What is Direct Linking in Affiliate Marketing? When to Use it.

Direct linking is an old tactic that’s been around since probably the beginning of affiliate marketing itself. I have tried different variations of it and would like to share when it’s wise to use it and when it’s just a waste of time. 

What is direct linking? 

It’s just the process of linking directly to an affiliate offer.

Imagine for a moment you’re looking for a very specific product online. You look for it on Google or Bing, type in the exact name of the product, see the results in search and some ads come up for it that take you directly to a page where you can buy it. 

That in essence is a form of direct linking, where by looking for a specific product, you click on a site or ad and get taken straight to it. 

Direct linking pros and cons:

You don’t need to own a website to use direct linking. Imagine someone is looking for a specific type or toy online and all you do as an affiliate marketer is find a website which sells it, become an affiliate to promote it, create an affiliate link to that page and just advertise it to the person/s looking for it? This process can literally be set up within a minute if you’re already signed up to an affiliate program. 

Most commonly direct linking is used to promote CPA offers which are basically web pages which provide free trials for all sorts of products. Although I’ve personally never met anyone who has succeeded with it, I have read from a number of people who said that they have made a lot of money promoting CPA offers via direct linking.

Ways that I have tried to use it:

In my experience the only way to succeed with direct linking is to target a very, very specific niche audience and sell them exactly what they’re looking for. So if you know about niches, let me give you an example:

  • Broad niche: Wight loss.
  • Specific niche: Weight loss for single moms. 
  • Very, VERY specific niche: P90x. 

If I were doing a direct linking project, I would only focus on P90X and the niche audience I would target would be those who know exactly what it is and are ready to buy it. 

For example:

I have tried to sell very specific weight loss products to my niche audience through Bing Ads. All I did was, I had an affiliate link which took people directly to the product page (this is a direct link example), I set up an ad which would appear under the specific keywords the audience would type and the ad would get visitors to it. 

I have also made YouTube videos reviewing a product and sending people directly to the affiliate offer. 

I have ONLY seen success from the YouTube example, but honestly, if you closely look at it, it’s not really a form of direct linking as I’ll explain in a moment.

If you take just the narrow understanding of direct linking, then I have never been able to make 1 sale with it. 

Why I don’t recommend you ever try it:

The internet in 2016 (and frankly many years before) is very different when it comes to selling. In my opinion, most people who look up things online rarely are ready to buy right away unless there is some hot selling product that’s out or they need to get their hands on it and go directly to any vendor page to buy it. 

But in most cases, when people look online for just about anything product related, they will almost ALWAYS look for reviews or additional information on the product prior to making a buying decision. 

It is this crucial part of the buying process that makes direct linking an almost failed attempt right from the start because without having enough information that something works to go by, people will rarely ever purchase anything right away. 

You may also notice that many pages which sell products nowadays also have their own reviews up on them and in place like Amazon, you can get a great viewpoint of different opinions on any product you find. 

However, many people still prefer to look at outside websites and reviews before they go further. So before they look at say a product called “A”, they’ll look at things such as: Does A work? A reviews. A scam. A…anything that involves learning more about the product before they buy it.

Direct linking essentially omits the research part of the buyer and directly takes them to the area where they are going to have to buy and the truth is many people just aren’t ready for that part until they know for sure what they are researching will work for them. 

That is why I have never made a single sale doing any direct linking campaigns. Now I have never tested ever single approach to it out there, but I can tell you that I know for myself and people that more and more, they need to know what they’re buying.

Is promoting on YouTube a form of direct linking?

I have wondered about this, but I have decided that it isn’t. Although you don’t own a website and can send people to product sales pages right away, there is still the element of research present in your video, therefore, it still helps answer questions people have.

Videos can also act as “landing pages” which people can view if they’re looking for product reviews from which you can send them to offers. This method has worked very well for me, especially when I tested it.

Give people a reason to buy before you ask them to buy:

Only a small portion of people are ever ready to just buy something and even a large percentage of those groups are still in a stage where they need to know what will work before they pay that money. 

You as an affiliate marketer must explain to them why the product they are looking to buy works or doesn’t. The more information you provide, the more they will trust you. 

In online marketing, through certain methods such as paid ads, you can leverage to an extent traffic flow to a product, but if you send them directly to the product buying page itself, you might most of the time, not make any sales because again, giving people a reason to buy something rather than pushing it on them immediately is a better way to sell.

Have a direct linking success story?

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