When your work is online you get to know the ins and the outs of different social media sites pretty quickly. You can tweet in your sleep and at this point, your Facebook page basically runs itself. And Instagram? You’re giving the Kardashian clan a run for their money.
But then new sites get thrown into the mix and you have to start your strategy from scratch. I’ve toyed around with more social media sites than I can count at this point, and I’ve dismissed quite a few as a waste of time. But every now and then I’ll go back, re-evaluate, and find that I was mistaken.
That’s what happened in the case of Quora. Now, I used Quora for marketing waaaay back in the day when I had just started blogging on my own personal site. Back then I was being way too self-promotional without adding value, so my results were less than stellar and I wrote Quora off altogether.
Fast forward to now and it’s one of my most valuable social media sites and it definitely doesn’t get enough credit. If you’re wondering what Quora is or how you can possibly use it to drive traffic and direct potential customers in your target audience to your course.
What is Quora?
Quora is a site that allows it’s users to ask and answer questions. These questions can range from hypotheticals, business related, or story requests. It’s a lot like Reddit in the sense that you’ve got an upvoting system and the higher ranked your answer, the more people will see it. And chances are? There is a subset of your audience that you never imagined that is hanging out on Quora.
One you've started answering questions, your profile will look a little something like this:
Once you click any of the questions you've already answered or a new question that you intend to answer, the anatomy of a Quora post looks a little something like this:
Again, like Reddit, communities form on Quora and they have their regular users who have asked and answered thousands of questions - these people are going to have a bit more clout than a user who hops on once or twice a month to self promo. BUT! With that said, you don’t have to spend every waking minute on Quora gaining cred’, I’ll teach you how to work smarter, not harder and get the most out of your Quora experience.
How to get traffic from Quora
Quora is a tricky beast in that there is really no wrong or right way to use it. There are very few rules, and like I mentioned, you will find questions ranging from silly to serious to everything in between. When you first log on to the website, it’ll look a little something like this:
The questions you see in your main feed will either be relevant to either the interests you follow or previous questions that you’ve looked at or the most popular questions on the site at the time.
Answering questions like this more often than not will result in your answer being buried, but every now and then you’ll strike gold and answering a popular question will get you a ton of views.
If you only want to see questions under a specific topic, you can click the options that you pre-selected during sign up on the sidebar. This will give you a selection of questions that range from very new to very popular. Answering questions here gives you a better chance of gaining followers, upvotes, and views.
Remember how I told you that Quora didn’t originally work for me? Well, I was answering questions all wrong. You see, I saw people answering questions and linking back to their websites with great success, so I tried to do that very thing.
What I missed, though, was that in their answers they were providing valuable and thought out ideas before dropping their links. When I went about it I was basically saying, “Great question! I actually wrote all about that on my blog!” and threw my link onto the page with a satisfied smile.
Needless to say, that didn’t work.
People want you to prove that you can provide value before they blindly lead you and they aren’t going to follow you or upvote you if all you’re saying is, “Look at my things! Click over to my site!”
As you can see in the image, my usual strategy is to provide “breadcrumbs,” as I like to call them, that should hopefully tempt people to want to click the link rather than telling people to click the link.
In this case, I told them an OK way to make money online but also let them know that it wasn’t the most effective way to make money online. Then I offered them an ultimate resource on our blog. Pretty enticing, no?
Giving your answers that extra “oomph”
So you can have a perfectly fine answer on a question in Quora. In fact, it’s the most well thought out answer on the entire question, yet it’s not the most upvoted answer.
It might be a bummer to see, but there are a few things that you can do to help your answer gain the momentum that it deserves.
- Add an image to your answer. If you can back up your answer with a chart or a graph or a hysterical meme, you’re going to do a better job capturing attention.
- Use sources. Quora’s linking allows you to add links as footnotes so you can easily source your information in an organized way. There are a lot of people on Quora who go all out writing what could pass as novels for the answers, but without sources, their answers won’t look as legit as yours.
- Piggybacking off the last point, if your answer is long and well-sourced you’ll definitely be a contender for the highest slot on the answers page.
- Become a thought leader in a specific subject. If people are consistently seeing you post valuable answers in a topic they follow, they’re going to be more likely to start engaging with you and following.
Becoming a thought leader
I know, I know. That was a vague recommendation. Let me walk you through what it takes to be seen as a thought leader and authority in the niche you choose.
First off: let’s choose a niche. This should be related to your business as a whole. So if you’re business is online marketing, you probably don’t want to become a thought leader in the gardening section no matter how great your orchids are looking unless you’re looking to make a business change sometime soon.
Once you’ve identified the niche you want to become a thought leader in, you’re going to need to devote some time answering questions and engaging with others.
Time saving trick: Copy and paste all of your answers into a Google Doc, chances are you’ll be seeing a lot of versions of the same questions. Now, you don’t want to copy and paste them directly, but consider Frankenstein-ing a few of your old answers together. It gets the job done and is just as thorough, but it’s going to save you a lot of time.
Keep in mind, that each and every question you answer might be the first someone ever sees of you so you should put a good amount of thought and effort into everything you answer in your target niche.
Once people see you as a thought leader, something cool will start to happen and you’ll get notifications that people are asking you to answer specific questions. That looks something like this:
When you’ve been requested to answer a question, you’ll be able to check a box that says “Answer Requested Attribution” that basically serves to say, “Hey, people think of me as an authority and single me out to answer their questions.” This is great social proof that is going to go a long way in helping others see you as an authority.
Additionally, you’ll begin to see who the current authorities are in the niches you’re frequenting. Chances are, their profiles will have 100x the followers yours does and they are getting an unfathomable amount of upvotes.
Don’t let that discourage you.
We all have to start somewhere, and the people who grow like crazy are the ones who are consistently providing value. Provide value and you will grow. When it comes down to it, it’s that simple.
Now, sometimes you’ll find something really incredible happens and Quora features one of your answers in their newsletters. I didn’t think I’d ever see that day myself, but shortly after I started writing this post, I got this notification:
And saw this spike in traffic:
Surprisingly enough, that didn’t translate into a ton of upvotes or followers, but it did give that question and my account exposure, no matter how short-lived. I saw a spike of views on all of my recent answers which is fantastic.
So while that was my end-all-be-all goal for a while, I now realize that being featured isn’t a shortcut to Quora fame, but it will give you a nice boost.
Growing your account
The more followers you have, the more people are going to see your new answers, and the more impactful your time on Quora will be. For me, Quora is my slowest growing social media, but there are a few tricks I’ve used to help my numbers bump at least a little bit.
- Connect to Facebook. Once a week random people I went to college with or are friends with my dad will follow me on Quora. They aren’t necessarily in my target audience, but because there is that personal connection they are more likely to upvote my answers when they see them.
- Be active in one community. I know I mentioned this when I was talking about becoming a thought leader, but it’s very important. If you’re answering questions in a dozen different niches people will see your account and not know what to expect. If you have positioned yourself in one niche, people in that niche will want to follow you.
- Engage with other people. Follow people you’re interested in, upvote their answers, and leave comments. Quora is unlike most other social media sites, but the one thing that remains the same is that you should be social.
- Be active in general. It’s easy to just want to answer a few questions once a week when you publish new content, but you’ll see slow growth that way. Go through niches you’re interested in and answer questions just for fun every now and then. Promote old content or promote nothing at all, just be active and get your account out there.
You actually have the capability to create a blog on Quora where your followers can keep up to date with you, and you can further establish yourself as an authority. Now, if you are using Quora strategically (and I hope you are,) then you should only write about topics within your niche as to not dilute your authority.
Why create a Quora blog?
The main reason to blog on Quora is because it eliminates the legwork of finding an engaged audience for your own blog. Your audience is already on Quora, and through a simple search, they will be able to find your blog if you’re writing about things that interest them.
If you already have a blog an audience, it’s as simple as copying and pasting a few paragraphs of your latest blog posts over to your Quora blog and adding a “read more” link directing people to the full blog post at the bottom. Now you’re going to be funneling traffic to your website so you can hopefully then funnel them to your paid products.
It’s also great for SEO purposes because Quora already has plenty of Google Cred. Keep an eye out when you’re looking to Google for answers - you’ll find that there will be links to Quora properties on the first few pages more often than not.
How often should you post?
Like any blog you’re running, consistency is going to go a long way. If you can update your Quora blog once a week you can start to amass a consistent following who knows to check back for new content weekly.
When it comes to conversations on posting consistency, the classic “quality vs. quantity” debate tends to break out. My stance is don’t sacrifice either. When you’re trying to grow a business it’s important to treat it like a job and make time for the things that are going to help you grow.
Making money on Quora
Alright, so we get the gist of using Quora and growing in your specific niche...so how does that translate into you making money?
If you haven’t created an online course yet, you can refer to this series to walk you through the process. For the purposes of the rest of this post, though, we’ll assume that you’ve created your product and you’re ready to sell.
Your product should be something that is appealing to the same niche that you built your online course around. The more focused the niche, the better.
From here, you have two options: You can direct traffic straight to the sales page, or you can direct traffic to a free resource where you then upsell to your paid product.
If you’re looking for a higher conversion rate, I suggest the latter. With that said, you’ll be playing the long game and if you don’t already have a free resource, you’ll need to create one.
Going from a free resource to an upsell is going to convert better because that gives people more time to grow to trust you and your brand. It’s going to be a hard sell to get people to part with their cash straight from a Quora question, but it’s a lot easier to get them to sign up for a free email course or ebook.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but let me reiterate and say that it’s so important to be providing value when you’re directing people to your resources. It’s going to be tempting to answer as many questions as possible and drop links to your sales page or resource so you get a ton of eyes on your link, but that will serve to backfire if you get banned or nobody gives you upvotes.
Promoting a launch with your Quora Blog
When it comes to promoting your launches, there are a million different ways to go about it. My favorites have always been email lists and blogs. While usually I recommend promoting your launch on your own blog, you can double up and promote on your blog and on your Quora blog.
To promote on any blog, you’ll have two phases: education and selling.
During the education phase, your goal is to make your audience want your product before they even know that you have a product.
Basically, what you’re trying to do is pique their interest. Make them want to know more about your course topic through engaging and valuable blog posts.
Once you’ve got them hooked and wanting to know more, you’ll ride in like a white knight and present the course they didn’t even know they wanted and get them excited to buy. Depending on your niche and your audience size, these phases might slightly vary, but at the end of the day you’ll have luck going off of this general outline:
Post 1: 10 things you should know about ___________.
This post is going to get your course topic on their radar. If your course is on vegetable gardening, here is where you’re going to offer some fun facts and tips for your audience. Dig deep and offer unique content.
Post 2: How to save money growing your own vegetable garden
This post is incredibly aligned with your online course. You want to give them a taste of what you have to offer - this post needs to be juicy. No half-baked content or rushed listicle.
Post 3: The ultimate guide to vegetable gardening
Here is where you launch your course. Write this super valuable blog post, and basically give the first module of your course away here. At the end you can say, “If you want the final 5 steps, you can check out my online course here.”
Post 4: The top 5 resources for gardeners
Here you’re going to position your online course as the most valuable resource for new gardeners. Use benefit driven language and let the audience know exactly what they’ll get from taking it. The other 4 resources should not directly compete with you.
Things to keep in mind
There are some best practices when it comes to using Quora to promote your brand and business. One thing a lot of people don’t realize is that the Quora mods can get a little ban happy. I see being banned as a right of passage, but still, it’s a pain having to start from scratch.
For context, my first account was banned because a kind stranger went through and upvoted all of my answers. I didn’t know this person and never asked them to upvote for me, but the mods saw it as sketchy and that was that.
Situations like that are unavoidable, but knowing how strict Quora can be, there are ways you can help yourself.
- Don’t be spammy. I know I probably don’t have to say it - but if your answers are, “I have a great resource for that here!” and you’re copy and pasting that into a dozen answers every hour, you’ll be banned.
- Don’t create upvote groups. People will come together and drop links whenever they post in agreement that everyone in the group will upvote everyone’s answers. This works great for a week, but then chances are all of the accounts will be shut down.
- Be careful with copying and pasting answers. I “Frankenstein” a lot of my answers and copy and paste pieces from three previous answers I’ve written, but never directly copy and paste an answer. That is seen as spammy and you may risk being banned.
- I’ve heard urban legends of people being banned simply for posting well-intentioned but inaccurate answers. Quora prides itself on the quality of their communities, and it’s something they take seriously. If you don’t know an answer, it’s best not to guess.
I think for most of us, those ideas are pretty self-explanatory, but I care about y’all and wanted to put it out there in case you had any wild ideas.
Quora doesn’t have the most robust analytics, but they’re there. I recommend using outside tracking to see the impact of your Quora efforts, whether that’s adding an src variable to your URL or throwing your link into bit.ly and using their metrics to see your clickthrough rates, there is still some good hidden in Quora’s analytics.
You’re able to see a nifty line graph displaying how many views all of your answers got on any given day, and if you want to dive deeper you can click on specific questions and see how they performed on any given day.
On the majority of my answers, I’ll see a spike the day I posted, a huge drop-off, and then a gradual increase in views, and on old enough questions: a flat line. I originally would have expected a spike and a general decline, but that’s not always the case.
For example, a few weeks after I answered the below question, it wound up on the bottom of first page of Google where it hung for a short time before being pushed back and the timeline is reflected beautifully in the bar graph.
This is because Quora does incredibly well on Google, but the Google powers at be tend to take a bit of time to rank the newer questions. So at the time of answering a question, it might be on the fifteenth page of Google, but a month later it’s on the second and all of the sudden seeing a lot more traffic.
Now, that’s not to say that this will happen with all Quora answers - a lot of them never make it anywhere near the front page of Google and you’ll see very little traffic to those answers. But you can use the Quora analytics to figure out what type of answers are doing the best.
I’ve found that my most successful answers are all based around questions asking how to make money online. And that makes sense, right? People in every age group and demographic have a subset that would love to make money online. Whether we are looking at new mom’s who want to stay home, or older generations looking to make money during retirement, or college kids who can’t juggle classes and their part time jobs. Overall, this questions gets searched all the time.
I know that my answers will be more impactful if I focus on making money online rather than making money online with online courses. Either way I’m directing people to our content and our blog, and it might seem intuitive to focus on course related questions, but through analytics I know that’s not the case.
What about unexplained spikes?
I consider myself to be fairly analytical, and I want to know the cause and effect of a situation so that I can replicate it. Every now and then you’ll see a spike in Quora that lasts a day or two and then drops again.
Those spikes used to annoy me endlessly, but now I’ve figured that most of them come from Quora combining like questions. So if there are a dozen questions in the last month asking, “How can I make money online” Quora will sometimes smash it into a mega-thread and everyone who answered will get a notification and you’ll see a spike in views.
“But Morgan, what can I do with that information?”
Get strategic! When you’re searching for questions to answer, look for ones that have a lot of duplicates. I used to answer willy-nilly, but now that I use this strategy I get notifications on combined questions a few times a week, so I see a lot more spikes in traffic and thus a lot more click through.
Don’t get discouraged
It took a few weeks more my Quora account to pick up momentum, but once it did I see consistent notifications and traffic from it. Take the time to build your account and establish yourself in your niche before deciding whether or not Quora will be worth it for you and your business.
Any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments below - I’ll be sure to answer them!