
  2. Test business ideas
  3. Talk directly to my niche to tease out new ideas 

My original goal was to make $1k within 90 days or I would kill the project. I didn't make a dollar but I grew my community from 0 subs up to 3k wIthin those 90 days. I also discovered a repeatable process for content creation that only takes a few hours per week to create. So I decided to keep this experiment going for the rest of the year.

NEW GOALS: (by the year's end.)

  1. 20k Reddit subs 
  2. 1k Email Subs 
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What I have done so far to grow my sub reddit: 

#1.) Found out what was working already working well in my niche

I created a list of all subs reddits directly related to my niche and ranked them by subscriber count. 

From here I dove into each sub reddit to see what type of content is most popular. I used SubRedditStats to see the top post in each community for the year, month & week. (you can even search by the day & hour)

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In my google sheets doc, I added a link to all the topics per sub that caught my eye.

I asked myself what post can I replicate and/ or expand on. With that in mind, I brainstormed a list of potential posts. 

#2.) Joined the conversation & built Karma. 

I found the best way to quickly build Karma was to comment on “Rising” and “New” posts in each sub-reddit. At first, I only commented on the top post but most of what I wrote got lost in the sea of comments. I discovered the shelf life for some threads is only a week at most.

Here are a few things I learned in the comment trenches of Reddit: 

  1. Try to be the first to comment. If you post something valuable, others will build upon it & you will soon be in a full blown conversation.

 

  1. Ask questions. Direct questions are cool but they result in short answers. Open ended questions are best because they start conversations. 

 

  1. Answer questions. Even if it's not a question the author of the post asked. Many people in the comments ask great questions. 

 

  1. Make unsolicited suggestions. “If you like this, You may like that”. One thing I love about social media is discovering new stuff. I know I'm not alone in this feeling. So share cool stuff when there is an opportunity. 

 

  1. Add value to top comments. Try hard to add some value to the trending convo in the post. Use the tactics above to do so. 

 

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Left image: Jan, 2022 - Right image: April, 2022

A few weeks of commenting gave me a fingertip feel of the pulse of each community I participated in. I started to notice what made each sub unique and elements that made some posts go viral. 

#3.) I started writing & went viral 

I noticed that some content was popular in one sub and not even mentioned in another. 

Both groups had the same interest and generally the same goals. When popular content from one sub was posted in another sub where it's not talked about often, it generally resulted in lots of upvotes. I had basically discovered content arbitrage between sub reddit groups. 

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I started testing my theory. Sometimes I would rewrite the original post. Other times I would repost, give credit and add some takeaways or follow up questions. 

All I talked about is one thing. I basically became a beat reporter for a few sub reddits which collectively equalled an audience of roughly 4 million subscribers. 

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Some posts flopped. Some succeeded. I tracked my success and failures in my spreadsheet. I reviewed the sheet weekly and made improvements on the new post. 

I stumbled upon a repeatable content formula!

4. How I converted my viral hits in other Subreddits to members of my own.

At the bottom of each thread I made in other Subreddit communities, I gave credit to my own. 
“Reposted from R/Midsoledeals” 

The theory was that curious minds would click the back link to my sub, see the rest of my content and join my sub. It worked. 

Each week I publish a few listicle type posts of sneaker deals in various subs in my niche. This results in some posts reaching 100k + views and up to 100+ new subscribers to my subreddit. 

As far as what I post in my Sub, It's all sneaker deals. I spend a few hours on Sunday finding the deals. Then I auto schedule them out for the next week or two. 

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Steve L... said 14 hours ago:

I had basically discovered content arbitrage between sub reddit groups. 

This process is genius @Steve L...! Now I’m thinking about where else you could apply it?

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Josh Haroldson said 11 minutes ago:

 

This process is genius @Steve L...! Now I’m thinking about where else you could apply it?

Thanks Josh! Eventually I will try some new platforms. Discord is high on my list. 

I am also interested about what other product niches are out there that i could build a similar sub for. I have a short list but 10k subs & monetization 1st!

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Viral Hits Log:

image.png.65b446d9e8e86662d796d90606212902.png

I made this post yesterday morning. (around 9am cst) 

image.png.d2002f9794f16c48bbde93597637c67a.png

This is where I posted this deal.

2.7m audience but not all see it ofcourse. But everytime I check the sub - I always see an avg of 1-1.5K ppl online. 

For some perspective: I have 5k subs & often see a avg of 20-30 ppl online. When my post in other Subreddits go viral I will see a spike of 50 subs online for the next 24 hours or so....

image.png.28dd706c6f285e0ff41e326c1a6df5de.png

Traffic total for roughly 20 hours of publishing. I pay close attention to Upvotes, Traffic & Shares. 

 What really matters is how many new members these post net: 

I estimate 200 new subs came from this post so far. 

(It's a bit hard to know for sure that all new followers came from this post)

Tomorrow I will give y'all a peek into the MOD dashboard where you can see my Sub-reddit traffic & new member stats. Stay tuned....

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You inspired me to check out Reditt more. Thanks.  It's weird how they put your images under your text though, if you are even lucky to get them to post your image. It shows up as a preview of some kind.  Have you seen that?

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Donovan Rittenbach said 59 minutes ago:

You inspired me to check out Reditt more. Thanks. It's weird how they put your images under your text though, if you are even lucky to get them to post your image. It shows up as a preview of some kind. Have you seen that?

Happy you got something out of this. What images under text are you talking about? On my reddit? 

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Swing & Miss

I attempted a new type of post yesterday.

I saw a similar post in the bigger Sub-reddit that was getting some traction. I took that post and put a spin on it & I took a shot to earn some affiliate commision.

image.png.f183b9d2b24d28c9d471b50885a4855e.png

 It flopped. Well sos far - it's been 20 hours since publishing. I have noticed that if you don't have any traction in 24 hours of posting, the next day(s) won't change that. 

920 ppl viewed the post & not one upvoted it. Perhaps a few did but other down voted it. 

My question: 

Was it the content or the sell at the end that turned people off? 

image.png

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Hey @Steve L... I think the problem with that last post is you put that "cashback offer" which generally people seem to HATE on Reddit!

It reads like a blatant promotion which is tough to pull on Reddit. In the future maybe try something like:

Shoe stores doing 15% savings in May 2022 on sneakers

  • Adidas
  • Nike
  • Zappos
  • Whatever
  • Whatever Store

You can apply a Rakuten discount of 15% on all these stores for new sneaks. 

I just bought some Nike's with this. Yes you have to signup to Rakuten, but I use it all the time anyway. You can signup here: [link]

 

I think making this less promotion-y can help, but passing off affiliate links is TOUGH on Reddit (and kind of why it's an awesome platform because it's not so spammy)!

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Steve L... said on 5/10/2022 at 11:43 AM:

Happy you got something out of this. What images under text are you talking about? On my reddit? 

I make a post on Redditt. I put the image at the top of my post. Then I look at it from other people's point of view, after post, and it changes my formatting, moving the image underneath the text, so my image doesn't catch your eye...

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Donovan Rittenbach said 43 minutes ago:

I make a post on Redditt. I put the image at the top of my post. Then I look at it from other people's point of view, after post, and it changes my formatting, moving the image underneath the text, so my image doesn't catch your eye...

Oh I see! what i do is a link post and some sites load the a photo from the linked site and some do not. Wish they all pulled the images it would look alot better. 

I'm not sure how they format cover images. 

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Milestone Hit 👊🏾

I finally made my 1st dollar. $14 to be exact.

image.png.b23e904a133b7b705505eb411a45a756.png

Here's how I did it: 

image.png.d33e118e3c9d46a29fd386f6267fe287.png  I spotted a great deal on Twitter. 

 I signed up for Ebay's affiliate program & got a link. 

image.png

Posted on my Sub using my flash deal tag & mentioned in the comments that I just bought (which I did)

I then scanned through the rest of the deals - It was so many i decided to make another post for the remaining sale items where my readers can hunt for themselves (tagged with affiliate code as well)

image.png.fcc0f493eb3f14155a0e8deed7fc934f.png

Note: It wasn't as popular as the curated product highlight post I made 1st.

- I should have created two campaigns in the EBay Affiliate hub so i could track sales from both post

MOVING FORWARD:

1. Find other sneaker retailer sites that offer affiliate programs that don't require applications to become a member. (I signed up for the amazon partner program)

2. Start hunting sneaker deals on those sites & codes and track conversions per post. + Build a record doc of how many sales my Sub-Reddit makes to pitch sponsors later. 

3. Make sure I don't overload my community with deals only from the affiliate sources. I have learned that diversity in deals is important to my readers.

 

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Engagement Experiments - 👨🏽‍🔬

Its not just about the number of followers, its that they do something while they are on my forum. So I have been running new forms of content to get them active. 

The post below was successful in two ways:

1. Lots of people visited, upvoted it & participated in the comments. 

2. The data I collected will be used to curate better deals for the community. 

image.png.facfd3325382d6e1907a7caa826cf932.png

 I will keep running posts like this in the future and asking for feedback. I think content like this gives my members a sense of ownership over the sub. 

Hopefully that translates to them sharing the community with others, buying deals and whatever else I am promoting or selling in the future. 

 

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Content Experiment -  ✍🏽  🧪

I wrote a listicle post with photos & it has quickly become one of my most popular post... 

image.png.cf80225fbbcbd9793f5156c40f220158.png

image.png.75169b7e3e033fc6346cfd24f5f5441f.png

 I will try to make atleast one of these per week. Adding the images and doing a extra step of curation does take a bit longer than a normal post but it may be worth it in the long run. 

NEXT. 

I will repost this listicle to another sub and see how it performs with a larger audience. 

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Viral Hits - 🔥 

Tried my 1st themed Listicle article. 

I posted the 1st version with images on my own sub

image.png.dca1580277b3ce56125a398f66829043.png

context: This is a lot of Upvotes for my sub - Single deal post gets up to 20 upvotes at most - (rare) avg upvotes for single deal post is 5-12 upvotes. 

image.png.8842d4058d072f12f4fa0fe8eea190e3.png

Great traffic considering I only have 5.5k subs

Days later I posted it on the larger sub without photos (I didn't think i could post photos on the forum per MOD rules but was wrong - so next time I will include Images)

image.png.7af5f4c9e14912cbc40f6249b5c6e73e.png

This is the most upvotes I ever got on Reddit!

image.png.02a0a73797f4bd5fbf0eda040d5e46e1.png

Moving forward: 

Do 1 listicle per week. (with photos)

Repost in bigger subreddit with photos. 

I wondered what is the best amount of items/products/points in a listicle type article. 

I did some googling: 

Hubspot says the magic number is 10. Runner up is 5 items. 

So I will now work in that framework. Either 10 or 5 deals. 

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Viral Hits - 🔥

I made a meme & it became the most upvoted thing I ever posted on my sub...

 

image.png.aa9d3aed506ffb5d8f5b4f433ae8cf3c.png

The meme is a bit inside baseball but worked way better than I expected. 

Big thanks to @Dan - Copywriting Coursefor suggesting experimenting with memes!  

 

This meme worked great for engagement. It sparked lots of praise in the comments for my work. (it's good to feel appreciated haha;)) 

Here is my fav comment: 

image.png.446f65113a28614e44c01725d3a60bad.png

I was so tempted to drop my Venmo in the thread! haha 

Moving Forward: 

1. I will go about created more custom memes & reposting others. Just don't want to over do it. Finding the right post frequency is key. 

2. I will experiment posting memes in other subs and see what type of traffic that will bring. 

3. I will try to form a deeper understanding of the emotion behind the well performing memes to better craft content in the future as @Dan - Copywriting Coursesuggested. 

🏽

 

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Content Experiment -🏽 🧪

I tried to do a "gamified" post...

image.png.19dbfa710497385e368b0bf064e2d78a.pngimage.png.9b6e1bcc9d67503e6ddb5ca4167a21ff.png

Good traffic so far and a few shares. 

It is doing better than the previous iterations of this idea. 

image.png.e4a57c81d7ccb4e434c45f642797ac0c.png

 I will keep you posted on the progress...

 

image.png

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