Best Free Traffic Sources For Affiliate Marketing In 2021

A man on a computer looking at free traffic sources

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.

9 Best Free Traffic Sources For Affiliate Marketing

Here are 9 of the most effective free traffic sources that I’ll be covering in this article:

  • SEO & Blogging
  • TikTok
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook Groups
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • Medium
  • Niche Forums

SEO & Blogging

The first free traffic source, which is also one of my favorites 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, popus, 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

TikTok

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 actually 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 would have 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.

TikTok Pros:

  • It’s fairly easy
  • You only need to make 15 second videos
  • Lots of viral potential
  • You can build an audience

TikTok Cons:

  • 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.


Pinterest

Pinterest is a traffic source that can work well really well for affiliate marketing inf 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 to send people to a landing page first as you will get a much better conversion rate.

Top Tip!

Top Tip: GrooveFunnels is my top recommended FREE Landing Page Builder. You can get yourself a free account here.

Pinterest Pros:

  • Viral potential
  • Fairly easy
  • Works exceptionally well in some niches
  • You’re also building an asset

Pinterest Cons:

  • 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.


Facebook Groups

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 peopel 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:

  • Easy
  • Quick
  • Targeted

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

YouTube

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 as 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.

YouTube Pros:

  • 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

YouTube Cons:

  • 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

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 improve your 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.

Pros:

  • Pretty easy
  • Fairly-well targeted
  • Can be quick (sometimes)

Cons:

  • No direct linking
  • Can be quite dependant on questions being asked
  • You can get banned/restricted quickly when sharing links (even non-affiliate links)

Reddit

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.

Pros:

  • Targeted
  • Fairly easy
  • Can be quick (sometimes)

Cons:

  • 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

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.

Pros:

  • 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)

Cons:

  • 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)

Niche Forums

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!

Pros:

  • Can be quite quick
  • Easy – No technical knowledge required
  • Very targeted (People in these forums will be highly-interested in the niche)

Cons:

  • 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 skillset 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.


How To Drive Traffic To Your Blog With Pinterest – 9 Useful Tactics

A laptop showing Pinterest traffic to a blog

Getting traffic to your blog can be tricky, especially if your site is new or doesn’t have much authority.

Google just doesn’t trust new sites very much so they won’t send you a lot of traffic in the early days.

One way around this is to funnel traffic from other platforms to your site. There are a lot of options here, but a really good one to use in particular is Pinterest.

This social pinning platform is extremely targeted, which means that users are much more likely to stick around when they visit your site, subscribe and buy from you.

If you’ve already got an established blog then Pinterest can also be a great way to diversify and increase your traffic.

So here in this article, I am going to tell you exactly how to drive traffic to your blog with Pinterest and get those eyeballs on your site.

Set Up Relevant Boards Based On Keywords

Before you start, it is worth checking if the niche you’re in is also a popular category on Pinterest. Knowing how popular your niche is on this platform will help you to decide how much time you should put into your campaigns.

To get clear on this, here is the Pinterest categories list of the most popular niches on the platform.

The first step you need to take before uploading pins to your profile is creating relevant boards based on keywords.

To get an idea of what keywords to use, think about the general topics you cover on your blog. Then, head over to Pinterest’s search engine and start typing in some keywords.

In the search bar, Pinterest will give you some suggestions. You can note some of these down, and use them in your board descriptions.

This will not only help those boards show up when users are searching for boards with those keywords, but it will also help Pinterest determine what the pins inside of that board are all about.

When you do this it also makes it more likely for your pins to get suggested for those particular keywords.

I suggest creating around 10 boards in total.

Some of these could be your categories from your blogs, while others are sub-categories or related topics that you have briefly covered too.

The board title can be the general topic, while the description should be full of relevant keywords.

Choose Your Best Blog Posts To Pin

Once you have set up your boards, you’ll want to choose your best blog posts to pin.

Later on, you’ll probably pin all of your blog posts anyway, because you create pins much quicker than articles. But, the reason you want to choose your best blog posts to start with is so that you can put additional effort into optimizing these ones first.

Which blog posts you choose is, of course, your choice. However, I would suggest doing a mix of information-based articles with a few monetized ones such as reviews.

A lot of Pinterest users go to the platform with buyer intent, which is why a lot of affiliate marketers and eCommerce vendors do well making money with Pinterest.

This mix of informational and commercial content should give you a good balance of pins with some that help you grow, while others can generate additional revenue.

You’re also probably going to pin these more than once to help them get more traffic. If you do, make sure you change the general title of the Pin a little, so they look different.

For example, if you have a blog post called “How to drive Pinterest traffic to your blog” you could create 3 pins:

  1. “How to drive Pinterest traffic to your blog”
  2. “A step-by-step guide to driving Pinterest traffic to your blog”
  3. “I drove 3244 Pinterest visitors to my blog. Here’s how”

Don’t worry about this too much for now, if you haven’t posted content yet. But later on, you’ll probably need it.

Add The “Pin It” Button To Your Blog To Drive More Traffic

A good little trick that will help you grow your blog through Pinterest is adding the “pin it” button to your blog.

Instead of adding normal images, you can use ones that have a “pin it” button this code from Pinterest. Simply follow the instructions on that page to copy and paste the code into your site.

Then, when someone browses your blog and clicks the “Pin it” button, they add the image as a Pin to one of their boards.

Pretty cool, right?

What’s even more exciting about this is that all of these pins have links back to your blog so it can help you turn one visitor into many.

If you have a blog post that is quite popular, this technique could help it blow up. The same goes for if a Pinterest influencer enjoys your content, and decides to pin it.

You should also consider creating 1 extremely shareable image for some of your blog posts.

For example, if you have a blog post on 23 inspiring quotes, you could have an image of one of the best quotes with a “pin it” button.

Lots of people will often pin something like this which can help you get lots of targeted traffic back to your blog.

With all this extra traffic that you can potentially get from doing this, it also makes sense to monetize the articles you are sending people too, or at least collect email addresses so you can follow up with them later.

If you want some ideas on how best to monetize your blog then I recommend you take a look at my article here on profitable affiliate programs for Pinterest bloggers.

If you want some tech help to get the Pin it button on your blog then here’s a great video to help you out.

Use Cover Images On Your Pinterest Boards

The next step is to use cover images on your boards. The reason you’ll want to do this is because it can make your boards look nicer, more professional, and generate a higher Click-through-rate (CTR).

In the long term, you will generate much more traffic from doing this as more people will click on your boards.

For your board cover images, use an image that is attention-grabbing but also represents the topic of the board well.

For example, if your board is about “travel”, you could use a highly appealing image of somewhere like the beaches of Bali.

I also suggest using this opportunity to brand your images with your logo. This will make you look more professional and it will also enable people to become more familiar with your brand. In most cases, familiarity can bring more trust.

If you’re not sure how to add a cover image to your board, check out the instructions below.

  1. Head over to “Your boards”
  2. Hover over your board, until additional options appear
  3. Click “Change Cover” once it appears

On mobile, you should see 3 dots or something similar, which also makes the additional options appear. If you complete this step and have keyword-rich descriptions, your boards are set up for success.

Choose Great, Shareable Images For Your Pins

Sharable content performs the best. This is the case for any social media platform, but especially for Pinterest.

On Pinterest, when users pin your images, they are also sharing it with their followers. This is why you should aim to use images that people will relate to, or want to save for the future.

What is seen as “shareable” or helpful for your audience, depends on them. If you’re in a rather informational niche like crafts, or self-improvement, an eye-catching image + the title of the blog post can perform extremely well as people like to save it to read later.

For example, a Pin that links to a tutorial, and clearly says “How to gain X benefit”, might be pinned by a lot of people who would like to get that result. Think about what your audience would save for later or would also want to share.

A little tip here is to look at some of the profiles in your niche or even from your followers. Look at the boards, and see if there are any common board names, for example, “blogging tips”.

Now if you create content around “blogging tips” your audience is likely to pin them.

How To Get & Create Images

To create and edit images you can use a tool like Canva or Stencil.

For the images, if you don’t have any yourself, you can use stock photos. Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels are good places to get free images. If you don’t mind spending a bit of money to get higher quality images then I recommend using DepositPhotos.

Bonus tip: Your titles don’t have to be understood by Google. So, instead of “How To Lose Weight”, you can make them sound much more interesting like “How I Lost 26kg With This Simple, Weird Trick…”

Basically, you have the freedom to make them more interesting and they don’t have to be identical to your actual blog title, which is something I really like about using Pinterest to drive traffic.

Making The Clickable Pins Obvious

Another quick tip that I have for you to generate more traffic to your website is making it obvious for the user that they should click it.

This can be done by using certain words that pretty much tell the user that there is more to this Pin.

For example, “How To X” as a headline can be quite catchy, as you’re not going to give someone a full tutorial in a simple pin.

I have also seen people explicitly telling the user to click i.e “click for the full tutorial”. Direct calls to action (CTA’s) like this can also work really well.

Use Rich Pins For Your Blog

The next step that will help you drive Pinterest traffic to your blog is using Rich Pins.

If you have experience with SEO, this is similar to rich snippets. Basically, they add a little more interesting info to your Pin.

The Rich Pin is a piece of code that you add to your blog. Pinterest can then pull this info and display it over on their platform.

The cool thing about this is that rich pins look far more professional, and are somewhat dynamic as when you change content on your site that is related to a Rich Pin, your Pin changes too.

Another additional benefit of using Rich Pins that I really like is they also give Pinterest more information about your pins, and in so doing, Pinterest can send more targeted traffic to your pins. If your Pins look good then this should also increase the Click-through-rate (CTR) to your blog.

To set them up, you can use a plugin like Yoast SEO or Rank Math by simply heading into the advanced settings of the plugin to configure them.

There are different types of Rich Pins that you can use depending on the type of content they relate to on your blog. For example, if you can use a product Rich Pin for a review article. This will enable Pinterest to show more relevant info about your article so your audience knows exactly what it’s about.

Here’s a help doc to show you exactly how to set up your Rich Pins. Alternatively, you can watch the video below to show you exactly how to do it.

Grow Your Pinterest Audience

After completing the previous steps, you have almost set up your Pinterest account for success.

There are just a few more things you need to do.

The first would be to optimize your entire profile to look as stunning as possible.

This would include, using eye-catching images in your profile and header and writing a bio that speaks to, and resonates with your audience.

For example, if you have articles tailored towards helping bloggers get more traffic, you could write a bio like: “Hey my name is X and I help bloggers get more traffic through SEO. Follow me for frequent tips and tutorials on how to get more visitors to your blog.”

Being clear and concise will help people to know exactly what you’re about in the first instance they see your profile.

Try to dig into the wants and pain points of your audience, and offer your profile as a solution by using your bio. Alternatively, if your niche isn’t directly related to solving a problem then you can also just aim to make it sound interesting and fun.

Once you have done this, it’s just a case of getting eyeballs on your profile.

Following Other Accounts

The best way to get off the ground from 0, is to start following other accounts.

Look for profiles that are either similar to yours, or even better, with an audience that matches the one you’re targeting.

From here, scroll through their followers and start following accounts that you think would benefit from your content.

Quite often, they’ll see it and follow you back. I would only recommend following profiles that have profile pictures to make sure they are real people and not bots.

If you want to, you could even be super-picky and only follow accounts that fit your target audience. This might take a little longer, but it may also give you better engagement.

Join Pinterest Group Boards

Something that will help you grow your account and get more eyeballs on your content is to join group boards.

The big benefit of joining group boards, and sharing your pins on them is that they have a lot of followers and so you can, therefore, bring you lots of highly targeted traffic over to your blog.

Plus, they can also get a lot of other people to pin your pins which will enable you get even more reach beyond just that group board.

Bear in mind, just like with most other things, the key here is relevance. If you’re part of a group board that has tens of thousands of followers, it won’t help if they aren’t interested in what you are pinning to that board.

There are a couple of ways you can find group boards to join. One way is to simply search Pinterest for public boards in your niche. Alternatively, you can also check out some of your competitor’s group boards.

Pin Regularly

It only takes 1 pin to go viral and suddenly you could have endless email subscribers and blog readers. But getting to that 1 pin usually takes hundreds or even thousands of attempted pins so don’t expect this to happen over night.

The more you pin, the higher your chances are of getting there.

I would suggest doing at least a minimum of once per day, as this should give you consistent growth.

A lot of people even recommend 10x per day. However, it’s better to set yourself a realistic daily task that you’ll follow. You don’t want it to become cumbersome.

At the end of the day, consistency is more important than frequency.

Although, frequency helps a lot too. Something like 3-5x per day can be a sweet spot for some people. From here, your account will start to grow, if you combine it with 10 minutes of following other accounts.

Create a Routine

You could create some type of daily routine for yourself:

  1. Create 3-4x pins per day
  2. Follow accounts for 10 minutes
  3. Pin 10-20 pins from other accounts
  4. Add 1-2 pin(s) to a group board

If you do this consistently for a longer period, I would be very surprised if you don’t start picking up traction before long.

In the beginning, it may seem like you aren’t getting a lot of impressions or pins, but they’ll come soon enough if you stick with it. Just make sure to keep posting pins and follow your routine.

Once you get the right type of eyeballs on your pins, you’ll start getting a lot of clicks to your website.

If this doesn’t sound fun to you then you can easily find a freelancer to do it all for you at a very affordable rate over here on Fiverr.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to drive traffic to your blog with Pinterest isn’t difficult, it just takes a bit of clear thinking around your strategy, and some consistency.

If you follow the steps provided in this article and stay consistent, there shouldn’t be any reason why your account wont grow. And once it does, you’ll start generating a lot more clicks to your website as a result.

These clicks will be super-targeted from people interested in your content. This means that the visitors you bring from Pinterest are much more likely to convert into your blog followers and customers.

If you haven’t tried using Pinterest yet, give it a go, as now you have everything you need to generate some additional traffic to your blog.

If you want to expand your horizons beyond just using Pinterest then I recommend you also read my article here on the best free traffic sources.


Entrepreneur Nut