The first thing to know about free traffic is that it really isn't free – you've got to work for it.
True, it doesn't cost money unless you outsource the work, but it does take time.
That said, free traffic can be some of your best traffic if you're willing to put in the work.
Here are my best 19 tips for getting all the free traffic your website can handle:
On average you will get one visitor for every minute you spend on forum marketing. Do it right and those visitors will be highly targeted and primed to get your free offer because you've already demonstrated you know your topic in your response to their thread.
I was in Jon Morrow's Serious Bloggers Only paid membership forum and was invited to do a case study on my high traffic growth with Marsha Stopa, Assistant Instructor and Coach. It is, by far, the best group of bloggers around!
Tip #1: Have a great profile. If the forum you're on allows profiles (and most do) then spend some time making yours outstanding. Demonstrate you're an expert as well as a real person with a sense of humor and people will gravitate to you. Be sure to link back to your lead capture page, and offer an incentive that totally rocks their world.
Tip #2: Whenever possible, post at the beginning of threads, not at the end. Most long threads do not get read all the way through, so don't bury your responses. Instead, find new threads and post quickly to get your response up near the top where people will see and appreciate it.
Tip #3: Find forums in your niche by Googling “keyword+forum”. This is how I started in Yaro's Starak's brand new paid forum 2+ years ago. Since it was just starting out and I followed these tips, Yaro was impressed with my knowledge and he hired me to be the forum's moderator. You never know what will happen!
Tip #4: Make your signature totally great. Offer a powerful incentive coupled with a touch of curiosity to get them clicking on your hyperlink and joining your list.
Online groups work like forums, and you can find them in any and every niche possible. Here are a few places to get started finding groups:
Tip #5: Post often. The bigger the group, the faster your post will get buried. So, to keep traffic coming, just post more often.
Tip #6: Focus 80% of your time on helping others, 20% on promoting yourself. This is a good ratio that says you're not just in this group to toot your own horn. Focus on creating trust and credibility first before you start promoting anything for you.
Tip #7: Join smaller groups. It's tempting to join that group of 10,000, and there's no reason you shouldn't. But if you really want to get noticed and get traffic, oftentimes it's better to be a big fish in a little pond than the other way around.
Tip #8: Join private groups. You'll need to ask for admittance, but you will usually get this within hours of asking. Private groups tend to me more responsive, perhaps because of this extra step. My mastermind buddies, Andre Beltrami of The Branded Solopreneur and Daniela Uslan of DanielaUslan.com both have booming private Facebook groups. Dre's is “The Badass Solopreneur” and Daniela's is “Blogging In Your Own Terms“. (Tell them you know me and you can join them!)
Tip #9: Once you've got experience in groups, create your own. Put your own unique twist on your group to differentiate it from the others. Then invite people from your other groups to join, and ask them to bring their friends.
The trick here is to find sites related to your topic that have plenty of traffic. You can check Alexa for their traffic ranking. The hard part is sometimes getting your article accepted, so here are some tips:
Tip #10: Do your research. Study past articles to see what they cover and what they don't cover. Notice the length of the articles and the style as well. Read the ‘About Page' to find out more about the blogger, and be sure to read the site's submission rules, too.
Tip #11: Contact the blog's owner and offer two possible article topics, as well as a link to your own site and bio. This establishes your credibility and gives them a choice of what they would like to see on their site. Make it clear that you are open to topic suggestions, too.
Tip #12: Offer something special just for readers of their blog. You'll make the blog owner look good if your incentive at the bottom of your article is exclusive to the readers of that blog. Sure, it's a little more work, but it's totally worth it in terms of getting more sign ups to your list.
Tip #13: Promote guest blogs posts just as you would posts on your own blog; by telling your list, in forums and of course, through social media. Let the blog owner know you're promoting the post. This will help make sure you're invited back to do another guest posts in the future.
Tip #14: Find guest posting sites by Googling your keyword plus one of the following phrases in quotation marks:
- accepting guest posts +
- contribute an article +
- submission guidelines +
- guest post guidelines +
- want to write +
- write for us +
- submit content +
- guest post +
- guest post by +
- submit your post +
- add a post +
- become a contributor +
Tip #15: Have a foundation. Before you try to guest post, you should have laid a double foundation that shows you can write and you are indeed a real blogger. Have at least 3-5 blog posts on your site so blog owners can see your style.
Tip #16: Maintain thriving social media accounts on at least one of the big four: LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
Tip #17: Start small, grow big. You might have to start on smaller sites that get less traffic. But as you gain experience and traction, you'll be able to post on larger and more well-known sites. Keep it up and you'll hit the tipping point where you're becoming so well-known, bloggers are now asking you to guest post.
One of the fastest ways to drive really quality traffic to your pages is to do joint ventures.
Tip #18: Find new joint venture partners by including them in creating your product. For example, interviewing an expert in your topic and including that interview in your product will often result in that expert promoting your product to their list. Keep this relationship alive and thriving and you could have a new permanent JV partner.
Tip #19: Swap JV partners. Let's say you've got several JV partners already. Offer to introduce each one to your other JV partners in exchange for introductions to their partners. Not all of these potential relationships will work out, but some will. For example, if you introduce 5 partners to each other, and they each introduce you to 4 others, and only half become new JV partners, that's still 10 new JV partners.
Using just these 4 methods alone: Joint ventures, Guest Posting, Online Groups and Forum Marketing should send you enough traffic to keep you in business and in profit for a long time to come.