how to start affiliate marketing for beginners feature image

How to Start Affiliate Marketing For Beginners : 7- Step Process

Want to know how you can make it big in this billion-dollar affiliate marketing industry as a beginner?

Then you are in the right place.

Because in this guide I’m going to tell you how to make money with affiliate marketing as a beginner, the type of products to promote, what places to promote them and some helpful tips to scale your affiliate marketing business.

Can’t wait? Jump straight to how to start affiliate marketing:

  1. Choose a Niche
  2. Decide a Platform
  3. Join Programs
  4. Create Content
  5. Getting Traffic
  6. Placing Links
  7. Convert & Track

But before that, let’s cover some basics:

What is the definition of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a commission-based business model, hence, the more you generate sales the more you get paid.

In simple words, you work as a salesman for the company to help them generate sales, and for every qualified sale, the company rewards you by giving a piece of the profit.

And the best part?

A typical salesman only sells one company’s product, but you as an affiliate marketer can promote different products from different companies and get paid commission for every one of them.

How does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing involves three parties namely, first – The Merchant, second – The marketer & third – The customer.

All the three parties come together and work in a manner to complete the whole process

The procedure of affiliate marketing is a simple 9 step process, below is an infographic through which you can understand how it works.

For more in-depth information on affiliate marketing you can read my ultimate guide on it. As in that post I’ve already covered every little thing realting to it.

And now, the thing which you wanted to learn.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing For Beginners?

Below is the structure of how you can get started with affiliate marketing as a beginner and make money. Jump on any point you wish to learn. Although I advice you to go step-by-step.

  1. Choose a Niche
  2. Deciding Platform
  3. Creating Content
  4. Getting Traffic
  5. Joining Programs
  6. Placing Links
  7. Convert & Repeat

Step #1 – Choose a Niche

The majority of people make this mistake of selecting an industry in the name of a niche when getting started with affiliate marketing.

By this, I mean they get confused between the both and target a whole industry when they just have to target a specific niche or do so intentionally to earn more money.

The difference between the both is quite simple, an industry is a big market whereas a niche is a specific area served.

For example:

  1. Fitness & Health is an industry but Yoga, Keto Diet, etc., is a niche.
  2. Dance is an industry but Hip Hop, Salsa, etc., is a niche.
  3. Golf is an industry but Golf Equipments, Apparels, etc., is a niche.

But the point is, to be really successful in the affiliate marketing industry and make money, you just have to focus on a specific niche, rather than trying to target the whole industry.

  1. Instead of focusing on Dance as a whole, focus specifically on Hip Hop.
  2. Instead of focusing on Fitness & Health as a whole, focus specifically on Yoga.
  3. Instead of focusing on Golf as a whole, focus specifically on Golf Equipments.

Did you get my point?

This way you will not only be attracting & targeting a specific audience but also would be more likely to make money with affiliate marketing by creating an influence on them.

Remember to become a successful affiliate marketer you need to create influence on your audience by building a connection with them.

And that could only happen when you choose a specific niche and not industry.

Here is a checklist for you to select a niche for affiliate marketing:

  1. Your niche should be based on what you like, prefer, and have expertise on.
  2. Your niche should have affiliate revenue potential so that you could make money in it.
  3. Your niche should have demand so that you know people are concerned about the niche and want to learn more about it.
  4. The customer spending potential, that means, are the people interested in the niche willing to spend money on the product that you are recommending?

If not? Then choose another niche.

By following these tips you can choose a specific niche to target within an industry.

And after choosing your niche, it’s time to decide a platform.

Step #2 – Decide a Platform

The biggest boon of starting an affiliate marketing business is that you could do it on any platform, whichever you prefer and are comfortable with.

Even Instagram can be used to promote products and generate sales.

However the only platforms that could work and help you to make money with affiliate marketing are Blogs and YouTube Channels.

YouTube has become the 2nd largest search platform falling behind Google.

People love to watch videos (over 1 billion hours every day) about plenty of different things like romance, technology, entertainment, and god knows what not!

You can create a channel relating to your niche and start recommending products on how to use them, their features, the benefits, and even their alternatives.

On the other hand, 63% percent of customers start their buying process by searching for a product on Google.

47% of buyers read 3-5 blog posts before purchasing the product. And, 60% of people are inspired to buy the product after reading content about it.

These are some mind-boggling facts about blogging.

You can start a blog and promote products by writing in-depth reviews about them, comparing them with their alternatives, and generate sales for the company.

But when starting an affiliate marketing business you should decide and choose only one platform to make money.

From a personal recommendation, I advise you, to start a blog to make money via affiliate marketing.

A website blog is the best way to start an affiliate marketing business.

As it is easy to manage, scale and monetize. Also remember, you can update your existing blog content any time you want but not in Youtube videos, so it’s better to start a blog.

And when starting an affiliate marketing website blog, you require 2 essential elements:

  1. Domain name, and
  2. Web Hosting

You can register your domain through NameCheap, as they are the best domain registrar out there who provides quality at low prices, even this blog’s domain is registered on the same.

And for the hosting part, the best web hosting service provider I recommend for you as a beginner is FastComet.

They are absolutely the best, the technical team behind the company knows what they are doing and would help you with almost everything you throw at them. Even this blog is hosted on it.

For further in-depth information on this matter, you can check out my guide on how to start a blog and make money, as in that guide I’ve covered every little step for you to start a blog to make money via affiliate marketing.

After deciding the platform, the next step is to join affiliate programs.

Step #3 – Join Programs

You as an affiliate would earn a commission for every sale generated through your affiliate link.

For getting the link associated for your preferred products, you have to join an affiliate program where you’ll get everything, from resources to do better promotions, tips to become a better affiliate marketer, and also the affiliate links.

Depending on the product, affiliate programs are classified into 3 types:

A. High Paying, Low Volume:

These are affiliate programs that pay high commissions but have very few customers, for example: HubSpot.

HubSpot’s affiliate program rewards up to $1000 for every sale referred even if you send 1 customer their way.

a screen shot of HubSpot's Affiliate Program offering $1000 for every sale referred

However, they also offer CRM software along with their email marketing tool so there’s a limited pool of buyers.

But remember: The competition is much higher for such niched products and probably if you’re just starting out, it will be quite challenging to make money.

B. Low Paying, High Volume:

These are the programs that pay low commissions but have a large number of customers, for example: Amazon Associates Program

image of amazon associates program login page

You can promote Vacuum Cleaners which is quite a necessity in every home, but they generally range between $50-$200 for simple household ones.

And if you promote them through Amazon, you would get only a 3% commission that roughly equals to $6 (3% off $200) for every sale.

I know $6 as commission is not worth it.

But, the best thing is that you can get commissions for the entire cart purchase and not only for your promoted products.

Here’s what I mean by this,

Let’s suppose, if a visitor clicks on your affiliate link to purchase vacuum cleaners and that visitor ends up buying two more things, so you as an affiliate will get commission for the entire cart.

Even though you didn’t promote that two products which the visitor ended up purchasing.

And this is the why people start amazon affiliate marketing.

They may get less commissions for the product they promote but the visitor may purchase something else along with their product, giving them a chance to earn higher commissions.

Although remember: To benefit from this type of program you will need lots of traffic as the comission rate is low.

C. High Paying, High Volume:

These programs pay a high number of commissions and also have a large number of buyers, for example: Credit Cards

To benefit from credit card affiliate programs you need deeper expertise in the industry and also deep pockets.

And since I’ve written this guide for you to start affiliate marketing as a beginner, I won’t go into more detail.

Step #4 – Creating Content

After joining the program you have to create content surrounding the product you want to promote. Why so?

Because you can only become a successful affiliate marketer and make money with affiliate marketing when people or say potential customers buy through your affiliate links.

And they will only convert when you provide an appropriate solution to their problems through your content.

The type of content that has convincing power to motivate your audience to buy the product.

And for that purpose, there are only two types of content that work the best to convince your blog visitors to buy through your affiliate links.

A. ‘Best’ Post

Imagine you want to buy running shoes, then what are you gonna search for?

“best running shoes”

screen shot of Google Search Results Page for "best running shoes"

What do you see?

The full results page is dominated by affiliate sites like Runners World, Fleet Feet, and more.

But, Why? If you wonder then,

The word ‘best’ is so powerful because it has the transactional intent of a customer behind it.

The buyer is ready to buy the product. He/She just wants to read the post and make the best choice.

The ‘best’ type of content means the ultimate ‘best’ post, featuring the best product, which has the best features, the best benefits, and the best everything.

Remember, the key here is to think about what people like you are searching for when deciding to buy a product. Because if people are searching for it, the chances are it is a good post to create to promote products.

So, create an in-depth ‘best’ post.

Depending on your niche, the ‘best’ type of content could be anything like:

  • Best armchairs under $500
  • Best vacuum cleaners for large homes
  • Best laptops for students
  • Best traveling backpacks
  • Best gadgets under $100

Etc, etc, etc.

You get the idea, right?

The ‘best’ type of content. The “best *blank* post”.

And that would be the best way to create content for promoting your products and generate affiliate revenue.

OK! Enough of the ‘best’ post now and let’s move on to the next type of content.

B. ‘Review’ Post

When was the last time you searched for a review of the product?

Probably 2-3 weeks earlier when you were buying that unnecesarry gift.

Right?

That’s the type of content you have to create, the ‘review’ post, writing in-depth reviews about the product, and promoting it your audience.

You can review different products within your niche and write an in-depth article about each one of them (or at least for products you promote).

For example: when creating a “best post” write several other “review posts” for each product you promote. Like The Spruce,

screen shot of The Spruce website featuring a review post

Remeber I told you, that to become a successful affiliate marketer and make money with affiliate marketing you need to create and influence on your audience.

Thus the more you write these product review posts, the more you place yourself as a person who deeply reviews the product and then recommends them.

This will help you to build an image as an expert in front of your audience and the more you gain their trust further creating an influence on them.

When you win their trust, they’d be happy to read your review and would love to buy the product you are recommending.

So that’s it, think of the best *blank* and create the ‘best post’ about it along with a *blank* ‘review post’.

Step #5 – Getting Traffic to Affiliate Links

OK, hands down! Any industry be it huge or small, can’t survive if they have no customers.

Similarly, if you don’t have traffic, all your efforts for starting a blog, joining affiliate program and writing content would be wasteful.

Getting traffic means getting in front of audience who will read your blog post and feel convinced to click and buy products through your affiliate links.

For that purpose, you could leverage different ways to get traffic such as:

1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is the practice of optimizing pages to rank high in search engines like Google.

You could optimize your blog post according to different aspects of SEO like on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.

Doing proper SEO would give you the advantage of appearing on the first page of Google for your target keywords which will bring you free consistent organic traffic for a long time.

Because 75% of the people don’t ever go on the second page of Google for their search query.

And if you appear in the top results on the first page of Google you have the most chances of getting your post clicked and read by visitors and generating a sale.

If you want to learn about SEO in detail and master its tactics there are only two people in this world you need to follow Neil Patel & Brian Dean a.k.a. Backlino.

2. Email list

Despite the rise of social media, email remains one of the best channels to reach out to your audience.

Infact, ROI on email marketing is 4400% i.e. $44 on every $1 spent.

So focus on building your email list by persuading your blog visitors to opt-in to your list by offering them a lead magnet.

And once they get into your email list, build a connection with them by sending them emails at regular intervals like once in a day with a link to your blog posts.

This way you would keep them coming back to read more of your content and further increasing your chances of generating sales.

Just like the way Runner’s World does:

image of a runners world email featuring a link to their blog post

3. Social Media

With over 2.8 billion monthly active users on its platform, Facebook has become the world’s number one social media platform.

You can create a Facebook Page for your affiliate website to keep your audience updated with the latest content and send traffic to posts containing affiliate links. Similarly, like the Buzzfeed does:

image of a buzzfeed facebook post containing a link to their blog post

Another thing you could do is run facebook ads for your blog posts as they are highly effective.

And you could target massive audience depending upon various interests, hobbies, demographics, etc., at once.

Step #6 – Placing Links

After getting traffic to your blog post, the next thing you have to do is to strategically place your affiliate links to get the most clicks on them.

Because if they are not getting clicked by visitors how would they convert into sale, right?

So to make money with your affiliate links you have to place them through out your content using two types –

A. Call-Outs

Call-outs are a way to grab the readers attention by highlighting them using various combinations such as texts, colors, etc.

Through call-outs you could place your affiliate links in different ways to make them appear attractive and enticing your readers to click them.

Different types of call-outs such as buttons, boxes, and tables would help the readers to skim the post gaining information much quicker.

For example, Runner’s World uses a whole new approach by using tables and buttons embedded with links to catch visitors’ attention.

image of runners world website reviewing different running shoes placed within columns forming tables and using button callouts to purchase them

B. Placement

The position of links matters the most.

If you place your affiliate links at the bottom of the blog post where not most people visit then you are missing out on certain possibilities of generating affiliate revenue.

You should place your links near the top of the page surrounding the product information using button call-outs where the chances of getting clicked are higher. For example: The Spruce

image of The Spruce website reviewing a washing machine placing attractive buttons embedded with affiliate links near the image of the product

By doing this you would not only be getting more clicks on your affiliate links but also have a higher probability of generating more affiliate revenue.

Step #7 – Converting & Tracking

Getting clicks is not enough on your affiliate links, you would have to convert them so that it could be qualified as a sale and grant you a commission.

This part depends on the merchant side of affiliate marketing and you have no control over it.

The best you could do is choose a good Merchant who has a good reputation & brand image in front of the audience. Not someone like GoDaddy.

But the thing you could control is the tracking of clicks.

You called track where your visitors are going after clicking the link.

Are they going to the right place?

Is the Link broken causing your visitors to go to an error page?

If the link is broken you have to replace it with a new and updated link so that it would help your readers to go to the right page.

And successfully convert into customers.

NOTE: The word tracking means seeing/checking where your audience is visiting. And not actually tracking their web activity.

Thus, this is how you could get started with affiliate marketing and make money.

A simple 7-step process.

Now, let me guess, what you are thinking.

You’re thinking that “OK, I know how to start affiliate marketing, but what kind of products do I promote?”

Then my friend, don’t worry!

I’ve written below what type of products you can promote, and even how you can promote them.

Which Type of Products to Promote?

There is a vast number of products you can promote to make money with affiliate marketing depending on your niche.

Although most of them are classified into 4 types-

1. Physical Products:

The products you could touch, see, and feel are considered as physical products. For example: armchairs, vacuum cleaners, etc.

You can promote physical products depending on your niche through the world’s largest affiliate program which is Amazon Associate Program.

Amazon has a large number of physical products that you could promote via their platform.

image of Amazon Associates Program logo

The Biggest benefit of using this program is that people love to buy from Amazon, people trust it for its reputation, its image, and service.

The only drawback of promoting products from this program is that the commissions provided are generally less.

Also to make the conditions worse, Amazon has recently slashed its commission rates making it very competitive and less profitable.

I’d suggest you to join different programs along with Amazon Associates Program like other merchants program. For instance the Wirecutter does:

image of Wirecutter website featuring affiliate links from different merchants for the same product.

That way your readers can choose from which place they want to buy, and also you can earn commission from both sides.

2. Digital Products:

The products which you can’t see, touch, or feel rather use them instead are considered as digital products. For example: an ebook, etc.

You can promote digital products depending on your niche as they are really easy to promote, to store and to use. So it’s a win-win situation for both you and as well as for your audience.

The commissions provided by digital product affiliate programs are generally higher than physical products.

With that being said, you can search for digital product affiliate programs by doing a simple Google search such as “[digital product relating to your niche] affiliate programs”.

Or you can join the world’s largest digital product affiliate network Clickbank.

Where you can get commission’s as high as 90% for certain products.

image of clickbank digital product affiliate network

3. Informative Products:

These are a kind of digital product but they provide information to teach people about a certain topic. For example: Courses.

You can promote courses relating to a specific topic in your niche, it will help your readers to gain more information about the topic.

The most popular course platforms are Coursera & Udemy. You can join these programs and earn a good commission for every qualified sale.

4. Services:

You can promote services relating to your niche to your audience.

You can establish an affiliate niche site, where you can provide coupon codes of different services depending on your niche. Just like, Groupon

This way your readers could benefit from the coupon codes provided by you and use them while purchasing the service.

On the other hand, also benefiting you by increasing the chances of getting a commission for every sale referred.

Note: These kinds of affiliate niche sites need deep pockets to maintain profitability over the long term and I don’t recommend promoting services using coupon codes for a beginner.

How to Promote your Affiliate Links?

You got started with affiliate Marketing, wrote content, strategically placed your links, and even drove traffic to your links.

But where do you promote them?

You could promote your links in different ways –

A. Blog Posts:

Blogs remain the top choice for customers to research about the product and to gain more information relating to it.

By writing different types of posts such as ‘best’ posts, ‘review’ posts, and ‘comparison’ posts you could promote your affiliate links through them.

Placing your links next to the products in attractive button call-outs will entice readers to click them and increase the possibility of generating sales.

The same way as I showed you an image about Runners World above.

B. YouTube tutorials:

Earlier you heard me saying before people love watching videos and that’s true.

People are eager to learn more and more about a product which they are purchasing.

Like, ‘how the product works’, ‘what are its benefits’, ‘what are its hidden features’ etc.

You could make an in-depth video tutorial for the product and create other videos relating to the product like what are it’s alternatives, etc.

And publish that video on your YouTube channel by placing the affiliate links in the description area while providing other essential information such as disclaimer, written content about the product, etc. just like, Mrwhosetheboss

image of affiliate links being mentioned in youtube video description

C. Automated Emails:

After growing a targeted email list of potential customers you could nurture them by sending them automated emails.

By sending them information about the product you could engage with your readers and make them learn more about the benefits of the product and how it could make their life easier.

By engaging with your audience you build the connection and trust with your audience further increasing the chances of generating affiliate revenue.

You could start an automated email series like ‘7-day / 10-day *something that your target audience wants to acheive*’ and promote your products within that emails.

D. E-books:

The growing popularity of eBooks has made life more convenient for everyone.

You can create a highly useful ebook or a pdf and give it to your readers which they can read any time any place at their convenience.

And strategically placing links within the ebook would make your reader’s life easy by clicking on links and purchasing products instead of searching for them individually.

And also would generate you some affiliate income.

Tips to Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer

Below are some of the useful tips which would help you be a better affiliate marketer and establish your place in this huge industry.

1. Cloak links:

Cloaking your affiliate links is important in today’s competitive affiliate marketing world.

Commission theft is a big thing in this industry which happens via malware loading unsuspectingly on computers of various people.

This Malware monitors the pages visited by those people, finding affiliate links on those pages and further replacing the links with their specific links, thereby stealing the commission of that affiliate.

On the other hand, affiliate links are quite long and look ugly & spammy, pushing people away from clicking them.

So what do you do to protect your commissions and ensure people click on the links?

You cloak your links.

But, what is link cloaking?

The definition provided by ThirstyAffiliates (a link cloaking software for affiliate links) is as follows…

Link cloaking is the process of disguising the affiliate link URL provided by an affiliate program to obfuscate the affiliate ID and make the link shorter.

ThirstyAffiliates

By cloaking your links you make them appear visually more appealing and decrease the chances of theft while ensuring that you get 100% reward for your efforts.

ThirstyAffiliates is the best plugin I recommend for cloaking your affiliate links.

If you want more information about this topic you can read here.

But remeber to always cloak your affiliate links.

2. Be Authentic:

Being authentic is the key to getting successful in the affiliate marketing industry.

People trust people, people buy from people, people sell to people. Period.

And that’s the reason why I told you that to become a really successful affiliate marketer you need to create influence on people.

So being authentic and honest in front of audience is an essential thing in gaining their trust and creating influence on them.

And to gain the trust of people, disclose that you are an affiliate of that product and might receive a small commission if they buy through your link.

Be honest about your affiliate disclosure and show it to the people, when ever you promote a product.

Why do so? Because it is required by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to be transparent when receiving income from an endorsement.

And, on the other hand, people would love your authenticity and honesty about receiving commissions, further trusting you more.

When people trust you they would happily purchase the product you are promoting.

Ok, now the question is,

How to be transparent?

If you are promoting products on your blog, then create a dedicated page for it or include it in your site footer like this:

image of disclosure mentioned in the footer of a website

And, If you are promoting products on YouTube, then disclose it in your description like this:

image of disclosure mentioned in disclaimer of an YouTube video

3. Creating Quality Content:

When creating content for your affiliate products you should focus on the quality of content instead of quantity.

You should input correct, legal, factual information by citing sources, along with relevant visual media such as images, videos, etc., so that your audience can learn better about the product.

But also keep in mind to fulfill 3 criterias:

  1. To address audience’s needs
  2. To provide them with appropriate solution, and
  3. Add value to their life by educating them

This will help your readers to gain quality information rather than quantitative information.

By doing this you will not only gain the trust of your readers but also appear as an expert in your niche.

Ultimately motivating your readers to consume your content to receive quality information about the products and further increasing your chances of generating affiliate income.

4. Involved Affiliate Marketing:

This term was coined by Pat Flynn from smart passive income.

He says, “Involved affiliate marketing is where you’ve used a product or service, truly believe in it, and personally recommend it to your audience.”

For example: if you use your camera and love it then you should promote that camera to your audience.

That way you know in-and-out of what you are promoting and might be the right candidate to promote that product.

Action Item: Make a list of items you use in your daily life and ask yourself questions like,

  • Do I love this product?
  • Has this product made my life convenient?
  • What problem did this product help me solve?
  • Will my readers be able to benefit from this product too?

And there my friend, you would have a list of products you could promote from your heart and your audience would love you for your awesome recommendations.

5. Relationship with Affiliate Manager & Resources:

When joining a product’s affiliate program you should maintain the relationship with affiliate managers over the long term so that they can help you when in need to gain more information about the product.

Relationships with managers can be fruitful as you can ask them questions like:

  • Can they create a discount coupon code for your audience?
  • Can they create a specific page dedicated to your readers?
  • Can they change your mode of payment to receive commissions?

Let’s say they create a dedicated landing page for your audience and provide you with a coupon code so that you can give it ti your audience.

And after receiving a coupon code your audience would be happy for a low price and by seeing your image on the product sign-up page.

For example, The Minimalist promotes Bluehost web hosting and when their readers click their affiliate link they get welcomed by a dedicated landing page from Bluehost.

image of a dedicated landing page by Bluehost for the readers of The Minimalist

Affiliate managers could also help you with creating content for the product which is beneficial for you, as you can provide better information to your audience.

So I advice you to build a relationship with the affiliate manager.

6. Scaling over the long term:

To scale your affiliate marketing business over the long term you need to build links to it.

Link building is beneficial for your affiliate marketing website blog, as they will help you gain popularity and authority in your niche.

It is also proven that a higher number of links help you to rank on top position in search engine results pages.

So, building links is beneficial for you in two ways:

  1. Helps in search engine ranking position for your target keyword.
  2. Establishes Authority in the niche and getting referral traffic to scale the blog for the long term.

And the last tip!

7. Research on product Deeply and Accurately:

Before promoting any product you should not only be researching its affiliate program but also for other things like:

  1. What benefits does it hold for your readers?
  2. How conveniently can your readers use it?
  3. What side effects does it have?

Etc, etc, & etc.

Depending upon the product you choose to promote do as much research and gain information as possible.

It is your duty to provide authoritative and legal information along with quality information to your readers about the product so they can be aware of it.

Now, let me answer the most important question that you might have relating to getting started with affiliate marketing.

How Much Money Can I make with Affiliate Marketing?

Making money with affiliate marketing depends on many things such as your niche, the spending potential of your audience, the level of competition in your niche, the type of products you promote, and the type of programs you join.

Affiliate income generated is inconsistent. One month it could be high and the other month it could be low.

Decent affiliate marketers earn up to $20,000 per year in-side income and can go up to $100,000+ in primary income.

Conclusion

Getting started with affiliate marketing for beginners is a simple 7 step process:

  1. Choosing a Niche within an Industry
  2. Selecting a Platform
  3. Joining Programs
  4. Creating Content
  5. Getting Traffic
  6. Placing Links
  7. Converting and Tracking

Starting a affiliate marketing website blog and creating quality content about the product while strategically placing the links is the best way to promote your affiliate links and make money.

I recommend you, to be yourself and only promote products which you use in your daily life by using the involved affiliate marketing approach.

Because being authentic and creating influence on your audience while focusing on scaling over the long-term is the key to getting successful in this massive billion-dollar industry.

But the only question is, when are you going to start affiliate marketing?

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