As an affiliate marketer, one of the most important pieces of your business is being able to drive targeted traffic to your offers.
When it comes to traffic, there are basically two types: paid or free traffic.
There are pros and cons to each, but a good way to approach traffic is dependent on your skills and resources.
For example, if you have more money than time then you may want to learn how to drive paid traffic.
If, on the other hand, you have time on your site, but not money, then free traffic will be the way to go.
Regardless, over time as your business grows you may want to work with a mix of both free and paid traffic.
If you’re just getting started as an affiliate, or if you’re looking for more free ways to get targeted eyeballs on your offers then here are 10 great free traffic sources for affiliate marketing.
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10 Best Free Traffic Sources For Affiliate Marketing
Here are 10 of the most effective free traffic sources that I’ll be covering in this article:
- Email List Building
- SEO & Blogging
- Facebook Groups
- Niche Forums
If you want to learn how to make money with free traffic from one of the most successful affiliates in the world then you can watch the free training here.
Email List Building
Building an email list is an excellent, if not the best, traffic source to build as an affiliate marketer.
The answer lies in the unique control and ownership it offers. Unlike other platforms where algorithms and policies can change overnight, an email list is yours – no one can take it away. This aspect of ownership is crucial, especially in a landscape where traffic sources can be unpredictable and volatile.
Imagine this: your primary traffic source suddenly changes its algorithm or, worse, shuts down. Where does that leave your affiliate marketing efforts?
In a scenario like this unfortunate one, an email list becomes your marketing lifeline. It’s a direct line to your audience, allowing you to continue building relationships and making sales.
Unfortunately, the first time this scenario happened to me, I wasn’t building a list, so it was a lot harder for me to recover.
Anyway, email marketing also helps you to build a personal connection. It’s a space where you can share tailored content, exclusive offers, and insights directly with your audience. This is great because it can help to build a sense of exclusivity and trust.
This personal touch not only enhances audience engagement but also boosts the effectiveness of your affiliate promotions.
Now, let’s break down the pros and cons of using an email list as a traffic source:
- Ownership and Control: You own your email list, giving you full control over this traffic source
- Direct Communication: Emails allow for personalized and direct communication with your audience
- Cost-Effective: Email marketing is relatively inexpensive compared to other marketing channels
- High ROI: Email marketing often yields a high return on investment
- Less Dependence on External Platforms: Reduces reliance on social media algorithms and search engine changes
- Segmentation and Targeting: Ability to segment lists and target specific groups within your audience
- Time-Consuming: Building and maintaining a quality email list requires time and effort
- Risk of Spam Filters: Emails can sometimes end up in spam folders, reducing visibility
- Over-Saturation: People receive numerous emails daily, making it challenging to stand out
- List Maintenance: Regular cleaning and updating of the list are necessary to keep it effective
- Technical Know-How: Requires a basic understanding of email marketing tools and analytics
An email list is not just a traffic source; it’s a resilient, personal, and direct channel to your audience, which is crucial if you want to build a long-term, solid business with affiliate marketing.
SEO & Blogging
The first free traffic source, which is also one of my favorite methods, is SEO & blogging.
In case, you don’t know what SEO is, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
With this method, you basically build a website (often a blog), write content based on your target keywords, add your affiliate links in the content, and optimize your blog to rank in search engines like Google.
When someone searches for related terms, lands on your website, and starts reading your articles, then you have a chance to make some sales.
There are also other ways to make more sales with your blog, like building an email list, using banner ads, popups, etc.
When it comes to writing articles for your blog, you should aim to have a nice mix of both commercial and information content.
Examples of commercial content would be articles based on keywords like:
- Product Name Review
- Product X vs Produce Y
- Top 10 Landing Page Builders
- 10 Alternatives To Product X
These types of keywords often have high buyer intent.
For your information content, these articles usually revolve around either teaching people how to do something, or sharing your results with something, a case study, and so forth.
SEO and Blogging Pros:
- You are building a true asset that you own and can potentially sell for a large amount of money if you want to
- Most people come to your blog because they are searching for info that you have
- Long-lasting/Evergreen (If you follow the right strategy)
- Scalable – Once you start earning, you can hire writers and link builders to scale
- Passive Potential – Your website is working 24/7 so can also be fairly passive
SEO and Blogging Cons:
- It’s slow compared to other traffic methods
- Can be quite overwhelming for beginners to learn
To my surprise, TikTok is not just for teenagers who want to share silly dancing videos. There are actually quite a few affiliates who are CRUSHING IT right now and making a lot of money on TikTok! More on this in a few minutes…
Despite TikTok being a relatively new app, it has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times. This impressive figure makes it the seventh most downloaded app of the 2010s.
TikTok videos are also known for going viral easily which means you may be able to reach a decent amount of those 1.5billion users.
As an affiliate, you can benefit from this by sending lots of visitors to your landing pages, blog, or YouTube channel, for example.
Basically, all you need to do is create short 15-second TikTok videos and get them in front of the right eyeballs.
TikTok is new, it may be here to stay, but it is too early to tell at the moment. In case it does disappear, you can protect yourself against it dying out by using this platform to build your email list, or by directing the audience to another platform like your blog, or YouTube channel.
- It’s fairly easy
- You only need to make 15-second videos
- Lots of viral potential
- You can build an audience
- Lack of buyer intent – people don’t go on TikTok with a product in mind, like they may do on platforms like Pinterest
- It’s a relatively new app, meaning you don’t know whether it will die out soon (Remember the app “Vine”?)
Regardless of these cons, there’s a massive opportunity here, that not a lot of people are jumping on right now.
How To Get 15-Sec Free Leads!
A lot of marketers are saying TikTok is probably the fastest and easiest way to get free leads. You can find out EXACTLY how to do it for yourself here.
You can also read my review of 15 Second Free Leads here.
Pinterest is a traffic source that can work well really well for affiliate marketing if you’re in the right niche.
Quite recently we covered the top Pinterest categories here on the EntrepreneurNut blog. Feel free to check that out if you are interested to learn which niches do the best on this platform.
The reason Pinterest works well is that many people use it as a way to get inspiration and ideas before purchasing a product. So, a lot of users go to the platform with buyer intent.
As an affiliate, you can benefit from this, which is why I particularly like Pinterest as a traffic source.
Plus, unlike Instagram, every pin (post) has a clickable URL, so it can generate traffic, either to your blog, landing page, or even directly to an affiliate offer.
Yes, you can link your Pins directly to affiliate offers. At the moment, Pinterest doesn’t mind you doing this. However, I would advise sending people to a landing page first as you will get a much better conversion rate.
Top Tip: GrooveFunnels is my top recommended FREE Landing Page Builder. You can get yourself a free account here.
- Viral potential
- Fairly easy
- Works exceptionally well in some niches
- You’re also building an asset
- Can take some time to gain traction
- Doesn’t necessarily work well for all niches
If you want to know more about using this popular social media channel then I recommend you read our article here to learn how to drive traffic with Pinterest.
Next on our list is Facebook groups.
Facebook groups can be extremely effective as they are laser targeted, as you can join groups based on interests.
For example, a weight loss Facebook group will have members who are looking to lose weight, so you can tap into a group of highly targeted people.
Facebook groups are a quick and easy way to connect with people interested in a niche. Most groups will probably not allow you to post affiliate links directly, but you can try messaging people from the group and then building up a relationship with them.
Some groups may let you share a landing page with a lead magnet, YouTube video, or blog post directly in the group if it provides a lot of value to the members, and you get the group leader’s permission first, of course.
Make sure you always check the group rules before posting.
A more effective way to leverage FB groups is to start a group yourself and build up your own audience. When you own the group, you can set your own rules, and promote any product you like.
a great way to start building your own group is to network in other, similar groups and invite people to join you. If you run a blog, a YouTube channel, or pretty much any other traffic source for that matter, you can invite people to join your group from those traffic sources too.
Facebook Group Pros:
Facebook Group Cons:
- Not really scalable
- You’re limited by other people’s rules
- It can be quite a lot of effort to message people manually
- It can become time-consuming
- It can create a Facebook addiction
If you don’t like social media, or if you prefer to be anonymous, then check out my article on affiliate marketing without a social media audience.
YouTube is another great free traffic source.
In some ways, it’s similar to blogging, as you can get traffic from search engines and of course Google.
Like Google, YouTube is also search-based, as it is first and foremost, a search engine.
When you upload your videos you will also need to do a certain amount of YouTube SEO in order to help your videos rank.
The main difference, other than it being videos vs articles, is that you don’t own your YouTube channel (YouTube does), but you do own your website, assuming it’s self-hosted.
However, YouTube does have a few additional traffic opportunities. For example, you can get traffic from YouTube’s search engine and suggestions as well as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, who also feature YouTube videos in their search results.
You can promote your affiliate links in your video description and invite your viewers to check out what you got with a call to action inviting them to click your link.
Just like with SEO & Blogging you can also target buyer-intent keywords for higher conversions.
Overall, YouTube is a great way to promote your affiliate offers.
- Passive potential
- Lots of viral potential
- You are building an asset
- Long-lasting/Evergreen if you follow the right strategy and adhere to YouTubes ToC’s
- Can be slow (although not always)
- You have to create videos – lots of effort
How To Blow Up Your YouTube Channel Fast!
Several highly successful marketers have quickly blown up their YouTube channels and MASSIVELY scaled their subscribers and views by combining it with a very specific, and little-known TikTok strategy.
Quora is the most popular question & answer platform in the world. It has over 300 million users which means it covers pretty much any topic you can think of and there are always users interested in it.
The way you would generate traffic to your affiliate offers is basically by answering questions.
However, keep in mind that on Quora, you’re not allowed to use affiliate links in answers, so you’ll have to link to a blog post, YouTube video, or landing pages instead.
That being said, some people seem to get away with it by using cloaked affiliate links, but it is against the Quora rules.
In most cases, it will increase your affiliate conversions to send traffic to an optimized article video, or landing page anyway, rather than linking directly to an offer. This method also allows you to collect email leads as well, so it’s definitely the better way to go.
You can also look for questions that are getting visitors from Google for additional traffic potential.
- Pretty easy
- Fairly-well targeted
- Can be quick (sometimes)
- No direct linking
- Can be quite dependant on questions being asked
- You can get banned/restricted quickly when sharing links (even non-affiliate links)
With over 430 million users, Reddit is the biggest forum on the internet, and also covers pretty much any topic you can think of. This means you can also use it to promote your affiliate links in almost any niche.
You can do this by joining subreddits related to your niche and then starting threads or joining in on existing ones.
Again, a lot of these will not allow you to share your affiliate links directly, but it all depends on the rules of each subreddit.
Something that could work well is to share a piece of content you uploaded to YouTube or posted to your blog. This way, it’s not as blatant that you’re using the subreddit to make sales.
On your blog post or YouTube video, you can, of course, include a link to your offer, and also encourage people to join your list.
Similar to Quora, you can also target discussions that are getting visitors from Google for additional traffic potential.
- Fairly easy
- Can be quick (sometimes)
- You’re a little reliant on the rules of the subreddits
- It can be annoying to get started because you don’t have a lot of karma (points/experience/score)
Medium is quite similar to blogging in the sense that you’ll be writing articles. In fact, some people even use Medium as their primary blogging platform.
The benefit of using Medium instead of your own blog is that you have some domain authority right from the get-go. However, if you’re using your own blog then you will need to spend time building up your domain authority and gaining trust with the search engines.
While my preferred strategy is still to use my own blog, using Medium has another nice benefit in the way of Medium’s digests. You can use this feature to leverage extra traffic.
One distinct disadvantage of using Medium is that you can’t use things like pop-ups, buttons, banners, or any other conversion rate optimization tools.
Still, it’s a great way to funnel more traffic to your blogs, videos, social channels, and landing pages.
- Can be quicker than regular blogging
- Relatively easy (No need to handle the technical parts of a website)
- Lots of traffic potential (social shares, search engines, Medium digest)
- Limited control (This is a big one – You can’t control the main website elements)
- Full of suggestions of other writers (when people click around your blog, they stay on your site. On Medium, they go to other writers i.e traffic loss for you)
Last but not least for this article, you can also leverage Niche forums.
In every niche, there will be forums that only talk about a particular topic. To find them, you can simply head over to Google and search for terms like “your niche + forum.”
From here, you can sign up for an account, and start promoting your affiliate offers.
That being said, most forums don’t allow direct linking, however, you may find some that will.
In most cases, you will need to link your forum post back to a monetized property that you own, such as a blog, landing page, or YouTube video.
Each forum has slightly different rules, so be sure to read them first before posting so you know exactly what is and isn’t allowed on each platform.
It can be very annoying to spend time posting on the forums and building up a nice lot of helpful answers for people, only to find that you get kicked off the platform for something you did without realizing it!
- Can be quite quick
- Easy – No technical knowledge required
- Very targeted (People in these forums will be highly-interested in the niche)
- Not really scalable
- You’re heavily affected by the rules of each forum (i.e probably no direct linking in most cases)
Top Tip! – Leverage Outsourcers
Trying to be everywhere at once is impossible. You can quickly grow multiple traffic sources and scale up by hiring one or two VA’s to run your social accounts very cheaply.
Free Traffic Sources – Final Thoughts
I hope you have enjoyed this article on the best free traffic sources for affiliate marketing. Now, you might be wondering which one is best?
And while I can’t give you a definite answer to that question, I can give you my opinion, which is would SEO and blogging.
The reason I say this is because of the levels of control you have over your own website, as well as the scalability and potential of growing it.
It might be a little harder in the beginning, but once you get through that initial stage, it has the highest potential from all the points of this list.
However, it really depends on your skill set and how you enjoy spending your time.
If you hate writing articles then blogging won’t be the best one for you. If you feel comfortable in front of a camera and you enjoy presenting then YouTube may be the best way for you to go.
If, after reading this you still prefer to use paid ads instead of free traffic methods then check out our number 1 recommended paid ads course – Commission Hero.
Steve West is the founder of entrepreneurnut.com, and has been working online since 2013. He specializes in SEO, YouTube, and affiliate marketing. Besides running his online business, he likes hiking, keeping fit, and eating cookies (which is why he needs to keep fit!)
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