5 Ways to Start Driving Traffic from Reddit | WordStream

5 Ways to Start Driving Traffic from Reddit | WordStream

If you’re a business owner or marketer, you’ve probably seen a bunch of Reddit results in search results, and you might be wondering what the deal is. If you don’t know, Reddit is the internet’s collective subconscious, a platform where folks from all walks of life can go to talk about their experiences, post content, and learn about topics that interest them.

Because of its relative lack of structure compared to other social media platforms, Reddit doesn’t get a ton of love among business owners looking to promote their products and services. And that is a huge missed opportunity. Because when used correctly, Reddit can seriously buoy your marketing efforts and become a valuable stream of revenue for your business.

In this post, we’re going to discuss precisely that. Let’s walk through how Reddit works, then talk about five strategies you can use to drive traffic from this unique platform.


What is Reddit?

With over 500 million users, Reddit is perhaps the world’s biggest discussion board.

chart showing number of reddit users through 2028

chart showing number of reddit users through 2028

Number of past, current, and projected Reddit users by year. 

You can separate Reddit’s value props into three main buckets: social news aggregation, content rating, and discussion. All of Reddit’s content is user-generated, meaning users create their own posts, many of which contain links, images, and videos.

example of question in reddit subreddit with answer

example of question in reddit subreddit with answer

These posts are organized in user-created boards called “subreddits,” depending on their topic or theme. Subreddits typically include topics like technology, news, movies, and gaming, but really, a subreddit could exist for virtually any subject imaginable.

Here’s a list of Reddit’s key features:

  1. Subreddits. As mentioned, these are individual communities within Reddit, each dedicated to a particular topic. They are denoted by the prefix “r/” followed by the topic name, r/memes, r/dankmemes, and r/WatchPeopleDieInside (we told you, there’s a subreddit for everything.)
  2. Posts and comments. Posts within subreddits include text, links, images, and videos. Users then comment on these posts to create threads.
  3. Voting system. Reddit uses an upvote and downvote system that allows users to “rate” content. Posts and comments with more upvotes appear higher on the page, increasing their visibility, while those with more downvotes become less visible.
  4. Karma. Users earn karma points when their posts or comments are upvoted. Karma serves as a rough measure of a user’s contributions to the community.
  5. Moderation. Each subreddit is moderated by a team of volunteers who enforce community-specific rules and Reddit’s overall content policies. They have the authority to remove posts, ban users, and manage discussions within their subreddit.
  6. Reddit Gold/Premium. Reddit offers a premium subscription service called Reddit Premium, which provides an ad-free experience, access to a private subreddit, and other perks.

The main draw of Reddit is precisely that: it’s open. As long as users follow the rules of a given subreddit, they are allowed to post candidly about whatever topic intrigues them. For that reason, people not only flock to Reddit for community, but to find unfiltered answers to questions that they may not be able to find anywhere else on the internet.

Posing a question on Reddit is like posing it to an enormous, virtual living room of interested parties. The answer may not always be what you want, but you’ll get no shortage of opinions.

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Why is Reddit important?

Because of its diverse user base and wide range of content, Reddit is an extremely popular platform for discussing current events, sharing personal stories, and seeking advice. Depending on your vertical and business, that means it can also be an extremely valuable platform from which to drive traffic.

And, not only that, but Google’s recent algorithm update has made Reddit even more prominent on the SERP. Many queries now contain a link to Reddit or a “Discussions and forums” section that typically includes links to subreddits.

example of reddit listed in google serps

example of reddit listed in google serps

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5 ways to drive traffic from Reddit

Now that you know what Reddit is and why it’s a big deal, let’s talk about five ways you can use it to drive traffic to your website.

1. Find the subreddit where your customers are engaging

Let’s say you’re a roofing company in California. You want to find potential customers who are actively searching for roof replacements or services. In all likelihood, you’re going to have a difficult time finding a subreddit where homeowners are just talking about roofs. Why? Because roofs on their own are not all that interesting.

That said, a quick Google search for “roofing california reddit” shows that there are some interesting subreddits upon which you, as the business owner, may lurk to search for customers:

example of subreddit showing in serps for roofing search

example of subreddit showing in serps for roofing search

The first listing here is a post within a subreddit called r/Roofing. The forum description reads as follows: Greetings! This sub is for questions, interesting pics or videos and stories about roofing. We welcome roofers, handy-people, homeowners and anyone else who is roof-curious.

As a roofing contractor, this is going to be a really interesting subreddit to hang out on. Granted, the group does not consist exclusively of homeowners (i.e. potential customers), but even posts from other contractors can help you glean information about the competitive landscape, pricing, and other useful information that can win you business.

2. Be useful first; promote second

Most subreddit moderators are extremely wary of users who are just in the thread to promote their products and services, and rightly so. As such, if you hop right into a discussion with a link to your website, and if you do this multiple times, you risk not only alienating yourself from the discussion but getting banned altogether.

example of banned user comment

example of banned user comment

Breaking the rules is a surefire way to get banned from the sub, and the majority of subreddits contain rules prohibiting “excessive self-promotion.” But guess what? You’re not here to promote your products anyway. You’re here to be useful and provide value. 

Just like a door-to-door salesman, your job when you enter the subreddit is, first and foremost, to help people. Using our roofing example, that means that if a consumer wants some help pricing out a job, you don’t jump right in and offer them a quote and ask for an appointment.

example of posting useful content, not promotional, on reddit

example of posting useful content, not promotional, on reddit

Instead, you might try giving them some insight into why the quotes they’ve gotten look the way that they do, how you would estimate their roof if you were doing the job, and why you would charge that much for the job. At that point, if the homeowner likes the value you have provided, he is likely to follow up with another question, at which point you can offer to have a call or come out for an in-person appointment.

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3. Post your own content

The key to driving traffic from Reddit is being an engaged user. Being an engaged user doesn’t mean jumping into the platform every few weeks to post a link. It doesn’t even mean answering questions every now and again with a valuable tip. It means being frequently involved in, and contributing to the subreddits on which your customers are having discussions.

You want to be seen as a valuable member of the community. Someone who has experience and credibility in your vertical, and who people can turn to when they are looking for answers. The most straightforward way to do this is by posting your own content, rather than merely commenting on the posts of others.

example of AMA post on reddit

example of AMA post on reddit

Posts like this AMA (Ask Me Anything) show users that you are a dedicated member of the community first, and a business owner second. That you are not afraid to be seen leading a discussion about your vertical, not just participating in or commenting on one.

Consistently post your own useful content, and you won’t ever need to promote your services; customers will ask you for them.

4. Give your products and services away

As we mentioned at the start of this post, Reddit is the internet’s collective subconscious. Its superego. And if there’s one thing the ego loves, it’s free stuff. The idea that you, the consumer, are worthy of receiving something of value in exchange for absolutely nothing.

If you’re going to promote your products and services in a subreddit, hosting a giveaway, sweepstakes, or contest is perhaps the most effective way to do so. This strategy allows marketers to deflect the ill will typically shown to users who self-promote while igniting a competitive interest among potential customers.

example of mod approved reddit giveaway

example of mod approved reddit giveaway

If you’re a service business, this could mean giving away a free inspection or a discount on one of your services. If you’re an ice cream shop owner, it could mean going to your local subreddit and posting a two-for-one special. If you’re an ecommerce brand, it could mean driving traffic to an external landing page, where users can enter their names and email in exchange for entering to win a gift package from your brand.

However you choose to give your products and services away, you can rest assured that doing so will help you drive invaluable traffic and exposure for your business.

5. Cultivate a following

If you can find the right subreddit, you’ve already found your audience. But unless you’re known in the community, you haven’t yet captured your audience. And if you haven’t yet captured your audience, they’re not your audience.

If you want to cultivate a real following on Reddit, you need to be a thought leader. Thought leaders like Jason Calanicas and Elon Musk use Reddit to grow their brands by being thought leaders. They run companies and have business interests, but they use Reddit as a means of swiftly growing their engaged audience.

Pop over to Jason’s Reddit profile and you’ll see that he’s not just posting about his podcast. He’s actively engaging in a number of discussions on a variety of topics he is interested in.

example of Jason Calanicas reddit profile

example of Jason Calanicas reddit profile

Why would a guy worth $100 million spend his time perusing subreddits? One, because he enjoys being a part of the discourse, and he has a variety of interests.

But two, it’s because he understands the power that Reddit offers thought leaders when it comes to audience cultivation. The ability to pop into a thread at any time and offer a relevant fact, opinion, critique, or piece of advice, is what makes Reddit such a unique and useful platform for content creators and brands alike.

Traffic on Reddit belongs to the most engaged and creative

There you have it, in a nutshell. If you want to drive traffic from Reddit, you need to be thoughtful, engaged, and creative.

Remember to post your own content, be useful above all, and give away your products and services. Follow these strategies to a tee, and you’ll see the rewards many times over.