Is it possible to do affiliate marketing without a social media following? You bet it is. In fact, you don't need social media at all to be successful with affiliate marketing. It can help but don't think you need a huge social following to be successful.
In this article, I am going to show you all the different ways to do affiliate marketing even if you have no followers regardless of the social media platform.
6 Ways To Make Affiliate Marketing Work Without A Social Media Following
1. Content Marketing and SEO With a Blog
Creating a website or blog is the best way to do affiliate marketing if you don't have a social media following.
The basic idea is to build a blog where your blog posts will rank on Google and bring in organic traffic. This traffic is free and very highly converting. For example, if you rank for the term - "best headphones for working out" on the first page of Google, you're almost guaranteed to make money from affiliate commissions with this keyword and other related keywords.
Starting a blog is actually quite easy. The main challenge is really just writing the content. Fortunately, AI makes this real easy these days to get content written for you. One of the best AI writers is Jasper.
I have a complete guide on how to start a blog, but here are the main steps broken down:
Choose a Niche
Find a niche that is both appealing to you and also has affiliate programs you can promote. You don't have to be an expert in the field, but it helps to have at least some interest in it. This is because it will keep you motivated to come up with content. If the subject bores you, in time you will lose interest.
Set up Your Blog
You'll need to register a domain name and get hosting. I recommend going with WordPress and nothing else. With WordPress, you don't need any coding skills. Most of the internet uses WordPress and so should you.
Create High-Quality Content
Whether you write the content yourself or use an AI writer, creating content that both your audience and Google loves is essential. To optimize your content, I like using tools like Frase which analyzes your competitor's content, has a built-in AI writer to write the content for you, and also provides you with all the keywords you need to include in your article to help you rank better.
You don't need tools if you don't want to pay for them, but it does give you a competitive edge in having them.
SEO stands for "search engine optimization" and is crucial for attracting organic traffic to your blog. There are two sides to SEO - on-page and off-page. On page is where you ensure that your URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, and content are done the right way. Off-page SEO refers to other sites that link to you. This is like a voting system. The more and better links you have than your competitors, the better chances you have to rank.
These are the basic fundamentals of starting a blog or website, but I encourage you to visit my guide on setting up a blog for more details. You'll learn all the technical aspects of setting it up, choosing the right target audience, how to write blog posts, choosing plugins, and more. This guide will help you become a successful affiliate marketer in blogging.
2. Build an Email List
Many marketers and influences that have a following build an email list. There's a reason for this - it's pretty powerful.
But what if you don't have a following? How do you build an email list?
There are a few ways. I already told you that setting up a blog is the best way to do affiliate marketing. You can then build your email list right in your blog!
If you have a blog, you can include "lead magnets" in your posts which are essentially free downloadable giveaways in exchange for an email address.
You can offer a guide, cheatsheet or something related to your niche for free. Once they sign up, they will be imported into your email list. The email autoresponder I use is GetResponse but there are many different email programs to choose from.
You can also build a list using Pay-per-click ads where you build a landing page that includes your lead magnet offer for a free download.
Another way is with Solo ads. Solo ads are services where you pay people that have large email lists to send out emails on your behalf.
You can build your email list this way and if this interests you, you should check out e-Farming. Igor Kheifets is a master at building large email lists and he teaches you how to do that in his course.
You make money with your email list because it will include your affiliate links. Be sure to not just focus on promotional content, otherwise, you might turn off your subscribers if you are too commercial. Focus on solving problems and sprinkle in your affiliate links here and there. When you build trust, people will eventually buy from you.
3. Start a YouTube Channel
No social media following? No problem! Just start a YouTube channel.
And yes, affiliate marketing can be done on YouTube. Ever hear a YouTuber say "Click the link below?"
Chances are they are getting you to click on their affiliate link. A lot of YouTubers make more money with affiliate marketing than getting paid by YouTube through the YouTube Partner Program, so it's something you should incorporate.
Don't want to show your face? Don't worry! You don't have to. I am sure you have seen many faceless YouTube channels that use other videos or different methods where you don't have to get on camera.
One of the best creators in this space is Matt Par. He's got 9 channels all of which don't show his face and all are powered with affiliate marketing.
If starting a YouTube channel interests you whether you want to go on camera or not, check out my list of the best YouTube course recommendations.
4. Pay-Per-Click Ads
I touched on this earlier, but another way to do affiliate marketing without a social media following is to use pay-per-click ads.
Typically, you would be using Facebook or Google Ads here.
You would first need to research a niche to target and make sure there are affiliate programs for it. Then, create a landing page that either is a sales page for a product or has a lead magnet for a free download in exchange for an email address. Once they are on your list you can market to them as described in step 2 above.
Before you create your PPC ad, make sure you do keyword research using tools like Google Keyword Planner, Keysearch, or Ahrefs. There are plenty of different keyword research tools out there. Too many to be honest!
When creating your ad, be sure to write copy that is compelling and highlights the benefits of the affiliate product you are selling. Don't focus too much on features.
Look to what your competitors are doing and model yours on the successful ones but never copy.
5. Guest Posting With Affiliate Links
Most people use guest posting for backlinking as I explained in step 1. However, did you know that you can also use guest posting for affiliate programs? And yes, no social media following is required here!
To do this, you would first have to do outreach on many different blogs in your niche. Ask them if they accept guest posts. If you get a yes, then you would craft an article where you would include your affiliate link.
Now, many bloggers are wise to this and would easily find out it's an affiliate link and probably reject the article. But there's a sneaky way around this. It would be helpful if you have a blog already, where you could use your own domain and set the link to an inner page article. After some time it is published, you could do a 301 redirect from that page to an affiliate link. Chances are the website you posted on won't ever notice it and you could make some potential affiliate commissions!
Keep in mind though that if the link you are getting is benefitting the SEO on your blog, it would be wise to keep the link pointing to your site rather than an affiliate link. If it's a throwaway blog that you don't care about, then that's fine. But if you plan on building this blog up, keep the link as is.
6. Forums and Online Communities
Participating in forums and online communities in your niche is another way to engage in affiliate marketing without having a social media following.
However, I have to tell you although I have dabbled in this before, it's pretty difficult. That is because most forums and online communities frown on this practice. Many have gone so far as to ban you from posting any links at all, whether it is an affiliate link or not.
There is a workaround, however. Some forums require that you post X amount of posts before you are allowed to include links. This means that you can put links in your posts but you have to be "trusted" first by providing value in what you contribute to the forum or online community.
Before you join, read the fine print. There is no reason to join if they never allow links.
However, if you find an online forum or community that allows links, don't jump in guns a-blazin'. Instead, participate in discussions offering genuine advice and solutions in a confident and knowledgeable tone.
Once you build up some credibility, slide in affiliate links once in a while. Don't be over-promotional either. If you do, people will know you're just an affiliate marketer looking to make a buck.
Affiliate marketing without followers is definitely possible. And as I mentioned in this article, you don't even really need it.
For those that have a big social media following, sure, they likely do well with affiliate marketing. But there are many other traffic sources.
As I mentioned, the best way to get affiliate sales is with a blog or website. The valuable content you create will rank organically on Google and will generate passive income. Unlike social media, you don't have to constantly post to remain relevant. Social media posts generally die out after a few weeks, but your content lives on for years and years.
If writing isn't your thing, consider a YouTube channel to do affiliate marketing. You not only can make money from views that YouTube pays you, but your affiliate income could certainly surpass that.
If you want to learn affiliate marketing without having to rely on social media, check out my post on the best affiliate marketing courses.
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