One of the BIGGEST risks (financially) in starting an online business... is the cost of ongoing PAID advertising to acquire leads.
... Specifically, paid traffic.
There are no guarantiees that an ad campaign will be a success, and it usually requires spending a few hundred dollars at least to even test if an ad is profitable or not.
That's why we encourage everyone to master at least one free traffic streategy, especially if you're just starting out.
Free traffic will not only offset the cost of running paid ads, but in the beginning can help save you costly mistakes, and prevent you from spending thousands before you even make your first sale.
WHY is it Important to Master Free Traffic?:
So what are the best free traffic getting strategies online?
Well, it really is subjective and dependant on niche market you're in and what you're selling.
But below in this post, we've put together a list of our top-5 favourites ways of getting free traffic (that actually work!)... with a bit of a breakdown of each one.
There's no doubt that video is the way of the future when it comes to creating content that engages with your audience. It's the best way by far to build rapport with your audience.
Also being a search engine, YouTube visitors will generally be higher quality leads, and will be more inclined to follow through on taking some sort of action... since they are actively "searching" for a solution or particular answer (rather than on social media, where they are being interrupted by your "call-to-actions").
The Steps: Read the Breakdown of YouTube
Building Your Channel
1. Create A YouTube Channel: First you need to have a Google or Gmail account (if you don't already). Once you have this, go to YouTube.com and sign in to your google account. Then on the top-right there is a drop-down menu, which will have the option to "create a channel".
Youtube will walk you through the setup process step-by-step
2. Create your YouTube Banner: Your youTube banner is important because it should reflect your business brand (or personal brand).
It's worth even putting a tag-line or catchy slogan. Think about "what is the #1 thing my audience is expected to get from my channel?"
2. Create Your Channel Icon: Upload an icon of your logo (for a brand), or a picture of yourself (for a personal brand). This will be what people come to recognise... and will identify your brand.
Creating Your Video Content
3. Brainstorm the Kind of Video Content that you want to deliver: It's worth doing some research and finding what you're trying to achieve with your brand, and what kind of content will best serve your audience.
Here are some ideas of the types of content you can create;
You can also mix and match. So if you are in the 'photography' niche for example, you could do tutorials, and also review & recommend gear. If you are in the philiosophy or history niche, you could do Video essays, but also do Top 5 books, or top 7 historical events.
SEO Optimization - Getting Your Videos to Rank
4. On Page SEO: Each time you upload a video, you will have an opportunity to fill out certain information. You want to make sure you fill out as much as possble.
On the video level you will have;
- Video title - be sure to include your main keywords here.
- Video description - include your keywords & affiliate links
- Video Tags - optimize for certain keywords
- End Sceen - Add other related videos to display in your videos' outro
- Cards - Add on-screen instructions part way through your videos
- Upload correct Subtitles/CC's - (make sure it's keyword optimized)
On the channel level you will have;
- Channel description (About section) - What is your channel about?
- Channel Keywords (in settings)
- Channel Branding - add a watermark logo to your videos.
- Adding custom links to your website or other social pages that will appear in the corner of your Channel's Banner Art
- Create Playlists for the different video categories (e.g. Review Videos - Case Studies - Tutorials etc.)
5. Off Page SEO: Once your video is uploaded and optimized, there are also external factors that may influence your video's rankings. One of these major contributing factors are external links, linking back to your channel... Other's are video shares, or possibly having other sites embedding your video onto their website.
Ongoing Content Marketing - (Content Plan)
Research & Planning your videos: You will need to determinate the layout for your videos. This might include having a typical video outline that you will follow, which may look like;
- Intro - Introduce your video and explain what the audience will learn
- Middle - Deliver your main content
- Call-to-action - This is where you refer to your resources, or tell the audience where they can go to learn more.
- Outro - Summarise your video
Having a consistent outline for your video content will make the process of creating easier and more streamiled.
Consistent Video Uploading: Once you channel is setup, you will want to determine how often you plan to upload. Will you upload 2, 3... 5 videos a week? Once you know this, you can plan what days you will write your outlines, and what days you will film, and what days you will edit the videos, what days you will upload and do your SEO.
You want to streamline this process until it becomes part of your normal routine.
Research Other Popular Channels: It's important to keep your 'finger on the pulse' as to what your competition is doing. It's worth while researching other popular channels in your niche, and also popular channes from other niche's. See what's popular, what audiences are responding well to, and try to incorporate these into your videos.
Boosting your Videos and Channel
Once you are uploading consistently and starting to see some reaction from the audience, you may want to incorporate some advanced strategies to boost your channel. Most of these strategies typically require some kind of paid investment.
Adding backlinks from your other sites (free): You want to add backlinks from any websites you may already have. This can include linking to the video, and also embedding the video onto a Blog Post.
You should also consider posting your video onto your other social media platforms... like Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
Purchasing backlinks: You may want to purchase a GIG from an outsourcing site like Fiverr.com to get backlinks to your video.
Join Ventures (JV's): You may approach an authoritative channel in your niche to do a collaboration with them, where they may mention your channel or host you on their videos.
Running Paid Ads: And of course, you can always create videos and run a paid ads campaign, where your video will display as a YouTube Ad.
Another option, is to embed your video onto a landging page or inside a sales funnel, and start running paid ads from different traffic sources to that funnel. This is just another way to boost views to that video.
Why It Works:
YouTube sends probably some of the most targeted traffic you can get to your website or offers. This is because you can connect with your audience (building trust and rapport) more than any other platform before they ever click on any links.
And through your content, you have already pre-framed the person as to what they will expect to get on the next page.
When you have already explained how a product or service works... and walked a person through that process on the video... chances are they have already made most of their buying decisions up-front.
They won't be clicking on your link to find out what your offer is... because it's likely they will already know what your offer is about based on your content...
... so they will be clicking through to learn more about your particular offer, or to see what the price is and what are the finer details.
High : Video requires higher technical skills (editing), and the ability to perform on camera (challenging).
Facebook is one of the greatest sources of free traffic, as it can be highly targeted, and is relatively fast compared to other forms of free traffic methods, in that you can get leads pretty quickly... even daily, from day #1.
The Steps: Free Facebook Marketing
Setting Up Your Page (BASICS)
1. Create A New Personal Page: You can either use your existing Facebook page or create a new page from scratch.
2. Create a Facebook Cover Photo: Your cover photo should reflect your business brand (or personal brand). It should also state what you do in catchy tag line, and even include your primary website. This is the first thing people see when they check out your profile.
3. Set a Profile Picture: Upload a clear & professional profile picture of yourself. No cat pictures, no pictures of sunsets, no obscure pictures that are hard to see.
Setting Up Your Page (ADVANCED)
4. Edit your Bio & Profile Information: Insert a bio so that it's clear to people what you do and importantly, how you can help them. Also complete your profile intro so people can see where you're from, and visit your website.
5. Set Feature Images: Setting featured images are a great way to convey what your profile is about, and what your audience can expect from you (Motivation? Case Studies? Informative posts?)
6. Initial Posts: Create at least 3-5 Facebook posts, based on the kind of material you expect that your audience will see ongoing. It should be high value content.
Whay are all these SO important?
Whenever you add someone new, they will likely scroll down your page to see what you're about. This initial experience with your page will set the tone of how they perceive you. You want them to see you as an authoritative figure in your niche, and for them to have a good reason as to why they should follow you.
Building Your Audience
7. Build your Audience: Now that you are all setup... you will start building your friends list. Here are some simple ways to do this daily;
Add new friends: Sending out friend requests to people who qualify as your target audience. Remember it's good practice to send an introduction message in messenger, and not just a randon request.
Participate in pages & groups: By participating in other pages / groups in your niche topic, people will naturally want to friend you if you are giving good advice and helping the community (do not spam your links).
Posting - (Your Content Marketing Strategy)
8. Ongoing Daily Posting: As you are now building your friends list, you will need to provide new content on a regular basis, by posting daily. Start with just one new post a day... and when you are comfortable with that... you can increase to 2-3.
9. Call to Actions: It's important not to constantly bombard your audience with offers. You will come across as spammy and people will not follow you. However it is important, that every so often to have a call to action, where you may write a post about your primary offer.
Networking for Sales
9. Replying to Comments & Messages: If you are doing the previous steps correctly, you should start getting likes & comments on your posts... and also messages in your Facebook Messenger app.
It's important to reply to comments, and to messages frequently. As you network with others, people will naturally start to ask what you are involved with, at which time you may present your offer.
Why It Works:
While you are building your audience, any new person you connect with is likely going to check out who you are before they decide to accept your friend request. If you page is set up correctly (& professionally), people will instantly see your brand from viewing your Cover photo, your description... and your most recent timeline posts.
A number of these people, if they resonate with your message will likely even go on to check out your website or primary offer.
This means there's a chance you could be getting leads from day #1 (a lead being someone who has seen your primary offer).
Facebook is our Top #1 recommended Free Traffic Method for beginners because it's the fastest way to get leads with the lowest learning curve
Easy-Medium : If you can post comments & photos, you can do this strategy.
The difficulty is just becoming familiar with posting the type of content that people resonate with.
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While Facebook has more users than Instagram... Instagram psots typically get higher engagement than facebook posts. A social media engagement study determined that Facebook posts had a average engagement rate of 0.09% over all industries, while instagram had 1.6%.
Instagram is mainly driven by uploading pictures... and might also be a better option if you specifically want to target a lower aged demographic.
THE STEPS - HOW FREE INSTAGRAM TRAFFIC WORKS
Setting Up Your Instagram Page & Account
1. Profile Image: You can add your Logo as your profile photo. Or if you are a personal brand or personal account, add a photo of yourself.
2. Profile Name / Username: Your Profile Name (2a.) is what will know you as, and how they will find you on instagram. Use your full name, nickname or business name. Your username (2b.) is the name you use to register your account, and is seen at the top of the page.
3. BIO: This is where you want to write a brief description so people want to know what you're about, what they can expect to get from your page, what services you provide, or what your business is.
Think "Why should my prospects follow me? What's in it for them?"
4. Call To Action (CTA): Put a quick Call To Action at the end of your Bio. This will direct people to your link, and will describe your offer.
5. Affiliate Link: Finally, don't forget to place your affiliate link in your Bio. This will take people to your primary offer (or website, or YouTube channel... wherever you want to send people).
Place Your Affiliate Link
Content Marketing Strategy
Posting Images: Basically you are going to upload images relating to your niche. There are many different types of images you can upload;
The idea is to post content that is relevant to your niche, and related to the offer's you are promoting.
Regular Posting: You want to create a posting schedule, and make a daily routine out of it. If you are posting consistently every single day, then people will see your content and become familiar with your brand.
If your posts deliver value, are helpful, and help solve a problem that your audience is having... it's likely they will check out your page, read your BIO and even click on your link to see your offer.
More Advanced Strategies
Instagram Stories & Highlights: You can keep your stories grouped together in "Highlights", which appear as circular buttons under your BIO. This way you can keep certain stories easily accessible, which can guide people to different aspectos of your business.
If you have a business account, you can even link out from your highlights (to your blog, or youtobe channel, or online store, or funnel)... by having the person "swipe up".
Paid Ads: And of course, you can Run Ads to boost your bran awareness. If you switch over to a business account, you are able to boost your reach by promoting specific posts from directly within the app.
Notice that these ads show up with the work 'sponsored' under the page name, and include a link to 'learn more' on the bottom of the post, which can lead to your own website, funnel or affiliate offer.
Easy-Medium : All you need to do is post images, add descriptions and comment, like posts and follow other pages. Editing your images to make them look good & consistent is the hardest thing you really have to do.
Why It Works:
You will have your affiliate link in your Instagram Bio.
People who follow your content (Or who you engage with you on Instagram) will likely go to check out your instagram page to see what you're all about.
A portion of these people will click the link in your bio.
Unlike most social media, Pinterest is more like the Google or YouTube platform, in that it is a "Search Engine".
Meaning users are on Pinterest to actively search for things that are of interest to them (not just browsing through recommended content).
Here are some tips from Create&Go on Running Pinterest for traffic. These guys run a few Pinterest accounts, withtheir main health & fitness one having over 80,000 followers, which generates half a million monthly visitors to their health and fitness blog (as of Jan 2017).
1. Create a Pinterest Account and Optimize it for SEO: Create a new account and fully complete your Profile. In the 'about you' section, write what your website is about, and also include the main keywords that you will be posting content around.
You can also add this kind of keyword rich descritptions to your individual boards.
2. Claim your Website: Unlike most social media, Pinterest is more like the Google or YouTube platform, in that it is a "Search Engine".
Meaning users are using Pinterest to actively search for things that are of interest to them (not just browsing through recommended content).
3. Create Pins and Have them Keyword Optimized: Creating pins is just uploading a photo to your account. You want to create new and fresh content and upload (pin) regularly.
There are many image creating tools you can use for this, including Canva.
Since people are "searching" for things on Pinterest, you want to make sure the the post title's and descriptions of your pins are keyword optimzed.
4. Create Boards / Communities: You can create boards to pin your photos onto. Boards, are just like "categories". If you're a gym, you might have a board for Yoga, for male fitness, for cardio etc. You create a board for a particular category (say, 'yoga', and pin all your similar 'yoga' content there.
Group boards are just boards where you can pin your photos up, along with several other pinners (users) on a particular topic. Generally speaking you would want to stick to boards that are relevant to the topic of your website. To join Group Boards you would search for boards that have a high re-pin rate, and network with them, ask if you can join their group board.
5. Engage with your Audience: Just engage with people who are commenting on your pins.
Why It Works:
Pinterest is FREE, and there is huge potential for posts to go viral.
The user demographic is higher-income earning individuals (compared to the average user of other platforms).
Pinterest is a search engine, meaning you can get your content to rank for search queries, and get consistent ongoing traffic to your site (unlike other social media where the post disappears over time).
Medium : Unlike other social media, given that Pinterest is a search engine, it takes some work to get your content to rank. Otherwise most of the works you have to do is really in editing and uploading photos.
It also (typically) requires a person to have a fully functioning website or blog to send the traffic to, which can take a long time to set up (and is a whole other ball game).
#5: Forum Marketing
And lastly, Forum Marketing is just where you share your knowledge and expertese on Forums on the web. People ask questions about certain topics, and you are able to answer these questions, and take part inthread discussinos on your topic, positinioning yourself as an expert or authority in your niche.
You will have an affiliate link in your signiture line, that people can check out after they read your contributions.
1. Find Forums in your Niche Market: Not all forums are worth your time. Think about what discussions people are having around your niche topic topic. Also think about what are the common problems or questions people have in your market.
You could search based on topic, for example "golf forum". Or you could search based on common questions in your topic "how to improve my gold swing forum"
2. Create your forum account: Create an account with your chosen forum. Tips;
- Pick forums with at least 1,000 members and 10,000 posts
- Make sure the forum gets at least 10-15 new posts on a daily basis
- Ignore forums that are overrun by spam
3. Check the community guidelines: Make sure to read the forum's user agreement and posting guidelines. Read these rules and guidelines carefully. If you break these rules you may get on the wrong side of the community embers very quickly, and this may jeopardize any good standing relationships or credibility you build.
4. Set your Avatar and Username: You want to pick an interesting Avatar (profile image) and name so that you are memorable, and positions you as an expert in your field. A good idea is to go with a picture of yourself. If you want to build customers, transparency is key, and will help people build trust and ocnfidence in you.
5. Create a compelling user profile: Create a clear description about who you are and what you offer. What are your services and what is your expertese. Also write a little about yourself so people cans see who you are, but avoid writing about controversial topics like religion or politics. Remember to link to your primary offer, or any other social media profiles you wish to share (if this option is available).
6. Put your website URL in your signiture line: You want to place a link to your main website, or your primary offer in your signiture file. This will allow your offer to be available when you post in the forum, and easy for people to visit.
7. Make valuable and useful contributions to the forum: Think about adding value to the community. You want to participate in forum discussions by providing useful information and answers that will help the readers. Avoid being salesy or pitchy... if you are genuinelly helpfull and seen as an expert & trusted source of advice, people will naturally become curious about who you are and will chedck the link in your signiture.
Why It Works:
You will have an affiliate link in your signiture line, that people can check out after they read your contributions.
When you add value to the community, by adding useful answers and helping to solve problems... people will naturally become curious about who you are, and click on your link to see more.
Easy : All you are really doing is spending time engaing and answering questions in forums.
#6: Final Verdict
And the winner is.....
#1 - FACEBOOK
Quickest way to get leads and make high ticket sales for beginners (if done right)
This exact strategy is taught in BlackOps Underground Marketing
#2 - YouTube
Highest quality leads... but takes longer to get traction and requires a higher level of technical learning.
#3 - Instagram
Great engagmement on content. Best suited for online stores & personal brands.
#4 - Pinterest
Best suited for people who specifically want to drive traffic to a Blog / Website.
#5 - Forums
Best suited for people who like to hang out in forums and community settings, writing answers to questions. Difficult to scale. Harder to build an audience / following
The reason we give first place to Facebook... is that it's the quickest & most effective way to communicate and network with people, and get leads to your business then any other free method (relatively speaking).
You can literally go out and make new friends on facebook... who are the exact demographic for your business... and have people checking out your offer from day #1.
YouTube is close second... and was almost considered forst place for the quality of leads it brings... however it requires a more technical skillset than facebook, and it requires more time in order to see traction on your channel.
just to give you an idea what I mean... I have personally started a new channel from scratch, and my 4th video ended up with approx. 2,500 likes and some affilaite sales, but this was about 2-3 months after this 4th video was posted.
The real benefit of Facebook over YouTube is you can simply go and "get" an audience from day one, and people will add you if they like what they see on your wall.
Email Marketing : Email marketing is an extrememly effetive way of getting free traffic to your affiliate links / promotion, and we recommend email marketing as a must for all online business strategies.
The only reason email marketing is not included here... is because it is a secondary traffic method...
Meaning you can only implement email marketing after you have built a list of leads, which you generate from one of the traffic method mentioned above.
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