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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You can have all of the traffic in the world, but if you can’t convert that traffic into leads, you can’t build a funnel that will help you make sales. Without sales, you can’t have revenue. And without revenue, you can’t reinvest back into traffic and lead generation.
Before you try to generate leads, you need lead magnets. With something like an ebook or a free course, you have the ability to drive leads to your business. Once you have these lead magnets ready, you can use a variety of different traffic sources to bring attention to your lead magnets.
The following five sources of traffic are places where you can find people for your lead magnets. Some of these sources are free and some of them are paid, but I recommend that you get started with the free traffic sources and scale your way up to paid traffic sources.
1. Organic search traffic
Organic search traffic is the traffic that comes from search engines. You don’t need to pay for this traffic. Every search engine has paid listings on their search and free listings — if you make sure that your pages appear in the search results for specific keywords, then you will be able to tap into a lot of traffic and you won’t need to pay for it.
The only problem with organic search traffic is that your landing pages will not get ranked easily in the search engines. Search engines prefer content-heavy pages and they do not rank landing pages well.
You should drive the search traffic to blog pages and then use an online tool to convert visitors into leads. To get good search traffic into your blog pages, you need to have great content, backlinks and good on-page SEO.
Related: 7 Ways to Enhance Your Blog Posts for More Traffic
2. Paid search traffic
Another method to get traffic to your lead pages is from paid search listings. Paid search listings cost money, but if you know how to convert your leads into sales, then you can afford to pay for the clicks. You can configure your paid search ads on a tool like Google Ads, where you can set up paid search ads on Google’s search engine.
Every search engine has a tool for advertising. Research different search engines that will help you search for products within a niche. You can advertise with those sources as well. The good thing about paid search traffic is that search engines will not hesitate to drive traffic to your lead pages. While it is difficult to rank your lead pages on organic search, there is absolutely no problem with paid search.
The only disadvantage of a paid traffic source is that you have to pay for it. But if you can get a ROI from the traffic, you can scale it fast. It might take several weeks or months to start getting significant organic traffic to your website, whereas paid search ads can scale fast. You can go from 1,000 visitors a day to 10,000 visitors a day overnight. You just need to increase your ad budget.
Though search traffic is a good, high-quality source of traffic, there are two major drawbacks when it comes to search. The traffic can be costly if many advertisers are bidding for the same keywords, and your traffic is limited based on keyword search volume.
Related: 27 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website
3. Display ads
Display ads are text and banner ads that you see on other websites. Many of the display ads are controlled by the Google network itself, but they are not the only type of display ads.
If you are a publisher and want to run ads on your website, you can sign up for the Google AdSense program and run ads on your website. (I do not recommend this method of monetizing your traffic because the earnings per visitor will be quite low.) Though I do not recommend using display ads for monetizing your website traffic, it’s a good way to generate traffic as an advertiser.
Benefits of display ads:
- There’s an unlimited source of high traffic to tap into.
- Display Ads are cheap.
- You can run text-based display ads or image ads.
- You can do retargeting with display ads.
Disadvantages of display ads:
- The ads are shown to people who do not have the intent to buy.
- CTR (click-through ratio) will be less
- Conversions will be less
- Sometimes, you might get invalid clicks to your ads and you will still get charged for it. These are bot clicks and not real human clicks.
- Display ads are ignored by people and become less effective over time.
Now, let’s have a look at the different types of display ads.
Google display ads: Google display ads are an excellent source of traffic because they don’t just run image ads, but text ads as well. When you run search ads on Google, you can enable the display network along with it. Google will run a combination of search ads and display ads (called search ads with display select.) Based on the search queries, Google knows who is more likely to click on the display ads and shows the ads only to them. Such display ads are well-targeted and get a better CTR than generic banner ads.
Facebook ads: Facebook is one of the biggest display ad networks in the world. They run ads on the Facebook platform, but they also run the ads on Instagram and other websites (called the audience network.)
Native ads: The third type of display ads I would recommend is native ads. Native ads do not look like ads, but they look like content recommendations.One of the downsides of native ads is that the ads of generally of very low quality. People advertise all sorts of things when it comes to native ads. But at the same time, native ads can give very low-cost traffic and they are great for branding.
4. Affiliate traffic
You can give a percentage commission on your sales to your affiliates and referrals and let them promote your products. If you are selling a digital product, you would be giving an affiliate commission only on the sales. You don’t need to give any commissions on the traffic that is being driven to your pages. This is a free way to get traffic.
5. Referral traffic
You can create a referral campaign and get people to refer others to unlock offers. Referral campaigns are similar to affiliate campaigns but there is no monetary commission involved in this. The idea is that you give rewards to people (mostly digital products) when people refer other people to your brand. You cannot convert these referrals into customers immediately. You need to build trust with them using marketing automation.
Related: 6 Easy Ways to Attract More Website Traffic