Can I do affiliate marketing without a website?

It’s a question we’re asked on a regular basis. The short answer is yes. But there’s a little more to it than that.

In this article, we’ll explore common and not so common methods people have utilized which have led to success in the affiliate channel without creating their own websites. What is important to note is that some advertisers list having a website as a requirement for their affiliate program. It’s advised to look for these parameters within an advertiser’s terms and conditions prior to signing up for their program. Alternatively, you can reach out directly to discuss your chosen approach.

How can I make money with affiliate marketing without a website?

There are several common approaches to affiliate marketing without a website, and certain publishers find their profits are far higher using these methods. You will come to see that though definitely viable, each option may take either significant time or financial investment to reach their full earning potential for you.

Promote through social media 

Promoting brands through social media is one of the most common ways to share your affiliate links without a website in 2020. As there are so many different social media platforms to choose from, you should consider what content you’re confident in creating. You should also think about the target audience you are hoping to reach with your content and which platforms they might be using more often.

Facebook is currently still the most used social media platform globally and is great for a variety of content types. Here you have the opportunity for more written content that can be accompanied by images or videos. However, certain audience demographics may spend more time elsewhere. Instagram is a popular platform for brands with strong visual appeal, as it is an image focused form of social media. You can fit more information into video content on this platform but some people may not feel comfortable creating video content. It should be noted that this is a fear that should be overcome sooner rather than later, as video is increasing in popularity in online marketing. 

Twitter is great if you want to be short and succinct in your marketing, but struggles to allow for longer-form content that could be necessary for some products and brands. LinkedIn is a professionally-driven social media network. As such, products promoted here should really have more of a business focus.

TikTok is now emerging as a place for marketers to create content which could help increase sales. To fully utilize the social media app to increase sales, affiliate marketers need to be able to place links within their content. TikTok recently launched ‘TikTok for Business’ which does allow creators to do this, however, the minimum advertising spend for their features is $50 per day. Some may find this sort of cost does not create a positive CPA for their efforts.

As you can see, the four major social media platforms have their benefits and pitfalls… it all depends on where you think you can best put your energy.

Youtube videos

You may have noted that we didn’t list Youtube in the ‘promote through social media’ section above. This is for very good reason. Firstly, Youtube is commonly classified as a search engine before it is categorized as a social media platform.

Using Youtube is a great way to promote your associated brands and be part of the affiliate marketing game without needing your own website. Audiences watching Youtube videos are already primed and searching for advice and information, or ‘warm leads.’ Nurturing a dedicated audience can see very high success rates for affiliate products but, of course, it takes time to build this trust with an audience.

Paid ads

Paid ads, as the name suggests, take initial investment from a publisher to see a return on that investment. Paid ads are available on lots of platforms, with varying costs. These can be extremely effective if you find the right niche with a good CPC (Cost Per Click).

One of the most popular platforms is Google Ads. These ads are relatively easy to set up and have a good interface to be able to track the successes or failures of the adverts. However, in certain popular niches, CPC can be extremely high.

Paid advertising takes time to tweak to ensure the money you are outlying for the advert creates a profitable return for your efforts.

Forum browsing

This can be a time-consuming option but an effective one. Finding online forums where people are asking questions about your specific affiliate marketing niche takes time but within these spaces can be lots of very warm leads. Where people are asking for information, you can offer valuable advice with the knowledge you’ve gained as a publisher and then provide your affiliate marketing link alongside it. 

The key here is to ensure you are actually providing value to the reader with your comments. Only comment and insert your affiliate link if it is relevant to what they have asked and always provide context around your link – never just the link on its own. Otherwise, you can come off as ‘spammy’ and people will be less inclined to purchase from you or the brands you work with.

This technique can also work in the comments sections of relevant news articles, blogs, Youtube video comments, and even other forms of social media. 

EDMs (Email marketing)

Building an email marketing list is a tried and true form of marketing. It means you can utilize your database across other platforms but, most importantly, speak to your database very directly. Whether these emails are designed and branded or very simple in format, you’ll be able to reach them straight to their inbox.

Lots of research has been conducted as to the best trends to follow for email marketing, particularly in 2020. Optimizing for mobile users and focusing on storytelling are just two of them. The best part of email marketing is you can be as creative, or not, as you like.

Many email database management systems will allow you to segment your list too. So you can potentially separate your audience into people who have previously purchased from you, those who are warm, and those who are cold leads.

It’s very important to consider data privacy laws when it comes to email marketing, as it is your responsibility as a publisher to adhere to these in different regions around the world. 

‘Traditional’ marketing

We’re talking print, radio, and flyers here — ‘old school’ marketing tactics. These come with their own varied costs, but as long as the link or coupon code is unique to the publisher, this data can still be tracked.

At ShareASale, we have the ability to track coupon and discount codes within our data tracking using advanced coupon code tracking. So if you would like to put an ad in your local newspaper or on a flyer drop, your affiliate efforts can be monitored. What needs to be considered here is both your return on investment, as well as the inability to be as targeted as is possible other methods. You could be wasting your money promoting to an audience who simply won’t convert for you or your advertiser.