Budget allocation is an important part of a marketing campaign. However, from time to time, you may opt to go for a fully-fledged organic approach due to different reasons. You may:
- You may not have any money at all to do paid campaigns,
- You may want to test what works for your audience before spending money on it, or
- You may have run out of money (maybe you underestimated the cost of your paid campaigns).
Whatever your reasons may be, we are going to explore whether you can generate website traffic when your budget is absolutely nothing.
Can you generate traffic on your site for free?
The short answer here is a resounding yes. However, the fact that you may not be spending money only means that you have to invest your time.
We may not quantify the amount of time which is ideal since a number of factors come into play here:
- Your brand,
- The industry you are in,
- Your experience with traffic generation,
- Level of business (are you a start-up or SME), and
- The number of people on your team responsible for traffic generation.
How to generate website traffic with zero budget
Content creation and distribution are still key even when your budget is zero.
In this section, we explore ‘off the charts’ approaches that you can use:
- Start conversations or keep them going
If you belong to any Facebook group, you may have seen some posts with the badge ‘conversation starter’.
This is exactly what you want to do with the content that you create and then distribute. A conversation starter may be a controversial topic.
The catch here is to ensure that the topic is related to your brand.
For example, if you are a marketer and have noticed a new feature on Facebook, you could start a discussion where you share your views – whether it is going to be helpful or not.
Such an approach will have contributions from both sides of the spectrum – those who support you and those with a contrary opinion.
Once you have the conversation going, you need to throw in your content – it could be a recent article or blog that you wrote. This way, you will be sending people to your site to interact more with your ‘expert opinion’.
Note that there are several places where you can engage in conversations – Facebook group discussions, other blogs, Twitter, Reddit or even Quora.
The important thing is to participate or start conversations only on platforms where your target audience is.
If your audience is on Quora, then you are better off asking and answering questions there.
- Work with others
Look at your network. Do you have people you can work with to help you create content, distribute it or get the word out about your brand?
If you are looking to create videos, for example, you could ask a photographer friend to create videos, and in exchange, you create a couple of blog posts for their site.
If you are looking to build a YouTube following, for example, you could request a friend with many followers to interview you in one of their videos.
If you do not have such networks, you can start to build them. Is there an upcoming event or meet up that you could help organize in exchange for a chance to speak or be mentioned as a co-organizer?
Alternatively, explore affiliate marketing. Are there more established brands in your niche (not necessarily competition) that you can do affiliate marketing for?
This may not only get you traffic, but you could come up with a revenue share model where you are paid a commission for sales that come from your site.
Freebies may be a relatively common way to try and generate website traffic. In fact, they may be a little overused. You, therefore, want to be quite creative when it comes to what you are giving for free.
Thinking along the lines of the value that you would like your audience to get will help you get ideas of what a great freebie would be.
For example, if you are looking to get students to enroll for a course that you offer, then you need to create some free content. This could be as simple as short videos or ebooks that can get them to learn some basics.
Once they need to learn more, you can then move in to ask them to subscribe for more content or enroll for your course.
- Build an email list
Once you start to get people to visit your site, you need to keep them coming. One way to do this is by building an email list. You need to have a landing or squeeze page where people can leave their emails.
Once you have their emails, you need to frequently publish useful, valuable and relevant content and share with them. They will keep engaging with the content and visiting your site.
This way, all the effort that you put to generate website traffic will be paying off by getting you repeat visitors.
- Study and model after those who you want to be like
This may not be a technique to generate traffic for your site, but it will help you choose the approaches to take.
If you are looking to become the leading fitness instructor in a certain region, then you need to find one of the best fitness instructors and study their marketing approaches.
You need not copy what they do, but it should give you an idea of where to start.
Generating traffic for your site when you do not have a budget may seem overwhelming, but we have seen that it is possible. All you need to do is take a unique approach and over time, you will begin to see your efforts paying off.