Almost all of the “how to” affiliate marketing information out there revolves around developing a website as your marketing platform, but what about affiliate marketing without a website?
Is that even possible? What challenges or opportunities might there be, and how do you take advantage of them?
In this post I’ll share my thoughts about how to start affiliate marketing without a website.
Firstly, let’s look at some of the opportunities that are available to marketers that don’t have a dedicated website.
The first, and perhaps biggest opportunity is to engage a paid advertising campaign.
It is possible to join an affiliate program and launch a PPC or other paid campaign that links the user directly to your affiliate partner, giving you credit for the referral.
When doing this, you just have to be careful about which affiliate partners you work with, since there are varying rules and restrictions on paid search from program to program.
Also note that Google clearly frowns on this activity and may not approve your campaign. Bing and Yahoo are more accepting, as is Facebook and other display networks.
Secondly, if you already have an existing email list, this could be an incredible opportunity to make some real cash without a lot of work.
You can run an email campaign that directly promotes a product or service, and link from the email straight to the partner company.
The trick here is that you usually have to have an existing email list available in order to run a profitable campaign. While you can buy lists, purchasing a targeted list is often prohibitively expensive for affiliates.
Finally, social media is an option.
While I can’t say I particularly recommend this strategy, most networks do allow you to post affiliate links that will show up on your profiles or live feeds.
The reason I’m not a big fan of this approach is because this isn’t really what social media is designed for, and the lack of targeted outreach, risk of alienating users, and low conversion rates means that you’ll usually wind up putting in a lot of time for relatively small results.
Overall, I think that doing affiliate marketing without a website isn’t your best route, for a few reasons.
- It’s easy. setting up a website isn’t hard, and maintaining it only costs a few dollars a month. You can read this post to learn how, or follow this free course.
- Authority. websites are important because they give you a level of authority that is going to help you convert sales. Your web presence demonstrates that you’re an expert in your field, which is the reason that users would trust your affiliate recommendations in the first place.
- Missed chances. Another great strength of having a website is that it allows you to target different types of users on your site. Even within a small niche, many users will come to your content with different perspectives. Helping them find the right products regardless of their background and needs is essential.
- Analytics. In addition to having the opportunity to sell more products to a wider user base, you’ll also have better access to analytics data, which will help you increase conversion rates over time.
- Affiliate approval. Finally, many affiliate programs require you to submit your website url before approving you for their program. They do this with the intent of staying away from spam marketers.
Because of these challenges, I strongly recommend that affiliates do create a web presence, even if you incorporate some of the off-site strategies into your link promotion.
If you don’t yet have a website, there’s a great tutorial provided by Wealthy Affiliate, which will get you up and running with a site quickly.