Find out what affiliate marketing is and learn all about affiliate marketing for beginners so you can start your own affiliate marketing business.
Are you looking for the perfect way to make money online without having to create your own products and services? If so, affiliate marketing may be the perfect option for you.
Want to start understanding affiliate marketing, so you can learn step-by-step affiliate marketing for beginners and launch your own affiliate marketing business?
In this introduction to affiliate marketing, you’ll learn affiliate marketing from scratch, get answers to frequently asked questions about affiliate marketing for beginners, and learn how to succeed in your affiliate marketing business.
- What is affiliate marketing?
- Is affiliate marketing worth it?
- Is affiliate marketing legit and safe?
- Is affiliate marketing profitable?
- Can affiliate marketing be done without a website?
- Can affiliate marketing be done on Facebook?
- Can affiliate marketing be a side hustle?
- How does affiliate marketing work with Amazon?
- Which are the best affiliate marketing programs?
- How affiliate marketing works step by step
- Are affiliate marketing courses really worth it?
- How to learn affiliate marketing for beginners
- Online business tips & tools
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing has been growing in popularity over the past few years, and there are many companies looking for affiliate marketers to help them sell their products. But what is affiliate marketing, exactly? And how do you get started?
In short, affiliate marketing is a way to promote products or services on behalf of another company. When someone purchases a product or service through your link, you earn a commission on that sale.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online without having to create your own products or services. And even if you do have your own products and services, an affiliate income can help you supplement the income you already earn from them.
An affiliate marketing business is also a great internet business venture because it’s simple, scalable, and profitable. Plus, it’s a great way to build relationships with famous bloggers and influencers in your niche.
In fact, most successful and professional bloggers started out making money with affiliate marketing and continue to do so even when they start selling their own products and services.
Is affiliate marketing worth it?
Affiliate marketing is a great business model for several reasons:
- You can start affiliate marketing with no money.
- It’s a relatively low-cost way to start and maintain a business.
- It provides a high ROI with very good income potential.
- It helps you learn digital marketing skills while earning an income.
- If you have a large following, you could start making money online immediately.
Considering how little expense, effort, and groundwork you need to start making money with an affiliate marketing business I would say it’s definitely worth it.
Is affiliate marketing legit and safe?
Yes, affiliate marketing is a legitimate way to earn money online. There are many reputable companies that offer affiliate programs, and many famous bloggers make a full-time income from affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing model, where affiliates are rewarded for promoting a company’s products or services. When a visitor clicks on an affiliate link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission.
Not only can you make a great income from affiliate marketing, but it’s also a very low-risk business model. You don’t have to invest any money upfront, so there’s very little risk of failure.
Plus, you can scale your business very quickly and easily. Overall, it’s a very safe way to earn money online, as long as you find the best affiliate products to promote.
Is affiliate marketing profitable?
Can affiliate marketing make you money? Can affiliate marketing make you a millionaire? Yes, there are many successful affiliate marketers and success stories of bloggers and content creators who have made millions with affiliate marketing.
For example, top affiliate marketers like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income regularly earn over $1 million dollars a year in affiliate commissions alone! If you’re looking for ways to generate passive income, then affiliate marketing is definitely worth considering.
There are many different types of affiliate programs available, but you need to find profitable affiliate programs that pay well. In general, affiliate marketing is a very effective way to earn money online with very little financial investment.
Can affiliate marketing be done without a website?
Yes, affiliate marketing can be done without a website. However, having your own website is the best way to promote the highest-paying affiliate programs because it will increase your visibility and help you stand out from the competition.
When you have your own affiliate websites, you can provide valuable content that helps your readers learn about the products and services you’re promoting. A website gives you a place to host your content, which can boost your SEO efforts and help you build rankings and traffic.
Customers today are much savvier, and also more suspicious, of people and companies that don’t have an online presence, like a domain, website, and mailing list.
You could say that having your own domain and affiliate website is essential to establishing credibility and legitimacy for your affiliate marketing business and brand.
It’s much more likely that your visitors and subscribers will buy products and services through your affiliate links if you build a powerful brand, create a relationship, and build trust with your readers.
Your affiliate websites and blogs are the best platforms to showcase your own products and services, as well as those of affiliate marketing companies. If you write articles about the products you’re promoting, you can attract the right kind of visitors searching for them on Google.
If you don’t have a website, you can still promote your affiliate products and services through social media and websites like Pinterest. However, you may find it easier to join affiliate marketing programs if you have your own affiliate website.
Besides giving you a significant advantage in marketing your affiliate products and services, having a website is sometimes a requirement for some affiliate networks that will not approve you if you don’t have an online presence.
Can affiliate marketing be done on Facebook?
Yes, you can promote products as an affiliate using social media, online forums, or email marketing. However, social media affiliate marketing strategies are short-lived, as social media posts have a very short lifespan.
According to Wiselytics, the half-life of a Facebook post (the length of time it takes for content to reach 50% of its total lifetime engagement) is only about 30 minutes.
Having your own website gives you more credibility, helps your affiliate marketing content get found on search engines for years to come, and makes it easier for customers to find and buy the products you’re promoting.
Can affiliate marketing be a side hustle?
Yes, affiliate marketing can be a side hustle. It’s a great way to make extra money, and it requires little to no upfront investment to start earning an affiliate income.
There are no massive startup costs, and other than the willingness to learn new skills you don’t need any technical knowledge or skills. All you need is a website or blog and the right affiliate products to promote.
One way to get started is to find products that you love and join the affiliate programs for those products. You can also join an affiliate network, which is a platform that connects merchants with affiliates.
For example, Shareasale is an affiliate marketing platform that offers a large number of affiliate programs for premium products and services in almost any niche you can think of. You must apply for each program separately once you join.
Then, you’ll need to create some content (like a blog post or video) that describes the benefits of the product or service and include your affiliate links in that content. When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission.
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to improve your online marketing skills, promote products that you believe in, and make some additional income from your website or blog.
However, it’s important to remember that earning a significant affiliate income takes time and effort to succeed. It’s not as easy as simply putting up a website and waiting for the money to start rolling in.
You need to build your audience and generate traffic for a website that has been optimized for search traffic. You also need to find the best affiliate programs with high commissions and create content that promotes them in a compelling way to boost click-throughs and sales conversions.
But if you’re willing to invest the time and effort (and some money), affiliate marketing can be a very rewarding and profitable side hustle.
How does affiliate marketing work with Amazon?
The Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program was launched in 1996 and is one of the largest and best affiliate programs for beginners. It has a wide range of products that you can promote, including electronics, toys, books, home improvement items, and more.
When you become an Amazon affiliate, you’ll receive a unique URL to use on your website (and in other permitted online promotional materials) that links directly to Amazon products.
When someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase on Amazon, you’ll earn a commission on that sale. Commissions vary depending on the product and typically range from 4% to 10% of the total sale amount, depending on the category and the product being sold.
So, for example, if you sell a product that costs $100, and you receive a commission of 5%, you would earn $5 in commission from the sale. Commission payments are made monthly and can be deposited into your bank account or sent via check.
Amazon Associates helps content creators, publishers, and bloggers monetize their traffic easily and quickly with millions of products and programs, making it one of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners.
Amazon Associates get access to easy link-building tools in the affiliate dashboard, to direct their audience to their recommendations and earn from qualifying purchases and programs.
You can check out their free tutorials to learn how to increase your affiliate marketing income from Amazon affiliate links. Watch the video below to ensure that you understand Amazon Associates’ operating agreement and policies.
Although Amazon’s commission rates are lower than the industry standard, it is one of the best-converting affiliate programs for electronics and other products because of the solid trust Amazon has built with its customers.
Also, once visitors click through to Amazon, they often end up buying much more than just the product you were promoting.
Which are the best affiliate marketing programs?
Besides the Amazon affiliate program above, here are some of the best affiliate programs for beginners as well as professional bloggers that you can join based on your niche.
Many of these are two-tier affiliate programs that will help you earn even more when your referrals earn money through their own links.
#1. Best affiliate programs for beginners
Because they are easy to join and set up, this list of affiliate programs includes some of the best affiliate programs for bloggers.
Boost your blog’s earnings by driving traffic to Fiverr and promoting the leading marketplace for freelance services.
When you join the Fiverr affiliate program, you get paid for every first-time buyer, with no referral limit and lifetime attribution, and you get access to easy-to-use dashboards to launch, manage, and monitor campaigns, as well as a portfolio of high-performing creative assets to help you promote.
If you have an audience of entrepreneurs, bloggers, designers, freelancers, or business consultants, sign up for AppSumo’s Affiliate Program and earn unlimited commissions up to 100% commission per referral, with a 30-day cookie.
Earn 100% of the sale when you refer a new AppSumo customer and up to 5% on sales to existing customers. AppSumo will Pay-Per-Sale for each initial transaction sale you deliver.
Career Clarifier is a revolutionary career test designed exclusively for college students and college graduates. For each Career Clarifier test sold to a person who uses your unique affiliate link to reach our website or assessment, you will get a 50% commission.
For each Career Clarifier coaching service sold to one of your referrals, you will get a 15% commission (ranging from $22.50 to $37.00)
Searching for the best affiliate programs for travel bloggers? When you join Travel Payouts, the best CPA travel affiliate network, you get access to exclusive tools and over 100 of the best travel affiliate programs, including exclusive offers, flights, hotels, car rentals, insurance, tours, and activities, all in one place.
Get access to free, unique, and customized tools, including White Label, widgets, deep links, Mobile SDK, API, the WordPress Plugin for blogs, and more to earn on top travel affiliate programs from your affiliate travel website.
Gainrock is an affiliate marketing platform that bundles reliable & income-generating programs for you to get an extra profit.
Shareasale is an affiliate network that will help you earn money by promoting products and services in multiple niches.
Clickbank, Impact, Commission Junction (the CJ affiliate program), and Linkshare (Rakuten) are also some of the best platforms for affiliate marketing because they feature many good affiliate programs for beginners.
#2. High-ticket affiliate programs
Why earn only 3 to 10% when you can earn 30% affiliate commissions and more with the most profitable affiliate programs? These high-ticket affiliate programs will help you make more money for the same traffic.
This is one of the highest-paying affiliate programs in the finance niche. Earn up to 66% trade-to-qualified-lead conversion rate with lifetime commissions for each customer with a Zero BBB customer complaints company.
Promotion assets include virtual conferences, marketed as led by a Harvard-educated economist, and your deal is closed by Joe Montana himself.
If you’re in the finance and wealth creation niche, which is one of the best niches for affiliate marketing, the Private Wealth Academy is one of the best high-commission affiliate programs for you.
You can earn a 30% commission on Private Wealth Academy products, the most popular of which are priced at $997 – which means you’ll earn an average of $299 per sale.
A 30-day cookie window means more earning opportunities for you. Get done-for-you marketing materials, access to graphics, email swipe files, a quick-start guide, and more to help you promote with ease and start earning fast.
If you’re in the personal development, self-help, self-improvement, or life coaching niche, you should join the SoundsTrue affiliate program and promote high-quality, motivational affiliate programs in the self-help and spirituality niche.
From mindfulness to mental health and wellness, you’ll find many excellent products with one of the best personal development affiliate programs online.
Mary Morrissey’s DreamBuilder® Program is a high-ticket affiliate program in the self-help and personal development niche. It pays a 50% commission on all sales you refer and offers a bunch of lead magnets you can promote.
It offers step-by-step coaching and mentoring on how to create a clear vision of your dream life, and how to transform your dreams into reality with speed, ease, and grace.
#3. SaaS affiliate programs
Software as a Service or SaaS affiliate programs will pay you a monthly commission as long as your referral remains with them as a paying customer, making them some of the best recurring affiliate programs.
SaaS affiliate programs or recurring affiliate programs such as web hosting, email software, and SEO services, are the best passive income affiliate programs.
Content at Scale is the first-ever content automation platform that was built to scale content marketing by writing the most human-like AI content ever produced, eliminating the need to hire a team of writers.
Subscriptions start at $500/month, and Content at Scale pays a 15% recurring commission for each referred customer.
Teachable is an online course management platform. You can earn up to 30% in recurring commissions every month by joining the Teachable partner program. They offer many events and programs to help affiliates get more signups and commissions.
Earn top-tier commissions as a WebinarJam and EverWebinar affiliate partner. WebinarJam’s affiliate program pays 40% commissions and is one of the best recurring commission affiliate programs.
Anyword is one of the best AI copywriting platforms, with an affiliate program that offers 2 types of commission plans to choose from. With Anyword, you can earn up to $1,149 for a single conversion.
The Revenue Share plan pays a 40% recurring commission for every month your referrers’ subscriptions renew. With the CPA (Cost per acquisition) plan, you can make up to $399 for one month’s subscription cost and get extra bonuses in the case of an annual subscription.
PromoRepublic’s unified local marketing platform provides businesses with the insights and tools to manage social media, maintain brand integrity, and improve online findability and reputation.
As a PromoRepublic affiliate, you can earn from 20 to 35% per sale (first and recurring sales within 1 year), with a 120-day cookie duration, a dashboard to keep track of your progress, and monthly payouts via PayPal.
PromoRepublic’s regular sales conversion is 1 to 3%, and their top performers earn $1.5K–$3K monthly commissions on average. They also offer discounts and extra bonuses for top performers, as well as tons of education-convertible content to share.
Simplified is an all-in-one design platform for modern marketers, powered by AI. When you become a Simplified affiliate and refer a new customer, you get paid 30% for the first month, and then a 20% recurring commission every month.
According to affiliate industry statistics, web hosting is one of the most popular recurring affiliate marketing programs. With the A2 Hosting affiliate program, you can earn an affiliate commission of $50 to $200 for promoting their hosting plans and get $5 for every sub-affiliate you sign up for them.
Cloudways Hosting is a managed cloud hosting platform for WordPress and WooCommerce. They offer a 15% recurring lifetime commission and a minimum payout of $250.
SEMRush is an all-in-one tool suite for improving online visibility and discovering marketing insights. With the SEMRush affiliate program, you can earn $200 for every new subscription sale, $10 for every new trial, and $0.01 for the new sign-up.
Froged is a platform built to create brand advocates, make it easy to optimize the customer experience and accelerate a product’s time to value with a powerful customer support and onboarding toolkit. The Froged affiliate program pays a 20% recurring commission for each referred customer.
SEO Reseller offers white-label SEO services delivered by seasoned SEO specialists and digital marketers. The SEO Reseller affiliate program offers clients lifetime payouts, a lifetime cookie for affiliates, a 6% payout on all transactions, and a 1% payout on all sub-affiliates.
Graphy is a SaaS tool that lets you build supercharged online courses, and beautiful no-code websites, or launch your own app. They pay 70% as a first-order commission for each paying customer. Create a free account to access the affiliate signup dashboard.
conXhub is the world’s #1 mobile-first communications service that allows every aspiring business to connect, collaborate, and communicate using a Smartphone. For each referred customer, you get a 30% recurring commission.
Refer new customers to HypeFury’s Social Media Scheduler, which helps users grow and monetize their Twitter account, and receive a commission for as long as your referrals stay with HypeFury.
You start at a 25% commission level and can earn up to 35% commission every month, for every customer you refer to Hypefury.
Partner through HubSpot’s Affiliate Program to generate new revenue from your content while helping the SMB community grow.
Earn a 15% or 100% commission rate, with a $276 average commission payout and a 90-day generous cookie window by promoting HubSpot’s software via blog articles, email newsletters, banner ads, and other digital content.
How affiliate marketing works step by step
Now that you know how affiliate marketing works and why starting an affiliate marketing business is a great way to make money online, you can learn a step-by-step process of affiliate marketing to help you start your own affiliate marketing business.
#1. Choose the best niche for affiliate marketing
When choosing an affiliate marketing niche, think about what products or services you would like to promote. Then, consider your target audience and what kinds of products or services they would be interested in.
Finally, research the affiliate programs that are available in your chosen niche to find the ones that offer the best commissions and terms. Some of the most popular platforms include Amazon Associates, ClickBank, Shareasale, Impact, and Commission Junction.
However, there are many high-ticket affiliate programs that are not listed on these affiliate marketing platforms. You can join these high-ticket affiliate marketing programs by approaching the creator of the program and asking them if you can join it.
Some of the best affiliate marketing programs are SaaS affiliate programs that pay a recurring income. Webhosting, email marketing software, and online course platform affiliate programs are some of the best recurring affiliate programs.
Niche research and selection are the most important steps in the affiliate marketing game. You can learn everything you need to know about choosing the most profitable niche for affiliate marketing in this video by leading affiliate marketer Matt Diggity.
#2. Research and study your competition
Assess the competition in your chosen niche and make sure there’s enough demand for the products or services you plan to promote.
Also consider if you have the resources (time, money, skills, etc.) to successfully compete in your chosen niche. Here are some steps to researching the competition in your chosen niche:
- Do a Google search for your niche keywords and see what comes up. This will give you an idea of who your main competitors are.
- Check out their websites and see what kind of information they’re providing. This will help you understand what kind of content you need to create to compete with them.
- See how they’re ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). This will give you an idea of how difficult it will be to rank higher than them.
- Use tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to get more information about their website traffic, the keywords they’re targeting, and their organic search rankings.
If you conclude that your chosen niche may be too competitive once you’ve completed these steps, you can choose another niche or find a micro-niche that may be easier to target.
#3. Learn how to create content for affiliate marketing
The approach you take when creating content for affiliate marketing will vary depending on your niche, audience, products, and services.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind when creating content for affiliate marketing:
- Find a topic your audience is interested in
Start by finding a topic your audience is interested in. This could be anything from recipes to home improvement tips to travel advice.
If you can find a way to connect your affiliate products or services to something your audience is already interested in, they’re more likely to be interested in what you have to say.
For instance, if you’re a travel blogger, you could join affiliate programs for flights, holidays, and vacation rentals like Travel Payouts, and also join the Amazon affiliate program to sell travel gear and accessories.
- Choose a topic you enjoy learning about
If you choose a topic that you’re interested in and enjoy learning about (even if you’re not an expert at it) it will help make the process of creating affiliate marketing content easier and more enjoyable, and also help you attract an audience interested in what you have to say.
- Create immensely helpful, informative affiliate marketing content
Your goal should be to provide immense value for your readers, not just sell them something. People are more likely to trust high-quality, informative content.
This means spending time on research, writing well-crafted articles, and providing useful information that people will actually want to read. Here are some options for creating affiliate marketing content:
☑ Blog posts and videos: You can create helpful, engaging, interesting, and informative blog posts and videos that focus on the benefits of the products you’re promoting.
☑ Webinars or podcasts: You can also host webinars or start a podcast where you interview the creators of the products you’re promoting and discuss how customers can use them.
For example, when promoting the Pinterest VA course, I interviewed Kristin & Gina, the creators of the course. Years later, that interview still gets eyeballs.
☑ eBooks or resource guides: You can create helpful cheat sheets, resource guides, or eBooks that provide readers with all the information they need to know about a product or program.
You can use AI writing generator tools that will help you write many forms of content quickly and scale your content pipeline. They will help you write educational, original, keyword-rich, plagiarism-free blog articles and other content that ranks for SEO.
Because AI content generation tools may add watermarks to AI-written content, you must also learn how to write unique, original content that bypasses AI content detection filters.
Learn exactly how to create content at scale that’s optimized to grow your organic traffic and get your business and content ranked on Google, in these AI writing courses.
#4. Track and monitor your affiliate sales
Don’t forget to track your click-throughs and conversions when you promote your content through social media and channels like YouTube, so you know which content pieces and affiliate programs are converting better than others.
You can use tools like Voluum, a cloud-based ad-tracking software that helps you optimize all your campaigns by finding the most profitable combinations of traffic, ads, landing pages, and offers.
#5. Build a trusted personal brand
People buy from those they know, like, and trust. If you want to become a super-affiliate, you need to build a personal brand and become known for something.
Personal branding is not only important to get found in branded searches but also to become a trusted authority whose recommendations customers are willing to trust.
Having a powerful personal brand can also help you pivot to a new field of expertise and keep up with the evolution of technology.
Learn how to build a personal brand with personal branding tips, personal branding ideas, and personal branding inspiration in this free course on how to create a personal brand.
Are affiliate marketing courses really worth it?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to creating profitable affiliate marketing campaigns, then an affiliate marketing course is definitely worth it.
But if all you’re looking for is a way to get started quickly and easily, then there are plenty of free and low-cost resources available online that can help you do just that.
If you’re not yet ready for an affiliate marketing course, you can watch free YouTube videos on affiliate marketing or check out the affiliate marketing books below:
- Affiliate Marketing For Dummies
- Affiliate Marketing For Beginners 2022
- Evergreen Affiliate Marketing
How to learn affiliate marketing for beginners
These affiliate marketing courses will show you how to find high-converting offers to promote, create effective promotional materials, and track your results so you can optimize your campaigns over time.
You’ll also learn how to avoid common mistakes that can ruin your campaigns and cost you money. So if you’re serious about building a successful affiliate marketing business, I highly recommend the courses below to help you shorten your learning curve:
You do not need a big list, a massive social media following, or fancy funnels to make money with affiliate marketing. Affiliate Marketing for Influencers is your blueprint for making more money on your blog and social media with affiliate links.
This course was created by Jessica Turner, a lifestyle blogger who has sold millions of dollars’ worth of products and services, generated six figures with affiliate links, and taught bloggers and influencers about affiliate marketing at some of the top blogging conferences.
Her course, Affiliate Marketing for Influencers, is a blueprint for making more money on your blog and social media without a big list, a massive social media following, or fancy funnels.
In this affiliate marketing course, you’ll learn:
- How to pick the right affiliate partners for your site or platforms
- Ways to cultivate relationships with affiliate managers, leading to higher commissions and more opportunities
- Tips for increasing sales conversions on your website and social media
- Strategies for using email effectively
- How to succeed with Amazon’s affiliate program
- Tricks for using social media to generate commissions every day, even if you don’t have a huge following
- Tactics for creating your own campaigns to make thousands of dollars, no matter the size of your platform
Affiliate Marketing for Influencers is the most in-depth training tool for influencers on affiliate marketing and is available at a discounted price of just $99 for a limited time.
Jon Morrow’s Freedom Machine Webinar will show you the step-by-step system for earning $1,000/month (or more) in passive income from blogging. You’ll get everything you need to know broken down into simple, manageable steps, starting from nothing.
Lauren and Alex created two, successful, six-figure online blogging businesses and now teach new bloggers how to launch their blogging business and earn money through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and more.
The Launch Your Blog Biz course is the ultimate solution for starting and growing a blog to over $1000/month without being a tech wizard or a scammy salesperson.
SEO is the long-term future of blogging, and the SEO Blueprint for Bloggers Course is the ultimate blueprint for turning your blog into an SEO traffic machine that brings in thousands of consistent, reliable, and profitable visitors.
So how can you increase your affiliate income and earn more from your affiliate marketing business? These affiliate marketing income tips will show you how to earn commissions, increase affiliate marketing sales, and boost your affiliate marketing earnings.
Online business tips & tools
- 10 affiliate income tips to boost your affiliate marketing earnings
- How to build profitable affiliate websites with super-affiliate Russell Lobo
- 10 common affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid
- 10 steps to affiliate marketing success
- How do famous bloggers make money blogging?
- Earn money from blogs: 10 blog ideas that make money
- 15 AI side hustles to make money on the side
- 17 steps to build a profitable side business
- Best skills to earn money from Internet business ventures
- Best recession-proof businesses to start in an economic downturn
© 2022 – 2023, Priya Florence Shah. All rights reserved.
Priya Florence Shah is a bestselling author, an award-winning online publisher, and an online branding consultant. Download her free personal branding eBooks and check out Devi2Diva, her book on emotional self-care for women. In her spare time, Priya writes science-fiction novels and poetry and chills with her two-legged and four-legged kids.