I am all for forking over a few bucks for tools and systems that can propel my business forward, but I also fully realize that sometimes budgets take precedence or we just don’t have the wherewithal to invest in something new and shiny all the time. In fact, I was the BIGGEST penny pincher in my early days of entrepreneurship.
While I thoughtfully chose a handful of certain resources to invest in, I was also all about getting gritty and creative and finding, testing, and utilizing any and all free strategies that would help my business and traffic grow organically— I’m talking with no paid ads or pricey tools in sight.
And today I want to share my top 5 favorite free ways to grow your online presence, website traffic, and business leads completely organically.
Choose One and Be Consistent
If you could just pick ONE platform that you know your target audience hangs out on—which by the way, is likely going to be a different platform for every business type—and just start showing up there consistently in the way that feels most natural to you, wouldn’t that be better than not showing up at all?… It’s yes. The answer is yes!
Look at what medium you’re naturally drawn to if it’s photography maybe it’s Instagram or Facebook, if you always communicate through voice text, maybe it’s a podcast or Clubhouse, if you don’t mind being on video, perhaps it’s Youtube or going LIVE on Facebook or IG. If you love to write, maybe it’s a blog, email list, or in captions or quotes, there are different ways to use and express any gift you have through the many ways you can show up and serve online. Which way of showing up is easiest for you to be consistent at and where are your clients searching to find what you do?
When I say show up “consistently,” I don’t mean you have to show up all day, every day of the week. “Consistently” means finding a rhythm that works for you and with you, and sticking to it, so that you can post content that isn’t just filler, “blah” content, but stuff that actually makes sense and engages your ideal audience and speaks to them in a real and meaningful way.
That could mean posting once a week, or it could mean posting 5 days a week, or it could mean every Tuesday and Thursday. Whatever works for you, your lifestyle, and your business is more important than trying to keep up with the ever changing algorithms or trends on social.
Partner up to promote one another’s content
This is a great way to grow your traffic if you know of and follow content creators either in a similar business or industry as yours or who have target audiences similar to yours. It’s also helpful if you have around the same amount of followers so that you both feel more inclined to support one another.
When I was just getting started, I would do “Follow Friday’s” with other girls where we’d share about one another and talk about why we were inspired by them and what kind of content they shared. I haven’t done this in years, but it was super fun and a great way to expand your audience’s inspiration and now with extra tools like reels, IG LIVE with guests and Instagram Stories, there’s even more ways to share the love. Get creative here and make sure your focus is on adding value so your audience (and theirs) feels excited at the invitation to follow another person!
The most important part of a collaboration like this is finding the intersection between BOTH of your audiences and a way to serve all of them effectively. That means you probably don’t just want to post each other’s handles in a caption and simply tell your followers to go follow them, because that doesn’t really add any obvious value to their feeds or make it exciting or intriguing for them to do it. Ask yourself how you can create synergy between brands or people and share in each other’s audiences.
A few productive ways to partner with other content creators could be things like…
- Going LIVE together to teach on a subject interesting to both of your audiences
- Doing a Q&A on one or both of your channels on a topic your communities are interested in
- Hosting a giveaway for a product or service from each of your businesses that your communities would find valuable
- Doing an Instagram Story takeover on each other’s stories to teach or share something impactful
- Hosting a free or low-price workshop to talk or teach something your audiences would both find compelling
- Sharing a “follow Friday” round-up of content creators in similar industries as yours and sharing what exactly you love about them that your followers would also find interesting or helpful!
Even reposting other content creators’ posts in your Instagram stories and tagging their profile name is a way to get their attention and potentially have THEM reshare your share… I know, sort of meta, but it can be a simple way to get your profile in front of a new audience with less than 30 seconds of effort by simply sharing and tagging another person’s content.
Long-term and longer form content strategy
While you might not get as many eyes on a blog post right away as a social media post, they CAN be super effective for your long game. Social media posts live and die within a few hours thanks to the algorithm but long form content can generate results for weeks, months, even years to come.
There’s a whole other level of searchability and when you create long form content, it’s almost like you’re building out your own content resource library for those who want what you’re sharing. This isn’t just about blogs, the same goes for video and audio content if you have a Youtube channel or a podcast.
These long-form traffic drivers are consumed long after being created and are more searchable than something organized chronologically like social media, so think about how you can optimize what you’re creating to get more traffic.
One way to do this is through being thoughtful with your keywords. Keywords are a search engine optimization (or SEO) term for infusing words and phrases that are commonly searched into your content so that it pulls your content up in search engines more easily.
Did you know using the right keywords can actually be incredibly useful for MORE than just blog content? By incorporating strategic keywords into video titles and descriptions, podcast titles and descriptions, and blog post headlines and copy, your content is more likely to pull up when people search for the topics you cover.
So how do you pick strategic keywords to use in this long-form content? It can actually be pretty simple if you just take the topic you are creating content about and type the main words that describe that topic into the Google search bar and see other words the it populates around it (this is also an awesome way to brainstorm content because you can see the top things people are searching for around that topic.)
Side note: you can also type it into Pinterest’s search bar for more keyword ideas on that platform. Whatever pulls up in headlines on that first page of Google having to do with your topic or whatever auto populates in the Pinterest search bar are great keywords that you can take and infuse into your title and content. Several options for keywords will come up, but just pick one key phrase that you’ll weave into your content a few times, and then try popping a few of the other keywords in organically if you can as well and utilize description areas to include keywords so that people can easily find your content when they are searching!
Revisit your Pinterest strategy
I will never stop shouting it from the rooftops, Pinterest is THEEE biggest organic traffic driver for my website and has been for years! But like many online tools, it changes, and those changes tend to intimidate users into shying away and focusing their efforts elsewhere. But let me tell you, as a pretty big devotee, aka their borderline obsessed biggest fan with inside sources directly at Pinterest, I’m here to say that playing with the new features is worth it big time, and in fact, Pinterest isn’t introducing these new features to confuse and frustrate us, they’re doing it TO help users like me and you boost our traffic… and totally for free!
Our buddies over at Tailwind, the Pinterest scheduling app, sent us a little intel recently that might help you break through some of Pinterest’s recent changes. Their number 1 piece of advice was to make more story pins because Story Pins can help attract a growing, engaged audience, creating more distribution for content that has a link. Story pins are similar to Instagram stories, so if you use those, you should already be pretty familiar with the format. Tailwind’s top tips for story pins are to:
- Use video early and often
- Draw people in with an engaging 1st panel to your story, preferably a video
- Use more than one panel
- Show how to do something start to finish in a succinct way
- And in your last panel, encourage people to follow you
Tailwind also suggests creating more video pins, which seem to be ESPECIALLY engaging for accounts with fewer than 10K followers and tend to drive substantial website traffic. They recommend too to focus more on creating fresh pins rather than sharing and saving other pins.
If you took the first strategy from this episode of focusing on JUST one social media platform consistently and picked Pinterest using these tips from Tailwind, you might be shocked to see your traffic skyrocket over the coming weeks and months. Just sayin’!
Create valuable content
When you’re creating content, ask yourself: What is the end goal of this piece? What will it provide for my audience? Is it adding something interesting or compelling or useful to their feeds and lives? If you can clearly answer all of those questions, your content will contribute to growing your traffic because when it’s high quality, people are more likely to share, save, engage and revisit it later on. And bonus: it’s more likely to perform better on search engines when it’s thoughtful, compelling, and well organized.
Actually, the SEO pros at OptinMonster shared that 72% of marketers say that relevant content creation is the single most effective SEO tactic, relevant meaning that it makes sense and is appropriate for your target audience. Focus on what makes sense for the people who are following you! They also shared that quality content is known to increase traffic by as much as 2,000%. Umm, yeah, that’s two-zero-zero-zero!
The Big Picture
There are so many ways to grow your traffic organically and remember, you need not do them all at once but if you pay attention, so many of these can work together to turbocharge your results.
Above all else, wherever you’re creating and sharing content, make it content that YOU’D actually want to consume. Put a little personality into it and make it FUN to read! There’s way too much boring or pointless content out there TBH, and I know you’re the furthest thing from boring. So while these strategies are free and implementable today, they do require some of your thoughtfulness and yup, some of your pizzazz, too, because life’s too short to spend your time peddling crummy content. Are you with me?! I can’t wait to watch you grow!