March 16, 2015 | Shares:

4 Free-ish Ways to Get More Traffic

It wouldn’t be fair to promise free traffic boosters. The reality is, there’s no such thing as free traffic. Even organic traffic comes at the cost of your time and effort. These days, even the traffic we hate – morning commute gridlock – comes at a toll.

So, no, we can’t promise you free traffic, but we can give you the best we’ve got: free-ish traffic. In other words, traffic that may cost you some time, effort, or profit, but won’t break into your marketing budget. Here are the best 4 ways to get more traffic without breaking the bank.

1. Influencers 

The celebrity endorsers of yesteryear are the online influencers of today. Good news for online businesses: influencers are a lot more affordable than celebrities. Often, giving influencers a free sample, trial, or gift certificate is enough to get a valuable mention or social media shout-out in return.

While influencer marketing may be low-cost, the impact is priceless. Influencers have huge impact on the opinions and buying decisions of an enormous base of dedicated fans. Additionally, influencers can be useful to any store, regardless of size or vertical. Influencers can benefit growing online businesses and bring relevancy to established stores.

To begin using influencers in your marketing, find out who your target audience is listening to, and look for trends on social media of celebrities or important thought leaders they follow, re-Tweet or like.

Here’s a real example of how we identified relevant influencers for our roundup of the top eCommerce influencers on LinkedIn.  (While our goal was not to use these people in influencer marketing, the process is still useful for anyone who needs to identify influencers.)

  • First, we looked at the target audience we wanted to impact: C-level executives in major eCommerce companies. We knew this audience was highly active on LinkedIn, so to create something of value to them, we would need to target LinkedIn.
  • We studied the top 50 eCommerce VPs and created an Excel spreadsheet with the influencers they listed. We then identified influencers who were repeated across profiles, and listed them in order of how many times they were mentioned.
  • The end result? A targeted, data-based list relevant to our needs.

When getting started in influencer marketing, you can use this same strategy to create a list of the best influencers for your audience.

Today, brands are using influencers to review products, Tweet endorsements, advertise specials, and more. However, influencers come with a caveat: their fans are quick to turn if they believe they are being deceived or their influencers have been bought out by brands.

Transparency is key – always be clear you’re behind the endorsement. Don’t try to make it look natural and hope you’ll get away with it. Think of influencer marketing as product placement in the digital age. You need to be honest that you’re behind the promotion or risk a backlash that is not easily undone.

2. Word-of-mouth Marketing

We all know the power of word-of-mouth marketing. The modern consumer trusts people more than brand messaging, which is why every marketer has no excuses for not investing in growing word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth marketing is not only free of marketing costs, but it gives you the most ROI. Create brand evangelists, and you have free advertising that keeps on giving. Word-of-mouth spreads naturally, which can make it hard for brands to understand how to motivate users to spread it.

Asking for users to “like” or “share” isn’t effective (and it can get you in trouble with Facebook, too).

However, the difficulty in trying to grow word-of-mouth marketing is that it’s inherently beyond a brand’s control. Or so it would seem.

In reality, brands can effectively build a foundation that invites more word-of-mouth.

  • The first key to getting your customers to share about your brand is to create things they actually want to share. Take a look at your customer base: are they sharing blog posts on Twitter, or photos of products they love on Pinterest? Take a deep look into their behavior of sharing across social channels to see how they are sharing, and what they are sharing.
  • It may seem counterintuitive, but don’t ask for shares. Getting natural word-of-mouth traffic requires a hands-off approach. Instead of directly asking, strive to create the exact type of content your audience would want to share without you asking.

Free People has done this well through their Pinterest marketing strategy. They start by describing exactly who they are targeting in their Pinterest description: “The Free People woman lives free through fashion, art, music, travel and everything in between.” They then divide boards by topics of interest to their audience. A few examples are “Free Spirit,” “She’s a Wanderer,” “Bohemian Beauty,” and “Festival Flower.”

All of their copy directly appeals to their target audience, and they chose Pinterest for eCommerce because their target audience is highly active on this site. Because their content efforts are so perfectly tailored to their audience, they naturally get brand exposure and word-of-mouth through Pinterest shares without ever needing to ask, and this in turn helps them sell on Pinterest.

Best practice tip:

In an ideal world, your customers would be sharing all of your awesome content all the time. Reality doesn’t exactly go like this. To get an added boost on your content efforts to build word-of-mouth marketing, incentivize.

Sure, nothing in life is free, but we sure do like promises of freebies. Offer rewards, such as coupons, sweepstakes, or special offers, to loyal customers for contributing to UGC campaigns and sharing their participation on social media.

3. Social Referrals

Social referrals are word-of-mouth on social media. In other words, it’s when customers directly endorse or share specific information related to a company’s products. While sharing a Pinterest photo from the Free People blog builds word-of-mouth, sharing a product a customer recently bought on Facebook and saying “Got this dress and absolutely love it” is a social referral.

Think of social referrals just like live referrals: it’s when a happy customer recommends your product or service to someone else.

The power of social referrals is clear: They are one of the fastest-growing sources of traffic, and they’re beloved among Millennials. Referrals have great benefit on their own, but they’re also proving to improve existing social marketing efforts.

  • Yotpo Data collected from over 100,000 eCommerce stores found adding social referrals increased stores’ traffic from Twitter by 26% and traffic from Facebook by nearly 10%.
  • To build social referrals, incentivizing is key. Social media pages look spammy if a consumer is constantly endorsing a product, and many consumers are wary of placing brand content on their personal social media pages.
  • To cross the sharing barrier, offer an incentive. Incentives can be coupons, discounts, VIP memberships, sweepstakes entries, or even extra benefits on your service.

For example, companies like Dropbox offer incentives in the form of added functionality or storage on their service, which has a double effect of encouraging sharing and encouraging engagement. Customers are much more likely to refer when offered incentives, and done smartly, this can help you boost your engagement within your current customer base.

4. Advertise with Customer Content

As we know, consumers are growing more and more talented at filtering out unwanted branded advertising. Whether installing pop-up blockers or gaining banner blindness, consumers today don’t seem to react the same way to brands. So marketers are learning to take what they do respond to – fellow consumer opinions – and harness these in social ads.

The marriage of user-generated content (UGC) and advertising is a match made in marketing heaven. The aim of these ads is to showcase user testimonials, not convey brand’s message.

For eCommerce stores, this often means using reviews in social ads, which has proven to be wildly successful. Yotpo Analytics has found that ads with reviews have boosted Click-Through-Rates by over 300% at half the Cost-Per-Click and Cost-Per-Acquisition of regular Facebook ads.

Get The Right Traffic Learn how to get traffic that brings results.Get your free copyNot all traffic is created equal.
Aimee Millwood
Aimee Millwood, Director of Content at Yotpo
Aimee loves hummus and hates misplaced commas.

@aimeemillwood – Follow me

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