If you’re a content creator with a strong following or an expert in a particular field, you can partner with businesses to help sell their products. Launching a website is a great way to showcase products, connect with target audiences, and get your affiliate marketing business off the ground—but it’s not the only way to start earning money as an affiliate marketer.
You can run a successful affiliate marketing business without ever launching your own website. Here are seven ways to build an affiliate marketing business without a website, and three tips to help you succeed.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a marketing partnership model in which a business pays a content creator (the “affiliate” or “affiliate marketer”) a commission on sales generated from the affiliate’s activities. Typically, a business with an affiliate program will use unique promo codes or affiliate links to attribute sales to an affiliate’s promotional activities. The affiliate might post the link to a personal blog or share it on social channels, and the business will pay the affiliate a commission for any sales resulting from a click to that unique link.
Is it possible to do affiliate marketing without a website?
You don’t need a website to get started with affiliate marketing—all you need is a platform, which can be anything from a social media site to an audience at your local knitting club.
Successful affiliate marketers often have authority in a specific area, such as crochet arts, alpine ski racing, or urban goat keeping—and while an affiliate website or blog is one way that affiliate marketers can establish authority in a particular niche, it’s not the only way to meet this goal. Any tool, organization, or medium that helps you connect with others can help you start an affiliate marketing business and make money by promoting products and services to your network.
How to do affiliate marketing without a website
- Build your social following
- Start an email newsletter
- Guest post to blogs
- Post to forums
- Start a podcast
- Buy paid advertising
- Host an event
Affiliate marketing websites can be powerful tools, but they aren’t the only means of marketing online or in real life. Here are seven ways to start affiliate marketing without creating a website first.
1. Build your social following
Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest are all key channels for affiliate marketers. You can use social content to build your following and establish your authority in a specific niche.
For example, if you specialize in gardening, you might post daily gardening tips and garden inspiration to attract followers interested in gardening and build trust with your audience. You can also create posts around specific products or use a link-in-bio tool like LinkPop to host multiple affiliate links from your Instagram account, YouTube channel, or other social profiles.
2. Start an email newsletter
You can use an email newsletter to provide value to a specific target audience, build trust, and establish yourself as an authority in a particular affiliate niche. Including promo codes or affiliate marketing links can turn your email newsletter into an affiliate marketing traffic source.
Email marketing also gives greater flexibility compared to publishing on social media platforms. For example, you might publish a holiday gift guide containing affiliate links to 10 different products or devote an entire long-form email to the merits of one specific spatula—all depending on your relationship with your readers and affiliate partners and how you can provide the most value to each.
3. Guest post to blogs
Blogging is a popular affiliate marketing strategy for a reason. Like email marketing, blogging gives you the flexibility and space to say whatever you want about a particular product, and you can choose the format that makes the most sense for your particular communication style. The drawback of email marketing is that you need to have somebody’s email address before you can get in touch with them. Blogs don’t have that problem, so they can help you reach new potential customers.
If you don’t have your own blog, you can still take advantage of the benefits of blogging by guest posting—posting on somebody else’s blog. Typically, guest posting involves creating content for free and allowing a blog owner to post it in exchange for a backlink to your site—or, in this case, in exchange for allowing you to promote your affiliate link (or links) in the content.
Look for sites with high traffic and a target audience in your affiliate marketing niche. To find blogs that accept guest posts, you can reach out to specific sites or blogs and inquire about their guest posting policies. You can see where other influencers in your niche publish content. If one of your competitors has a byline on a site they aren’t formally affiliated with, there’s a good chance that the site accepts guest posts from affiliate marketers.
4. Post to forums
Online forums are places where users convene to discuss specific interests. They’re a bit like social media platforms, but they tend to focus less on user identity and reputation and their content is more conversational. Although many large online communities don’t let you promote your affiliate links, smaller forums are often less strict. For example, crochettalk.com doesn’t explicitly forbid promoting your affiliate links or sharing promo codes in posts.
As long as you comply with platform rules, you can use online forums to connect with people who might benefit from a product or service you’re promoting. Because many online forums are already organized around niche interests, they can be an easy way to find users looking for products in your portfolio. Many users also use forums to ask questions, such as “How can I stop my lemon tree’s leaves from yellowing?” or “Where can I find waterproof equestrian boots?” which makes them a handy way to locate users who are already looking for a product you can recommend.
5. Start a podcast
Like starting an email newsletter or building your social presence, starting a podcast is a content marketing strategy that can be useful for affiliate marketers: You create and publish entertaining, educational, or useful content to build trust with a target audience and grow your following, and you monetize that following by hosting affiliate links in the episode notes or on your podcast bio. You can also read a promo code during your podcast and direct listeners to use the code to make a purchase, allowing your affiliate partners to attribute a sale to you without users clicking a specific link.
6. Buy paid advertising
Affiliate marketing activities like creating a blog or a social media post about a product are essentially a form of advertising—so, as counterintuitive as it might sound, you can also pay for Google ads for affiliate products. The most popular ad type for this strategy is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
Under a PPC marketing model, you only owe money when a user clicks on an ad. Essentially, you design an ad for one of your affiliate partner’s products, use your own money to bid on digital ads, and pay the ad network for clicks. Because most affiliate marketing programs only pay affiliates for conversions, it’s possible to lose money on this strategy. Before putting up your own money for ad space, make sure you have a plan to target audiences with a high likelihood of conversion.
7. Host an event
Hosting an event in your local community can help you grow your personal network and create an opportunity for you to share relevant promo codes with attendees. For example, if you’re an influencer and affiliate marketer with special expertise in candle-making, you might hold a free candle-making workshop at a local community center and share your promo code for candle-making supplies with all attendees. You could also consider hosting a webinar or virtual event if you already have an established online following.
Tips for affiliate marketing without a website
Choose the right niche
Affiliate marketing success is all about gaining authority with a particular target audience, and choosing the right niche is key to building and monetizing authority. Consider your interests, expertise, current networks, and qualifications.
For example, if you’re already passionate about cupcake decoration, consider partnering with brands that sell baking equipment. Your talents will give you a head start in building your audiences, which you can leverage to promote your affiliate partner’s products.
Follow SEO best practices
Search engine optimization (SEO) is often top of mind for website owners, but content-publishing platforms like social media sites and online forums can also appear on search engine results pages. Audiences looking up keywords relevant to your field are likely to find your content useful, so increase the chances that they can find you by optimizing your content and following SEO best practices.
Launch a promotional campaign
Using social media profiles to hold a product giveaway or other promotion can help you reach new customers and increase engagement and conversions. You can use your giveaway to incentivize activities such as liking or sharing your post, which can maximize the number of people who see your post (and your affiliate marketing links).
Affiliate marketing without a website FAQ
Can you become an affiliate marketer without a website?
Yes, starting affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to have a website. You can use online publishing platforms, emails, podcasts, and paid ads to promote products to your target audiences.
Why do most affiliate marketers use websites?
Contemporary ecommerce and blog platforms can make it easy and affordable to launch an effective affiliate business website. Many affiliate marketers use websites to help them connect with audiences and start making money online.
How can you track your affiliate marketing without a website?
You can track affiliate revenue by monitoring income statements from affiliate partners. Some affiliate networks also give affiliate members access to more advanced affiliate marketing metrics, such as the number of people who used your promo code each day of the month.