Free vs. Paid Online Lead Generation Strategies: Where Should You Start?

If you want to build your business online, your first question might be…

Should I invest my time in free or paid traffic strategies?

Now, if you’ve looked around the Internet for training on how to do just that…

You might have noticed there’s a dizzying array of lead generation methods being taught…

  • Active prospecting (reaching out and connecting one-at-a-time)
  • Passive marketing (such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, etc.)
  • Paid advertising (e.g., pay-per-click or post engagement)

Which begs the question…

Where do you start?


This question is especially pertinent if you’ve already undertaken some of these methods and haven’t gotten results.

Now, if you don’t know me…

My name is Cecelia Morris, and 2 months ago I had no idea how to create a Facebook Fan page, run an ad campaign or even how to create or start a blog…

So you might think I’m going to say that paid strategies are the way to go.

Well, I’m here to tell you…

That’s not necessarily true.

The best choice depends on your specific situation…


Now, why am I addressing this?

Recently, Ferny was having a conversation with one of his long-time mentees, Kate McShea…

And they were discussing how some traffic strategies work really well for the trainer who’s teaching them, yet when they’re taught to somebody else in different circumstances, with different skill sets…

They don’t seem to work very well.

Now why is that?

And why is this important to the debate of free vs. paid traffic?

Well, when you look at a leader who exclusively used free marketing strategies in order to gain their notoriety and their success…

You may assume that their particular traffic generation method is the best.

But not so fast!

There is more to the equation.

They may be teaching you what they did, but they’re not accounting for their unique circumstances when they got started.

Here, let me give you an example…

Ferny’s online debut…


When he started building my business online, he actually started with paid advertising.

He had some initial success making about $1k per month, and then started moving away from paid advertising and started exploring free strategies, such as SEO and passive social media marketing via blogging and video.

He was generating maybe 10 to 20 leads per day, but he wouldn’t exactly call that a HUGE haul.

But it did force him to cultivate a really close relationship with his email list and those following him on social media.

He emailed people solid value and created videos for them.

That value fostered the relationship, and soon he had a very responsive email list of a couple thousand people that knew, liked, and trusted him.

That allowed him to make some headway in promotions, affiliate contests, develop a reputation among marketers and even helped him build his first 6-figure network marketing business.

That was mostly done using a free passive social media strategies that he deployed, but the interesting thing is…

His First $10,000 in Commissions Was Made with Paid Advertising…

Paid strategies allowed him to get into results quickly, control his initial lead flow and optimize his sales funnels.

Now, if instead he started with free strategies, herobably wouldn’t have gotten the same results and definitely not as fast.

Simply because he wouldn’t have had any credibility to leverage from that initial success.

Nor the experience of understanding how to optimize sales funnels (capture pages & offer pages), without having the consistent flow of traffic from paid ads.

Today, free and paid strategies boil down to three distinct methods…


Active prospecting is a free strategy.

In the online world, it means reaching out to people through private messaging and forming relationships one-on-one.

The advantage is that it gets you leads fast.

The disadvantages are that it’s not scalable beyond a certain point, because it’s massively time intensive, and it does require you to develop a sales skillset.

Prospecting is sales — contrary to what anyone tells you.

Can you make a good income doing active prospecting?


Are you going to generate tons of leads?


Active prospecting online is much like how you would do it offline, where you’re interacting with people and fostering one-on-one relationships, and when the timing is right, you present your business to them.

But as I’ve said, if you’re doing active prospecting, and thus reaching out one-at-a-time, you have to know that it’s extremely time intensive.

And usually the people who are doing active prospecting on social media are the LOUD people.

I think you know what I mean:

The “Type A” folks who aren’t shy and literally “live out loud” on social media, tell the world about how much money they are making on their social profiles, in an attempt to attract more interested prospects, besides those they private message.

So you’ve got to ask yourself…


Are you one of the loud people?

Do you want to be actively prospecting 24/7 on social media?

If that’s you — great!

But, personally, I’m not a loud person by nature nor do I want to be private messaging for dollars all day long.

In fact, I can perform at a much higher level than people who are using active prospecting strategies, because I can use passive marketing and paid advertising to generate hundreds of leads per day.

Here’s the main thing to remember…

It’s not scalable because there’s only ONE of you doing all that prospecting, messaging & 1 at a time relationship building.

It might be scalable if you’re part of a network marketing company where you can teach the same sales/prospecting skills to others, and thus duplicate.

If you can duplicate that’s great — but that’s not marketing.

Let me repeat…

Active prospecting is not marketing, because It’s NOT leveraged or scalable.!

So if active prospecting isn’t scalable, what are some free strategies, which have the potential of being scalable?


Passive marketing includes things like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and other methods where you’re broadcasting to, and sharing value with, people on the Internet.

It’s free because you don’t have to pay to play, you just have to hit “record.”

Now, you can easily convert a broadcast into a paid strategy by promoting it on Facebook, and we’ll talk about that in a minute…

But the broadcast itself is technically passive marketing, as the intention is to have more and more people see your content via social media and grow your audience organically.

A lot of trainers are teaching this method today.

Essentially, they’re saying…

“Do Facebook Lives every day, do Periscopes every day, blog every day. Put out content, put it on social media, foster those relationships through content with the people in your social circles. Rinse and repeat.”

…and yeah, that’s cool (with a few major caveats).

The advantage to passive marketing is that it’s more scalable than active prospecting.

But, there are a couple of distinct disadvantages…

  • First, it requires a lot of discipline, consistency, perseverance, and a lot of patience, because all free passive marketing strategies take time to attract & build up an audience and begin to fill your sales funnels.
  • Second, if you want to have success sooner rather than later, you’ll want to have a core competency — core knowledge and experience around a certain subject matter, so that people stick with you.

You may have noticed that there some online who have basically started doing Facebook Live, or Periscope, or blogging every day, or whatever it is…

And they started gaining an audience very quickly.

Before you know it, they just blew up on the scene—and more power to them!

But the reason they’re attracting that audience faster than most is because, quite simply…

They already had a core competency!


Here’s what I mean…

They already had experience in a particular area and were simply sharing their (often extensive) knowledge with people.

A lot of people point to Gary Vaynerchuk as an example of somebody that built something from nothing in regards to social media, but that’s actually not true.

Gary Vee already had a core competency with his first online business.

  • One, he had already had a multi-million dollar business, which was the liquor business he inherited from his father, and…
  • Two, he knew a lot about liquor & wines (and about wine enthusiasts).

So he took those core competencies and created an online show, started doing video blogs every day about wine, and slowly but surely started gaining an audience.

Then he also did a lot of active prospecting by reaching out to people through private messages and basically offering his help on the topic of wine.

He gained an audience gradually, and before too long, he became the phenomenon he is today.

That is how you actually do free passive marketing.

Again, you have to be in it for the long haul and have a lot of patience.

Gary was, and still is.

But a lot of people coming online don’t have a core competency.

They enter the online or home business arena, but they don’t yet know anything about the online marketing or network marketing.

And then they’re told by a trainer…

“You should blog, or Periscope, or Facebook Live every day.”

But, here’s the problem…

What content are they going to share?

It’s frankly quite silly to ask somebody with very little knowledge, no experience, and no results, to be teaching other people stuff they’re not even sure about yet.

Make sense?

That’s the main thing you need to understand….

If you are doing Facebook Lives, or Periscopes, or whatever, and you don’t have results yet or some core competency…

You’re going to have a very hard time attracting an audience, because people will be able to tell that you are not as experienced yet.

That’s the reason why when I first came online, I started with paid advertising…


 Paid advertising creates immediate results and, most importantly, is scalable.

I knew it would start getting results quickly—sooner rather than later.

SEO and social media takes months — maybe over a year — to get proficient enough to start producing results.

So, I knew that doing paid advertising would quickly get me results and get me the experience I needed in order to do two things…

  1. Create immediate income, and…
  2. Actually build my knowledge base and create a foundation that I could teach from.

Now, when I first went online, I plugged into an affiliate system.

It was Attraction Marketing, actually.

Initially, I just invested in advertising and promoted Attraction Marketing through Elite Marketing Pro.

That was it.

Then I just observed what was happening…

My results provided credibility & confidence I needed to be authentic


And compelled people actually want to pay attention to me.

This is precisely why, at EMP, we recommend starting with paid advertising.

That’s why when we bring people into Elite Marketing Pro, we take them through a step-by-step process that gets them real results.

It gets them leads/prospects and even sales within the first two weeks.

That’s the explicit intention of the process.

It can happen sooner, it can happen a little later, but the point is we have a process that’s already in place to get people results quickly.

Because when you take action and get a result, then you have a skill set.

And, of course, you know how you acquired your results.


You can share what you know!

When Ferny was making a thousand dollars per month, he knew exactly howhe was doing that, so it was something he could teach to other people.

He could share…

“This is how I’m doing it. This is where I learned it from, and this is what I’m a doing maybe a little differently by adding my own flare to it.”

He could say those things with confidence, without doing the whole “fake it ‘til you make it” thing…

Which I never want to do.

Which brings us to…

How to choose your traffic strategy

Here’s what I suggest…

  • If you are absolutely broke and have ZERO money, then I recommend active prospecting in the beginning.
  • If you already have a core competency in some area, and that’s the area you want to go into and become an expert and a leader in, then I definitely recommend using passive marketing — Facebook Live, blogging, and Periscope — to deliver that value to the audience that is there waiting for it.
  • If you have even a couple of dollars to rub together, and are willing to invest at least $10 per day in advertising and lead generation, then I highly recommend using paid marketing.

Here’s the cool thing to remember…

It doesn’t have to be a battle of “either-or.”

You can do passive marketing, active strategies, and paid strategies, all at the same time.

And when you combine them…

You can create a monster business!

One of EP’s members is an active prospector who literally gets only a single lead a day on social media, yet he’s been able to make close to six figures over this past year.

I’ll say it again…

One lead per day making almost six figures!


He forms a solid relationship with every single lead that comes in.

He reaches out to them and sends them a message on social media.

He takes care of them and creates a community for those few dozen people, and he’s able to make a full-time income from a very tiny group of people.

Recently, his income was dropping and he didn’t know what to do.

So, Ferny told him…

“Dude, if you actually did everything you currently do, and you also incorporated paid marketing…

And instead of generating one lead per pay, you generated 10 to 20 leads per day, how big would your business grow?

If you’re still doing the fostering of relationships that you’re currently doing, but rather than doing with one person each day…

You do it with 10 or 20 people per day, how quickly would your business explode from a financial standpoint?”

That got him thinking, and it was the breakthrough that he needed.

Now he actually just started doing paid strategies, and he’s generating multiple leads per day.

That’s the power of paid advertising when you combine it with the things you’re forced to do in the free realm, such as…

Fostering relationships, pouring value on people, creating community.

When you combine those with the scalability of paid strategies, you can pretty much grow as much as you want, and…

Become a force to be reckoned with!

Again, it’s not an issue of free versus paid traffic strategies.

It’s an issue of where you’re at in your business, what resources you have, and if you’ve cultivated in-demand core competencies.

And like I mentioned before…

Paid advertising is hands-down the quickest way to get results, build a core competency, and is frankly the only traffic method that can create immediate cashflow for your business.

Case in point…

About a year ago, Feerny “boosted” one of his blog posts on Facebook with a $10 daily budget.

23 days later he’d made $21,212.40

Not bad, right?

Since that time, he’s taught this strategy to hundreds of his students…

Students who’ve gone on to generate scores of leads and sales of their own, and turn around to teach what they learned in the process to passively market their business—just like I did when I first got started.

Now, if you’d like to learn my exact strategy and join their ranks…

Then check out this 100% FREE traffic workshop put together by Tim Erway, my business partner and CEO of Elite Marketing Pro.

You’ll get to see, start-to-finish, exactly how to put together a profitable paid advertising campaign—from selecting your audience, to creating an ad, writing a blog post, and positioning your offer (whatever it may be).

Plus, you’ll see a play-by-play breakdown of my Facebook campaign…

Which ultimately ended up generating a total of $141,246.00 in sales from an ad spend of just $9,524.90.

That’s a whopping 1381% ROI, in case you were curious.

So if you haven’t registered yet, go ahead and click the link below…

Just pick a time that works for you to attend Tim’s traffic workshop right here.

‘Til next time!


Cecelia Morris
CEO at Taking Charge Inc.

P.S., You feedback is important to me.  If this article provided some value to you please leave a comment and share with your friends/family in the business.


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