This popular question is answered in my today’s post (and the corresponding video). You will not only find the answer to the core question, but also lots of examples to get your creative juices flowing.
One of the most frequently asked questions about our industry is whether one can “do” affiliate marketing without a website.
The short answer is: yes.
The longer answer goes like this:
While I do appreciate why you may be wondering if it’s possible to be an affiliate marketer without a website, I must underscore 2 important things before we dive into the specific scenarios of how you can be one.
- First of all, since most affiliate program managers will want to see an online place which explains how you will promote their business, having at least a one-page website is always better than having none at all.
- Secondly, before you spend your time, effort, and possibly money on marketing a brand, service, or product, always review the respective affiliate program’s rules and policies. Better find out that something is prohibited before you’ve invested your energy (or finances) in an unwanted activity.
Now, let me give you
5 6 ways in which you can make money through affiliate marketing relationships without a website. Here they are (in no particular order):
1. Email Marketing
Whether you have a modest “friends and family” list of email addresses or maintain a full-blown opt-in email list of a targeted audience(s) — organized by verticals, interests, or specific demographic data — email marketing can be powerful when married with affiliate marketing.
Every Q4 (i.e. the busiest season in online shopping), right at the beginning of it, my daughter’s school sends out an email to all parents, encouraging us to shop for gifts at a handful of online stores. They are being transparent by saying that a percentage of each order will be automatically credited to the school’s account and used for the betterment of our kids’ school experience. They don’t do the same through their website, but are an active email affiliate.
2. Social Media
If you’ve got clout on social, you may leverage your influence by promoting products or services that are of relevance to your fans and followers. Be it on Twitter or Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest, you may indeed make money from affiliate links without having a website.
Make sure to disclose that you may be paid. The Federal Trade Commission requires disclosure of these “sponsored” pins, posts, and Tweets.
If you are reading this as a brand who wants to leverage other people’s social media clout, learn how to connect with niche influencers here.
3. Paid Advertising
Provided the affiliate program’s rules allow it, paid advertising can be another great way to benefit from affiliate marketing without having a website of your own.
From paid search ads on search engines (linking these directly to the business’ website, through your affiliate link) to paid ads on Facebook and other places — there are plenty of opportunities to consider.
4. Video Marketing
Being the marketing medium that’s second-to-none in retention rates (provided done right), videos are a no-brainer. You don’t need to have a website to run a YouTube or a Vimeo channel. You may always include affiliate links under the video itself. A number of top affiliates, in the programs that we manage, use this approach pretty successfully.
Make sure to check out Ann Smarty’s post on growing your YouTube presence.
5. Offline Efforts
Yes, you read it right! There are numerous ways you can monetize your offline efforts with affiliate marketing. In fact, affiliate marketing provides a number of great technologies to bridge the online-offline gap, supporting more intricate marketing arrangements. One example would be using a unique coupon code in a local newspaper. The code will be tied to your affiliate account and working just as a trackable “link”. Another example would be using a unique toll-free phone number (through a pay-per-call performance marketing program) and plugging it into your audio content: be it a podcast or even a radio commercial.
This one didn’t appear in my above-referenced video, but it is worth including as a “bonus” here. Retargetting is a way of online marketing that supports getting an ad in front of website abandoners. There are a number of affiliates out there who (without promoting brands on a website of any kind) offer retargetting of brands’ site abandoners on performance basis — these brands would pay them only when a conversion happens.
So there you have it… It is possible to make money through affiliate marketing without a website! Just make sure that whatever you do, doesn’t violate the affiliate program’s rules.