If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing (or product marketing for that matter), you’ll need traffic. As many people say, traffic is the lifeblood of an internet marketing business. You also need ways to convert that traffic (to sales or onto your email list). But with no traffic, you don’t even have a chance of conversion. I actually like using a mix of free and paid traffic. But this article is about where to find free traffic sources in 2018 (and beyond). Let’s get started!
Well, this is an obvious one. Facebook is the biggest social platform on the planet, with around 2.2 billion users. A lot of people want to get a slice of that huge pie.
Now Facebook, of course, wants you to pay them to get traffic. They make money from ads! But there are ways to get free traffic from Facebook. They are from pages, groups and profiles.
A lot of people used to make money from Facebook this way. They would create some fan page, get some people to Like it, then put piles of content on it. A mix of value or entertaining content, and promotional content.
And for a while, that worked really well! Then Facebook got very sick of people getting free traffic to commercial offers. They wanted people to pay them advertising revenue. So they turned off the taps.
Over the last few years, Facebook has dialled down organic reach (basically the percentage of people that see your Fan Page posts) from 100% to 50% to 5% and now is around 0.5%. That’s not a typo. Less than one in hundred of your fans will ever see any of your posts.
Facebook instead asks you if want to “boost” your posts, i.e. pay for the privilege of your fans seeing your content. Which is pretty insulting. Why not just shut the organic reach down altogether and just call them ads?
Anyway, this has made fan pages are a pretty useless way to get traffic. There are still three reasons to have a fan page, though.
Firstly, they help with organic reach. Google likes to see that your site has an organic social presence and a name on so-called “Web 2.0” properties such as Facebook pages. Secondly, they are required if you want to run Facebook ads (which I think you should do, though only after you have built up a decent retargeting audience).
Third, you can actually get pretty cheap paid reach by doing a “boosted post” but just paying $1. You might get a bit of engagement, which will actually increase your organic reach. But this article is about free traffic, so let’s move on to the actual free Facebook traffic methods.
Facebook groups are a way to genuine free traffic on Facebook. You don’t have to pay Facebook for people to see group posts. Not everyone will see all the posts, it will depend on their engagement with the group. You can get pretty good organic reach with groups.
You can post links and offers in Facebook groups too. The only problem is, you have to look after the group.
If it is a public group, you will have all sorts of people spamming all sorts of things in the group. You might have to do a lot of deleting and blocking to stop it becoming a spam fest (since other marketers understand that Facebook groups are a free traffic source too).
Or you could do a private group. This solves one problem – nobody will be spamming anything unless you approve it. But it creates another problem – you have to spend time moderating and approving posts and comments. You could just ban everything except your posts, but people will leave the group pretty quickly once it is clear that it is simply your advertising channel.
I’m not saying Facebook Groups are bad or you can’t use them. Some people have and have done very well out of them. I’m just saying you need to be aware of the pros and cons.
If you want to learn a lot about Facebook Groups and how to make serious money from them (it can happen if you do it right), you should check out this training – though it’s only available for a few days (the link might not work by the time you read this post).
You can also get free traffic from your Facebook profile. You can create a segmented list of people interested in your niche, add them, and then do promotional posts to that segmented list.
Facebook really hates this stuff and they are cracking down and banning the most blantant abusers of it. But it can be done successfully. I’ve made some money with these techniques myself.
But there is definitely an art to it – you can’t just spam boring links. If you want to learn how to do this properly, I would recommend learning from a course taught by an expert that specialises in this. The two best ones are Emoji Traffic and Instant Buyer Traffic.
Youtube is a big scary beast and is growing more and more. Soon it will take over the whole damn internet! Facebook is moving more and more towards video because they see it as a future battleground. Google and Facebook are the two internet Goliaths and video is where they will be fighting their fiercest battle.
If you can make decent videos and put them on Youtube, you can get traffic from it. It’s that simple! People on Youtube are pretty engaged. They’re not really browsing, they’re looking for solutions to problems. The “How do I do X?” type of reader.
So there’s not a whole lot of buyer intent, but they’re definitely looking for answers. If you have them, they will visit your site, and maybe sign up to your list. And then you can turn them into buyers down the track, with email marketing.
There is obviously a fair bit of work involved in making videos, editing them, getting the sound right, optimizing them for search, and so on. So there’s effort involved, but Youtube is one of the major traffic monsters and you shouldn’t ignore it.
The fact that major internet bloggers and marketers like Neil Patel and Brian Dean are shifting focus in a major fashion to Youtube should give you a clue.
If I had another few hours in the day, I’d be going crazy on Youtube!
This app (not website, app, 99.5% of Instagram traffic is from the app, no joke) is a traffic behemoth. There are 1 billion (yes that’s billion with a b) active Instagram users and they spend a lot of time there. The question is, what kind of traffic is it and what can you do with it?
I’m not an Instagram expert but I’m not a newbie. I’m growing a few Instagram accounts and doing some research and using some tools.
Like Reddit, Instagram is a strange platform with a specific culture and set of rules. You can’t just drop in there, spam some photos, follow unfollow and expect to get huge results. You have to understand the patterns and work with the system.
Of course if you can tap into even a tiny percentage of the traffic there, you can do very well, since there are just so many people. But I’m finding that a lot of them are just browsers rather than clickers. Of course, your mileage may vary!
If you want to invest more in Instagram, I would recommend ReKaching – it’s not only training in Instagram marketing, but built-in software for managing and growing Instagram accounts.
This strange website for me is the most underrated traffic source on the planet. It doesn’t have as many users as Instagram does – 250 million compared to 1 billion. But 250 million is still a hell of a lot! And unlike Instagram, people on Pinterest are very engaged.
Instagram users are not really there to read, learn and research. They’re just browsing, looking at eye-catching images, and moving on. The Pinterest audience though is very different. They are primarily women, older women, and they are there to engage.
They read, they click, they save, they share, they pin, and they re-pin. It is not just an older but also a wealthier demographic. They spend more than the demographics on other social media platforms.
50% of Pinterest users said they have made a purchase after seeing a Promoted Pin! 50% of Pinterest users are from the USA, and 50% have a household income of $100K or more. These numbers are a wet dream for marketers.
I’m making a small effort on Pinterest (only because of time limitations), and even still it is already becoming my biggest traffic source. I would definitely check out Pinterest if you haven’t already.
Quora is a question and answers (Q&A) site that took over from the feeble Yahoo Answers site. I actually find it quite entertaining and often spend an idle hour reading random answers to interesting questions.
However, I’m not investing much effort into Quora, because I haven’t found the traffic there to be very useful. In my experience, people to go to Quora to find answers to questions, and they expect to find them there on Quora. Clickthrough and conversion rates there are low – again, in my experience.
I’ve also heard that some people have had great success on Quora. If so, more power to them. If you can make a traffic source work, go for it. But I’m much more interested in Instagram and Pinterest at this stage.
Ah, Twitter. Good old Twitter. Dear old Twitter. This microblogging platform is a victim of its own success.
After growing at an astronomical rate in its early days, the platform became completely taken over by robots, spammers, hackers, trolls, sexbots, fake news outlets, malware spreaders, and all sorts of hideous hobgoblins of the internet underworld.
There is simply no easier way to spam content all around the edges of the earth than to create a couple (or ten or a hundred or a thousand) Twitter accounts, plugin them into bots, and let them loose. There’s something you need to understand here.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, there is no clever engagement algorithm at play. Twitter is just a firehose, pure and simple. There is no reason not to spam everything all the time, so everyone does. Which means everyone is a writer, and nobody is a reader.
Go look at the engagement metrics of any reasonable Twitter account. You might be astonished that Donald Trump gets 30K likes and 10K retweets on a tweet… but then you remember that he has 55 MILLION followers. Which is an engagement rate of a fraction of 0.1%.
And he has one of the busiest and most rabid followings of anyone on Twitter. Many accounts have followings much weaker than that. I’ve seen accounts with 100K followers that get one or two engagements per post. Seriously.
My Instagram account is a total half-arsed job and I can easily get 1000 likes on a photo with a following of 700. It makes Twitter look like a pathetic joke.
For what it’s worth, I do have a Twitter account, I do have it plugged into a bot (who on earth would spend any actual time on a platform with engagement metrics like that?), and I spam content 24 hours a day. Like everyone else. It’s a platform full of people posting tweets, and nobody reading tweets. Because everyone is tweeting non-stop.
So I would use Twitter, but I wouldn’t spend any significant effort there.
This strange website is actually one of the biggest on the planet and is underutilized by marketers.
It is basically a big (really big) forum. You can create subreddits (essentially forums, everything on reddit is in a particular subreddit or another), and people make posts and reply to posts in that subreddit.
The big difference is that posts can be voted up and down, comments can be voted up or down, and people can earn karma by posting things that get up-voted and making comments that get up-voted.
This system encourages quality posts and discourages spammers. Subreddits are also policed (some more strictly than others) by moderators, who have very little tolerance for nonsense and spam.
So if you wade into a subreddit with zero karma, spam some links, and hope to get some traffic, you’ll get a rude shock. At best you’ll be ignored and downvoted. More likely you’ll be flamed, blocked and banned.
Reddit actually gets colossal amounts of traffic, so don’t count it out. You just have to put in the work. Pick your niche, pick your subreddit, and do your research. Check out the rules (every subreddit is essentially its own website or forum with its own culture). Make some comments, add some value. Build up a reputation and get some karma points.
Once you are at 100 or more karma and have been participating in discussions, you can try making some posts. I would make posts rather than post links, and include links in the post. If you post a link directly, people might be more likely to click the link, but they’ll be less likely to vote and comment on the post.
And Reddit is all about the engagement. You get serious traffic when your post gets a lot of comments and upvotes, since that keeps it pushed up the top of the subreddit, which gets it more views and comments and upvotes, and so on.
So Reddit is definitely one to watch, but only if you are prepared to put in the legwork and build some relationships.
Organic search is obviously the grand emperor of all traffic. It’s free, it’s bigger than Ben Hur (bigger than Facebook and Instagram combined, 3.5 billion searches are made each day), and it’s targeted. People searching for your topic are obviously very interested in your topic – that’s why they’re searching for it!
This obviously means that it is hotly contested. The battle for top search result spots are the fiercest battles in modern day internet marketing. I find this pitiless struggle for the best Search Engine Optimization fascinating. I’ve written a bit about it and I’ll write some more about it as I read more.
I obviously can’t tell you how to do SEO in this article, but come back to this blog and you’ll hopefully learn enough to be dangerous.
I hope you found this list of free traffic sources to be helpful! Can you think of any others that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!