Although I don't believe anyone should attempt to promote their online business using free traffic alone, it is well worth using free traffic strategies in addition to your paid advertising in order to get as many people as possible to see your sales funnels.
There are a number of strategies you can use to get free traffic:
One free traffic strategy is SEO (search engine optimization). This is basically creating online content which is engineered to rank well on search engines for popular keyword and key phrase searches. SEO is a science in itself and many marketers exclusively use it to promote their websites and sales funnels.
When used correctly, SEO does work and I have heard many amazing success stories about people building huge incomes with this traffic generation method. Although you can optimize websites for organic search engine traffic for free, you can also outsource search engine optimization services such as article creation, backlinking and social bookmarking to accelerate your progress.
Having said that, I can say without any doubt whatsoever that most of my online income comes from paid advertising sources, mainly solo email ads.
Nonetheless, it is still worth taking a few simple steps to make your websites and funnels more visible to the search engines, and to let the search engines 'know' what your website is about, so that they send you targeted organic traffic, that is, visitors who are in the market for whatever you are promoting.
For example, choosing a domain name which consists of or includes the keyword(s) or keyphrase ie. the search term for which you want to rank on the search engines gives you a competitive advantage over websites whose domain names do not contain that search term.
It is also a good idea to add tags to blog posts which the search engines regard as being relevant to your target keywords. You can use the Google Adwords free keyword suggestion tool to find out which keywords Google deems to be related to a given search term by entering the search term and seeing which related keywords it suggests.
These 'closely related but not the same' keywords are known in the search engine optimization industry as 'latent semantic indexing' keywords and you should use them in the titles, tags and body of your blog posts to make those posts recognizable to Google (and other search engines) as being 'about' the keyword for which you wish to rank.
If I haven't already bored you into unconsciousness with all this stuff it's also a good policy to tag images in posts and other media with your keywords and LSI keywords.
One-way backlinks pointing to your site, with your keywords and LSI keywords as anchor text also help you to rank well as search engines regard them as 'votes' for the importance or relevance of your site in the context of that search term.
If you're not already familiar with the term 'backlinks', these are links from other sites pointing to your webpages. As long as your backlinks look natural and not like spammy backlinks engineered to try to game the search engines, they will help your webpages to rank better for your target keywords.
I also never 'over optimize' my content too much to include lots of keywords and LSI keywords as I think having content which is interesting and reads well rather than keyword stuffed paragraphs which don't necessarily make sense makes your content 'stickier', that is, it doesn't repel your visitors away from your site as much and it also makes people more likely to share your content via social media.
Which brings me to the last free traffic method which I personally use, that is, social media marketing.
Have you ever noticed that there are lots of posts on Facebook which are specifically designed to get people to share them with their friends and create a surge of 'viral traffic' by infiltrating as many Facebook timelines as possible. You know the stuff - either cute, funny or controversial images and videos which are designed to get shares by triggering emotional responses. These posts very often link to a 'monetized' website which has a lead capture page (sales funnel) or contains pay per click advertising, especially pay per click advertising with 'clickbait' images which earn the website owner money when people click on them.
I'm not saying you should use this marketing method but it is a good idea to make your content as 'shareable' as possible. If you look at this post there will probably be some social media share buttons on the right hand side of your screen - that's about as much as I do to get free social media traffic.
Whilst I am very confident that you can expand your reach, get more visitors and increase your income with free traffic methods, I believe that trying to build an entire business based on free traffic strategies would be extremely difficult. Search engines also frequently change their algorithms, that is, the 'rules' they follow when determining the SERP (search engine ranking position) a website gets for a given search term. You can be on page one of Google for a bunch of keywords one day and then disappear from the results the next.
In short, if you want to be fully in control of your own traffic and your own online income you need to learn how to promote your funnels with cost effective paid advertising. Boosting your sales with extra free traffic is just the icing on the cake 🙂