Affiliate marketing has become an extremely popular way for bloggers, website owners, and online influencers to monetize their content and earn an income online. The basic premise is simple – you promote a company’s products or services on your platform, and receive a commission for every sale you drive to that company.
While affiliate programs have traditionally relied heavily on social media to drive traffic and sales, the truth is you absolutely can successfully do affiliate marketing without relying on social media at all. In fact, for many bloggers and website owners just starting out, focusing on organic search traffic and email marketing rather than social media can be a smarter and more sustainable approach.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dig into all the ins and outs of affiliate marketing without social media. You’ll learn:
- Exactly what affiliate marketing is and how it works
- The pros and cons of affiliate marketing without social media or a website
- Strategies for driving targeted organic traffic to your affiliate content
- How to build an email list and use email marketing effectively
- Top affiliate programs to consider joining
- Common mistakes to avoid as a beginner
Whether you currently rely on social media for your business or you’ve never used it at all, you can absolutely achieve success with affiliate promotions and partnerships. Let’s get started!
Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
Affiliate marketing programs allow you to earn a commission from sales you refer to a company, whether you have your own website or not. Here’s a quick explanation of how affiliate marketing works:
- You sign up to partner with a company as an affiliate marketer. This is free to do.
- You receive a unique affiliate link to promote products. For example
- You share this link in your content – on social media, your website, email etc.
- If someone clicks your link and completes a purchase, you earn a commission.
So in summary, affiliate marketing lets anyone with an audience earn income by sharing affiliate links and referring sales, without needing to create your own physical or digital products.
While having a website can be extremely useful for promoting affiliate offers, it is by no means a requirement. You can share affiliate links directly on social media, on YouTube, in podcasts, in newsletters you email out, and just about anywhere there is a potential audience.
Advantages of affiliate marketing without a website:
- Lower barrier to entry – You can get started immediately without needing technical skills to build a site.
- Less time investment – Maintaining a website is very time consuming between creating content, marketing, design etc. Affiliate marketing alone is simpler.
- Use existing audiences – Leverage followers you already have on social media or email lists. Much easier than building an audience from scratch.
- Limited content platform – Your own website gives you an asset to continually promote affiliate offers. Social media is ephemeral.
- Less authority – A professional website builds credibility and trust, making readers more likely to purchase through your links.
- Harder to build email list – Email is one of the best channels for affiliate promotions, and it’s challenging to build an email list without a website.
Strategies for Affiliate Marketing with No Website
If you want to get started with affiliate promotions but don’t yet have a website, here are some of the best strategies to focus on:
- Use social media – Promote affiliate links in your Instagram bio, share offers in Instagram Stories, promote directly in tweets, and create YouTube videos reviewing products. Just be careful not to be overly promotional.
- Start a newsletter – You can build an email list via social media, offer free content to grow your list, then promote affiliate offers. Mailchimp, ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign have free options for newsletters.
- Comment on blogs – Find blogs that are complementary to the products you want to promote, then leave useful comments with your affiliate link where appropriate.
- Create product reviews/tutorials – Write long-form reviews of products on LinkedIn, Medium, Substack, and paid review sites. Make YouTube videos demonstrating and reviewing products.
- Build a following on forums – Establish yourself as an expert on forums like Reddit, Quora, and specialized message boards related to your niche. Promote affiliate products through your signature.
The key is to focus on channels and content that allow you to share affiliate links, rather than trying to go broad on every social network. A smaller, targeted audience is best when starting out.
Affiliate Marketing With Your Own Website
Having your own website takes affiliate marketing to the next level in terms of the options at your disposal and the authority you can build. Here’s an overview of how affiliate marketing typically works with a website:
- You create content on your website (blog posts, videos, tutorials etc) that naturally incorporates affiliate links to related products/services.
- You promote your website content and build an email list of potential customers.
- Readers visit your site, engage with your content, then click your affiliate links that you’ve strategically placed within that content.
- When visitors purchase through your affiliate links, you earn a commission on those sales.
Your website gives you a platform to continually add new content with affiliate links, allowing you to build multiple streams of passive income over time.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing With a Website
- You can incorporate affiliate links seamlessly into a large volume of content – blog posts, reviews, tutorials, and more.
- A website builds long-term authority on a topic, making readers more likely to trust your recommendations.
- It’s much easier to build an email list when you have opt-in forms and lead magnets on your site.
- Your content continues promoting affiliate links passively long after you create it.
- You own your website platform, rather than relying on external social media sites.
Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing With a Website
- It takes a lot more effort upfront to set up a website and create content compared to quickly posting on social media.
- You need some technical expertise and design skills, or budget to outsource website development.
- Promoting a new website and getting traffic can be challenging when starting from scratch.
- Maintenance like writing content, email marketing, and design is very time consuming.
Tips for Affiliate Marketing with a Website
If you do choose to start affiliate marketing with your own website, here are some best practices to implement from the start:
- Niche down – Don’t create a general blog. Focus your content around one or two interest areas so you can specifically promote relevant affiliate offers.
- Organize affiliate resources – Create specific categories, tags, and pages to collect and highlight the affiliate programs you join.
- Review products naturally – Don’t force products into blog posts. Recommend them naturally as part of broader topics.
- Be upfront about links – Disclose when content contains affiliate links so readers don’t feel deceived.
- Build email list popups – Install opt-in forms across your site to convert visitors into email subscribers.
- Add affiliate links to old content – Go back and incorporate affiliate links into your existing content catalog to continue monetizing it.
Affiliate Marketing Without Social Media
Is it possible to do affiliate marketing if you don’t use social media at all? Absolutely! You’ll just need to utilize other tactics to drive traffic to your affiliate content.
Affiliate marketing without social media has some distinct advantages:
- You avoid the constantly changing algorithms and policies of social platforms.
- You can focus purely on high-converting traffic sources like SEO and email.
- Your revenue comes from more stable sources not at risk of disappearing overnight.
However, the downsides include:
- It’s very challenging to build brand awareness and an audience from scratch without social media.
- Promotions and giveaways are harder without social platforms.
- Visitor referrals will primarily be driven by search rather than your own followers sharing content.
Driving Traffic for Affiliate Marketing Without Social Media
Here are some of the best strategies for driving traffic to your affiliate content without social media:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – Research keywords and optimize pages to rank high in search engines. This takes time but results in targeted free traffic.
- Email marketing – Send promotional messages and build loyalty with an email subscriber list to directly recommend affiliate products.
- Paid advertising – Run Google Ads campaigns to drive traffic to affiliate product reviews and other content. Reinvest commission earnings.
- Guest posting – Write guest articles for other high-traffic blogs with related content and link back to your site.
- Link building – Build a network of sites to link back to your content and increase authority for organic ranking.
- Website directories – Submit your site to directories like Google Business Profile to get found by local searchers.
- Discussion forums – Participate in niche forums and include a link to your site in your profile to attract clicks.
- Quora answers – Establish expertise by regularly answering relevant questions and embedding links.
The idea is to implement multiple strategies that work together to drive a steady stream of traffic over time. SEO and email in particular compound, continuously sending new visitors to your evergreen affiliate content.
Pros and Cons of Different Affiliate Marketing Approaches
Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of the main three approaches to affiliate marketing we’ve covered:
Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
- Very fast and easy to get started
- Leverage existing audiences on social media
- Minimal maintenance required
- Limited types of content to promote affiliate links
- No owned platform to host affiliate content
- Harder to build email list without website
Affiliate Marketing With a Website
- Owned platform to continually add affiliate content
- Increased authority and trust
- Easier to collect emails and send promotions
- Requires substantial investment of time and effort
- Challenging to attract traffic as a new site
- Ongoing maintenance and content creation
Affiliate Marketing Without Social Media
- Avoid platform algorithm changes
- Focus only on high-converting channels
- Revenue from stable sources like SEO
- Much harder to establish brand awareness
- Limited promotional opportunities
- Slower traffic growth relying on organic search
There are clearly tradeoffs with each approach, so what’s the best one?
Which Affiliate Marketing Method is Best for Beginners?
For those just starting out with affiliate marketing, focusing on a social media + email strategy (with no website yet) is often the easiest approach.
You can quickly begin sharing affiliate links to products relevant to your social audiences. As you start to drive engagement and even sales, focus on collecting emails and building a newsletter list.
An email list will become an asset that allows you to promote affiliate offers to subscribers directly in their inbox. Plus, you can use lead magnets like free reports or trainings (hosted on Leadpages or Carrd.co) to further grow your list.
Once you have experience under your belt from affiliate promotions on social media, and ideally have built an engaged email list, you’ll be in a much better position to launch a website for the next stage of your affiliate marketing efforts.
Starting on social helps validate your audience interest, clarify the niche and products you want to focus on, and build skills around affiliate link promotion that will translate well to other platforms.
The key takeaway is that you absolutely can start successful affiliate marketing without relying on social media at all.
While an active social presence can help grow brand awareness and find promotional opportunities, you can drive sales by focusing on organic search, email marketing, and other channels.
Having your own website provides the most flexibility, allowing you to host a library of content with affiliate links. But it’s not required initially.
Focus on choosing a specific niche, identifying reputable affiliate programs, creating promotions tailored to products you genuinely recommend, and providing real value for your audience.
With the right strategic approach, your affiliate content and links will connect people with products and services they’ll love, all while earning you passive commission income.
Rather than getting caught up in which platform to use, the most important thing is to simply get started! Focus on your first campaign, learn as you go, and continue optimizing your affiliate strategy over time.
You now have all the tools needed to successfully launch affiliate marketing without social media. The rest comes down to execution. So start building your first campaign today and put these strategies into action! You’ve got this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is affiliate marketing?
A: Affiliate marketing is promoting other companies’ products to earn a commission.
Q: Do I need social media for affiliate marketing?
A: No, you can do affiliate marketing without social media.
Q: What are some platforms I can use for affiliate marketing?
A: You can use a website, YouTube, social media, newsletter, or podcast.
Q: How do I choose a niche for affiliate marketing?
A: Choose something you’re passionate about and create content around it.
Q: How do I place affiliate links in my content?
A: Balance link placement with context and avoid spammy tactics.
Q: Can I do Amazon affiliate marketing without social media?
A: Yes, the same principles apply to Amazon affiliate marketing.
Q: What are some affiliate marketing strategies?
A: Strategies include using voucher codes, promoting an ebook, and more.
Q: Do I need a website for affiliate marketing?
A: No, you can do affiliate marketing without a website.
Q: How do I find products for affiliate marketing?
A: Look for relevant search terms, consider your angle, and set your distribution strategy.
Q: Is affiliate marketing a passive income?
A: Affiliate marketing revenue can become passive income, but you need to put in work upfront.