There are many reasons why you might want to find ways to do affiliate marketing without a website. The most common is that making a website that lands affiliate conversions can be time-consuming and expensive. You may be a beginner in the field and working on a limited budget.
On the other hand, you might have several websites already performing and want to branch out and tap other channels of affiliate income. In both cases, you are right!
Driven by today’s technology, numerous alternatives to website-based affiliate marketing have evolved.
In this post, we will ponder the question: can I do affiliate marketing without a website?
The answer is yes. The basic marketing principle in affiliate campaigns is to maximize the reach of your affiliate links. This can be achieved in many ways without involving a website.
If you are a beginner in India or elsewhere and are exploring your options, gaining some clarity around the concept would be beneficial. If you are already driving in traffic, jump right over to the next section to know the alternatives.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing In India For Beginners
The same rules apply if you are from a different region. Understanding what happens in affiliate marketing is simple. There is an agreement between the two parties:
- Retailer: The brand/company/entity that manufactures the product or service.
- Publisher or Affiliate: The person/entity that promotes the product or service to earn a referral.
Numerous affiliate networks provide you with products to promote. Some of them include:
- Amazon Affiliate Network
- Clickbank and many more
Once you pick a product, you get an affiliate link. You will embed this link in your promotional channels and websites after carrying out certain steps listed below:
1. Create your promotional channels like websites, landing pages, emailers, social media posts, etc.
2. Develop a content strategy for your product promotions. This step includes creating social media graphics, email templates, etc.
3. Develop a marketing funnel for your promotion channels. Here you sort out how you will reach your potential customers.
4. Once you start generating the content, it’s time to embed the links and promote it. Your marketing strategies will come into play.
5. When a potential customer clicks on your link and ends up buying the product, you will get a commission on your affiliate network account.
Before you partner up and finalize a product with any network, make sure you understand its rules and regulations. While most are open to creative freedom, some networks have restrictions about how you can promote their products. Therefore, first, do a feasibility check for yourself.
The steps mentioned above are brief pointers. However, they apply to any niche and any marketing channel. There are numerous resources available that discuss the above steps in detail. However, let’s shift our focus back to the main agenda.
When it comes to India, affiliate commissions for Indian brands are generally lower compared to foreign brands. Therefore, for a newbie, things can be tight. Therefore, you must also know how to do affiliate marketing in India without a website to keep things sustainable.
Let’s now explore various alternatives for affiliate campaigns.
How To Do Affiliate Marketing Without A Website ?
Research states that the global affiliate marketing industry is over USD 17 billion. If you have the skills to drive traffic, even a minute piece of this pie will earn you bucket loads. Also, if you look at Google trends, the number of people searching for the term doubled between 2015 and 2021. It means that competition in this space is also increasing.
Therefore, as an affiliate marketer, evolving your campaigns and affiliate marketing channels to stay on top of this rising sector has become more important than ever. However, the methods you can employ are only limited by your imagination.
However, certain categories of non-website affiliate channels can be summed up, and you can decide where you have the skills to flourish. Here are a few
10 Ways To Do Affiliate Marketing Without A Website
1. PPC Or PPV Advertising
As far back as internet marketing can be traced, Pay Per Click or Pay Per View ads were there then and are here now. Even today, nearly half of all small and medium-scale businesses invest in PPC advertising.
If you are unclear about PPC or PPV ads, the following image will clear it up:
Effortless examples of PPV ads are the “skip video” ads that you see at the start or middle of YouTube videos.
Digital Ad Exchange Platforms are the best way to launch PPC and PPV campaigns. These internet junctions garner huge loads of traffic from global publishers. You provide your ads to these platforms. They have automated channels through which, according to your bids, the ads are then displayed in relevant places all across the internet.
Here is a list of the top Ad exchange platforms out there:
- Google Adwords
- Microsoft Media Network
- One by AOL
- DoubleClick Ad Exchange
- Facebook/Instagram Ads
You can find the best platform for your niche through some dignified research of the above-mentioned and other networks to decide your final choice.
It is an excellent choice for newbies who want to know how to do affiliate marketing without a website. You don’t need your traffic source. You can place your ads embedded with affiliate links on multiple websites with ad exchange platforms. These networks also have a range of ad formats to choose from, including pop-up ads, domain redirects ads, push ads, and even native ads.
Most institutional platforms like Google and Facebook provide analytics and estimates of what to expect from these ads. Therefore, you go in having a pretty good idea about the incoming traffic. Then, it depends on the quality and content of your copy to generate conversions.
The mathematics of spend on PPC ads is simple. As a result, the engagement will be better. The higher your ad spend, the placements will be better. Most seasoned marketers put a detailed and attractive landing page between the ad and the offer page.
It provides access to information to the consumer and removes any minute doubts they have about the product or service before seeing the offer. In a nutshell, having a landing page launchpad in between nurtures intent.
2. Solo Ads
The unique feature of Solo Ads is that they are defined and executed by you all the way. There is no affiliation to networks or platforms. You find your target traffic directly by contacting websites, influencers, and online communities. You partner with them to showcase your ads in their newsletters and email blasts.
The partnership can be based on sales commissions or fixed in any mutually agreed manner.
I have shared an email newsletter I recently received from Harvard Business Review in the below image. It gives a light summary of the latest in an eBook written by someone else and provides a price-based CTA right below it. This is an example of a solo ad.
When you go through it, you instantly know the value it provides, the free resources you get with it, and the problem it will solve for you. These three details are quintessential for your Solo ads to convert.
Other locations where you could insert personally conceptualized Solo Ads
- On someone’s blog post, emailers
- Inside someone’s landing page email
- Individual influencer accounts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc., use email marketing. You could reach out to them.
- Digital magazines and press releases are shared via email.
Once you have shortlisted your traffic sources, you must communicate and strike a deal with them. Most people offer a pay-per-click model here—however, it’s more personalized.
Furthermore, you must calculate your ROIs carefully regarding PPC and solo ads. Generally speaking, you will need a huge amount of clicks to start making conversions. In fact, for every dollar spent on emails, marketers got 42x returns. Therefore, a good plan can yield good results.
3. Online Communities and Forums: Digital Word of Mouth
The internet is loaded with communities and groups of like-minded individuals. Many of these forums revolve around products and services.
Therefore, an excellent way to give voice to your campaigns is to engage with people on such forums actively.
However, if you think this is an easy task, then no. You must spend time and effort finding and shortlisting such forums and communities. After that, you must go through their guidelines, rules, and regulations.
If you ignore and post something not in sync with their standards, you may get banned right at the start and lose the potential for future sales and leads.
A great example of one such platform is Reddit. Amid this old and vast content rating and aggregating behemoth, you can find subreddits filled with people exactly matching your consumer profiles. It only depends on how deep you search into the platform.
Another example is this real estate community on Facebook:
The person posting about the beautiful apartments above may or may not be the owner of the Facebook group. However, from here, interested members can easily contact her.
You can similarly enter Whatsapp groups and promote your affiliate links. Becoming active in groups and communities across social media has other benefits too.
For those trying to do affiliate marketing without a website, it can establish a unique voice, brand, and identity.
You are already talking one-to-one when posting on such forums and platforms. Therefore, an element of trust is introduced. After your efforts have made you known in such groups, you can build your own traffic sources in later stages.
These sources will already have initial traffic in the form of users and customers you bagged earlier.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when promoting your content on public forums:
- Spend time figuring out the best forums for your business.
- Properly go through the rules, regulations, and guidelines and follow them by heart to avoid suspensions.
- Make sure you have the best profile.
- Engage organically with members. Don’t start selling your stuff right from the start. You will come off as rude and salesy.Be genuine. Adding genuine value to conversations.
- Be polite and do not partake in arguments, groupism, and harassment.
- Never SPAM your forums. You will never get a conversion.
In the end, forums, groups, and communities are about value-driven engagement.
4. Create and Promote Long-Form Content Like eBooks
191 Million eBooks were sold in the US alone in 2021. This makes marketing long-form content like eBooks and whitepapers a lucrative opportunity for affiliate marketers. It is dues to various reasons.
Firstly, people who buy eBooks will likely go all out on the information they need. They are generally looking for a one-stop solution for their problems. Therefore, your target audience is already highly motivated.
You can do simple research on websites like Google Trends to find out what kind of eBooks your audience reads and then create content to satisfy them. This content will contain your embedded affiliate links.
After that, you can launch your eBooks on popular marketplaces like Amazon. You can partner up with eBook marketers to start promoting your content using various ways, both paid and organic.
This is an eBook on Affiliate Marketing for dummies by Ted Sudol and Paul Mladjenovic. You could draft a similar book. One of its chapters can have a list of resources, software, plugins, etc., that are helpful for marketers. These solutions can have embedded links.
However, you must remember to add value to the book before reaching such chapters. Create a genuine interest… earn a sale!
Here are a few pointers on how to create a converting eBook:
- Research the solutions you are offering and make sure the problem is searched by your users
- Offer wholesome and content of high quality: Maintain book-level standards
- Try to connect with your readers through your tone, flow, and matter
- Don’t outrightly ask them to buy but introduce your solutions in a dynamic value-driven fashion
5. Organic and Paid Marketing on Social Media
If you can tap into the power of social media, you might not need a website. Afterall!
Yes, on average, a social media user spends 2 hours and 47 minutes daily on social media networks.
That is enough time for you to get the message across. All you need is stellar content in the form of creatives in graphic and audio-visual formats (cause they convert a lot more than text) and some ad budget. Social media ad targeting tools on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok allow you to reach directly to your audience.
However, you should have influence. Your organic and paid efforts will take time to garner enough traffic to make substantial conversions. However, seasoned influencers can form partnerships with numerous affiliate products across niches and start promoting them.
If you are starting and don’t have enough influence on your channels, you can partner with the seasoned ones by directly contacting them and taking advantage of their traffic.
Here is an example of paid marketing on Facebook
The company is promoting its business networking solutions.
In the following example, the tech firm Coursera is promoting its Google Project Management Professional Certificate
If you have an engaging influence on such networks, you can easily promote products using sponsored ads. However, remember to pick relevant niches that match your content style. More than 58% of the world uses social media.
Therefore, with careful planning and execution, you can tap into this volume and carve a converting niche for your brand and solutions.
Things to remember
- Choose a platform that matches your content style and tone. For example, Pinterest is ideal for fashion, home décor, and all things luxe. Instagram is the best way to create stellar short audio-visual content. The same goes for Tik-Tok.
- Keep analyzing your traffic through tools like analytics, Facebook Insights, and others. Know what kind of content works for your audience and keep building new content streams.
- Never spam your followers with products. Create value for them, and they will genuinely create value for you.
- Create a balance favouring organic content promotion strategies supported by paid ones.
6. Advertising Your Products on YouTube
If you have what it takes to make videos longer than 5 minutes, YouTube might take care of all your affiliate potential. Every 24 hours, 30 million users log on to YouTube! Furthermore, YouTube algorithm recommendations account for what 70% of viewers watch on the platform.
If you have great content and a budget for marketing your videos on YouTube, your products will reach viewers with motivation and intent. Given the size and reach of this network, it is no more a video viewing station but a giant social media network.
You can have multiple ad formats inside a single video that revolves around content your target viewers watch. These include intro-outro ads, between video ads, and the latest interstitial ad placements.
You could talk about a solution in the video and showcase a link at the bottom or in the bio of users to go ahead and purchase them.
If you do not have your YouTube channel, you could start by reaching out to channels relevant to your niche and have good viewership and subscriber counts. These channels can promote your links for CPC or any mutually agreed upon price model.
Here is the first example of a video sponsored by YouTube and shown by the algorithm as the first recommendation. There is a high chance that users will watch it. You need to pay Google Ads in CPC format for such ads.
Here is the next example. These are in video ads. You can set where in the video you want to place such ads. They can be customized or automated by the YouTube algorithm. These ads can contain affiliate links.
Apart from these, there are a few other ways:
- Talk about your products directly in the video and promote links in the description.
- Carefully place product or information about the product in your script and put CTAs in the video at the right time (Interstitial Marketing).
In a nutshell, YouTube marketing can be fruitful, but you have to do your research and apply maximum effort. As there is no limit to creativity on this platform, your promotions are only limited by your imagination.
7. Email Marketing
You might be confusing this method with 2 Solo Ads. But there, we discussed putting ads inside emails. This method promotes your products through entire email campaigns involving blasts, newsletters, case studies, and more creative emailers.
However, email marketing without a website can be tricky. Where do you get an email list from? Generally, you will need to diversify your efforts to get emails. These may include:
- Using the methods mentioned above to gather user data.
- Using paid traffic from exchange platforms and directing them to opt-ins.
- Contacting influencers, bloggers, and marketers in your niche and partnering up with their email lists
Now that you have an email list, you need content that makes the users click and read the mail. Only then do your chances of conversion improve. Here are some pointers:
- Don’t spam your email lists. Drive genuine value and be periodic.
- Create genuine content around your products and place them naturally.
- Create diversified content to drive engagement. Include articles, case studies, newsletters, reviews, customer experiences, etc.
Here is an example where the website has promoted its premium subscription while providing a summary emailer
87% of Marketers use emails to syndicate their content organically. Therefore, it is tried and tested way of marketing your products and services. However, we believe it is best if you have connecting funnels to your emailers for a better user experience.
8. Audiobooks and Podcasts
Almost 60% of US consumers listen to podcasts daily. Of those, 65% of them listen till the end. The number of people listening to podcasts and buying audiobooks has been increasing exponentially in the last five years. This correlates to the fact that podcast advertising spending on podcasts also increased to USD 1.3 billion in 2021!
As we become more tech-savvy, our nature desires various formats to stay purposeful and avoid fatigue. You must be aware of such rising content streams and strategize as a marketer.
For instance, Pat Flynn’s Podcasts on Smart Passive Income are quite popular. He also provides a lot of information about the tools and resources he uses and the links to them.
Popular platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts have dedicated audiences. They allow you to upload audiobooks and podcasts. If your content is good, you can build an audience and start promoting your products and solutions to them. As your subscribers increase, so will your conversions.
9. Webinars and Meet-Ups
Webinars are a proven way to personally connect to an online audience. The advent of online webinars and meet-ups enabled people across the globe to communicate and do business with each other freely.
They allow you to put forward your opinions, solutions, and services to an audience interested in your niche.
All you need to do is choose a software platform to host your webinars, market them and start dolling the info out. Some top platforms include Loom, WebinarGeek, Demio, Accelevents, Clickmeeting, and a host of others.
The average conversion rate for webinars is 55%. It means that 55 out of 100 registered viewers turn to watch your shows online. The intent is already there. If your content is valuable, you will generate influence over time and start making affiliate sales.
10. Offline Methods
You must have a circle beyond the internet that can interlace with the products and services you are trying to promote. Tapping into this network and other offline methods may also lead to affiliate sales. These methods do not involve a website:
- Using Whatsapp for Business and promoting to groups and individuals directly
- Using paid SMS marketing channels and Push Notification exchanges
- Stalls Offline networking events
- Organizing your personalised events
Of all the methods discussed above, these offline or semi-offline ones have the least statistical conversion rates. However, the cost of such campaigns is also very less. You never know. They may only add to your gross profit at the end!
We learned above that owning a website with traffic isn’t the only way to do affiliate marketing. You have various platforms and networks and can use your skills to devise budgeted campaigns that convert.
However, when without a website, it would be best if you employed a mixed bag of methods for maximum reach and revenue. Make your keyword research impeccable, write your own content, and bring out a unique voice that solves genuine problems.
Have a clear idea of your niche. Keep testing and optimizing your campaigns. Keep analyzing your ad spending against your returns and tweaking until you get desired results. Employ methods like retargeting to recapture cart customers. Ultimately, it depends on your effort, zeal, and planning.