Can you freelance and earn affiliate income at the same time?
As a freelancer it might be tempting to think advertising other peoples’ products on your freelancing website might distract from the services you offer. After all, people are leaving your site through links to off-site product pages rather than links to your on-site service pages.
Isn’t this bad?
The answer largely depends on your tactics, brand, and target audience. When you shower your website with affiliate links directed to diverse products, often unrelated to your audience’s needs, then it’s going to reflect badly on your professionalism, trustworthiness, and conversion results.
Visitors will see you place greater emphasis on earning money rather than genuinely helping your audience.
If, on the other hand, you target a niche audience with particular problems and desires, and focus on just a select few quality products that will genuinely make your readers’ lives easier, then you have more leeway.
By thoughtfully advertising products (or services) that are complementary to your own services, rather than either unrelated or competing, you can create a seamless connection between the affiliate products and what you offer.
For example, a freelance copywriter might advertise affordable website templates which will appeal to his or her target audience. The connection between copywriting and good web design is obvious. There is no conflict nor competition.
A freelance virtual assistant, bookkeeper, or web designer might advertise invoicing software, which would also have a non-competing connection.
7 places affiliate links can be inserted on a freelancer’s website
So given that freelancers can use affiliate marketing to their advantage, if intelligently incorporated into their marketing strategies, where on your own website can affiliate links be placed?
Let’s explore 7 areas:
Blog post links
One of the most obvious places to add affiliate links is inside your blog posts. When you write tips and advice articles there can be opportunities to recommend an appropriate product you use, or have used, successfully.
The key is to write the post with a genuine intention to help your readers rather than writing a post solely to sell a product. This is somewhat different to writing posts aimed at persuading readers to hire your freelancing services, which is a big reason to have a blog in the first place.
As with most affiliate linking on your website, it’s imperative to clearly disclose you have affiliate links on the page.
An alternative to adding links into blog posts is to devote an entire landing page to an affiliate product. This is where you might write a detailed review of your experiences with the product together with how your target audience can similarly benefit from it.
Resource pages are also a popular and effective way for freelancers and solopreneurs to highlight the products they use. A carefully cultivated list of tools and software you’ve genuinely used to benefit your business can imbue trust among clients in your choices and recommendations.
This is a great place to add an Invoice Ninja affiliate link even if your freelancing services have little to do with invoicing or personal finance.
Not all freelancers build an email list but if you do, then this is a great place to add affiliate links. While not on-site directly, an email list is usually where blog posts and articles from the site are published for subscribers to read directly via their email platform.
You can also mention sales being run by your favorite affiliate merchant and share related codes and discounts solely for your email subscribers. A carefully cultivated and trusting email subscribership (many of them previous clients) is more forgiving and receptive of the occasional affiliate sales promotion than a first-time website visitor.
Banner ads are the easiest way to add affiliate links to your website but they’re also usually the least effective. For freelancers they can also be a negative visual distraction which can take a prospect’s attention away from your brand, service pages, and related links.
Banner ads often work well on dedicated landing pages where the product is actively being promoted, described, and raved about. They provide a strong visual element which can induce a click when the words on the page are persuasive enough.
Self-created courses are a great way for freelancers to develop extra income streams in parallel with their services. A course can be created for just about any audience where pressing problems or desires are present. Courses hosted on your website are also a perfect place to include affiliate links.
Freelance web designers, for example, might create a course for business owners who want to design their website themselves. The designer can add affiliate links to modifiable website templates or website hosting providers, which are all directly related to the course subject.
Downloadable self-created products, available via your freelancer website, also provide an excellent place to include relevant affiliate links. Whether an eBook, brochure, infographic, or something else, the linking potential is very similar to that with courses, as covered previously.
A downloadable eBook guide might primarily focus on detailing the problems and solutions your freelance services can answer and deliver, yet can also include links to beneficial products outside your area of expertise.
In podcast or video transcripts
Do you like talking? Podcasts and videos are a great way for more vocal freelancers to advertise their services and grow their brand. The podcasts and videos can be placed on-site as well as on popular platforms elsewhere. This medium doesn’t really lend itself to affiliate linking, at first glance anyway, until you realize the power of transcripts.
Not everyone likes to spend time listening to a video or podcast. Many prefer to read and find it faster to scan information. A transcript allows everyone to benefit from your videos or podcasts, and also provides the perfect opportunity to add related affiliate links where appropriate. The transcript can then be included below the video/podcast on your website.
Bringing freelance services and affiliate products together
Freelancing and affiliate marketing don’t need to be mutually exclusive. You can sell your own services while at the same time earning residual income selling other peoples’ products.
The key is to understand your audience – your perfect clients – and promote affiliate products that will directly benefit their business or lives while not detracting from, or competing with, the services you provide.
In fact, the best products to promote are those which actively complement the services you offer and which can be used in conjunction with those services.