This post was originally published February 2, 2015. I have updated it extensively and republished it on March 3, 2016.
I want to share with you 20 awesome ways to promote affiliate products — especially for those of you who freelance.
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.
In other words, businesses will give an affiliate his or her own unique link to promote their various products or services. Each time someone clicks that link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission.
In fact, some people make a full-time living online by promoting affiliate links.
And that’s great…
But if that’s you — or what you’re hoping to do — this post is not for you.
This post is for freelancers who may wish to create additional revenue streams.
See, finding different ways to promote affiliate products is sometimes referred to as passive income. Once your affiliate link is out there, it can passively earn you commissions without you needing to do much else.
This is especially true if the product you are promoting involves recurring billing. You could potentially make a sale once and then continue to earn a commission from it every month!
Sounds great, right?
Only one problem…
It can take a long time to build up an audience in your chosen niche… an audience large enough — and interested enough in what you’re promoting — for you to earn any significant amount of money through affiliate marketing.
You might say I’m a much bigger fan of active income.
You know, running an online, service-based business… freelancing… whatever you want to call it.
So, if your primary objective is to replace your day job earnings while working from home — online — may I recommend shelving the concept of passive income in the beginning? Instead, focus on offering real services to real clients who will pay you real money in the immediate future.
Heck, you could quit your day job today and get your first freelance invoice paid tomorrow, if you really wanted to…
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with promoting affiliate products in conjunction with your freelancing efforts… sort of blending the two. You could earn an active income while still enjoying a bit of passive income on the side.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to show you in this post — 20 awesome ways to promote affiliate products as a freelancer — without interrupting your daily routine much, if at all.
Whether you’re a freelance writer or not, you most likely have a website set up to promote your services, right? And does that website feature a blog?
If so, one of the simplest ways to promote affiliate products is to share some of the tools you use (1) in a blog post. For instance, if you are a freelance writer, perhaps you use Grammarly. You can mention that on your blog and include your affiliate link.
What about publishing a product review (2)? Perhaps the primary service you offer is SEO… you could review a product like SEMrush and include your affiliate link.
Tutorials (3) are a popular source of new content. Graphic designer? Why not show how you modify stock photos from Shutterstock and include your affiliate link?
How about creating an infographic (4) on a certain plugin you use…? If you offer email marketing as a service, for instance, you might create a highly shareable infographic on the power of popup email signup forms. In the code to publish the infographic elsewhere, you could embed your affiliate link for Ninja Popups.
Even guest posts (5) can be a great way to link back to an affiliate product you are promoting. Not all blogs will allow you to include a direct affiliate link in your guest post, but you could consider linking back to a sales page you created — or one of your aforementioned product reviews or tutorials — in your byline.
For instance, last year I interviewed Dave Schneider of Ninja Outreach. In so doing, I was able to place my affiliate link to purchase Ninja Outreach below the video (6). He and I both funneled traffic in to that interview… he was able to promote his product, and I was able to very casually promote my affiliate link.
Video tutorials and product reviews (7) are not only helpful, but often searched for on YouTube. I once created a video review of a plugin I use called Social Warfare.
I created the video — mostly — to educate clients about what it does. But killing two birds with one stone, I made a few affiliate sales back when this video was publicly listed on YouTube.
(The video needs some updates… so it’s currently unlisted! But you can click the link above to watch it if you want…)
Do you ever host Hangouts, Blabs, or webinars (8) for your clients or followers? This is a great time to review a membership site you are recommending, especially if you are a freelance coach or consultant. You can actively show the features and benefits of purchasing it and include your affiliate link.
Listen, as I often say, you don’t need to be an expert to start freelancing… you simply need to be more knowledgeable in a specific area than your target market, or have more time to do a specific job than your target market does.
So even though web design is not my strong suit, I will — on occasion — help a client create or update their website for a nominal fee.
After all, if you know how to install WordPress and activate a few plugins — you’re ahead of thousands of others.
Why not register to become an affiliate with GoDaddy (9)? You could recommend your client purchases his or her domain name through your affiliate link. It costs them nothing extra, and you get paid for the recommendation.
Same goes for promoting hosting (10) through a service like WebHostFace.
Don’t forget WordPress plugins (11) and specific themes (12). For instance, I love my theme — the premium version of GeneratePress. I’m not currently a GeneratePress theme affiliate, but I should be… I have encouraged a few of my clients to purchase it for their own websites.
Most websites for business will also need an autoresponder (13) — like AWeber, which is what I use at the time I’m updating this post. You can recommend whatever email service you happen to believe in.
Even if you don’t have any interest in offering web design services, it’s always a good idea to have affiliate links for plugins, autoresponders, hosting, and so forth…It's always a good idea to have affiliate links set up for products and services you regularly use as a freelancer.Click To Tweet
A client or fellow freelancer asks what theme you are using, or if you can recommend a good host…?
Boom. Send him or her your affiliate links.
It doesn’t cost them anything extra — and you get rewarded for recommending a good thing! These can be very easy, passive sales.
Banners & Buttons
Embedding a banner in your sidebar or footer (14) is one of the easiest ways to promote affiliate products on your website.
But it doesn’t stop there… why not include that banner in your email signature (15)? Just make sure that whatever you’re promoting — a course, for instance — would be relevant to your website visitors or email recipients.
I could add a banner to my email signature promoting her course, or I could even just add a text-based tagline (16) with a hyperlink that says…
Click here to learn how to get paid to write in 7 weeks or less!
This is a topic that would be of interest to a number of people I email throughout the day, and it speaks to what I do as a freelance copywriter.
This is a tricky one.
Because the only thing more annoying than your friend who posts a million selfies a day…
…is that annoying network marketer you know, who fills your timeline with invitations to try that crazy wrap thing…
A good rule of thumb is to make sure 80 percent of your content is fun, educational, or engaging…
The other 20 percent can be promotional.
You could, however, promote products or services that your clients are selling (17).
This could look good on both you and your client.
Say one of your clients is an author who just published a new book. You could very seamlessly promote his or her book on social media — using your affiliate link — encouraging your followers to check it out.
Alternatively, consider including your affiliate link in your bio (18) on Twitter or Instagram.
Perhaps you’re a fashion or style consultant, and you use your Instagram account to promote different looks or outfits. Why not instruct your followers to click the affiliate link in your bio to purchase what you’re wearing?
Lastly, let’s talk about the emails you send out to your mailing list.
Do you offer a freebie or some other type of digital download to entice new people to subscribe to your list? Why not embed a relevant affiliate link in that digital download (19)? Sure, the PDF was free, but it may still contain an affiliate link or two.
Likewise, you could send out a broadcast every month or two promoting a product (20) you are using.
Perhaps you’re a Freelancer affiliate, and you’d like to encourage your followers to try finding new clients on that platform. You could easily send out your affiliate link.
Of course, don’t spam your list with new offers every week — but the occasional product or service they might find useful won’t hurt. You just need to know your audience.
A Million Other Ways to Promote Affiliate Products…
Hey, listen… this list isn’t intended to be exhaustive.
All I really want to illustrate here is that you can earn passive, affiliate commissions while still actively working online. It doesn’t have to be one or the other — it can be both.
And if you get creative with it, you could routinely earn an extra $500 to $2,000+ per month by promoting different affiliate products on the side.
But my best advice…?
If you’re quitting your job — and you have a mortgage to pay or kids to feed — I wouldn’t recommend diving into affiliate marketing with both feet as your intended source of full-time income. You’ll find out rather quickly that passive income isn’t earned as passively as some marketers would have you believe.Passive income isn't earned as passively as some marketers would have you believe.Click To Tweet
Oh, and never promote a product unless you have actually used it or you really believe in it. Promoting damaged goods is a quick way to ruin your reputation as both a freelancer and a marketer.
[*] Disclaimer: By the way, as you probably realized, this entire post was filled with examples of my own affiliate links…! If you chose to buy something I linked to in this post, I made a few dollars. Thank you!
Lastly, for my fellow freelancers… what other ways to promote affiliate products can you think of? Let me know in the comments. Let’s get a conversation going.