Need a list-building and traffic generation powerhouse to attract professionals and content marketers? SlideShare could be it. This lesser-known social sharing platform can do far more than just be a showcase for PowerPoints. It’s a free way to grow your list, build your following and get thousands of visitors to your site.
Before we get too far along, understand that SlideShare is not Facebook. It’s far smaller, and not entirely well-suited for business to consumer (B2C) marketing. But SlideShare is big enough to be home to 15 million presentations and to get about 60 million unique visitors per month. To give you a reference point, 60 million visitors per month is about the same as Twitch, the hugely popular gaming platform.
Despite it’s size, SlideShare isn’t playing around. Neither is LinkedIn, which bought SlideShare back in 2012. And though SlideShare is smaller than Facebook or Twitter, it has some features that everyone in online marketing should know about.
SlideShare is especially valueable if you want to reach professionals and businesses owners. According to Comscore, SlideShare is used by business owners and business executives 5 times more often than Twitter or Facebook.
There are many ways to use SlideShare to promote your business and attract customers, but for this post we’ll focus on using it to grow your list. There are three major ways to do that.
1) Embed free opt-in forms into your SlideShares.
SlideShare made many of it’s previously paid features available for free back in August. That meant anyone could suddenly add an opt-in form or “LeadShare” to their SlideShares whether they had a paid plan or not. Before August 2014, you had to pay at least $19 a month to be able to embed contact forms into your SlideShares.
This is a great opportunity to build your list even faster than before. So rather than give you a high-level discussion of why this is a good thing, here are the exact steps for how to add an opt-in form to a SlideShare presentation:
- Log into your account.
- Upload at least one SlideShare.
- Go to the My Uploads section of your account:
- Select the LeadShare tab:
- Choose create campaign:
- Fill out the form on this page. To do that, you’ll need to:
- Name the campaign something you’ll remember and understand a year from now.
- Change the default title, “Want to know more about our products?” to a good headline for your lead magnet.
- Add a subtitle further describing your lead magnet. You could leave this blank if you want.
- Select the target geography for your lead campaign. Think about this: Is your business may be worldwide? If it is, that’s great. But if your content is only for people in one country, you might get more qualified leads if you narrow your audience a bit.
- The next two options, “Do you want company/organization?” and “Show message field?” let you control how many fields are in your opt-in form. Just remember that the more fields you require the lower your opt-in rates will be. If you don’t absolutely need the information from those two extra fields, don’t add them.
- The last option for basic settings is whether you’ll show this opt-in form on all your uploads, or just on a few of them. To select just a few of them, you choose by tag. This may require going back to create a tag, then adding it to the SlideShares you want to show this specific opt-in form on.
Use this feature where you can. Offering a lead magnet that is closely related to the content someone is viewing is a proven way to increase your opt-in rate.
- Open the advanced options area:
Set the option “Show "Get in touch" button at the bottom of the content?” to yes. This adds an opt-in button to all your SlideShares.
Next, position the lead form on both inside the player and on the file download.
Don’t collect phone numbers of postal addresses unless you absolutely need them and will use them.
The completed form will look like this:
- Click “Create campaign” to finalize your selections.
- You’ll see a confirmation page that looks like this:
See the yellow “Get in touch” button near the bottom of the SlideShare? That’s what people click to see your opt-in form.
This is what the live opt-in form looks like:
Want to see how your LeadShare campaigns are doing? Go back to the LeadShare tab, and you’ll see them:
Click on the “files included” column to see LeadShare analytics for each SlideShare that this particular opt-in form appears on:
You’ll get an email notification of a new lead every time someone signs up. Unfortunately, SlideShare does not automatically add new subscribers to your GetResponse campaign.
If you wanted to automatically add LeadShare leads to a GetResponse account, you could automate that with Zapier. Both SlideShare and GetResponse can use Zapier’s “zaps”. Zaps are a great way to get two different pieces of software or two online tools to talk to each other. They’re a clever way automate your marketing in ways you probably thought would require a developer.
Note: You can also add an opt-in form to each SlideShare from the SlideShare’s own page.
2) Use SlideShare to drive traffic to your site.
SlideShare can generate significant traffic. If your presentations do really well, it can generate enormous traffic. This is the second way to build your list with this platform – to get more targeted visitors to your site.
The best, most recent example of someone using SlideShare to drive traffic to their site is from blogger Ana Hoffman. Her recent case study (http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/slideshare-traffic/) documents how she got over 1,400 clicks to her site and her Facebook page from just nine SlideShare presentations. SlideShare became her second largest referral traffic source, and still holds that rank today.
How did Hoffman pull this off? First she followed the classic rule of creating great content. Then she optimized that content for maximum views and shares on SlideShare. That work earned her SlideShares a few days on the SlideShare home page. It’s the homepage placement that generated most of the traffic.
Those nine SlideShares generated over 200,000 views on SlideShare. They resulted in “several first page Google rankings.” See a screenshot of Hoffman’s SlideShare analytics report below.
That’s amazing, but it’s not the only story of a stunning SlideShare success. The visual collaboration tool FrameBench got 500 signups from SlideShare in just three days from just two SlideShares. Both of FrameBench’s SlideShares were nothing more than reformatted blog posts.
So how can you do this? Here’s how:
- Write a keyword-rich headline for a topic that gets good traffic, but doesn’t compete with dozens of other presentations.
- Write a detailed, keyword-rich description.
- Keep text to a minimum: No more than 2-3 lines of text per slide.
- Use arresting images.
- Offer actionable content. Make your SlideShare highly usable and helpful.
- Show great examples.
- Have at least 15 slides, but not more than 65.
- Make it look great. Use your typography and design skills to support and strengthen your message.
- Make the typefaces large enough for a small screen. SlideShare now has an app, so we’re talking a really small screen.
- Use content marketing and storytelling best practices to engage your viewers.
- Include a call to action.
- Embed video and audio files in your SlideShares where appropriate.
Do all that, then promote your SlideShare just like you would a blog post. If you’ve picked the right topic and your promotion skills are good, you’ve got a shot at making it on to the first page of SlideShare.
3) Use SlideShare embeds on your site.
The longer people stay on your site the more likely they are to sign up for your list and to see the pop-up you set up. They’re also more likely to come back to your site. And, of course, you can also use SlideShare embeds on your site to build your list. Just make sure you’ve got the LeadShare opt-in forms set up.
Here’s how to embed a SlideShare on your site:
- Upload a SlideShare if you haven’t uploaded one already.
- Go to the SlideShare’s main page.
And click the share icon.
Choose how large you want your embedded SlideShare to be. Then set it to start on slide 1.
Next, just paste that code into your site. If you’re using WordPress, make sure the view is set to “Text”, not “Visual.”
Here’s an example of an embedded SlideShare.
This particular SlideShare is a PDF file. You can upload PDFs or PowerPoints. Don’t have PowerPoint? Use SlideShare’s online presentation deck creation tool, HaikuDeck.
Secret tip: You can also add a link to your PDFs and SlideShares. Just don’t add the links in the first three pages, as this is against SlideShare TOC. But after the first three pages, link away. This could definitely be another way to build your list.