Not everyone wants to invest the time and effort in learning the ins and outs of building websites. If that is you, then this post about making money with affiliate marketing without a website will answer most of your questions.
An affiliate marketer requires an offer (what to promote) and traffic (the target audience) to make money.
While the former can be easy to obtain, the latter comes with some effort. Build it over time, preferably through creating a website. I say a website because that is the best route to take. I’ll mention why later, although you can still accomplish the same without a website.
As a beginner affiliate marketer, it’s worth exploring the various options available to promote your affiliate links. Some will be more successful than others, depending on some factors.
But to save time, there are already established best practices. These will ensure you are on your way to profitability sooner. Others have tested these, and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
So let’s get onto these ways.
Use social media platforms
The first and obvious channel to pursue is social media.
Social media has taken over our lives and is very visible. It has become the mainstay of all our social networking efforts, especially with the advent of the pandemic. And even better, you can use it to transact business.
You have the option of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Others might as well add Pinterest, depending on how you use it. They collectively have several billion active users hence the perfect way to reach a broad audience.
A large social media following is preferable to ensure more people see your links. And the more people who see your affiliate links, the higher the chance of conversions.
The first step you need to take is to open profile accounts. Next, fill out the necessary bio details and include an identifiable picture. You can use either a personal or business brand depending on the circumstance you want to promote.
Setting up the profile is the easy part. Creating content that people will find handy takes effort. You will need to carry out research, come up with content, and set up publishing schedules.
In addition, use Facebook groups and pages for engagement and driving a wider reach.
To reach success even faster, you might need to consider the use of ads. All the platforms have one form or another of advertising. It ensures you reach a wider audience beyond your followers, but it comes at a price. You will need a budget to buy the ads and run campaigns over some time.
The higher you spend, the more people you can reach. To meet goals, use the analytics provided to your advantage to fine-tune your message.
Create and run a YouTube channel
Video marketing is another avenue for affiliate links promotion. And when we think of video on the web, the first thought is usually YouTube.
Of course, there are other alternatives like Vimeo and Dailymotion. But these do not have as much viewership as YouTube does. YouTube allows putting affiliate links in the video description. Publish the video with a call to action for viewers to take action.
YouTube has grown by leaps as a content publishing platform. Several digital marketers recommend having a presence due to the branding potential and the ease of gaining the audience’s trust.
The downside to YouTube is that it’s not an overnight job. Just like with social media, it takes time to have a substantial number of subscribers. Miles Beckler advises aspiring YouTubers to prepare for several weeks and months of work before any result.
The more active subscribers you have, the more clicks you will receive on your affiliate links. In-depth SEO know-how is crucial to this end.
Besides this, you will have to provide practical information in every video. Guides that address the users’ pain points effectively have the effect of growing your views substantially. This way the videos will receive residual views for a long time down the road.
Posting affiliate links in forums
Online communities and forums were the social media of the early internet. They serve as a medium for interaction and exchange between people who share similar interests. What you might have noted by now is that most forums revolve around a niche.
Despite the adoption and the ever-rising growth of social media, forums remained. Maybe this is a show of how deep-rooted they are in our psyche.
Most forums allow the posting of links to external websites. This ability gives affiliate marketers the space to post affiliate links within responses in threads. But it comes at a risk.
The best way to find the appropriate forums is to use Google search. Type the niche name followed by the word forum. For example, ‘gardening forum’ to search forums focused on gardening.
You will need to create an account within the forum to be able to take part in discussions.
Most forums have rules to follow. Make sure you read this so as not to run afoul. Spamming is frowned upon hence my mention of risk above. Most moderators will ban your account if they feel your only intent is posting affiliate links. They consider it as spamming the forum.
Publish viral ebooks
There was a time viral marketing was the rage in digital marketing. Those days seem to be behind us now. But it does not mean you cannot recreate those now.
You need several thousand people to share the material with their connections. And a considerable number of those contacts do the same. You end up with millions of people getting to consume the ebook.
But it’s easier said than done unless all the stars align in your favor somehow.
In addition, tIn addition, the ebook content has to be beyond the ordinary to garner such widespread interest. For example, providing solutions to common problems that very many people face that nobody else has cracked. An efficient solution to the perennial weight loss challenge is a good example.
As you create the content, insert the affiliate links within the text. As readers go through the ebook, they can click on these links. And hence accessing the recommended products and services.
Most of the time, these ebooks will be in PDF hence the clickable links.
If done right, one can achieve massive success. But the problem is that it is a one-time undertaking. Once it hits the peak, the only way it goes is downwards, meaning reducing clicks and commissions over time.
Employ email marketing
Many successful affiliate marketers hold email marketing in high regard. And for good reasons. They advise you should start collecting email addresses as soon as possible in your marketing efforts.
Many research efforts have revealed it as having the highest ROI among all other channels. It means the click-through rates for your affiliate links will be higher. Emails also have the added advantage of personalization which increases trust.
To reach many people, one needs to build a massive list of emails. You could start with family, friends, and colleagues. But it’s important to note that the addressee’s consent is required purely on ethical grounds.
You can buy an email list. But you’ll realize most of the time the addresses are not qualified leads. And that’s where having a website comes in handy. An opt-in feature in exchange for giveaways and bonuses does this purpose from within your website.
Use a landing page if there’s no website to facilitate this.
With email marketing, you’d hardly avoid incurring costs. You will need access to email automation tools like Aweber, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, etc. Some have free features for beginners, but once your list grows beyond a set level, you will have to pay for it.
There are online courses focused on email marketing only. But before you enroll for any, check that the instructor has evidence of success with the strategies they profess.
Copywriting should be a key focus area to write persuasive messages that nudge readers to take action.
Utilize paid advertising
Sometimes doing all the legwork can be effort and time-consuming. Maybe you do not have this luxury. You can opt to pay for online advertising instead.
Paid advertising comes in many forms. There are display ads, video ads, social media ads, among others. The ads get preferential placement where they are guaranteed to get impressions and clicks. For example, at the top of the first page in the SERPs.
PPC is the most popular ads model. You only pay when users click through on your ad.
Many beginners avoid this route. They lack a budget and fear losing money as positive results are not assured. It involves some bit of know-how on setting up ads and bidding for the right keywords.
There will be a period of fine-tuning to find the sweet spot between expenditure and income. Others have published courses on this arena, some focusing on Facebook advertising and others on Google ads. And like in the case of email marketing, verify these instructors have results to show.
Once you can learn the ropes, it has the potential of increasing your affiliate commissions dramatically. As long as you are earning more than you pay for the ads, you are good. The only thing you need to do is scale.
Free writing platforms
When I was new to the make money online industry, Squidoo was at its peak. Every blogger recommended it for publishing content. And many people did and earned decent money.
But the problem is that it folded at some point as Hubpages acquired it.
Platforms like Medium, Hubpages, Vocal Media, and the now non-existent Squidoo enable writers to create an account and publish content. It focuses on the content as they handle website building functions on your behalf.
They use a revenue-sharing model with the writers. Therefore, there’s a potential of earning good money. Of course, there are rules to follow, but it’s way better than using forums to get your affiliate links out.
With these free content publishing platforms, there is more than one way of earning money.
The downsides to not having a website
Now that you know there are various options to explore, let’s explore their Achille’s Heel. There is more than one!
Choosing these alternatives listed above to not having your self-hosted website is akin to renting floor space. You do not own the asset. And you not owning means you cannot sell it. You’ve probably come across bloggers selling their websites after a few years for thousands of dollars.
Affiliate marketing websites are assets that rise in value as you add content over time. Its valuation is linked directly to how much it generates per month. And the good part is that you can trade it like any physical asset!
Another downside is that many affiliate networks require a website. They need it as a prerequisite for admission into their affiliate program. Except for a few like ClickBank and Amazon Associates.
And lastly, a very likely threat. These third-party websites can disappear overnight! While that is on the utmost end, it can happen and has happened before. Consider the case of Squidoo and other lesser-known platforms.
If all your income comes from it, you’ll have to start afresh. It’s worth taking the time to diversify your online business.
But to experience an impact on your business, they do not even have to shut down, they can change their terms of service without notice. And there’s not much you can do about it, for example, deciding not to allow affiliate links anymore on their platform!
If you are pressed for money, these techniques work but have their risks. For the long term, consider building a website you can own and have freedom over the content that goes on it.
Setting one up is even easier than the work you will need to research and create content over its lifetime.
After a few years, you have the option of selling it on a marketplace for good fortune.
For starters, on creating a website blog, visit Wealthy Affiliate‘s course on online business. It’s a beginner’s, practical course named Online Entrepreneur Certification. It covers the fundamentals of building affiliate marketing businesses.