Free traffic. Everybody wants it. Read on for how to get it, use it, and why “free traffic” is actually a bit of a misnomer.
Want to skip the reading? Head over to YouTube for a video about free traffic from Thomas McMahon, Senior Business Development Manager at ClickBank.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, you may not have the kind of traffic that some veteran affiliates have. Traffic, especially free traffic, is a commodity in the affiliate marketing world. For new affiliates, it’s not always the easiest to procure, however, without it, the truth is, your likelihood of making it as an affiliate is slim. Traffic truly is power.
We get it though; as a new affiliate, shelling out mad cash for some traffic is intimidating, and not always the safest way to get it. To give you a leg up, we’ve compiled this list of tips and tactics to get free traffic.
No Such Thing as Free Traffic
So, the unfortunate reality is… there’s no such thing as free traffic. Thomas McMahon, Senior ClickBank Business Development Manager, explains:
“There’s not going to be a lot of true free traffic anymore. There’s going to have to be some amount of work put in to earn traffic. You might not have to pay money for it, or at least much money, but it’s going to take some sweat equity to gain a traffic source that you can then leverage to make money.”
Three tried and true ways to gain traffic are:
- SEO and blog growth
- Social networking
- Email list traffic
SEO and Blog Growth
Focusing on SEO and blog growth will generate an organic source of traffic. While generating organic traffic from Google is not as easy as it was ten years ago, it is still doable–but it takes catering to a niche. And, even then, you’re going to need a website. Plus a lot of time to write blogs. (You can always hire freelance content developers, but the good ones will cost you.)
As you plan for the kind of content you’re going to feature on your website, remember that you’re trying to rank for highly specific keywords. Niche focusing will help you rank faster, however, it may be difficult to pinpoint what kind of keywords you should go for to set yourself apart from the competition.
Tools like Ahrefs, Google Search Console, SEMRush, and KWFinder. Of these four, Google Search Console is the only free one.
Ahrefs is the most recommended SEO tool and is one of the largest website crawlers, only second to Google.
KWFinder is best for finding long tail keywords that have a lower level of competition. This is a good investment for those who are trying to identify the best niche to gain traction and traffic in.
Total Cost: $50, or more if you want writers
After you have a website running with a little bit of content, you can start sharing it via social media. Social media is also an organic traffic source. Some might call it “free,” but this is really where the term “sweat equity” comes in. Nobody is entitled to a following on social media; you have to earn it. Sure, it doesn’t require cash up front, but building a following on LinkedIn or through Facebook Groups is not an overnight task. It takes trust, good content, and patience as you figure out what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t. There are plenty of resources out there on how to leverage the power of social networking to build a following. Three of our favorites are:
- Relatable content
- Valuable content
Total Cost: Free, if you don’t count the hours you’ll spend building a following
Email List Traffic
It would be a drastic oversight if you didn’t use your new website to collect email addresses from your visitors as soon as it was up. This is the first step to building an email list and “earning” free traffic for your promotions.
One of the best ways you can collect email addresses is through gated content or a subscribe function.
Gated content is valuable content (like an e-book, a guide, a free download, etc.) that is “behind” a form that requires a visitor’s email address to access the content. If you’re working with a landing page builder like HubSpot, building the functionality behind gated content is relatively easy. Once a visitor gives you their email address, you can start sending them emails with content and promotions. But a word to the wise: these emails have to be good. Like, really good. Otherwise, your email list will dwindle as people unsubscribe.
As you add content to your website, you can give visitors the option to subscribe to your email list to stay up to date on your content and promotions. This is similar to gated content, but you’re not incentivizing visitor’s with any particular piece of content, just your overall content goodness in general. This tactic can be more difficult, however, these users aren’t as likely to unsubscribe after they receive their initial deal.
More Time Than You Think
Again, this kind of “free traffic” requires hard work, trial and error, and time… more time than you think it will.
However, according to Thomas, the email list is what you should always be focusing on:
“If you’re trying to grow organically on your blog or on the social channel, and you’re driving that traffic somewhere to an email list that you’re cultivating, you’re protecting that traffic source and taking it not offline, but you’re harvesting that for something you can continue to monetize and grow wherever you might go. And that way, if you do spin up a new traffic channel eventually, whether it’s another social platform or a new product or a website you’re launching, you have an email list you can now put that in front of and get that much faster traction than you ever did to start with.”
If you use SEO and blog growth and social networking to increase your email list, you’ll create a stable and reliable source of traffic that is a product of your hard work. The age old saying is unfortunate, but especially true in affiliate marketing….
Nothing in this world is free; not even traffic.
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