Counter Arts
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Counter Arts

Create viral articles to guide people to your landing pages

How to Send Traffic to Your Landing Page for Free (by Accidently Creating Your First Viral Article)

Resources, insights, and observations made so you can make your own content marketing strategy (and create a 24% converting squeeze page)

Last week, I created an article. And it blew up.

With no audience to share it to, it had reached 29,000 people, generated over 50 followers and helped get people to my landing page, which has added over 70 people to my list.

(And to give you an idea of what that feels like, this is what I woke up to the next day)

*faint*

So… yeah…

That article went viral. 😅

Some of the reasons had to do with people sharing it on Reddit, Twitter and other design news sites.

Others had to do with Google having caught wind of all that sharing, which gave the page itself some extra SEO brownie points.

Which made it so that if you looked up “Unprofessional Landing pages”, the article was the first search result, even beating one of Neil Patel’s articles. (a leader in the landing page world)

And then, to add to the metaphorical viral fire, people leaving comments and my content being pushed for distribution also helped a ton.

So considering that a week prior I only had 2 subs, getting a +70 boost was HUGE

(Plus, if we wanted to have some fun, we could also say “it generated a 3600% improvement to my list”… Which goes to show how you have to be careful when talking about statistics, cause it makes anything sound more impressive.)

But the real kicker to all of this was the landing page results I got

Because up to that point, I’ve never had statistically significant numbers to test conversion before. (Didn’t want to use paid routes like ads yet)

landing page swipe file landing page screen
My landing page

This page gave a 24.3% conversion rate as of writing this.

Which means that on average, 24 out of every 100 people signed up so far.

Considering this was the first attempt run, it’s not too shabby of a number.

Hey waaait a minute, hold up! How did this happen? And WHY did this specific article become so viral?

My first reaction to that question would be…

🤷‍♂️

But thinking about it a bit more, I realized I do have a few theories…

1) The article’s headline might have hit some kind of nerve with designers and business owners.

The headline being:

“Unprofessional Landing pages: How to make your pages look like a design team was behind it”

[Note: This was the article’s original title. It has since changed to be featured in a publication.]

I believe it hit a nerve based on the kinds of people who engaged with the article and the kinds of people who signed up to my newsletter.

Most of them were either designers who wanted some insights into creating better pages (a lot of them came from the UX community), devs who wanted to learn more about design or (and this is my favorite) marketers and agencies who were in the landing page game.

Which is great! Because that’s exactly who the article was made for.

But okay, that still doesn’t explain why it went viral.

So to try and find out why, let’s try to break down what made the headline “successful”.

“Unprofessional Landing pages: How to make your pages look like a design team was behind it”

I think has a few things going for it.

The headline starts out with a specific problem. (“Unprofessional landing pages”)

Psychologically, problems grab your attention more than solutions do.

That’s why you tend to see so much negative news in comparison with positive ones.

And in the case of this headline, it’s targeting people who have a problem with unprofessional pages. If you have that problem (or had that problem before), then in a certain way, it makes sirens ring in your brain.

(Also, the word “unprofessional” has a negative connotation to it).

Another bonus of having it right in the start is that it’s good for sharing.

Because remember that long headlines on sites tend to get cut off when shared, like in SEO for instance.

And since, in this case, “Unprofessional landing pages:” was at the start, you immediately know what the article will be about, whether the rest of the headline gets cut off or not.

It also promises a clear (insane) result.

“How to make your pages look like a design team was behind it” is enticing.

It says “Hey! Read this article and you’ll be able to do the work of 5 people”.

Yeaah, it makes it pretty click-baity.

And it also creates a curiosity factor that makes you ask “How the heck are you going to do that?”

(That’s also why I’m totally okay with changing the title to make it promise a bit less haha)

The headline addresses a common problem that people actively need solutions to.

You see this in “landing page feedback” pages like the Unbounce forums or on Indie Hackers.

There’s a lot of designers, devs and startups out there that need useful info on creating pages of their own, and all for different reasons. (Even if they do use a template, doing your own changes to it can be tricky)

The premise of the article was actually the answer to a made up question I imagined startups having:

“I’m a startup and can’t afford a designer. How do I make a professional looking landing page?”.

Coming up with the “like a design team was behind it” portion was just getting lucky at creating something catchy.

I also used a headline analyzer which uses black magic to tell me if I did a good job or not.

Here’s the one I used.

(The headline to this article also has the same score. Test and repeat what works until it doesn’t.)

So yeah, that’s what I think happened with the headline.

And I would have chalked it all up to just the headline for all the clicks…

But then there’s people who commented on the image preview of all things.

Yes, really.

“The post makes some good points, although I unironically liked the hand-drawn stick figure doodle better than the generic corporate art at the top of the page — maybe I just don’t have a designer’s eye :P”

Which, honestly, is surprising! This isn’t a YouTube thumbnail, it’s the image.

Of. An. Article.

But maybe there’s something to it?

So let’s go with the assumption that the image played a part in the virality too, and go into our second theory…

2) The preview image was unique. And the “funny” stick figure was eye-catching and fun.

Yes, this was the preview image that went viral

Statistics say that articles with images get way more views than articles without.

But okay, what does this image do different?

Well, it isn’t stock footage, which is one thing.

But maybe it’s the before and after tactic used?

I mean it’s worked thousands of times for the fitness industry (Which has been proven to work for a number of psychological reasons)

So maybe the fact that the article image hinted at a “before” and “after” of reading the article did something?

Like maybe hypothetically “promising” a sure fire result that looked like this:

Illustrations is from freepik

Or maybe it created so much curiosity from being different that it compelled specific people to click. (Like YouTube thumbnails can do)

Or maybe people just liked the little funny, ridiculous and “endearing” stick figure.

I don’t know! I’d maybe study more from Youtube thumbnails than normal article preview images to get more insights on this, since I think most video creators in that platform might have a better idea of what works or doesn’t than typical writers do.

But hey, wait a minute.

Analyzing the content is all fine and dandy, but we know good content doesn’t always get views.

“Build it and they will come” doesn’t really work how we think it does.

So is there another aspect that helped with the virality?

Yup, there is. And here is what I believe “started” the fire:

3) I actively shared the article to sites who would get value from it. Because if I hadn’t, my article would have most likely been pretty ignored.

I know this to be true because 80% of traffic initially came from external sources.

And then things started being shared after I started posting links there myself.

How to share your article for viral growth

Here are the two resources I mostly used:

I 110% followed and give credit to Harry’s marketing examples article on sharing content and this article on how to amplify your work that I found thanks to Josh Spector’s newsletter.

The idea is this:

Always concentrate where you think your article gives value.

You’re not randomly sharing everywhere. You’re focused and thinking about others and what they might value.

And in social media (like Facebook and Reddit) you try to “earn” your right to post your articles by engaging often. And even then, only post them if it’s of value. (Reddit has a 9:1 rule where for every 9 posts you make on others content, 1 can be talking about yours.)

I also made sure to reformat how I presented the link for each platform. (So on some platforms, it was shared as “3 techniques to create professional landing pages”. Less clickbait-y)

As for the second article on amplification that I mentioned, the idea is to try and create content that other people will want to share.

You don’t only optimize for your audience.

You optimize for the “amplifiers” as well.

That’s at least the attempt I gave when I chose that particular topic.

The rest of the viral reasons, I’d chalk up to random luck and the article being well linked and easy to scan through. (It was essentially a big list with lots of images and bullet points all over).

Now let’s move on to another interesting topic that goes along with viral articles — lead gen.

How the article helped with push for a 24% conversion rate Landing Page.

While I won’t go too into what makes a good landing page (squeeze page in this case), I do want to make a few things clear about what tends to affect these numbers.

So here’s a quick summary:

Conversion rates on these types of pages are (usually) based on:

  1. The intent of users coming into a page,
  2. How close they are to being in your targeted audience and
  3. How well your offer is to said targeted audience.

So if users go into the page with the right expectations (like you tell them what they’ll find once they click on a link) and they’re the kinds of people you imagine would like what you’re offering (part of your target audience, so designers, devs and marketers) and your offer is enticing (quality of explaining benefits, what they’ll lose if they don’t get it, yada yada)…

THEN you get a high conversion rate.

So of those 3 points:

The intent (#1) is given by what you say at the end of the article to get people to your page…

And the offer (#3) is dependent on what you’re offering on your landing page.

So what affects the targeting of leads for your targeted audience (#2)?

The article itself. Because your topic pre-qualifies the leads.

This makes sense because if you:
a) Create an article that is of interest to only a certain group of people,
b) You make it a valuable piece of content that said group of people wants to read and share within the group and
c) Create a landing page with an offer that can help that group of people.

Then, by accident, you end up with a result similar to a targeted campaign. (kinda).

Because only the kind of people who would be reading your article would be the kind of people (most likely) to be interested in your offer.

Which is pretty neat.

I do kind of wonder what a similar strategy could do for other businesses if they created viral content and instead of a squeeze page, tried a more traditional free trial page or similar. At the very least, I’d imagine it’d be good for brand awareness.

Or in the best case, probably make direct money off this.

And funny enough, somebody in the same niche as me did.

You can check out the similar experience Oli from Roast My Landing Page as he shares the numbers of how he made £10,000+ from his own page getting shared.

And if you’re interested in landing pages yourself, might I tempt you with an invitation to get more landing page related insights?

(Yup, I’m gonna try and lead you to the same 24.3% landing page I talked about before.)

The In One Snap Newsletter delivers weekly insights for marketers, designers and devs who want to increase conversions on their landing pages.

Plus you get a sweeet landing page swipe file as a bonus if you do.

So if that entices you, you can check it out here.

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Mauro Accorinti

Mauro Accorinti

Insights that help increase landing page conversions. Get my free landing page swipe file by signing up here: http://bit.ly/Free-Landing-Page-Swipe-File weekly