If you are on a budget or you're not willing to invest in ads, then this episode of The eCommerce Lifestyle Podcast is for you!
In today's episode of the podcast, I will be sharing strategies in getting free traffic to grow your business drastically this 2020. This is relevant to anyone who is starting their store or has their store up and running.
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What's up everybody. Anton Kraly here from ecommercelifestyle.com, and welcome back to the podcast. In today's episode we are going to be talking about how you can actually get free traffic to your online store in 2020. Now before I get into the methods that I'm going to share with you, it's important to note that nothing in this world really is free. So while these traffic methods I'm going to share with you don't actually require you to take out your wallet and your credit card, they do require you to put your time into something. So just know, again, nothing is easy in life. If you want to use free traffic, you do need to invest time, but if you have more time than you do money, this is a great way that anybody can get started to build up their bank roll and then eventually invest into paid traffic, which if you know anything about me, you know I'm a huge fan of, and I would highly recommend as you move forward.
Now what I'm going to share with you in this episode are three different short term methods that you can use to get traffic and sales pretty much from today, and then I'm going to share two different strategies that are more for the long term. I think you should focus on all of them. They're all super important, but if you're looking to make sales sooner rather than later, then obviously the short term ones are things you can start doing literally right now. The longer term ones are ones that will require more work over a longer period of time, but they'll pay off for years to come. So there's value in all of these. So the number one short term method for free traffic that I've been using for years and also recommending is listing your products on marketplaces. Now when I say marketplaces, I'm referring to websites like Craigslist, like Facebook Marketplace, like offerup.com, but the thing about this method is you have to be very, very precise with it.
It's almost like a sniper method instead of a shotgun approach method, because when you are posting your products on a marketplace, you can't just go, for example, to Craigslist and make different listings in 50 different states for whatever product it is you're selling, because if you do that, you're going to get flagged, your ads are all going to get taken down, or your listings are all going to get taken down and it just won't work for you. So with this approach, whether it is Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or offerup.com, you want to identify either one or two of the top areas where you think your customers are. So I'll just give you an example. Right now I'm in our studio. I'm sitting at a standup desk, and if I was going to sell standup desks, I would think, where are my customers? Maybe San Francisco, maybe Manhattan? People have money. There's a lot of people in both of those areas.
So I would go on Craigslist and I would make listings in the items for sale section under furniture. Now here's the key also, you don't want to make it an advertisement for your store. So if I go to Manhattan, Craigslist, furniture, make a listing for this standup desk, I would literally have pictures of this standup desk from my supplier, and the description would say brand's name, whatever it is, white standup desk. It would have the sizes, it would have the features, it would have the benefits, and it would say we can deliver this, and that's basically it. So you're turning it into something that looks more natural to the platform. So for Craigslist, for example, rather than posting a listing there that says, "Hey, I own antonsstandupdesks.com. I have a thousand of these. Here's my store.
You're not doing it that way. Instead, you're trying to, again, use that sniper approach, pick your best selling products, pick the top demographics, go to those marketplaces, make one listing in each of them, and that's going to start getting eyeballs, leads, and people contacting you right away. So highly recommend it. Again, been using it for years, actually probably over a decade, and it still works today. So amazing source of free short term traffic. So the second short term free traffic method that I use and recommend is providing value to your potential customers, and what we do to make this work is find different areas online where our potential buyer already congregates. So this could be something like a Facebook group, this could be different forums where your audience would be, this could even be something like Quora where people are asking questions that relate to the products you sell.
And with this method, what you're doing is not directly selling. You're going to get thrown out and banned from forums and Facebook groups from day one if you do that. Instead, what you want to do is join these groups, look for questions and conversations that relate to what it is you're selling, and then respond to people by providing value. For example, if you are in different groups for different modern startups or office design, things like that, and you see a question pop up, going back to the standup desk example, and somebody is saying, "Hey, I'm looking into buying a standup desk. What does everybody recommend? What's good?" Well, you can say with your experience with the products you have for sale, "I think that this stand up desk, that's white, that's 86 inches wide ..." whatever the information is about your product is, and provide value.
You're not posting a link to your website and saying, "Hey, this is the one to get." Instead, you're actually providing real value, you're helping people to make buying decisions, and then from there you can have conversations with them privately, whether DMs on forums or Facebook, and through Quora you actually can post your link, but you're providing value and then following up with that next step where you're recommending your own store for that person to purchase from, and if you do this right, it works and it's fine. Again, the key here is do not spam people. Do not just start posting links and saying, "Yeah, go here. Go buy this." Instead, offer that value. Give them a reason why you're recommending a specific product, and once they know that you're the store owner that sells that, they'll understand hopefully that you have that product knowledge, which is why you directed them to whatever the product is, and they can buy from you. Again, a great short term method to get free sales fast.
So the third short term free traffic method that I recommend is actually something that is really a paid method, but you can start with a free trial. And what that is is advertising on blogs and websites that speak to your audience. So again, regardless of what you're selling, there are probably already existing websites out there that are speaking to the person that's going to be buying from you. So if you were selling stand up desks, you can find blogs and websites about modern office furniture. Now what you're going to want to do is reach out to these website owners, either through a phone number on their website, a contact form, an email address in the footer, or whatever it is. You're going to want to reach out and say, "Hey, this is Anton from Anton's Standup Desks. Really love your blog. I see you have these amazing articles. I think that we can definitely have a relationship where we can advertise on your website. Do you allow advertising?"
Start the conversation, something like that. Then you're going to contact many people. So that's important too. Don't email one person and think, "Okay, I'm done," but you're going to email people. You're going to get responses. Some of them are going to say, "Yeah, actually, we do. We have banner ads for sale," or, "We have email blasts," or, "We have ..." whatever it is. They're going to give you their prices. Now what we say and what you should say as well is, "Okay, that sounds great," of course if it does, and then say, "Listen, we want to advertise with you. We are definitely willing to do a longterm contract, but what we want to start with is a 14 day free trial where we can put our ad in your sidebar," whatever it is, whatever ad unit they have available, "and we want to track the traffic to make sure that it actually converts and makes sense for our audience."
Now, not everybody's going to say yes, but some people will, and when they do, you're going to get to actually put your ad on other people's websites for 14 days, and when that happens and you're using Google analytics, you're going to see who is coming to your website from what other websites, you're going to see who is buying, you're going to see what the traffic is worth. Now if 14 days goes by and you get almost no traffic and no sales, then it doesn't matter anyway, and you tell the site owner, "Thank you. Appreciate the opportunity, but this didn't translate to success for us." No problems there. On the other hand, if you got a bunch of traffic and you get a bunch of sales, guess what? Now you're profitable and now you can have a longterm contract to advertise on those blogs or websites that already have the audience you want.
It's an amazing way to get free traffic, again, that will translate into paid traffic as you grow and as those sales come in. So those are my three main methods for the short term. Now let me give you my two that are more longterm plays. The first is one you've probably heard of, and that is search engine optimization, SEO. It's super important and if you do it right ... again, it might take three months or six months for things to start to actually build, but once they do, for years and years and years, you're going to be getting traffic organically. Now to do this, it does require knowledge. So if you don't have money to buy a course on it or to go through a training like mine at Drop Ship Lifestyle ... by the way, dropshipwebinar.com. Check it out. Amazing free training from me right there, but if you're just getting started with it, I recommend reading some blog posts, buy some books, and focus on your onsite SEO.
What that means is as you're uploading products to your website, as you're building collection pages in Shopify, as you're writing blog posts, you're not just doing it to do it. You're doing it with the intent of having Google and other search engines actually rank your site higher. Super important. Not the most complicated thing in the world to figure out, but definitely focus on that for the long term. Now, a thing that's really important about this is not just to create content that is there for your audience just to get eyeballs. For example, let's say you're selling surfboards. What you don't want to do is write an article on the blog on your store ... in the beginning, you don't want to do this, I should say, but you don't want to write an article about the best places to surf in 2020, because let's just say it has amazing onsite SEO.
Let's say you build links to it. Let's say it ranks in Google. Well you're going to get a ton of traffic, but are the people that are interested in the best places to surf in 2020 really interested in buying your surfboards, and how interested are they? Not much. So what you should do is when you're first focusing on content for SEO is focus on those topics that will bring in the buyers. An example would be writing an article about something like best black Friday deals for surfboards in 2020, top 10 surfboards for beginners in 2020, things like that. Things that have keywords that have buying intent. So again, it's a longterm play, and I want to make sure if you're going to do it, you're focusing on the right keywords so that when the people come they actually equate to money for you.
So my second longterm play for free traffic to your website is bringing on affiliates. Now these are going to be people or businesses that promote your website without you giving them money out of your pocket. The way affiliate marketing works is they will send people to your website and if those people buy, they'll be paid a commission of that sale. So the beauty of this is you don't have to outlay any capital to get started because they're doing it assuming that the traffic is going to buy, that they'll then be paid commissions. So you pay them after the sale is made, which is a beautiful thing, but the reason this is more of a longer term play is because it's built on trust. No one's going to want to promote your stuff if you're brand new and the first email you send to them or the first phone call you make is, "Hey, can you post an affiliate link to my website?"
You need to build trust. So who should you build trust with? Who will these affiliates be? Well, they could be the actual Facebook group admins of those big Facebook groups that we found about earlier. Let's just say you spend a few months providing a lot of value to their members, then when you reach out, they know your name, they know you're not just some random person, and then you have a chance of them maybe having a pin to post in their Facebook group with the affiliate link to your online store. Now these can also be smaller, different influencers, so think Instagram accounts. Again, let's go to the surfboard example. People that have a bunch of videos and photos of them surfing every day, maybe they have 50,000 followers, but maybe you build a relationship with them and they're willing to post the affiliate link to your store. This can also eventually be those blogs that we talked about earlier where you're running free trials on.
Well, if things start to work and you still don't have enough capital to actually pay them to have a year contract, maybe you can say, "Hey look, last week you sent me 200 visits and it brought in $3,000 of sales," because you're selling expensive products, and then you could say to them, "Listen, we have an affiliate program. We'll pay you ..." whatever it is, 5% 10% of every sale. "How about we just swap out the current link with your affiliate link?" And then the traffic just keeps coming without you laying out money for as long as that relationship is in place. So another thing you could do when seeking out different partners to promote your store is look for different trade publications. If you're selling in more of a B to B space, build the relationship, work on getting them to actively have a link to your store that doesn't cost you a dime, that only costs you money when it makes you money.
So listen everybody, I hope you found that helpful. That is three short term easy wins to get free traffic and two for the longterm. I think what I'm going to do, if there's enough interest and you can just let me know, post a comment or send me a message, if you want to know more about what type of products you should sell, if you're starting with basically $0, let me know and maybe the next podcast will be about that. So hit me up in the comments, send me a DM on Instagram, and we'll see what the next episode is about, but thank you all for tuning in. I hope you got a ton of value. If you did, please do leave this video a thumbs up if you're watching on YouTube. Please do leave us a review on iTunes because it really helps, and I will talk to you in the next episode of the E-commerce Lifestyle Podcast. See you everybody.