As a consumer, free is the best price. As a marketer, free traffic is the best kind of traffic.

We spend millions of dollars to get people to come to our website with the hopes that some of them will turn into paying customers. But often, the people that get to our website via other channels (free channels, for the most part) are “higher quality” leads.

They come in through organic search results, or links from social media, or directly based on the recommendation of a friend or colleague. And because they took the impetus, they are often highly motivated.

Sometimes, if we take the time to look, we end up spending our money to get some of these folks to come to our website, even though they would have come on their own otherwise. And while that might not necessarily make them less likely to convert, it does cost us money that we’d be better off saving, or investing elsewhere.

Where Are You Spending Money Unnecessarily?

The most common place we encounter this problem is on search engines, where companies spend money to target certain keyword phrases, with the goal of getting searchers to click on an ad at the top of the SERP.

What most marketers fail to do is take their organic search rankings into account when deciding how to spend their money. For example, if you are already showing up in the first organic position on Google, do you really need to spend the money it takes to display your ad there?

We know the value of the top position on Google. And if you’re already successful at winning traffic on that keyword, why spend any money at all?

But Google is not the only place this happens. Companies spend countless ad dollars on banners, social media, billboards, television and radio that gets wasted on people who have already made their decision to purchase from you or not. In some of the more traditional channels, this is hard to avoid. But online, it’s not.

Gain a Deeper Understanding of Your Traffic

The key to spending your money intelligently is to treat your marketing efforts more strategically. Each channel, each source, each campaign or effort or idea is just one part of the larger plan. Instead of putting them in siloes and assigning them to different teams, we must bring our teams together and approach the roles and responsibilities more holistically.

SEM and SEO must be on the same page, so they don’t duplicate efforts and cancel each other out. Sales and marketing need to come together to make sure they’re not stepping on each other’s toes and sending the consumer mixed messages. The email team, or the social media team, should not be targeting introductory offers to existing customers.

Stop spending money advertising to people you don’t need to. If you can figure out how to do that, you will suddenly free up a ton of cash you can put toward more effective means. And you will make your boss very happy.