In the second half of 2019, we had a burden in the form of promoting two sites of the Ratatype project. Young sites (born in 2019) for a foreign market whose languages we do not know (France and Spain), and with a very limited budget.
Set a goal
First of all, you need to define a goal, it is also a KPI, always with a number. This is what we did. Without such a measure, there will be no result.
It is important to study the niche and the region that you plan to move to. For example, you produce bags for bikers:
- Select the region (you will sell to the market only in your country or elsewhere).
- Estimate how many bikers there might be in this region (look for communities, bike sales stories, etc.).
- Take a closer look at your competitors: how many users visit them?
- Set a goal.
Write a plan
When there is a goal, there are many questions to control: the expenditure of time, money, and other resources. This is where planning comes in.
- Specific tasks — what needs to be done;
- Timing — when to do it;
- Budgets — how much money is needed for this;
- Additional resources — if someone’s help is needed;
- Preliminary goals — how many links you need to get at a particular stage.
Once you find competitors, you will definitely understand the market more.
How to search for competitors
We search in Google the words that relate to your product and see who is in the search results. But this is a frontal approach. You can use automated tools. For example Similarweb or Serpstat.
- Serpstat will give you a cloud of your competitors. And even in the free version.
- In Similarweb, you can evaluate whether they are your competitors. See attendance, traffic distribution, and geography.
Then put them in a table with the necessary parameters.
How to analyze competitors
We search each competitor in Ahrefs (the trial version is enough for the analysis for 1 week) or Serpstat. Based on these data we will build a strategy for promoting the site in Spain and France.
What to look for?
To new backlinks (these are pages that link to a competitor).
How to watch?
Try to understand the strategy.
For example, we see that there are many links from the forums, which means they have connected crowd marketing (more on that later).
Or that a lot of links come from blogpost or similar sites (site.google) – it means they are actively using web 2.0 or even building a PBN grid (Private Blog Network – a private network of websites/blogs).
Or that a lot of links come from site and catalogs analyzers — most likely, they are trying to use the easiest and free way to promote).
What will it give you?
You will understand what method your competitors are using to promote. And it’s important to put pressure on what they don’t use.
You can find here sites that give traffic to competitors, and try to use them for your site
Setting up the site from the inside
Here we are talking about keywords, that is, the words for which you want users to find your site.
- Let’s look at the list of competitors.
- Analyze the top and most frequent requests.
- Make a list and compare with our keywords.
- Add the missing keywords to the texts of your site.
Ready! Now the texts have become more consistent with the search interests of users.
Setting up multilingualism
If you have a site with different language versions, and maybe even with several domains (like ours), then you need to set up this word from the title. If you do everything the way Google tells you, then you can only earn users and a little trust from Google on this.
Looking for people from your or related industry
For us, these people are teachers. Many of them are on Linkedin. This is a good channel where you can find potential users of your product or those who will promote it. Here I will give you a tool that helped us a lot – recruitin.net.
There you can specify:
- keywords that need to be excluded or, conversely, included in the search,
- current place of work.
No paid packages on Linkedin. Enter the data and get a link to the listing on Google. And it’s fantastic! You click on the link in Google, and that’s it — you are on the page of the right person. Next, click “Set up a contact” and “Personalize”.
This gives you the opportunity to write a short message why you are asking to be friends. We have found through experience that a greater response can be obtained in this way.
Get light links
They are also called submits. This is something that does not require money from you, it only takes time.
1. Directories are sites with a list of sites, in short.
- Search Google for directories by requests: directory submission, directory, directory List. We found more than 100.
- Remove directories with a low rating
- Remark: if the link to the site is on a resource with a bad reputation, it may work in the negative.
- Review the list and forego paid placements.
2. Job sites — such as Work.ua. You can create a profile and specify a link to your project there.
Search for sites by keys: List of job site, job site, work site. We got about 50 resources.
3. Site analyzers are sites where you can see data about other resources. For example, traffic, some errors on the site, etc. Getting links in this way is very simple, and at first they work.
- Find analyzers by request “analyze site”. We found more than 60.
- Remove sites with a low rating.
4. Services for sharing presentations — upload a presentation to the site and make it public, and in the presentation or description for it, indicate links to your resource.
- Find sites by requests: slideshare, pdf share. We’ve dug up just over 10.
- Make presentations that fit your site.
- Post presentations.
5. Social networks – I think it is not necessary to explain in detail. It’s all about Facebook or Linkedin.
- Search social networks by request “social network”. We managed to find about 30.
- Look at each social media for relevance (for example, you can exclude dating sites).
- Create your profile and publish.
- Important: the profile must be filled out at least minimally, add a photo so that it looks as natural as possible. You can choose for yourself the top social media on which you will periodically post something. I ended up with 3 Spanish-language social networks, 2 professional ones (for example, ProductHunt) and several English-language ones. Every week I post in 3-4 of them.
6. Video hosting — sites that allow you to download and view videos in a browser.
- Enable search for the requests: video hosting, video sharing. We found over 20.
- Add your videos or make them from presentations.
- Connect crowd marketing.
This is how we form a public opinion about the product and popularize it massively. We also dilute the link profile of the site. Little by little, your brand is invested in people’s minds.
We don’t do it ourselves, but with the help of Brandcitations — good guys, the price is average on the market, and the approach to customers is very loyal. You can do it yourself, but we decided to delegate this part of the work.
What is outreach and why is it necessary
It’s simple: if you want the Internet to know about you, then you need to be everywhere. You need your brand and links to appear on other sites. Therefore, sites should be asked about it.
- Select different requests you are interested in, about 10 for each language.
- Collect the top 100 from Google for each of them and upload these sites to Checktrust.
- Delete duplicates and sites with a low rating.
- Sort all sites by traffic and start contacting the most visited ones first.
- Almost forgot! Write articles or suggest existing ones.
How to Write Email Templates
Determine what types of site requests you might have and write templates for them. For example, requests to add a link to an existing article, or a request to post material (articles, pictures, infographics).
This needs to be translated into the correct language. Do not write to Spaniards in English, otherwise the response will suffer.
What should be the letter:
- A catchy, understandable topic.
- Small volume.
- Consists of items:
- praise of a resource, article, product;
- the main request — explain what you want;
- a question that will prompt an answer.
Bonus. What else helps in promotion
Write technical articles or articles about your work on the project. Create your own category on Facebook, Blogger, Medium or everywhere at once. Write in your native language and translate into English, and preferably into the language of the country in which you are promoting.
Outreach bursts. It is important to understand that outreach does not only work as an opportunity to get a link. You can place a link on a resource that will bring traffic to your site, and good traffic.
Users will be interested in your resource, spend enough time there and take some targeted actions.
In France and Spain, an article about us was written by 2 resources with a traffic of about 1 million per month on each. After that, there was an explosion on the sites, which led to a lot of good things.
- We received additional free traffic to the site.
- Pumped brand request.
- And most importantly, we reached a new level of attendance. This can be seen very well in the first graph for our French domain.
Accident! It happens that way too. In mid-February, our Spanish site experienced a dramatic increase in traffic.
First thought: someone wrote about us.
We checked and realized that the traffic grew organically. It turned out that interest in one of our main requests (test de mecanografía) has grown.
Interest was 3-day, our positions grew almost 2 times and, as you can see from the chart, after that they changed a lot.
Mistakes or what didn’t work out
1. Wrong goals. We overestimated them and relied on the wrong data when staging. It is worth studying the market, niche, and setting an ambitious but realistic goal. Otherwise, at some point, you give up, and this is definitely not a plus for business.
Our goal was 10,000 weekly users on two sites by the end of the year. We looked at the experience of promoting Ratatype to the English-speaking market 6 years ago. We didn’t look at the frequency of requests on our topic and simply didn’t compare the number of people in the country. For example, America turned out to be 4 times larger than France + Spain.
2. Exchanges. We didn’t get along here. At first, we did not find suitable sites. They were few, expensive and we were not ready. After 4 months we decided to give it a try. The main thing we wanted to get from the site was traffic.
Therefore, when choosing, we were guided by the following criteria: attendance, announcement on the main page, and price. We chose two sites with traffic of 9 million and 400,000 users per month. Priced at $100 and $30 respectively. In the end, we get nothing. Why it happened:
- We didn’t pay attention to the distribution of desktop and mobile traffic (and this is important for us since our main traffic is desktop).
- We didn’t look at where the users are coming from. For example, for the one with 9 million, they come from Google for some specific requests and not to the main page. Therefore, my advice is this: you can use exchanges, but you need to approach the choice of sites very carefully. Well, you should not use them at the start. Especially if there is no money for it.
Instead of conclusions
When we started to promote the site in Spain and France, we did not believe in success, because there was no knowledge and resources. But we were not afraid to try, we read a lot, and studied. We liked the result:
- Ratatype.fr — average position 7.4.
- Ratatype.es — 10.2 (already almost top 10).
We are actively continuing to promote these sites in Spain and France. And we decided to share our experience so that everyone who has a website can use this instruction and break into the top 10.
Author: Daria Piven, Ratatype project development manager