Free Traffic vs Paid Traffic – What Traffic Method Best For a Beginner?

Paid traffic is expensive and free traffic is technical and slow. What’s the perfect traffic source for someone who is just getting started with list building? Igor leaves no room for debate in this episode.


Igor Kheifets: I'm Igor Kheifets and this is the List Building Lifestyle, a podcast for anyone who wants to build a wildly profitable email list working from home. If you'd like to make six figures, travel the world, and help people improve their lives in the process, then this podcast is for you. I also invite you to attend the free workshop and, where I'm teaching how I made $21,779.45 cents in affiliate commissions by sending just 481 clicks to my affiliate link in one day.

I'm also explaining why I walked away from ClickBank, and I don't promote ClickBank offers anymore, as well as the five things I look for in the perfect affiliate offer. I'm even going to show you the one page website that I used to make over half a million dollars in affiliate commissions this year. And I'll even drive you to attend this workshop by giving you a $497 value course that shows you how to cherry pick high converting affiliate offers free and next affiliate promotion. In addition, I'll even give you the three offers I'm promoting right now that are making me money as we speak. All of that and more at And now it's time to claim your list building lifestyle.

Terrance Lackey: Welcome to the List Building Lifestyle show. Another episode where explore internet marketing with Igor Kheifets and Terrance Lackey. Hello, Igor, how are you doing my man?

Igor Kheifets: Hey Terrance, doing great. We're finally talking about traffic, the one thing everyone wants to know.

Terrance Lackey: I know I've been waiting for this for a while. Traffic. Everybody loves traffic, the lifeblood of the internet and internet marketing. So today, what are we going to explore about traffic?

Igor Kheifets: Well, we're going to be running a bit of a comparison between free and paid, because I'm seeing lots of confusion around the topic of like, "Should I do free traffic? Should I do paid traffic? What if I don't have a lot of money? Should I still do paid or free?" So as far as I'm concerned, people are misguided in how they need to make that decision.

Terrance Lackey: Yeah. This is something that I struggled with myself quite a bit in my early days. And even now consider it, should I be pursuing free traffic? Should I be paying for traffic? What's the criteria? Is your time versus money, I think. Right, Igor?

Igor Kheifets: Yes, exactly. I mean, there's really only two schools of thought for traffic and people think there's free and there's paid. That's the most common way to think about it, but what I've discovered, and I wrote about this in my book, the List Building Lifestyle book, which you can get on Amazon. What I've discovered is there's actually no such thing as free. There's no such thing as free traffic because you end up paying for it in some way. And oftentimes you are paying for it, not just with your time. Let me explain. So I got this buddy of mine. He sells insurance, and his name is George. George is a really nice guy, a really nice dude, and a really good responsible insurance salesman unlike many insurance sales people out there.

In fact, he actually protected me from making a bad investment early on about eight months or so ago, where I had no idea what I was going into. And he was the one who actually helped me read the fine print. And amazing guy. We're really grateful for him. And I was having coffee with him, and he was telling me about how they're driving leads for their business. Because as an insurance salesman, what I found out is that insurance salespeople, they're kind of like affiliate marketers' terms. They work on a commission. So they sign you off for an insurance policy. They get a premium. Oftentimes, it can be ranging between $800 bucks all the way up to like $2,500 or maybe $3,000, but they get paid a premium. So for every sign up, they get paid a commission.

Now the thing about insurance salespeople, they have to generate their own leads. There's no company that supplies those leads for them. And if they choose to own their own brokerage, which in this case, George does, he owns his own brokerage with his father. And they're the ones responsible for driving the traffic. And I asked him, "So how did they generate the leads?" And he said, "They're doing search engine optimization." And I said, "Okay, but I know your biggest competitor that has a business about 10 times your size. They're doing lots of PBC. They're doing lots of Facebook ads, and Google ad words to be specific."

And he says, "Yeah, but I don't like paying for traffic." I say, "Okay, well, I guess it's not for everyone. Although I'm a big advocate of paid traffic. So tell me how to do SEO, search engine optimization." He says, "Well, first you have to create lots of content. And that's why I have four people working for me getting paid $5,000 per month to write insurance related content." I was like, "So you're paying $20,000 per month in salaries for SEO? To get content for SEOs?" He's like, "Yeah. And then I also have to get backlinks and backlinks costs about $300 to $500 bucks each." And he's a Canadian and those are US dollar figures, which means you have to multiply it almost by 1.5 at this point.

And I was like, "And how many do you need for website?" And I think he said about a dozen or something like that. So eventually, he ends up admitting that he spent well over, I think at the time, several hundred thousand dollars in order to generate all this free traffic. And turns out, he still hasn't even gotten even on it, he didn't break even yet. So he was still down on all that "free traffic." How about that?

Terrance Lackey: Wow, wow. Man, he needs to definitely take a look at that and see what the results are because here's what it would cost per click and here's what the conversions are.

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. But you see, when you drive free traffic, you don't even look at it that way. Your mindset is mistakenly diverted into thinking that it's all free when it's really not. And that's what I have discovered myself about a year into my journey in internet marketing. I focused on the free traffic at first because I was broke. I thought I couldn't afford free pay traffic. And so what I've done is I started social media accounts. Remember I shared it on the podcast many times. I also shared my book, creating MySpace profiles, Facebook profiles, Twitter profiles, then getting software to automate it all. Then moving into blogging and buying keyword research software to do the keyword research, then buying backlinks for the blog. Then creating lots of articles, which basically end up spending thousands upon thousands.

I mean, do you know why I became a decent writer? Because I wrote like crazy. Because that's how I thought I'm getting traffic. So yeah. Free traffic, what I've discovered after investing myself into this thing for at least a year or so, and not making anything back. I realized, "Look at all this time and money I've invested into 'free traffic.' And I am upside down on it. In fact, I not even getting paid." So free traffic turned out to be one of the most expensive things I've ever done. And this is why I moved into paid traffic. And which brings me to the other school of thought in internet marketing. It's basically the people who realize, "Look, if I set up a system where I can pay for my clicks and pay for my leads, I can scale up and down as I please, and as long as they can figure out how to turn these leads into customers," which is what I focused on since moving away from free traffic and really just never looked back.

Terrance Lackey: That makes a whole lot of sense. So it's counterintuitive when you see free traffic, that's really not free. And then going to paid traffic, it frees you up, right? You told me that it gives you additional time to analyze the traffic, and the conversions, and make a business decision on the actual money rather than trying to generate this free traffic, which is really not free because your time is not free. And like in the case of your friend, all the hours he put in with his staff, it amounted to a significant amount of money. Wow. So paid traffic versus free traffic. Your recommendation sits with free traffic. Am I right?

Igor Kheifets: No, no. Paid. I recommend paid traffic.

Terrance Lackey: I was just trying to catch you there. So paid traffic. Absolutely. So what's the best method for a beginner? I'm a beginner. I have a very limited budget. What do you recommend Igor? What are my first steps with regard to this paid versus free traffic?

Igor Kheifets: I'll talk about the first steps in a second. I want to share one more thing about George, because it gets worse than that. It gets worse than just investing yourself fully into something and seeing no return as well as spending money. You see, the problem with the free traffic approach a lot of times, is that not only you're competing against a ton of other people, which in and of itself as an issue. But also when you're operating on, say something like search engine optimization, George at one point had eight properties, eight websites, that were promoting insurance stuff on the first page of Google. But then, Google changed their algorithm again. And Google doesn't announce it. They just change it. And guess what? Four properties that have eight got off the first page. Now, that means half of the lead gen is off. So all that work, all of these investments that he made, everything just got slashed in half. And then he consulted an SEO guy asking how long will it take him to rank those websites back on the first page, because we all know that people don't really go beyond the first page. You Google something, you look at the top of the page, the first three years olds, and then you don't even look at anything else. And so he was told that it's going to take another five months to rank those websites back.

Terrance Lackey: Wow. So that's money down the drain. But yes, five months to dig it out of a hole, perhaps, right? Maybe.

Igor Kheifets: Maybe, and he's still will have to pay to get those websites ranked by creating content, building backlinks, and yada yada yada yada.

Yo, it's Igor. If you're loving the content, hop on over to for more free training and a free transcript of this episode. Oh, and I'd really appreciate if you logged into iTunes and rated the show, it really helps. Thanks.

So not only free traffic isn't free, but it's also not sustainable. And that's the kind of thing that doesn't happen with paid traffic, unless of course you're using networks like Facebook that ban people for no damn reason. And I think I've spoken plenty at this point about how much I hate Facebook ads, but in case this is your first time listening to this podcast, I hate Facebook ads. Okay. So when it comes to paid traffic, it's really not a matter of which traffic source you want to use, because that may change based on the product. For example, if you want to promote a face cream, you may want to use some native advertising. So you can advertise to a much wider audience.

If you want to promote a make money online opportunity, then you may want to use something like solo ads because that's a niche market and you can find some really good email lists for that. And so that changes between different products and niches. And we're not going to go into that. In fact, you know what, if you really want to find out about a bulletproof paid traffic strategy, head over to, that's for free training on traffic. I'll show you how I generate as much as 967,822 clicks per 30 days on complete autopilot using your paid traffic, and that'll make that traffic pay for itself. So that's

Now, as with regards to strategy though, start with what you can. Just scrape some money together and start with what you can. And then that will put you in a position where you'll have to make the traffic work. You'll lose some money at first and that's okay, but it's nothing compared to the upside of becoming an expert at converting leads into customers, because that gives you true independence. Because if there's any skill that pays better than real estate, better than the stock market, better than anything else, that skill is to be able to generate the lead, to pay for lead, to generate the lead, and then to convert that lead into a customer.

And then of course the question becomes, "Okay, what if I don't have the money?"

Terrance Lackey: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, what if I'm broke and I'm just getting started from zero?

Igor Kheifets: Exactly. So that's really the big problem. And when I started, I was literally broke. I had no job, my first autoresponder payment, I had to borrow from my dad because I didn't even have a credit card. So what I've done, and I don't know about you Terrance, but what I've done to get money in order to fund my business, in other words, in order to fund my traffic, first of all I got two jobs. I got two jobs, because with one job I was paying the bills. With the other, I was making some extra money for my traffic.

The second thing I've done, I became a freelancer. Because as I was developing in this business, I acquired some skills. I could write some copy. I could build some capture pages, write some emails. So I started offering my services to other people who were willing to pay me in order to avoid doing some sort of task. And oftentimes, I would even make more money to the people who were hiring me than they paid me. I remember one time I wrote a sales letter for a friend of mine for $750, where he was selling a $250 product. And he ran a promo to his list, and he sold 20 units and I also wrote him an upsell letter that was selling a $1000 product for, I think, an extra $150 or $250 bucks.

So I was really happy because I made $1000 as a copywriter, but he actually made multiples of that. And then it continued to use that sales letter for several more years. So I became a freelancer. I started trading my hours and my skills for dollars and I was able to quite handsomely fund my traffic generation that way without dipping into my monthly budget. And then also, it's a cliche, but I cut expenses. I stopped going out. I stopped buying stupid stuff that I didn't need. I really cut down on my spending. I skipped meals as much as I could. I ate over at my parents' place. So I did everything to spend less and make more. And as a result, I've built a small budget that I could work with every month. And then as a result of that, I was able to figure out how to convert better and then I created a self-funding a traffic machine eventually. So that was my approach. And it's a very common approach for many big marketers. And there's a reason for it because free traffic is just not something you can build on.

Terrance Lackey: Yeah. Igor, this is kind of resonates with me because I first started out in actually I was in the realm of free traffic sites to a niche and trying to rake that. And trying to, they call them sniper sites at the time, and that's something that I first got into. And I'll tell you what, I was spinning my wheels until I got into your solo ad business is one of the first solo ad purchases I made. And it was tough. It was like pulling a out of my hands, getting my wallet and that card out to actually purchase it. But once I did, the results I got were just phenomenal based on all the work I was doing. I like your idea of freelancing to earn money.

You're taking something that's predictable income, which is freelancing, then you're taking that and putting it into predictable outcome, which is the paid traffic. And that seems to me like it'd be so much more productive than the stuff I was doing back then worrying about backlinks, and worrying about how my pages were constructed and running, all kinds of SEO algorithms and not getting results that I wanted, and this and that. So definitely I think this is great advice. Man, so paid traffic wins by far. And I love what you mentioned.

It bears worth mentioning again, is through this free training over at, that's free paid traffic training. And that's a great place to start. Plus, you have to have some type of a budget for this. Do what you got to do with you. You have to cut out that Starbucks and these days, it's probably easier to do the most, but you got to have a budget. And then you can predict it and go forward. So, man, that's a great episode. Any final words on traffic, free versus paid?

Igor Kheifets: Yeah. I really think it comes down to you being an entrepreneur versus a wantrepreneur. A wantrepreneur talks about the big ideas, and then they talk about how they would like to start something, but then they're never able or willing to risk anything. Even if it's a $100 bucks, they're not going to risk anything to achieve that big outcome. A true entrepreneur, which is what we are. If you want to be an affiliate marketer, you're an entrepreneur because you're not going for a job you're going for being independent. An entrepreneur is willing to take risk. In fact, is excited to take risks in favor of potentially gaining a big outcome. That's what entrepreneurship is about. Anyone who's successful out there at one point or another, had to take lots of risks.

In fact, you look at the most successful people out there. People like Elon Musk, you read Elon Musk's biography. The guy just goes from one huge risk to another all the time. Now, obviously we don't all have a stomach for it. And I'm not saying you should foreclose on your house, and mortgage your house, and go and dump all of your life savings into an MLM. That's just stupid. But taking small calculated risks with your traffic and analyzing results, and then taking additional risks after you've tweaked your system, that's how you do it. And of course, it goes without saying, I mean, it's in the name of the show.

You build the list. You don't just send traffic to a link. You build your list. And that's actually one of the things that I teach in that free training at, a big part of why people become successful with paid traffic is not because they send traffic to an incredible offer that converts right away. That's a bit of a myth. That's possible in maybe under like 3% of the circumstance. Most of the time they generate leads. And then they massage the leads and follow up with the leads to make money. So that's a longterm game folks. It's not a short term thing.

And yeah, I agree with you with regards to freelancing, it's somewhat of a job approach to funding. So if you can't afford to take on debt, if you don't have a credit card with a big spending capacity, then freelancing and operating on cash basis only is a great way to do it. That's how I've done it. I remember I did not even have a credit card when I started.

Terrance Lackey: Well, there you go. Do you want to be a entrepreneur or wantrepreneur? Super. Thank you Igor, thank you listeners. And we will be in your earbuds next time.

Igor Kheifets: Thank you for listening to the List Building Lifestyle. Get access to previous episodes, the transcription of today's show, as well as other exclusive content at Also, don't forget to claim your free seat at the workshop I'm hosting this week, where I show the two step system that made me the top affiliate for people like Ned Basack, John Crestani, Richard Leck, Michael Cheney, and many, many others. In fact, on this workshop, I'm going to show you the exact approach I take whenever I promote an affiliate offer, the exact offers I promote, as well as how I was able to make over half a million dollars in commissions using my small list of just 18,000 people, promoting a weird type of product that almost no one else promotes. All that is yours at So go ahead, claim your seat right now, and I'll see you there.

Who Is Igor Kheifets

Igor Kheifets is the 3rd highest-earning super-affiliate in the internet marketing niche.

Igor’s 2-step system has helped him consistently rank as the highest-earning and the highest-converting (measured in commissions earned per click) for industry’s leading vendors including but not limited to Matt Bacak, John Crestani and Anthony Morrison.

Igor boiled down success in affiliate marketing to a set of predictable easy steps anyone can take to generate commissions.


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