Hey there! Welcome to our guide on How To Start Affiliate Marketing for Beginners.
Have you ever wanted the luxury to work from home, at your own pace, in your underwear? Everyone has at some point, right?
How about having the freedom to work from anywhere in the world, while traveling to exotic beach destinations? Duh! You probably see it every day on Instagram.
Don’t worry, you’re not crazy for wanting all this (even if your mother said you were). These desires are pretty sane, realistic, and actually attainable.
To some, crazy is sacrificing 40 years of your life, giving away your most valuable asset (time), at a job where you are helping build someone else’s dream, instead of your own.
You see, right now we live in an incredible age when all of this is possible, and many millennials are choosing to ditch their 9-5 cubicles for the “digital nomad” lifestyle.
All you pretty much need is a laptop, a decent WiFi connection, and a push in the right direction to get started. And if you stick with us until the end, you’ll get that push, we promise.
Online affiliate marketing is one of the simplest ways to start making money online, without having to create your own product, or deal with clients, or hunt down suppliers in China for dropshipping.
Here’s how to get started (and crush it) with affiliate marketing for beginners!
But first, take a look at a quick video from one of the top affiliate marketers in the U.S. today:
Affiliate Marketing in a Nutshell
“Affiliate Marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting another person’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.” – Pat Flynn
Basically, affiliates connect consumers (regular people surfing the web) with companies that sell products online. Companies, like Amazon, pay affiliates millions of dollars annually to promote their products.
Below you can see Amazon’s affiliate page:
You would be surprised how many large, medium, and small-sized companies rely on affiliates. Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, eBay, and Target are just some of the larger vendors that employ the affiliate model.
There are literally thousands of affiliate programs out there! All you have to do to find one, is choose a company that interests you and go their website.
Then scroll down to the bottom of their website and see if they have the word “affiliate” or “partner.”
On the Amazon website, if you scroll to the bottom, you will find it here:
Then you sign up and become an Amazon affiliate. It takes about 30 seconds to register. In fact you can do it right now, for free, here – become an Amazon affiliate.
Then, once you become an affiliate, you will be able to see a new feature in your Amazon account (you have to be logged in first).
It’s kind of like a mini-dashboard for affiliates. It’s called Amazon SiteStripe and it looks like this:
So now, any product you find on Amazon (and there are millions), you can go up top to your SiteStripe and click on Get Link: Text.
Once you do that, you will be given your shortened affiliate link. It looks like this:
This is you affiliate link and it’s frickin’ important, okay!? Now, whenever you want to recommend this particular product to people, in this case it’s a PS4 gaming console, you give them this link. (You just copy and paste it).
People click on your link, they are then taken to this exact product on Amazon and if they buy it, you get paid a commission from Amazon itself. And this is how the whole thing works, in a nutshell.
Affiliate Links 101
Now, a little earlier you saw an example of a shortened Amazon affiliate link that looked like this:
This is the shortened version. If you were to copy and paste it into your browser to test it out, it would look like this after loading:
(You may have to zoom in with your fingers to see this, if you are using a smart phone)
But this is how most affiliate links look like. They are long strings of words and numbers that usually begin with ref= or affid= or some sort of affiliate identifier.
This string of words and numbers has 2 things: the unique product number and your unique affiliate ID. This is how the company knows which affiliate made the sale and which product was sold.
Let’s just clarify any confusion you may have at this point, this is a guide for beginners after all…
Each product will have it’s own unique affiliate link, which is unique to you only. Meaning, another person who is promoting the exact same product will have a different link. Makes sense, right?
If someone buys the product after clicking on your link, then you get the commission. If they buy it after clicking on someone else’s link, then that person gets the commission, not you.
And if they simply go to amazon.com and buy it (without first clicking on any affiliate links), then no one gets the commission. Well, Amazon then simply keeps the full amount of the sale. Sorry folks!
This is why it’s so important as an affiliate to always test your links and make sure they are working properly and sending customers to the right place (before you start promoting them to people).
PRO TIP: Always double-check your affiliate link by copy-and-pasting it into your browser. Always test your links in “incognito window” for Google Chrome or “private window” for Firefox.
Using “incognito” or “private” window ensures that you view the page as a visitor would, instead of viewing it as you would when logged into your account.
Use incognito when testing links, pages, and changes you just made to your website. Even your phone has it!
Affiliate Link Etiquette: Dos & Don’ts
Now, it’s really important to talk about this. Your links are how your sales are tracked and how companies know who to pay.
So naturally you will want to send your links to as many people as possible, right? Hmm…
When is it okay to post your affiliate link and when is it not? Let’s ask crazy Shia (LaBeouf)…
OK: You are writing a blog post on your blog, and you are mentioning a product which will solve your audience’s problem, that’s a great place to provide your affiliate link!
OK: You are making a Facebook post (on your timeline) and you write about how a particular product (ex: book) changed your life, yes you can say, “You can grab your copy here: …..” and insert your link.
OK: You are on your Instagram and you took an amazing picture of the sunset in Bali, you can put the type of camera you used in the comments and drop an amazon link where people can buy it (works best if you already have a decent size following).
Now lets see what’s not okay to do with your affiliate links…
NOT OKAY: Sending out mass emails, full of affiliate links, to random people, if you didn’t build a relationship with them and provide value beforehand. This = SPAM!
NOT OKAY: Sliding into someone’s DMs on Messenger, WhatsApp, Insta, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Snapchat out of the blue and dropping your affiliate link after saying “hello”. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this!
NOT OKAY: Dropping your affiliate link in a Facebook group. Either by writing a new post in the group with your link in it, or dropping your link in the comments of an existing post, it’s just not cool.
People who drop affiliate links in Facebook groups are called spammers and usually get “das boot!” (say it with a German accent)
“But why? I just want to promote my product and get sales…” you may ask.
Well, think about it… The Facebook group admin probably took their time to build up a group of engaged members and curated content… So they are entitled to drop an affiliate link in their own group once in a while and make some money. You are not!
Especially if you don’t engage in group content that often. The worst perps are the ones that got added just recently and are already making a post with spammy affiliate links. Don’t do it!
OK: However, if you do engage in the group often, and comment on members’ posts, and answer questions, message the group admin first and ask if you can make a post with an affiliate link in it.
If you explain the situation and perhaps that the product you want to mention is relevant to the group, the admin may be inclined to say yes. So it’s always better to ask, then to spam out of the blue!
How Much Do Affiliates Earn?
You’d be very surprised to find out how much affiliates earn… Cue the Lambos!
But hey, why not? If you got it, flaunt it! But if anyone tells you that you’re going to be buying a Lambo in your first few months of doing affiliate marketing is wildly exaggerating…
So how much can you expect to earn in this industry? Well, those just starting out, can earn from several hundred to several thousand dollars per month in affiliate commissions.
(You can also earn zero/zilch/nada/diddly squat, if you sit on the couch and don’t take action).
Those who have been in the affiliate game a little longer (from 6 months to a few years), can earn around $5,000-$10,000 per month, promoting and reviewing different products.
And the pros… The real pros, those who have been in this game for several years, are known to earn as much as $50K-$200K per month.
Some “super-affiliates,” as you will learn a little later, can even earn $500,000 per month or more.
(Yes these numbers are real, and no, it’s not so easy to get there, otherwise everyone would be doing it. It takes time and practice, but remember, every master or pro was once a beginner.)
Now that you know what is affiliate marketing, and its limitless earning potential, here are 3 simple steps to getting started and crushing it with affiliate marketing for beginners. Here goes…
Step 1 – Pick a Profitable Niche
“You can do anything, you just can’t do everything,” ever hear that one? It’s true. You can pretty much promote any product in any niche you like, but you can’t do them all.
The riches are in the niches. Step one is to pick a profitable niche.
If you are thinking of promoting physical products (like electronics, toys, pet supplies etc.), and you need ideas about the different niches and products out there, go to the Amazon homepage and click on Departments.
There you will see a list of all the departments (niches) and products on Amazon. This is a great place to start!
Now, other than physical products on Amazon, there are dozens of profitable niches out there, which often pay even more than Amazon!
Health & fitness, finance, eComm, dating & relationships, self-help, travel, poker, and sports betting are just some worth mentioning.
PRO TIP: Profitable niches are highly competitive. Those affiliates that niche down, are more successful!
For example, health and fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry/niche with ferocious competition. So to be successful as an affiliate you should pick a sub-niche within the broader market.
Within health and fitness there many profitable sub-niches like: diet & weight loss (for women), muscle gain (for men), skin care (for women), blood pressure, diabetes, CBD oil, etc. Each sub-niche is full of products you can promote.
Within finance there is: the make money online niche (or bizopp), stock trading, Forex trading, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, binary options, etc. All of these sub-niches have products (mostly expensive digital courses) that need affiliates.
Within the relationships niche there is: relationship advice (for women), dating and pickup (for men), getting your boyfriend back, etc. These also have courses and products you can promote.
Each of the sub-niches above are multi-million dollar industries that have plenty of room for new affiliates to enter and make money.
There are also plenty of lesser-known, yet highly profitable niches, where affiliates are making a killing. Examples of these include: survival gear, tactical flashlights, wood-working products, solar energy, bed bug products, and many others.
(Yes, there are affiliates earning $1,000 per day promoting bed bug eradication products. Amazing, isn’t it!?)
Learn how to choose a profitable niche here: Free Affiliate Training Webinar
Step 2 – Choose a Hot Product
Once you pick your niche, its time to pick the product you will be promoting. To do that you may approach it from several angles…
You can ask yourself, what problem does your target audience (consumers in the niche you chose) have that need solving, and what product will they benefit from buying? Then you recommend this product to them.
Or, you could also see what product in your niche is currently selling well (trending) and has a good affiliate program with decent commissions.
For example, Amazon gives only about 1-10% commissions on all their products. Bummer!
This is pretty low and it’s due to the fact that it’s a well know, giant corporation, which has no issues with consumer trust.
PRO TIP: A lesser-known company, or brand-new product, can pay affiliates 50%, 75%, and even 90-100% commission per sale because they are not a well-known brand, like Amazon.
ClickBank is a great affiliate network which has been around for over 20 years. It has mostly digital products, like paid courses, which pay their affiliates pretty high commissions (even up to 90%-100% of the sale.)
ClickBank is also a great place to go to see the different niches available and the different products in each niche.
Want to see the different niches and products you can promote? It’s easy, first go to clickbank.com (you may have to reload the page to skip the initial ad) and then click on Affiliate Marketplace.
In the Affiliate Marketplace, on the left-hand side, you can see a list of 24 categories. Think of them as your niches. Try clicking on a few and seeing which products are in each niche. Check out the image below. This is the ClickBank Affiliate Marketplace.
All of the products that you see, are there to be promoted by affiliates. There are literally thousands of products that need promoting!
In the image above, the red arrows are pointing to the Avg $/sale. This tells you how much money you can expect to earn by promoting that specific product. (How much money you make per sale, on average).
For example, if you are promoting a $997 course as an affiliate, and the Avg $/sale for it is $448, then $448 is what you can expect to be paid after someone buys the course you are promoting.
The million dollar question is, which exact product should you promote for maximum profits? Well, that depends…
Currently Tony Robbins has an amazing product called the Knowledge Business Blueprint and it helps change people’s lives. It has an amazing high-ticket affiliate program.
Learn how to choose a great affiliate product here: Free Affiliate Training Webinar
Step 3 – Choose a Content Platform
Now that you have your niche and potential product narrowed down (or almost there), it’s time to talk content.
Content is the “work” part of affiliate marketing. For people to buy the product you’re promoting, they first have to see it somewhere or read about it, right?
The good news is that once you make a piece of content, you have an income-producing asset you can use for the rest of your life (or the product’s life).
There are two major content platforms you can take advantage of: blogging and YouTube.
Option 1 – Creating a Blog
Having a WordPress blog is arguably the easiest and best way how to start affiliate marketing for beginners.
You write a blog post, recommend a product, and include your affiliate link for people to click on and buy. People buy, you get paid.
Now, we know… You’re probably not a tech person and WordPress scares the hell out of you. Hey, we’re not tech-y either. Neither are lots of successful entrepreneurs.
Don’t worry, the learning curve for WordPress is very short – it literally takes 15 minutes or less to set up a WordPress blog.
So, in a nutshell, you write a blog post and mention a product in the end. The key is to make your blog posts interesting and valuable to the reader, not just a sales pitch.
You can educate and inform your audience about different topics in the niche you have chosen, while recommending products that will help them achieve “x” result.
(This is why we recommend choosing a niche that, even if you don’t have much knowledge about right now, you at least have some mild interest in, and are willing to learn more and teach others)
Option 2 – Creating a Review Site
Another option that’s great for affiliate marketing (and easy to do), instead of having a blog, you can make a review site (also with WordPress).
While a blog is more informative about topics in a niche/industry, a review site focuses solely on the product itself. Here’s how you do it:
You write a short description and review of a product. You should mention things like: what the product is, who makes it, how much it costs, its features and benefits, what you like/dislike about it, and why you recommend it.
PRO TIP: Best results are achieved if you actually try the product yourself and include pictures of you using the product in your review.
If not, finding adequate pictures of the product online is your second-best option.
You can keep reviewing different products and posting it on your review site, or have your entire review site dedicated to just one product with one main post (cornerstone content).
Some affiliates even have several different one-page review sites for different products.
Option 3 – Creating a YouTube Chanel
The third option is to have a YouTube video or entire YouTube channel, where you review particular product(s) and place your affiliate link in the comments.
For example, if you are into photography or cameras, you can make videos reviewing different cameras and lenses. Then you simply include your affiliate link in the comments. People watch your content and click on your affiliate links to buy your recommended products.
If you like being on camera, have a fun and outgoing personality, and can edit and upload a video to YouTube without suffering a seizure, then YouTube is a great option for you!
FYI: YouTube is a bit harder to hack because you will have to shoot videos and get viewers to see them (build an audience). So for beginners, we recommend doing a WordPress blog or review site first, before attempting a YouTube channel.
Learn how to create the right WordPress site and YouTube channel for affiliate marketing here: Free Affiliate Training Webinar
How To Become a Highly Profitable Affiliate
So, you decided you want to become a digital entrepreneur and affiliate marketing is going to be the vehicle that gets you there. Fair enough.
What’s your plan of attack? Sure, this article outlined some great ways to get started, but you may need a step-by-step walkthrough on how to actually be profitable with it.
Try Googling “affiliate marketing.” Here, let’s do it together:
220 million results. Yikes! As you can see, there is just an overload of information out there.
So, you have 2 choices. You can poke around in the dark, visit random sites, watch countless YouTube videos, and listen to so-called marketing “gurus”…
Then you can spend several years and several thousand dollars creating websites, running failed Facebook Ads and Google Adwords campaigns, and pretty much hating life… Or…
Or, you can learn how to start affiliate marketing the right way, from the best in the industry, dramatically reducing the time and money it takes for you to become a successful and profitable affiliate.
John Crestani is the embodiment of every millennial’s wildest, wettest dream. He has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. Magazine for making millions of dollars with his affiliate marketing business.
After years of earning six figures per month (read that part again), with his affiliate business in several profitable niches, John Crestani has now been teaching thousands of students how to become successful affiliates and how to profit from this industry.
Today, we would like to invite you to John’s exclusive Webinar on Affiliate Marketing:
John will teach you step by step how to: pick a profitable niche, choose a great product, run successful ads, scale profitable affiliate campaigns, and much, much more.
Meanwhile, we hope you were able to learn something new from this article today and got some valuable takeaways.
As always, our mission is to educate and recommend the best possible products for freedom-preneurs who want to start earning income online, full-time, and leave their 9-5’s in the dust.
– The Digital Entrepreneur
PS. See ya on the beach!
PPS. For any questions, feel free to contact us here.