At last night’s GrowHack meetup, Patrick Ambron, CEO and Co-Founder of BrandYourself, told the story of how he woke up one morning to find that his product accidentally went a little viral.

BrandYourself is a service that makes it easy for anyone to take control of their own Google search results. The company was started when one of the founders Pete couldn’t get an internship because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer.

Growth for the company was pretty good right out of the gate, but on May 1 they launched a feature that let users see not only who was searching for them on Google, but where they were from.

First Mashable picked it up, but the article stayed on Mashable’s homepage for 2 days, generating 14k shares (more than 10x that of a typical article). Once the story was hot, other places picked it up including Huffington Post, Yahoo News and TechCrunch.

I like a few things about Patrick’s story.

Just another feature

First, the feature that they released on May 1 was just another feature as far as they were concerned. They had no clue that it would be as interesting as most people thought it was, and they definitely didn’t expect it to drive as many signups as it did.

Getting prepared

Second, Patrick did a lot of testing in advance, and so they were prepared for the sudden influx of traffic. Their homepage had a 30% conversion rate to account signups. But when they first put up the homepage it was only getting 8%.

Patrick could have been satisfied with 8% (it’s a pretty good conversion rate to begin with) – but instead they spent a lot of time getting that 8% up to 30%, and it paid off big time. If their homepage had only converted at 8%, they would only have gotten 17k signups instead of 60k.

PR Hacking

Third, Patrick spends a lot of time pitching PR stories to journalists. Because they track sources of traffic and how that traffic moves through the lean marketing funnel, they knew that traffic from articles converted higher and was much more valuable than, say, traffic from Google Adwords.

In his presentation, Patrick shared an email template he likes to use when emailing journalists cold (for the first time)

Hi xxx,
 
My name is Patrick, I’m a big fan of your work, and have been for while.  I’m emailing you today about my company, BrandYourself.com to see if you see any fit for a story on xxx. 

To give you a quick background: We’re the first DIY platform that makes it easy for anyone to take control of their own search results. We started the company when my co-founder Pete couldn’t get an internship because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer. We wanted to create a free product that put the power in everybody’s hands. We’ve been able to launch, put together a great team with a great group of investors (link)

While growth has been great (link to an article), I’ve always wanted to see an article on xxx. Particularly because I think an article you wrote a few years ago did an amazing job summarizing the industry. As a long time reader myself I think this is something readers would really enjoy.

I know you’re busy so just let me know if you have any interest.

Patrick

This is a great template that I’m going to use in the future because it does a great job of connecting with the person you’re writing to.

Check out the rest of Patrick’s presentation here:

Check out the section on not so obvious bad homepage designs. It’s pretty funny – and you’re probably making one of the mistakes on your site right now.

Also, send Patrick Ambron some love by letting him know how much you loved this presentation!

You can tweet this:

“Just saw a presentation about getting more traffic by @patrickambron on @growhack. Loved it! (click to tweet)”

That said, what have YOUR experiences been with traffic and and users?

Have you ever gotten linked by a huge website… just to find out they sent you almost NO users?

Tell me about it in the comments.

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