Do you need a website to do affiliate marketing? This is a common question people ask me. I’d like to take a few minutes today to answer that question, based off my 10+ years of SUCCESSFUL affiliate marketing experience.
To answer the question, YES, you can do affiliate marketing WITHOUT a website, although it might not be your best strategy. There are many factors including your niche, available time, marketing skills and marketing budget. More on that in a minute.
The first thing we need to do is define affiliate marketing. Here are two definitions I found online.
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Source
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. Source
If I had to put it in my own words, I would define affiliate marketing as promoting someone else’s product or service online, in exchange for a commission.
How to Do Affiliate Marketing
To do affiliate marketing, you simply join an affiliate program online, get your own unique URL and start promoting your URL using whichever strategies you prefer. When people visit your affiliate link and make a purchase, you earn a commission. The process is simple, but it does require some specialized knowledge.
The key to success with affiliate marketing is to send large amounts of TARGETED traffic to your affiliate link. That is where most affiliate marketers struggle. They join a program, get their link, but don’t know how to promote it. If you want to succeed as an affiliate marketer, you MUST learn how to effectively get traffic.
Doing Affiliate Marketing With a Website
Doing affiliate marketing with your own website is SMART business. Here’s why:
People Trust You: Depending on the reputation and age of your website, in most cases, your audience trusts you. They’ve visited your website before, they respect what you have to say and they are open to recommendations. That is a good thing, because it breaks down the “buying barrier” that many prospects have.
It’s Passive: When you do affiliate marketing via a website, it is 100% passive. You can create an article one time and it is live on the web FOREVER. Assuming you can rank your article high in the search engines, you could potentially get lots of organic, targeted traffic for many YEARS to come, which will lead to more affiliate sales.
The major downside of doing affiliate marketing with a website is that it is hard, slow and very time-consuming. It can take YEARS to build a high traffic website that makes lots of affiliate sales. My first website took me about five years and over 1,000 pages of content to start making steady affiliate sales.
I’m not telling you it will take you that long to succeed with your own website, but it could! On the flip side of the coin, there are much FASTER ways to make money with affiliate marketing than by building your own website.
Doing Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
You can also do affiliate marketing without a website. Many people do this. I believe this is the easier way to do affiliate marketing. Here are several options you have:
# 1: Email Marketing
You could promote affiliate products through email marketing. I’ll cover that in more detail below. More than 90 percent of my own affiliate sales come through email marketing, so I know this method works great. Best of all, it’s very inexpensive.
Email marketing is popular for a reason. Although it’s one of the older digital marketing channels, it is also one of the most effective. In fact, the average ROI for email marketing campaigns is approximately 3,800%, or $38 generated for every dollar spent. When executed well, email marketing offers businesses an opportunity to send beautifully crafted, targeted campaigns that customers will actually open and respond to. In a study conducted by Marketingsherpa, it was reported that 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email.
# 2: Pay-per-Click Ads
You could just sell affiliate products through PPC ads on Bing, Google or Facebook. Lots of affiliate marketers do this. Basically, you create ads, pick your keywords, and drive targeted traffic to your sales page. If you have a sales page that converts well, this might be the fastest strategy I can think of. However, if you don’t know what you are doing, it could cost you an arm and a leg, so be careful!
# 3: Social Media
If you have a large social media following on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, you could promote affiliate products to your tribe. This could be a very easy way to make affiliate sales, if you have the right niche, the right products, and the trust of your following.
Many affiliate marketing beginners start by amassing followings on social media. They do this by optimizing their posts for maximum exposure to their selected niche, frequently using their primary keywords or related hashtags in their posts.
YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can all be great forums for starting your affiliate marketing efforts. Just make sure you follow each medium’s rules for directly posting affiliate links and sponsored posts. For example, Instagram will allow you to post an affiliate link on your profile but not within posts. Most sites that allow affiliate posts require an affiliate disclosure, which means you have to make it clear that you could receive a commission when people click on your affiliate links.
# 4: YouTube
Millions of YouTubers are making a great income by selling affiliate products on YouTube. You could make videos reviewing different affiliate products, or educational videos for people in your niche, and then recommend a product at the end of your video.
YouTube has taken the world by storm with one billion unique visitors per month. You can use this to your advantage. It doesn’t take much more than a webcam and some quirky or informative ideas to get a channel going. That way you can add affiliate links into your description, or over your video, and convert some of that fan base into affiliate profits.
Just pick a niche and create a video series related to that topic, with a related affiliate promotion. That way, the viewers you get will be a lot more likely to be interested in the affiliate product, as they already have some interest to be watching the video in the first place.
# 5: Podcasting
Podcasting is a gold mine. Not many people do it, so the door is wide open. A podcast is basically like an online radio show. You could talk about different affiliate products during your live show and then provide an affiliate link in your description where people can buy the affiliate product.
You don’t necessarily need to sell something to make money in podcasting. If you build trust with your audience, you can refer them to products or services that you use yourself and would recommend. If the audience buys something through an affiliate program you have created, then you will earn a commission fee.
# 6: Solo Ads
Solo ads blow my mind. This is when you send your ad to someone else who has a large email list and they send out your ad on your behalf. People visit your website and opt-in or make a purchase. You pay the person for a certain amount of clicks to your website. I normally pay about 35 to 40 cents per click when I purchase solo ads.
If I Had to Do It All Over Again
While I love writing content and owning my own websites, it is a ton of work. Competition is fierce. The search engine algorithms are always changing. You can be at the top of the world today, yet lose your rankings the next time Google does an update.
If I knew what I knew now and I was starting all over again, I would definitely do things differently. What would I do?
First off, I would pick ONE audience. I would pick a niche filled with HUNGRY buyers who are ACTIVELY buying stuff online. Once I had a niche, I would build a capture page. This is simply a one-page website designed to collect someone’s name and email. Here’s an example capture page.
Once my capture page was set up, I would create my sales funnel. This would be nothing more than 3-5 different affiliate products that align with my niche. I would create an auto-responder email sequence of 10-20 emails promoting those three different affiliate products.
After my sales funnel was set up, I would simply focus on MARKETING. I would take my time and money to advertise my capture page and build my email list. As people opted-in to my email list, I would get them to like, know and trust me by providing valuable information in my emails.
From there, I would monetize my email list by promoting those three to five affiliate products.
This is what I currently do. I just happen to own websites to help me build my list. But, if I was starting over with affiliate marketing, I would skip building a website and just focus on building an email list, and use email marketing to sell affiliate products.
I believe it’s easier and less time-consuming to do than building a large, successful website or blog.
There you have it folks. I hope I answered your question: “Do you need a website to do affiliate marketing?” By all means, do what is best for you. Maybe you want to own a website and write articles. Or maybe you just want to focus on building an email list and selling affiliate products through email marketing. The choice is yours. Neither method is right or wrong.
What are your thoughts? How do you do affiliate marketing? Do you have a website to promote affiliate products or do you do it some other way? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
While you are here, be sure to check out my best affiliate marketing tips!