Traffic generation is one of the hottest topics in the online marketing niche because without traffic, your web properties will be dead in the water. Did you know that there are quite a few free traffic generation strategies that are simple to implement in your business?
You could have the most beautiful blog rich in valuable content… or an e-commerce store with wonderful products, a plethora of top-notch information products and online courses, but if no one is visiting your blog/store, you’ll have no reach and no sales.
That’s how important web traffic is. There are basically only 2 ways to drive traffic… the free way or the paid way. The beginner marketers on a tight budget prefer the free way, whereas intermediate marketers may choose to use both or focus mostly on paid ads because you get faster feedback and easier results (once you’ve mastered it).
Here, we’ll look at 5 free traffic generation strategies and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Before going further, here’s a hard truth…
ALL free traffic generation strategies will take time to deliver results. This is the biggest bugbear marketers face. Free methods will take months or even a year before they gain traction and traffic starts to snowball.
That makes this a disadvantage that’s common to all the 5 methods below. It takes time and can be unpredictable. Nevertheless, with consistent effort in the right direction, you will see results.
Free traffic is far superior to paid traffic once you get it to work. That alone makes the juice worth the squeeze, and all marketers would do well to spend some time focusing on getting organic traffic (free).
Now let’s look at the top free traffic generation strategies below and assess them so that you can choose one to focus on. Yes, you’ll make the most progress focusing all your efforts on just one method and getting it to work. It doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as you harness your efforts and go all the way with it.
1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – This is the most popular strategy out of all the ones I’m sharing here, but it’s also the most difficult one.
The goal here will be to get your sites ranked organically in Google. Once you’re on the first page for the keyword you’re targeting (and preferably within the first 5 spots above the fold), you’ll be getting traffic on autopilot, round the clock.
That’s the biggest advantage of SEO. Free non-stop targeted traffic. This makes SEO highly cost-effective. You’ll also gain more credibility and reach when you rank organically. People will view your site as an authority on the subject.
The downside to SEO is that the search engines can be fickle. With one Google update, your site’s ranking/s may disappear. If you’re solely dependent on search engine traffic for sales, you might see your earnings dry up overnight.
Another downside is that SEO is labor intensive. You’ll need to focus on getting your SEO metrics right and have enough content so that you rank well.
Over and above that, you’ll have to build links, get your site to load fast and make sure your site is deemed favorable in Google’s eyes. This is akin to having a day job with an unforgiving boss; only in this scenario, Google is your boss.
To make matters worse, results are not guaranteed, and you may also be facing fierce competition from other marketers trying to rank for the same keywords as you. But that’s just how it is. Here are the pros and cons of SEO in bullet points…
- Targeted traffic
- Long-term traffic
- Builds trust and credibility
- Lots of time-consuming effort required
- Results not guaranteed
- At the mercy of fickle search engine algorithms
2. YouTube Marketing – YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine on the planet… and is owned by Google. Millions of people get on this platform daily to look for information and entertainment. Preferably both.
Since it’s teeming with traffic, this makes YouTube a very lucrative way to drive traffic to your offers, sites, etc. We live in an age where people prefer watching videos over reading.
We want our information and we want it fast… and engaging. That makes YouTube perfect for engaging with your audience and getting your message across succinctly.
Videos can be ranked both on YouTube and on Google, though attaining the latter is far more difficult. If your videos rank on YouTube, depending on your search term, you could get thousands or even millions of views. Having a link in the video description pointing to your web properties will help to siphon a considerable amount of traffic to your sites/offers. The same applies if your video ranks in the Google search results.
Remember, videos are perfect for building a loyal audience who can put a face to the marketing. They’ll enjoy your content and be pre-sold on your offers if you’re providing constant value in your videos.
Another plus point here is that you can monetize your videos by displaying ads from the YouTube partner program. So you’ll have a side income here as well.
The downside to getting YouTube traffic is that you’ll need to create videos which can be a time-consuming process. Many people are hesitant to appear on videos because they don’t wish to show their face. Perfectly understandable. Editing videos can be very time-consuming too.
Viewer retention is another challenge. These days, people have the attention span of a housefly and will click off your video if you don’t capture their interest.
So, your video creation skills must be on point… and you’ll also be facing a lot of competition. Just like ranking with SEO, this strategy is unpredictable too. Some videos may rank and some won’t. You’re dependent upon the whims and fancies of the YouTube algorithm. But once again, that’s just how it is.
- Engaged traffic
- Builds a loyal audience
- More fun than written content
- Builds trust and credibility
- Large audience
- Monetization opportunities
- Video production is time-consuming
- Creativity required
- Dependant on the YouTube algorithm
- VERY Competitive
- May need to appear on camera
- Takes time to gain traction
3. Social Media – The social sites you choose could include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and so on. Unlike SEO, social media is a whole different beast.
While each platform has its own requirements, there are a few unwritten rules that apply across the board if you wish to successfully drive traffic with these hot traffic opportunities.
One benefit of social media is that they have a wide audience reach. The good news is that it’s free to set up an account with almost all the popular social media apps.
But bear in mind, if the platform is free, then you’re the product – and your attention is the currency. So there’s a risk of becoming addicted to social media while trying to drive traffic with it.
That said, your marketing content has potential to go viral on social media. Social media content has a high degree of shareability. This is difficult to achieve with traditional SEO (ranking on Google).
Content on these platforms is highly visual and tends to get more interaction and engagement. You’ll have an opportunity to communicate directly with your audience.
The downside of social media is that the platforms are often ‘noisy’. People scroll by fast and may miss your content. Furthermore, you’ll need to constantly keep posting new content to stay relevant and visible to your audience.
Another insidious downside is that you’re building your house on rented land. Social media apps may deem your content offensive and shut you down on a whim.
With the ‘woke’ movement running rampant, getting flagged for content that’s not ‘suitable’ for the community is becoming more frequent and increasingly ridiculous.
A recent example would be Russel Brand, whose YouTube account was demonetized because of sexual assault allegations. What’s appalling here is that he has not been proven guilty of anything yet, but YouTube has stopped letting him earn money on the platform to ‘protect’ its users. So he has been judged in the court of public opinion while YouTube still gets massive traffic from his videos.
This example highlights how volatile social media marketing can be. In an ever-shifting landscape where people’s sensitivities become more fragile by the day, marketing on social media is like skating on thin ice. You can get fantastic results but you never know when the ice below you will crack and give way. Proceed with caution.
- Highly visual and shareable content
- Increased engagement and interaction
- Easy to use
- Large audience
- Potential to go viral
- Highly ‘noisy’ space
- Difficult to gain traction
- You’re dependent on the platform
- Will need to post content very often
- Highly competitive
- Volatility – you’ll need to toe the line
4. Forum Marketing – Marketing on forums is an excellent way to drive targeted traffic to your landing pages, sales pages and offers. Since you’ll be driving traffic from forums dedicated to your niche, the traffic will convert better and your audience will be more engaged.
You’ll be able to communicate directly with your tribe and get feedback. There are countless forums dedicated to specific niches. So this is a traffic generating strategy that can be used for many niches, but not all niches.
The downside to this strategy is that it’s time-intensive. You’ll have to spend time in forums daily delivering value… and if you don’t own the forum, you’ll need to abide by the rules and not make promotional posts and so on.
You’ll need to have high EQ here to maneuver around the forum rules and still build your tribe. You might get negative feedback or be reported to the forum moderators.
Another downside is that depending on the forum, your reach is limited. Unlike social media platforms which are teeming with people, forums may only have a few thousand people.
This means your audience is limited from the get-go and even with an audience of a few thousand people, only a fraction may be regularly interacting in the forum. You’ll have to decide if the forum and its audience base is worth your time before trying to drive traffic here. The strategy works, but you’ll have to be wise in your approach so that you’re not wasting time and effort.
- Engaged traffic
- Targeted audience
- High converting traffic
- Builds trust and authority
- Gets you feedback and community engagement
- Need to abide by forum rules
- May get negative feedback
- Audience is limited
- Lots of time and effort required
- May not be suitable for your niche
5. Email Marketing – Marketing via email is basically you sending out emails to your subscriber list and driving traffic to your site/offers. It goes without saying that you’ll first need to build an email list of loyal subscribers.
This alone will take you time and effort. But if you have opt-in pages and use the traffic methods mentioned above to siphon traffic from the high traffic sites to your opt in pages, you’ll inevitably build a list of subscribers that want to hear from you in a regular basis.
The advantage of email marketing is that it converts well, especially if your list likes and trusts you. The money is in the relationship you have with your list.
With an email list, you can be more granular in your marketing and segment your list by their interests and responses. A professional autoresponder such as AWeber will allow you to do this.
From here, you can have better targeting with your emails. The biggest advantage of email marketing is that you have direct communication with your audience. None of the other traffic methods above come close in this aspect.
With automation, you can have emails queued in your email marketing tool that will go out at intervals. This will allow you to have a relatively hands-off approach while the automation does the work for you, once you’ve added all your emails into the sequence.
One common downside to email marketing would be deliverability issues. Your emails may get flagged and end up in the spam folder. Besides that, building and maintaining your email list is an ongoing task.
You’ll get unsubscribes and some people may stop opening your emails. So you’ll need to keep adding people to your list and practice list hygiene every six months or so to remove unresponsive subscribers, etc.
- Cost effective
- Direct communication with audience
- High conversion rates
- Full control over your list
- Can be automated
- Deliverability issues
- Email writing skills required
- List management required
- Emails may end up in spam folders
Now that you’re aware of the pros and cons of the top 5 free traffic generation strategies used by tens of thousands of marketers to get positive results in their business, you just need to hone in on one strategy that suits you… and ‘go deep’ with it.
The key to making a free traffic method work is consistent action over a period of at least 6 to 9 months, and being patient until you start seeing positive results.
From there, you’ll be inspired and spurred on to do more. The free traffic generation strategies I’ve outlined here are definitely worth your time and should be in your marketing blueprint and arsenal. Get started today and you’ll get traffic sooner than everyone else who is not privy to this information.
I’m Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, independent publisher, and serial entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to make your first income online at 3 Day eBiz (Use Code: MAKEITHAPPEN to Save) and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.