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

network marketing online

If you're just getting into network marketing 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?

37672_blog-banner-request-10-04-16-400x400-01_100616This 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 Ferny Ceballos, and I'm an expert in lead generation and network marketing online, specializing in helping home business owners, which includes network marketers, direct sellers, affiliate marketers, and Internet marketers, multiply their incomes using the Internet.

I often teach and am known for Facebook advertising…

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…

37672_blog-banner-request-10-04-16-400x400-02_100616Now, why am I addressing this?

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

And we 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 when trying network marketing online.

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…

My online debut…

37672_blog-banner-request-10-04-16-400x400-05_100616When I started building my business online, I actually started with paid advertising.

I 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.

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

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

I emailed people solid value and created videos for them on how to do network marketing online.

I just poured it on!

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

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

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

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

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

Now, if instead I'd started with free strategies, I probably wouldn't have gotten the same results and definitely not as fast.

Simply because I 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 with network marketing online by 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…

37672_blog-banner-request-10-04-16-400x400-06_100616Are 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 online 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!

37672_blog-banner-request-10-04-16-400x400-04_100616Here'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 online marketing or network marketing online.

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 me results quickly—sooner rather than later.

SEO and social media took me months — actually 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 Elite Marketing Pro, actually.

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

That was it.

Then I just observed what was happening.

My first ad didn't do so well, and I lost a bunch of money, but after that, I got the hang of it.

Before I knew it, I was making about about a thousand dollars a month, give or take, with network marketing online.

I was like…

“That's pretty cool. Now I know how this works. I know how to set up an ad and generate leads. I know how to follow up with these people, and now I know how to actually show somebody how I actually made a thousand dollars per month.”

I had that knowledge, that foundation to teach from, and so I was able to teach somebody…

“This is how to generate leads. This is how I produce sales. This is how I was able to make an extra thousand dollars per month. This is how I was able to build an email list of prospects.”

With that experience, I was able to have these core competencies to provide real value through free passive marketing strategies.

Thus, I did videos, and was able to foster relationships on social media.

My results provided credibility & confidence I needed to be authentic

37672_blog-banner-request-10-04-16-400x400-03_100616And 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 I was making a thousand dollars per month, I knew exactly how I was doing that, so it was something I could teach to other people.

I 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.”

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

Which I never wanted 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 our 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 with network marketing online.

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, I 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, I “boosted” one of my blog posts on Facebook with a $10 daily budget.

23 days later I'd made $21,212.40

Not bad, right?

Since that time, I've taught this strategy to hundreds of my 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.

Right now, you have a choice to make…

If you’re brand new to Elite Marketing Pro and you’d like to learn more about how to build your business and attract the most promising prospects, then I strongly recommend getting access to Elite Marketing Pro’s FREE 10-Day Online Recruiting Bootcamp.

You’ll learn all about the specific tools and techniques we use to connect with prospects online, so you’ll never have to act desperate, chase down or strong-arm prospects, or deal with cold calling and rejection, ever again.

You'll learn how to use attraction marketing to build your business automatically—where prospects reach out to you (instead of you having to reach out to them).

The bottom line is that, in today’s age, you don’t need to be pushy, obnoxious, or overly-aggressive to build a successful business!

So if you’re ready to get started…

Click here to access our 10-Day Online Recruiting Bootcamp today!

Choose wisely!


‘Til next time!

Ferny Ceballos
Chief Marketing Officer
Elite Marketing Pro


Finally, An Easy Way To Recruit – Rejection FREE – Without Wasting Your Time & Money Chasing Dead Beat Prospects & Leads…

Claim Your Free Internet Recruiting Bootcamp…



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