The Power of Niche Communities in Traffic Acquisition

The most underrated component of a social media strategy is the targeting of niche communities. I’m not sure why that is the case but have a few suspicions.

For one, success stories and buzz around popular networks like Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc dominates the web. Niche communities are also harder to locate. In many cases, the initial traffic/networking value may seem poor in comparison to the time investment.

I’m a firm believer in finding your sweet spot in niche communities. Here are two examples from friends and colleagues.

  • A friend of mine owns the site, which provides SAT, AP, & subject-based tools for teachers across all grade levels. When the site first launched, they marketed the site almost exclusively through Yahoo Answers, generated tens of thousands of visits in the first year.
  • Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the subject-matter for the second example, but another colleague receives nearly a thousand visits per month via a product-specific online forum. The community itself has less than 10,000 members and would never be on anyone’s radar in the general public. For this particular niche, its value is only exceeded by Google in terms of top referring domains.

A large percentage of small business sites I’ve come across are not even coming close to a thousand monthly visits from the largest social media sites; let alone Google.

If you’re a small business owner, it might be worth the time to re-investigate niche communities in your space and invest more time in turning them into a channel for your internet marketing efforts.


5 Responses to “The Power of Niche Communities in Traffic Acquisition”

  1. Tweets that mention The Power of Niche Communities in Traffic Acquisition | Cape Cod SEO -- on November 23rd, 2009 12:06 am

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  2. Rebecca on December 2nd, 2009 9:00 am

    Now, that is very interesting. I see a lot of people who have major traffic from their blogs, which is I suppose a kind of niche community, but I would never have thought that a product forum or Yahoo Answers would have driven that kind of traffic.
    It does rather sound like the kind of thing that’s hard to game — that is, people who discover these niche communities are likely to be actual members of those communities, right? Another bit of evidence for the idea that online networking, like physical-world networking, works best when it’s authentic.

  3. Derek Edmond on December 3rd, 2009 1:56 am

    Exactly Rebecca and thank you for the comment. In both scenarios, the site owners are certainly not trying to game the communities. They’re identifying needs and participating; and most importantly, it’s paying off with real site traffic :-)

  4. Dee on December 7th, 2009 8:02 pm

    Great post. Actually no really familiar with using Yahoo Answers. How would this be utilized for niche markets?

  5. Derek Edmond on December 7th, 2009 11:05 pm

    Hi Dee – A first step is to search out the categories your website provides answers/solutions for and contribute your expertise when possible.

    As it makes sense – or as the content on your site is created – look to add links for reference and/or support.