Free vs. Paid Traffic – Which will Work for Your Business?

Traffic is ANY and ALL sources, both online and offline, that can be used to get your message in front of your perfect client.

Some examples of Online sources:

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Email marketing
  • Snapchat
  • Craigslist

Some examples of Offline sources:

  • Networking events
  • Door hangers
  • Flyers
  • Business cards
  • Ads in the local paper

Personally, I use both, BUT focus more online because for me, my business model is based on larger numbers. I’m not a local business, I serve people all over the world.

The two criteria that make a great traffic source:

  • Appropriate
  • Reproducible

OK, so that’s online vs. offline – now let’s talk a little bit about paid vs. free traffic.

I feel like the difference between the two is pretty self-explanatory but there is a time and place for each.

Most folks are drawn to free traffic (also known as organic) because the idea of getting something for free is appealing. My momma didn’t raise any dummies – if it’s free I’ll take two.

And when a lot of people start professionally marketing their businesses like we’re doing – their budgets are small or even non-existent, so that fits the bill.

Here’s the problem … it’s hard to get free traffic in any reasonable amount.

  • It takes lot of time to create the content.
  • It takes a lot of skill to properly SEO the content to make sure it gets seen and to monitor it when search engines make updates to their algorithms.
  • For most local businesses – it can take months to even start to see the results of your daily or weekly blogging.

The businesses that do really well with SEO are usually mid-sized businesses that can afford to have content creators on staff that aren’t worried about generating immediate revenue.

This is why I typically veer more towards paid traffic. With paid traffic I have:

  • Better control over who I target – keywords, interests, likes.
  • It’s faster – I can get results in 24 hours.
  • I can adjust my campaigns and budgets on the fly.
  • Can get started for as little as $5/day.

I totally understand the draw of the free traffic, but it fails both of our tests for great traffic sources.

So here’s the way most folks scale up their traffic:

  1. Organic traffic sources while you’re testing out your funnel.
  2. When you are happy – bump up the organic reach with the content distribution model -The additional investment here is time.
  3. When you’re happy with that – start to mix in some paid ads.

Now It’s Your Turn

Use the comments section below and tell me which traffic sources have been the biggest success for your business?