If you want to learn how to make money online with affiliate marketing as a beginner, congratulations because it's the best online business you can do as someone new to online marketing.
Affiliate marketing is my favorite way to make money online and it's also the easiest to start up. In this article I am going to show you how you can get started with this business model and set you up for the greatest success.
It might even enable you to quit that job you hate!
How Much Can You Make in Affiliate Marketing?
The sky's the limit pretty much. It all depends how much work you are willing to put into it. Your first goal is to make that first dollar online. That's the best money you will ever make and you'll never forget it. Once you make that first sale, you're motivated to do more and more.
The key to success in affiliate marketing is of a mindset one.
You're going to fail a few times but once you find your groove in either promoting a physical or information product, there's nothing stopping you.
Never giving up is so critical when it comes to this business model. The ones that succeeded have failed many times.
However, some of you will come out of the gate swinging and can even start making money with your first promotion. If you choose your offer correctly, do your research, etc., there's no reason why you can't succeed right away.
So What is This Article Going to be About?
Look, i'm not going to tell you that after reading this article you can go out there and start crushing it with affiliate marketing. I don't want to mislead you. To learn it properly it's going to take a whole lot more than one article.
I will however tell you how you can get started for free or under $100, how to find/choose offers and give you some ideas on how you can succeed with the best chance possible.
If this sounds cool, let's get started.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
So if you know this already, just skip to the next section but let's start with the basics.
Essentially, affiliate marketing works like this:
- You choose a product to promote
- Sign up for the affiliate program (free) for the product
- Get your unique link from the vendor
- Post your link on your blog, video description or elsewhere
- If a customer clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you get a commission from the sale.
It's that easy! Well, in theory it is yes. You will need to know how to get targeted traffic from hungry buyers to click on your link. That is the secret sauce to making money with affiliate marketing.
How to Find Products to Promote
Many internet marketing guru's will tell you to promote a product you are interested in already.
The reason for this is that you will need to write about it and if you're writing about something you have no interest or knowledge in, it will be difficult and you'll get bored AF.
However, your interest also has to have an audience. If you're the only freak that likes one thing that no one else does (ok that's a bit extreme but you know what I mean lol) then chances are there won't be an affiliate product for that.
Eventually you could branch off to other products that you know nothing about and could have someone do the content for you, or research it yourself.
As a beginner, please choose something you are interested in first - it will be much easier on you, trust me.
Let’s Talk Platforms
There are many different platforms out there where you can find products to promote. Some of the popular ones are: Clickbank, Amazon Associates, JVzoo, Share-a-sale & Market Health.
Take a look at all these platforms and look for a product you are interested in. Pick only one, you don't want to overwhelm yourself. You'll also get a "feel" for the products on each site - choose the site that you find speaks to you the most.
For example if you want to market products in the health & beauty niche, MarketHealth might be an option for you.
If you prefer to promote digital products like software, JVzoo might be more for you. Of all, Clickbank is the easiest because you don't need approval to promote any of the products.
For other platforms it might be a little more difficult to get accepted if you are new so Clickbank is definitely the easiest - and there's tons of categories too.
Start a Youtube Channel or Build a Website?
As mentioned earlier, you can either get started in affiliate marketing for zero dollars or just under $100.
Let's start with the free option - Youtube. One of my favorite Youtubers that helps you make great videos is "Owen Video". Check out his intro video below and be sure to see his channel for video making tips.
So now that you have picked your product, got your link and ready to go, you'll need to set up your channel. If your product is for example a product that promotes weight loss - more specifically a flat belly, your channel should be themed something around weight loss & fitness.
This way you can sell more related products rather than just naming your channel "Flat Belly Channel" or something like that. Know what I mean?
Let's use an existing offer on Clickbank as an example. The product is called "Flat Belly Fix".
When choosing an offer on Clickbank, be sure that it's something that is currently doing well with consumers. To check that, look at the "Grav" or gravity score as it's called. This means how many affiliates are currently getting sales from the product.
If it's 0, then no one is currently getting sales so stay away! The higher number means the more successful the product, but it also means more competition.
So now that we have our product, you need to click on promote. Assuming you have already signed up for Clickbank then it will allow you to grab your link. If not, just follow the steps to set up an account.
Once you have the link after clicking promote, you will need to shorten the link. Now, a word of caution - a lot of sites tend to frown on shortened links. On Youtube you can get away with it most of the time.
This is where having your own website helps because you'd send your traffic to a "bridge" page where you "pre-sell" to your customer. But here, we are doing something very simple and directing the customer to the offer. Your video will pre-sell them anyway.
Creating Your Video
This will be the most challenging part of the process. You have to decide what format your video is going to be in.
I will tell you that the most effective way to get your message across is to go on camera and do a video testimonial for your product.
In this case, you could do a review of the "Flat Belly Fix" by talking about it, mention why it's great and why your potential customer should buy it.
Now, granted you don't have the product but what you can do is ask the vendor if you can have review access. Worse case scenario is you could just buy the product and after a couple of sales it should be paid off already.
I'm not going to go into great detail on how to create videos because there's tons of Youtubers that can help with this. I just wanted you to understand the mechanics of it all and what steps to take.
Your other option if you are camera shy is to do a slide presentation. You would do slides in point form format and just talk about it as if you were on camera.
I personally use Camtasia for this, but it's not cheap - It was about $250 when I bought it. There are some free versions available for editing software but again, just do a bit of research to see what is the best fit for you.
Ok, so Now You’ve Got Your Video Done, What is Next?
Make sure you Title your video based on the keyword that you want to rank. If you go in Youtube search, start typing some keywords and see what comes up.
You can see what people are searching for. In this case, you might want to target - "how to get a flat belly for people over 30" or something like that.
If you're too broad, like = get a flat belly, you'll be swallowed up by large channels all going for that term.
In your description, the first two sentences should include your keywords and an introduction to your video along with your link.
For your link - you'll need to shorten it as previously mentioned. You can use any of these:
It's easy to use, just drop your clickbank ID in and it will shorten it. You can also customize it with your own text if it's available. This way it's not some ugly link and looks more professional.
Make sure your link is visible in the descrption in your video. You should write a description of the product as well - try for at least 200 words.
The Better Option - Build a Website
You can still do Youtube, but building a website is going to be a better option. The reason for this is that you will own this asset. With Youtube, your content can be taken down at anytime, or maybe your shortened link could stop working.
Not saying this will ever happen, but it has.
I created a video that shows just how easy it is to set up a blog or website:
The reason for building a website for your affiliate business is simple - you have full control of it and can build it up for years to come. It can become quite the beast.
The format for building your site is similar to Youtube in some respects. If your niche is weight loss and fitness, then you should name your site with those keywords in it somehow.
Drill down. For example don't build a general theme around Fitness. You'll get swallowed up by large authority sites and it will take years to rank. Try something like "Fitness for men over 40" or something like that. You'll have a better chance of success this way.
Be sure to include the keyword(s) of your niche in the domain. This is a massive ranking factor in Google. Avoid this and you'll have a lot of trouble ranking - if SEO is your route.
I have a separate article that shows you how to create a blog/website found here, so take a break from this and check it out - the instructions make it easy.
So assuming you have set up your blog already, your first few posts will be around the topic of your niche. In this case, we'd write some articles about the benefits of fitness, benefits of weight loss, etc. Research topics effectively. A good course will show you how.
There are a couple of ways you can promote the "Flat Belly Fix" product. One is to casually mention it in your posts where you include the link, or, you could write a review about the product.
If choosing the latter, you would name the article "Flat Belly Fix Review". You can expand on the title if you wish, but make sure it starts off like that and that is exactly how it will be in the url - SEO tip there!
Landing Page Builders
These are an option if you really want to make attractive and well converting pages. They are not free, but definitely something you can explore down the road.
A Landing page is essentially an attractive looking salespage that gets people to opt into an offer (where you would promote through email) or promote a product for sale right on the page.
There's a few ways this can be done and the first one is something you probably heard about - Clickfunnels. I did a full review on Clickfunnels that you can read here.
There are alternatives to Clickfunnels that are cheaper. One of my favorites ones (and the one I am using right now) is Thrive Themes. There are other alternates and you can see them all in my article on alternatives to Clickfunnels.
Along with your website, you will want to create your social accounts.
At minimal, you should have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. You can also include others like Instagram, Pinterest. etc.
Make sure these all point to the URL of your website and are themed appropriately for your niche.
You don't need to post to these every day, but it would be a good idea to post your articles and possibly other news within your niche.
Selling on Amazon as an Affiliate
Some people think that you have to sell your own products on Amazon to make money but that is simply not true.
With an Amazon Associates account (free to sign up) you can promote just about any product on Amazon.
If someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you get a commission. Amazon commissions vary from 2%-10% - depending on the product.
Although this may seem low, everyone knows Amazon so the trust is high. Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world for a reason - people love to shop on Amazon.
Not only that, if someone makes an additional purchase other than the product you are promoting, you still get commission for that product so it can really multiply. You'll need to check the specifics with Amazon Associates directly when you sign up to fully understand their commission payouts and rules.
You can get a free associates account with Amazon here.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of my favorite topics is SEO. Once you understand how it works, you should be able to see your rankings increase over time.
The traffic converts extremely well and is higher quality than paid traffic. However, it's not an easy game to play.
Advantages of SEO:
The advantage Seach Engine Optimization has is that the traffic is VERY targeted. For example, if you rank for the key term "How to build a boat" and your website is based on boats with an affiliate program on boat building - you could do very well.
You don't need to convince someone that they should build a boat - they already want to and you are providing the solution to their problem.
Providing a solution to any problem is the key to affiliate marketing.
Disadvantages of SEO:
The biggest one is time. SEO takes time to rank. Sure if you already have a high authority blog and try to rank for something with hardly any competition, you could be on the first page in a day.
But typically this is not so in the affiliate marketing space. It's very competitive but can be done as I have many times.
At the Very Least Do This
In short, at the very least your page needs to be search engine friendly so that spiders can crawl your site (think of a Google bot scanning your page) and index it accordingly. If there are problems with your site you won't rank very well.
Having your site (or article within a site) shared on social media can help, along with backlinks to your site. Without other sites, blogs, socials mentioning your site on theirs, you aren't going to rank very well.
SEO is a complicated game but once you understand it, it's quite simple. It's too much information for the purposes of this article but perhaps in the future I may put together a course on SEO.
Paid traffic is an option for those that want instant results. It's a great way to get eyeballs on your site in a very short time and also an opportunity for sales. It does come at a price though.
However, if targeted properly, your ads could definitely be profitable. For affiliate marketing, the main sources of paid traffic are Facebook, Google Adwords and Solo Ads.
With Facebook Ads, you can target customers that are interested in what you have to offer.
In our "Flat Belly Fix" example, you would create an ad (best would be a man or woman with a toned belly and emotion enticing headline) then choose your audience based on sex, location an interests.
For interests, you could choose things around weight loss, fitness help, etc. You could also target people that have an interest in fat loss products, etc.
The idea behind this is if they are interested in losing weight and they see your ad, there's a greater chance of them clicking on it. Makes sense?
For costs, you'll need to test your ad and possibly a few different versions of that ad. Whichever one works best, you can ditch the others then look in your ads account to see where the traffic is coming from.
You can further drill down to that audience and scale from there.
With Google Ads, you will need a Google Adwords account and it's free to sign up. Essentially here you are bidding on keywords.
For example, if you have a review on our test product, you would bid on the keyword "Flat Belly Fix Review"
So you can see from here, (sorry it's a bit blurry) our search term gets about 480 searches a month and the cost per click is $2.84. That is an average cost and what people are currently paying, every time someone clicks on their ad.
This will vary with competition, you could find keywords that cost more, or even less. For these, you should be making a decent commission,
Using our case example, if you get a sale after 5 clicks, your commission is $36.83 - average sale minus 5 clicks at $2.84 which is $14.20. So your profit here would be $22.63.
Do this 5x a day and you'd be making just over $100 a day. This is hypothetical of course - you could do better or worse. It's all about testing and scaling.
Once you find a campaign that works, increase your budget incrementaly - don't go crazy with this. Start off slow and watch your results carefully.
By the way, the tool I used is called Keysearch. I mostly use it for SEO purposes so you wouldn't really need it for paid ads but still ca- Google Ads will give you that information.
Use my discount code KSDISC and get 20% off if you're thinking about getting it. It's great for keyword research and analyzing competition. You can also check out my Keysearch review of this amazing tool.
So this wraps up the paid ads section. There's a lot more to it that I mentioned - that's a whole course! Keep in mind though as mentioned I will suggest some resources for you at the end of the article that I would recommend you get to learn all this down to specifics.
You probably have heard the term "the money is in the list" from somewhere at some point.
There is some truth to this. If you have a list of 50,000 people that was generated from a blog on finance and you try to market our offer on the "Flat Belly Fix" you aren't going to get many sales.
In fact you might annoy your audience with something unrelated and get a ton of unsubscribes. Don't do that!
However, if you have a health and fitness blog and built your list from that, then this offer makes perfect sense and is laser targeted to your audience. See the difference? It's not about having a list - it's about having a targeted list.
In this case, a list of just 1000 people would be much more effective than the 50,000+ list in a different niche.
To build your list you're going to need an autoresponder. I strongly suggest Get Response but you can use any of your choosing. However, you need to be aware that some platforms don't allow affiliate marketing such as Mailchimp and a few others. Get Response is affiliate marketing friendly and I use them myself on most of my sites.
Of course you won't need this until you set up your blog, but when you do you get a 30 day free trial to test it out anyway. It's a no brainer.
Get Response will have optin forms that you can use on your site and there's a live chat option for support if you ever get stuck. They make it easy.
Another reason why you should be creating an email list is to capture your customers before they leave. Once they leave your site, chances are they will never return. With a list, you can market to them for as long as you like.
The main thing to understand is you need to provide value. If you just email offer after offer, they are going to unsubscribe from your list. Provide value and suggest a product that might help with the issue you are addressing. That's the best approach and your readers will appreciate your suggestions!
The best part is that you will make $ from your suggestions. How cool is that? If you have that approach with your marketing, you will do well.
Conclusion and Next Steps
I know this was a lot to read but I do hope you enjoyed my overview of affiliate marketing and understand how it now works.
If you want to avoid trial and error and wasting money on unecessary programs that don't deliver, I have a solution for you.
I have invested a lot of money in affiliate marketing courses over the years and can spot the good ones from the bad. I created a list of the best affiliate marketing courses on the market today. I suggest taking a look at these and see which one is for you. You can see my individual review for each of them as well.
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