Most affiliate marketers have a website. But that takes some money for domain registration and hosting. It also takes time.
Can you do affiliate marketing without a website by using social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and others? Certainly. In this article, we explore the best ways of doing affiliate marketing without a website.
Whatever method of promotion you choose — with or without a website, Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social media platform — be sure to choose one and only one in the beginning. Focus on that one until you achieve success and then and only then add another method.
6 Ways To Do Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
We have good news for anyone interested in affiliate marketing but are hesitant to do so because they don’t have a website or blog. Here are four simple solutions you can use.
A combination of platforms – including your website and blog – is key to affiliate marketing success. Here are some methods to get you started.
1. Promote Through Social Media
Even though you don’t have to have a blog or website to become an affiliate marketer, you do need to have an online presence. Social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are good places to start.
You may get clicks on your affiliate links if you have friends or followers. Posts that inspire your audience to click are key to grabbing their attention and inspiring them to take action.
In addition to including useful content, you should make use of images when posting on social media. Visuals attract readers.
Make sure your content is relevant to your niche as well. Don’t post something that has nothing to do with your niche. It is vital that your posts are meaningful and attractive to your audience if you want their trust.
You have to adjust your marketing strategy to account for the differences in social media platforms’ structure and focus. For instance, on Facebook, you would look for groups in your niche. On Twitter, you would use Twitter Chat and hashtags.
To get started, we recommend choosing a social media outlet you already use, know, and perhaps even have a following in. An affiliate marketer can be successful on any social media platform. You just have to figure out the specifics of the platform and capitalize on the tools it has for the affiliate marketer.
With Facebook filters and categories, you can search very specifically for people who would be interested in the niche you’re addressing. You can use these free Facebook tools to help you, as an affiliate marketer, identify the characteristics that define your niche audience and customize your approach to meet their needs and enhance your affiliate profitability. Learn more about the best Facebook marketing strategies.
So how do you develop your affiliate marketing business on LinkedIn? You want to build your profile page but focus your efforts on developing a company page. A company page is usually set up for a company (naturally), but it can also be set up for a sole proprietor like an affiliate marketer. On LinkedIn, a company page is really a way to brand yourself and establish an identity that you can develop and work to attract others to. So unlike many of the other social media venues where you’re focusing on affiliate offers, on LinkedIn you want to build up a company presence.
You should join other groups in your niche and start to contribute. Answer questions, enter discussions and develop your reputation as a valued member of the group. You also want to connect with other company pages in your niche and start interacting. Your goal is to build up your reputation as a valued contributing member. Learn more about the best LinkedIn marketing strategies.
On Instagram, you can post quotes, photos, or videos. Because you’re trying to avoid coming across as too salesy and turning off potential visitors, you should follow the 4-to-1 rule: four informational posts to every one marketing post.
You can put your affiliate link in the photo or video, but it isn’t clickable. You can put a clickable link to Instagram in your signature (the brief information you include at the end of all your emails, such as your website URL).
The shelf life of a post varies according to how active the subject is. I heard an affiliate marketer who said the “shelf life” of an Instagram post was two days. I checked an affiliate marketing group, and it seemed the oldest post on the page was one day old.
Instagram has multiple ways you can promote your business with storyboards, groups, group communication, and so on. Take advantage of all the free tools Instagram offers. For a fuller explanation of Instagram marketing, check out the best Instagram marketing strategies.
2. Use YouTube Videos
What you want to do as a new affiliate marketer is start a YouTube channel in the niche you want to compete in and start making videos. The videos shouldn’t be affiliate product sales videos, especially in the beginning when you’re trying to raise your visibility and credibility. They should be valuable videos that offer viewers some useful information or help them solve their problems. These videos are completely free since you’re setting the stage on your channel and building your audience.
For example, say your niche is photography. You can start your channel on photography and start posting valuable informational videos on exposure, composition, and so on, and build up a following of people who subscribe to your channel. You can include links to your website in your videos, and they can refer to products you use. Likewise, you can use your website and emails to promote your YouTube channel.
Making a video today is so much easier than it used to be. You don’t have to buy lots of specialized equipment. Today you can make a video suitable for YouTube on your phone in minutes. If you want it to be the best it can be, you may spend quite some time editing it, adding an intro and outro, adding music, and so on.
One neat trick that used to be reserved for television studios with expensive equipment and editing software is the “green screen.” You take your video with the subject (could be you!) in front of a green sheet of cloth. In editing, you can substitute any background you want. You can be in an office, on the beach, or in Paris. It’s like magic, and it’s easy to do today. I always smile when I turn on the TV and see another TV broadcaster in front of the same green screen background I use.
Your goal is to build your audience by offering valuable information. As your channel grows and you get more likes and subscribers, you can start using some of the marketing tools YouTube gives you, like cards.
You can also embed clickable links in the video itself. These are all tools you, as a new user, will want to use. There are plenty of videos on YouTube itself that show you how. When embedding your affiliate links in your videos, we suggest a 4-to-1 ratio: four informational videos to every affiliate sales video.
Tip In all of your promotions, you’re trying to avoid coming across as too “salesy.” This ratio of non-sales information to sales is something you should maintain in your emails, website posts, YouTube videos, and social media posts. I tend to be more conservative in my approach, so I follow a 4-to-1 rule even though many other experts say you can get by with a 3-to-1 ratio.
Learn more about the best YouTube marketing strategies.
3. Promote Through Forums or Online Communities
The internet is full of forums and communities these days, and they make great places to promote affiliate links. Start by finding a forum where the product you want to promote is discussed.
You may also want to check the guidelines for your community or forum to understand what types of affiliate links you may post. Take part in the community or forum once you have found the one you like. Active participation will enable you to gain your fellow forum members’ trust.
Active engagement involves interacting with people, answering questions, and finding solutions to problems. You can use affiliate links during these interactions. As time passes, community members will begin to trust you and will click on the links you provide.
The most popular forums for affiliate marketers are Reddit and Quora. Let’s take a look at how to promote affiliate products on both sites.
Reddit is home to thousands of groups and millions of conversations. Join some groups, listen to the comments, and contribute to those to which you can offer some valuable content. Become viewed as a valuable contributor. You want to establish your presence to help establish your brand.
You can create a profile on Reddit. But according to Reddit’s guidelines for self-promotions, self-promotion is generally frowned upon. It’s important to read and follow the guidelines and rules.
Pay attention to the group rules and obey them. Some groups strictly forbid affiliate offers. Some allow them. Some require that they be in a special area reserved for all offers. Often affiliate links may be allowed only in your profile.
One of your goals is to avoid getting banned. People are often banned on various social media platforms, including Reddit, for being overly promotional. That’s why we suggest the 4-to-1 guideline mentioned throughout this chapter: four informational posts to each promotional post.
Quora is a question-and-answer site. It’s a site to share information — for people to post questions and for people who have answers to share.
So for you as an affiliate marketer, this is a place for you to share solutions to questions rather than hitting people over the head with your affiliate offer. If you can provide a valuable answer to a question, post it. Develop a relationship with your audience and a reputation for being helpful.
You can create a Quora profile with a name and bio. The first 50 characters of your profile appear above your answers. You can also include links in your answers as long as they are relevant to those answers. Many answers on Quora do contain links that are usually linked to the author’s website, but if your affiliate product is relevant, you can use that too.
4. Solo Ads
Solo ads are a great way to reach your target audience if you don’t have your own website. By using other people’s email lists, solo ads allow you to target audiences. You can then promote your affiliate products to them.
But how does it work? Assume you want to target the healthcare niche. It is one of the most popular affiliate niches, so you have signed up and are promoting your affiliate products on a number of online forums. You can now find influencers in the healthcare niche that allow solo ads in their email blasts.
In most cases, influencers will include your offer in their email list and charge you (usually per click). Thus, you will be able to generate more opt-ins and get commissions right away. Solo ads, however, are generally considered a hit-and-miss strategy, as quality traffic isn’t guaranteed.
When running solo ads, you should also balance your ROI. Be careful about signing long-term contracts, and review them regularly.
5. Create an eBook
One of the simplest methods is to write an ebook on an interesting topic that you know is likely to gain traction. Whether it’s a trending hashtag or something that could offer a lot of value to their consumers, anything is welcome.
Then, you need to embed the affiliate links into the content. If people enjoy your book and click on the links, they might eventually convert? Using Google Trends to determine the latest trending topics, and then creating an ebook based on those findings is one of the best things that you can do.
Your goal is to provide useful information to your readers. In other words, you are trying to gain your readers’ trust in the information you’ve provided. They should be willing to click on your affiliate links if they find the information presented valuable.
6. PPC Marketing
PPC marketing is the best way to get fast results. It is well known that paid affiliate advertising improves returns quickly, and you should definitely look into it as well.
You can market your affiliate products on both Facebook and Google. Each uses a pay-per-click advertising model that lets you only pay when a user clicks an ad.
Although Facebook advertising is one of the most profitable paid advertising platforms, we don’t recommend it, or any paid advertising platform, for beginning affiliate marketers until they both thoroughly understand the advertising system they will be using and thoroughly understand their audience.
More affiliate marketers have lost more money with paid advertising than practically any other method. Losses can be quite substantial unless you control your advertising budget. If you try Facebook ads or any paid ad system, make sure that you set a tight advertising budget within your means and monitor it.
Some people don’t realize that the limit they set on their advertising budget is a daily limit, so when they log in after a week or two, they find out that they spent a lot more money than they meant.
Tips for Marketing Without a Website
If you don’t have a website, affiliate marketing will be difficult, and you should know that many of the leads you generate might not be converted. To help you increase the total number of referrals, here are a few tips.
Understand social media policies: Different social networks have different rules for the types and kinds of promotion they do and do not allow — different rules for the types of links they allow. You need to be aware of those limitations and keep abreast of the changes, as detailed in the social media’s latest notice of change in its TOS (terms of service).
The terms that are current now as we write this may not be the same ones in effect when this book is published or the same ones in effect when you read this, so please check the current TOS for the social network you’re marketing in.
For example, Facebook doesn’t allow certain kinds of links. According to one Facebook marketer, they do not allow links for JVZoo, a popular affiliate marketing network. This expert’s recommendation was to try publishing a link — if it’s published, you are good to go.
If it isn’t published, then you know that Facebook has a problem with that type of link, so make a note of it and move on with another type. Our problem with this philosophy of marketing is that you’re doing “whatever works” and stopping with that particular method only when it doesn’t work any longer.
Adjust your approach for a different audience: One of the things you need to realize when you’re trying to build your affiliate marketing business on social sites is the difference in audience, which requires a different approach. When you’re doing affiliate marketing on a social site, you have to realize it isn’t a browser. When people go to a browser, they are looking for information. They are looking to solve a problem.
On the other hand, when a visitor goes to a social site, most probably she is going to see the latest information from her friends or what’s the latest in the groups she belongs to. She isn’t looking for the information or helps you can provide. Therefore, your approach has to be softer, perhaps a multistep approach that leads to your affiliate offer.
Keyword Research: Spend some time researching keywords before placing an online ad. Your next step after signing up for an affiliate marketing program is to research the right keywords for your niche. Using long-tail keywords will maximize the impact of your SERPs. By targeting the right set of keywords, you will be able to get some decent traffic.
Having an affiliate website isn’t as expensive as you may think
Often you may hear people say that having a website is expensive. That’s no longer true. You can register the domain name you want for $10 to $14 a year. Low-cost hosting that can serve you well at the beginning of your affiliate marketing career costs as little as $3.95 a month.
Some people may respond by saying they can get free hosting from sites like WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org, which is the software side of the business). The problem with free hosting is that you’re usually the subdomain of the entity offering the free hosting.
That means that your efforts to build your reputation and credibility flow upward to the primary domain (in this case, WordPress.com) rather than remain with you. Also, free hosting companies have limitations on the themes, plug-ins, and other customizations you can use.
Learn more about how to build an affiliate website.