Traditionally, one of the key components of affiliate marketing is a publisher or affiliate website: the traffic source from which sales are driven. Regardless of affiliate type, a website or blog has generally been the ‘norm’ to get started as an affiliate. Today, that is not the case. We have put together six outside-the-box solutions to get an affiliate marketing campaign off the ground without a website.
1. Social Media
In January 2020, Australia had 18 million social media users, representing 71% of the population (1). Social media is therefore an excellent way to advertise offers and is also the most common alternative to having a website. Using social media to promote brands is especially useful when an affiliate has an existing and engaged audience to leverage.
The most effective way to promote on social media is to incorporate affiliate tracking link where allowed. Some platforms make it easier than others to do this. Facebook and Twitter, for example, enable affiliate links to be used throughout, whereas Instagram does not allow affiliate links in posts. This means Instagram affiliates need to rely on their bios to advertise links (find our step-by-step guide to creating a text link or deep-link here), or use clickless tracking codes. Briefly, clickless tracking is when an affiliate has been assigned an exclusive coupon code to share with their audience which does not require engagement with cookie tracking (a click) for a sale associated that code to be attributed to the affiliate. This can be done via the Commission Factory dashboard on a general or more granular level, depending on the shopping cart data available from the advertiser.
If an affiliate decides to promote using social media, it is imperative to understand the disclosure rules of the platform to avoid an account ban or suspension. All social platforms will have their own criteria, so affiliates should be fully aware of them and are compliant before proceeding, as hefty fines apply if an affiliate is not.
To help promote using social media, we have created a Help Centre article on how you can promote using Instagram and an article on 15 creative Instagram affiliate marketing methods.
2. Video Content
If an affiliate has a knack for creating entertaining and engaging video content, then YouTube is a great platform to promote advertisers. Finding and creating niche content will help the affiliate stand out from the crowd of creators. YouTube has over 2 billion users globally and is the second most popular social media platform. It is an excellent advertising medium. (2)
Streaming platforms are also a great way to promote advertisers. For example, Twitch is another growing and popular platform affiliates can use to market their affiliate offers.
Again, with the video content affiliates create, the affiliate should double-check the platform’s rules and regulations around affiliate marketing.
3. Online Forums
Forums are another free way to reach out to potential customers. Unlike social media, affiliates do not need a base of followers, just a means to post to the forum.
Much like social media companies, individual forums will have their own rules regarding advertising or including affiliate links in posts. Doing research will make sure affiliates avoid running afoul of the forum’s usage terms.
4. Paid Ad Campaigns
There is always the traditional route of paid advertising. Search engine pay-per-click ads (PPC), especially Google PPC ads, are likely to reach a broad audience and, with well-researched keywords, resulting in high conversion rates. Affiliates, however, pay by the click and not the conversion. Coupled with the sometimes-narrow margins that affiliate link conversions produce, the affiliate may find themselves paying more for the ads than they are earning in commission revenue.
It is essential to keep in mind that many merchants have restrictions in place around PPC, so it is imperative to check the terms and conditions prior to launching any paid search ads.
5. Email Campaigns
An email campaign is another low-cost solution for affiliates to consider. However, much like social media, email campaigns require a database of people to communicate the affiliate offer to.
Some companies will offer email lists in their services, although they can be of low quality and may result in poor performance. For affiliates who do not already have a list of subscribers, they will need to start somewhere, such as on social media, and incentivise users to sign up to their email list. Affiliates should ensure that any subscribers they obtain have opted into being contacted with marketing messaging.
While it may be cost-effective, if affiliates do not already have an email list, it can be time-consuming and labour-intensive to grow one.
6. Word of Mouth and Print Media
If an affiliate wants to promote in the offline space, then old-fashioned word of mouth referral and print media are the way to go. However, as affiliate marketing is mainly conducted online, this means that word of mouth and print media can only use what Commission Factory refers to as ‘clickless tracking,’ explained earlier. Exclusive codes can be simply mentioned to friends, family, and even sports clubs. For print media, exclusive codes can be included in magazines, newspapers, brochures and much more.
To summarise, while it might require some ingenuity or extra work, there are still plenty of options for advertising an affiliate proposition in the absence of a website. With a little creativity to stand out from the crowd and by using a medium an individual is passionate about; they can easily start promoting advertisers.
If you would like to join Commission Factory as an affiliate, please feel free to sign up here as we would love to see you get started.