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This guide is based on Mixergy’s interview with Derek Halpern.

Derek Halpern was starting a new blog in a saturated niche, so he set his site apart from the competition and got 10,000 leads in three months. It was all done using traffic building techniques, so we invited him to teach you how to do it.

Derek is the founder of Social Triggers, a blog that teaches people how to use human psychology to get web traffic and increase sales.

Here are the actionable highlights from the interview.

1. Use a unique content format to distinguish your site

Derek says the KISSmetrics blog broke into the marketing space by using infographics, which are great for links and social media sharing.

Take Action:
Look at how competing sites deliver their content and come up with a unique format for your site, if possible, or choose from existing content formats and consistently use the one that fits your needs the best.

2. Cover topics competitors don’t cover to give readers a reason to go to your site

Derek says Social Triggers is the only marketing blog that covers how psychology and conversion research applies to the blogging niche.

Take Action:
Cover topics for smaller, targeted niches that address a specific need, and create unique topics by combining two or three ideas together.

3. Make your site stand out visually to differentiate it from the competition

For Social Triggers, Derek uses a minimalist site design with a purple theme, differentiating it from other marketing blogs that use complex layouts with red or blue themes.

Take Action:
Use a site layout and color theme that’s different from other sites in your niche, add images to make content stand out, test any design changes you plan to make, and implement them if they convert well.

4. Create resource pages to improve your ranking and get new leads

Derek created a list building resource page, which got 95 retweets and generated a couple hundred new leads.

Take Action:
Choose a topic based on what you’ve written about a lot, write a persuasive headline and a short introduction, add links to 5-10 of your relevant posts, then add an opt-in form and an optional sales pitch either above or below the links.

5. Piggyback on hot news items to generate traffic

When Google+ released the +1 button, Derek explained how to add it to WordPress blogs on the DIYthemes blog, which generated thousands of pageviews, opt-ins, and sales.

Take Action:
Pay attention to hot news items in your niche, monitor trends using Alexa’s What’s Hot and Google Trends, then create content about these topics and relate them to your niche.

6. Email content to a target audience to drive traffic

Derek wrote an article that debunked content myths and emailed writers and designers about it, which drove traffic and generated 365 retweets and 158 blog comments.

Take Action:
Create content with a specific audience in mind, find people to promote it to on blog directories like Alltop, and then send them a personalized email with a link to your article.

7. Use webinars to generate traffic and convert it into leads

Derek ran a webinar and pitched an information product at the end of the show, which added 200 people to his funnel and generated $8,000 in sales.

Take Action:
Create a GoToWebinar account, set up an opt-in page using services like AWeber or MailChimp, and then send attendees an email with a ClickToTweet-generated link that they can click on to tweet about your webinar.

8. Write in a casual tone so you can connect with your audience

Derek opens the welcome email for Social Triggers’ newsletter with “Hey, thanks for signing up…”, earning praises from users that it was the “best welcome email” they had ever received.

Take Action:
When you write, use simple words, adopt a casual and conversational tone, be more personal, and try to write in the same way that you talk.

9. Show off clever product uses to convince prospects they need it

Derek promoted the Thesis WordPress theme by writing about the different ways that its hook system could be used to customize blogs.

Take Action:
Think of clever ways to use your product, write content showing people how to use it, and then post it on your site or submit it as a guest post to other blogs.

10. Identify customer mistakes or hidden problems to close more sales

Derek sent out an email with the subject “Is your website killing your search engine rankings?” and pointed out common SEO mistakes people made before pitching the Thesis theme, which resulted in sales.

Take Action:
Think of problems your users might have, then start off pitch emails with a story, bring up the problem, and present your product as the solution.

11. Add email sign-up forms to build your email list

Derek added sign-up forms on Social Triggers’ homepage, sidebar, and post pages to get more people to sign up for updates.

Take Action:
Add email sign-up forms in the feature box on your home page, at the top of your sidebar, and at the bottom of your articles, and manage your list using email marketing software like AWeber or MailChimp.

12. Use squeeze pages to pitch your product and get more emails

Derek uses a squeeze page on DIYthemes, offering a free report about online conversions that users receive when they join the site’s email list.

Take Action:
Set up squeeze pages that offer users a free product or report in exchange for their email addresses.

13. Run joint-venture webinars to increase your reach and build your list

Derek did a joint-venture webinar with Clay Collins about building email lists, where Clay sold a product at the end while Derek got the email addresses after the session.

Take Action:
Find people in your niche who aren’t running webinars, contact them about co-hosting one, and let them pitch a product at the end while you keep the leads.

Want to make sure you get results?

Watch the full interview now
Written by Hazel Chua, based on production notes by Jeremy Weisz