One of the most important factors in marketing your business is reaching out to the right audience: throwing a tennis ball into football goal may be easy, but it won’t earn you any points, much in the same way that churning out content to the masses reduces hassle (and can be effective) but won’t necessarily help you sell – you need to position yourself in a place that’s easily accessible to current and potential customers.
That’s where StumbleUpon comes in.
Let me introduce you to StumbleUpon: a website dedicated to discovering content, based on various different categories of interests. Say you’re really into cats, or anti-aging, or conspiracies, or vintage cars, or…left-handedness? Well, there’s a category for that. In fact, the “Left-handed” category has 43,000 followers (“Cats’ has 173,000, in case you were wondering).
If you follow that category, then StumbleUpon will suggest random websites related to it…do you see where I’m going with this? If your business fits into one of the categories – if you sell left handed scissors, for example – and you share your business’s website content on StumbleUpon, then congratulations, you’ve just exposed yourself to 43,000 potential (and left-handed) new customers. With over 500 different categories, your business is bound to fit in somewhere, no matter how niche it is.
There’s also a number of categories relating to all things business, including Marketing, Weblogs, and (perhaps most relevant here) Ecommerce. This means your website could be listed under both “Left-Handed” and “Ecommerce”, exposing yourself to a further 33,000 users. That’s 89,000 people. (If you want to throw in “Entrepreneurship” for good measure, that’s a total of 308,000 people reached!)
People who are likely to be interested in what you do or say (or sell) are gathered in one place, ready and willing to be targeted. At the risk of sounding cliche, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Think of it as channel hopping for the web: users hit the “Stumble” button until they find something that interests them. They then have the option to “Like” websites, which stores them on the their profile, and shares them with the their friends and followers – which is great for garnering even more interest.
Alternatively, they can hit the “Dislike” button if they find something they don’t like. But you don’t want that. So, the question is:
How can you get users to like you?
Nobody is going to bother looking at your website if it’s dull or looks poorly made. You need to make sure your site looks professional, cool, or cute, or stylish – whatever your target customers are looking for. Take a good, hard look at your website: if you were rapidly flicking through designs, would yours really stand out?
Once the user has been baited by your website’s good-looks, you need to charm them with its great personality. Keep them interested, and don’t bore them: boring content doesn’t get likes. There should be a variety of different content on offer to really dazzle them and entice them into clicking the like button, bookmarking your page, and sharing it with their followers. (Don’t forget: quality trumps quantity every time!)
3. Sharing is caring
You’ll need to be active and share other web content not just your own: interesting news, useful web tools, blog posts, entertaining articles – anything and everything that’s relevant, or that you think will attract positive attention.
4. Follow the leader
Literally. Identify key influencers on the website and follow them. They’ll be very active, have lots of experience, share great content, and have a large follower base. Pay attention to them, gauge what they’re interested in, and hope that they’ll Stumble some of your content – more stumbles from influential users means your content is quality, and will increase traffic to your profile.
Some things to consider
Adding a StumbleUpon badge to your website, so that people can share that interesting blog post or video tutorial that they know their friends will appreciate.
Stumble’s “Paid Discovery” service is their PPC function – they give your traffic a boost by featuring your links to members, and you get charged from $0.10 for every click (there are several advertising plans available).
Just to reiterate, don’t just share your own content. Users will see you as a self-promotional spammer, so share content from other sources too. While we’re at it, don’t just post anything you find – make sure it’s worthy of reading to ensure you get a solid reputation for posting great stuff.
Finally, commitment is essential in building and maintaining an active StumbleUpon account. It takes time and effort to build a strong network of friends and followers, and you should consider whether you have the time available to do this.
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