In this guide, I want to talk not only about what is affiliate marketing and how does it work…but most importantly, how can someone completely new to affiliate marketing get started, without any of the bad advice and strategies that I had to stumble through before I made a living from being an affiliate.
So, if this sounds like you, strap in…
I am going to walk you through the whole process to help you decide whether becoming an affiliate is worth it or not for you.
And that is important, does it tick the boxes for you or not?
What Will You Learn About Affiliate Marketing In This Guide
Table Of Contents
- 1 What Will You Learn About Affiliate Marketing In This Guide
- 2 What Is Affiliate Marketing?
- 3 How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
- 3.1 Step 1: Choose A Niche
- 3.2 Step 2: Join An Affiliate Program
- 3.3 Step 3: How To Promote Affiliate Products
- 3.4 Step 4: Track & Optimize Conversions
- 3.5 Step 5: Receive commissions
- 4 How To NOT Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?
- 5 How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?
- 6 How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing?
- 7 How To Make Your First Affiliate Marketing Sale
- 7.1 Quick Affiliate Marketing Website Setup
- 7.2 How do you actually get people to your website?
- 7.3 How to create content for affiliate marketing?
- 8 Problems Starting Affiliate Marketing Without A Website
- 9 How to use social media for affiliate marketing?
- 10 Conclusion: Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
- 11 Next Steps In Your Affiliate Marketing Journey
Because it can get a bad rap sometimes, by people who don’t understand it…
You have most likely heard a few things about affiliate marketing, some probably good, some definitely bad, and also a hell of a lot of conflicting information…
The bad news comes from people who tried, jumped around too much, and unfortunately didn’t make anything, and believe me there are a lot of them.
Now that might be a bit controversial to say, but it is what I have experienced personally when I started out.
People who haven’t made money from affiliate marketing yet can feel disgruntled and burnt, and while a lot of the time it can be related to them not focusing, sometimes, it can be related to scam gurus selling bad non-working strategies.
I’ll explain WHY these people didn’t succeed throughout this guide, so you don’t fall into the same traps, so you give yourself a much better chance to starting making an income with affiliate marketing in the right way.
But here it is in a nutshell…
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is simply the process of you selling other people’s products for them just like a salesperson. For this, you earn a commission when you make a sale. You are not employed by this person and can sell it any way you choose (mostly).
That is really the base of affiliate marketing:
- Find a product to promote,
- Promote it,
- Make a commission for it.
Sounds cool right?
You can check it out in the video I created here, or also continue on with the article:
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
I’ve broken how affiliate marketing works into 6 easy to understand steps. Now, this is just an overview, the steps that need more clarification will be expanded later on in the guide. I have also created a full training course on affiliate marketing for beginners that will help you get your first affiliate business online and making profit within 28 days, which is called Beating the Ginat.
But, back to how it works…
Step 1: Choose A Niche
The first step when it comes to affiliate marketing is to choose a niche that you can happily sell to.
My favorite way to start affiliate marketing is to choose a niche that you actually really love. I recommend this for anybody starting out in affiliate marketing.
According to Neil Patel, the hardest thing for anyone starting out is actually finding a niche to enter.
Because here’s how I see it…
Affiliate marketing is a process, and once you understand this process you will be able to make a lot of money online, and you will be able to sell most types of products.
But to get started there are lots of things that you have to learn…
“…and doing affiliate marketing with a product or niche that you love is far easier way to learn the income-producing process”.
And the great thing about affiliate marketing is no matter what niche you enter, you will most likely be able to find a product that you can promote in that niche.
So even if you have crazy love for Larping, Cosplay, or Tiddleywinks, you will be able to find a product related to it to promote (mostly).
When you have found this product in a niche that you’re familiar with, you then promote the product to other people who are interested in that niche.
Step 2: Join An Affiliate Program
So once you found a niche and a product that you love, the next thing that you need to do is actually sign up to promote the product.
So you have to join their affiliate program.
And this is normally really really simple.
All you need to do (normally) is to enter your details into the application form and you will get signed up and be able to promote the product.
You have filled in many application forms before, this really isn’t much different from that.
Now not all affiliate programs are easy to join, some have more requirements than others, so it’s good to see what is required from you first off.
- Some affiliate programs may require that you have a website already set up,
- Other ones might require you to have a proven sales record in affiliate marketing,
- While other ones don’t need anything at all, and obviously, these are the best ones to start with for beginner affiliate marketing.
Step 3: How To Promote Affiliate Products
So once you have signed up for your affiliate product and you have been given the ability to promote that product…
The next thing that you need to do is go out and promote.
You will be given a thing called an affiliate link by your product owner.
- This is basically a link that is unique to you as an affiliate for that product,
- Each affiliate that signs up gets a unique affiliate link,
- This enables you to promote the product and when a sale is made by a person clicking your link, you make a sale.
Some cool ways of actually promoting your products include:
Best Affiliate Promotional Methods
Search Engine Optimization SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO is the process of creating content in such a way that it actually ranks in the search engines for keywords that are related to your products.
An example of this kind of keywords would be:
- 5 Best Supplements For Muscle Gain, or,
- How To Sing Like Beyonce Training, or,
- What Is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work…
The idea is to get your website to the top of the search engines for your chosen keywords and to get people to read the content you create and convert them into buyers.
You create content that ranks in the likes of Google, and when it does people find your content when they are searching for what it is you are offering or promoting.
From experience, it is better to choose keywords that don’t have a lot of competition when starting out.
When I say competition I mean the number of searches for that keyword on the internet. This basically means the number of times a particular keyword is searched on the internet/Google in one month.
So it’s better to choose a keyword that isn’t search so many times, potentially when you are starting out, look for keywords or phrases with 150 to 300 searches per month, that’s a nice sweet spot.
It will get your content creation juices flowing much easier.
Another way that you can promote your affiliate products is on social media.
Social Media For Affiliate Marketing
You know social media, and probably spend at least an hour a day scrolling your feed, but why not actually make money from it instead?
You can promote your affiliate products on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest also, and pretty much any public social media site, group, page, or forum.
Another website that is excellent for promoting affiliate products is good old YouTube.
YouTube Affiliate Promotion
You know this one well and you have probably watched reviews about products on there before, with people selling or reviewing affiliate products, and when someone clicks on those links the video maker can potentially make an affiliate commission.
The great thing about YouTube is that you don’t even need to create your own videos for your products…
Sometimes the product that you promote has its own videos that you can take and upload onto YouTube yourself.
And just like with SEO if you optimize the video description for keywords then people can actually find that video when they search online.
Step 4: Track & Optimize Conversions
The next step after all of that promotion is the hope that you’ve actually made sales.
Making sales is obviously so important, but when you start to make them, never just sit on your laurels and expect more sales to come in…
You need to be:
- Constantly promoting more and more and also…
- You need to do a thing called tracking and optimizing.
What this means basically is you need to be able to see how many people are coming to your website or your offers and then how many of them are actually turning into sales.
Tracking: This is making a note of how many people are coming to your website.
Conversions: And then the conversion is the percentage of people who are actually turning into sales.
An example of this would be you get 100 people to your website, and five of them convert into a sale, that is a 5% conversion rate.
So if you got 200 people to your website, then you would make 10 sales.
And the beauty about the internet is this…
You can easily test to try to increase that conversion rate. This is called optimizing conversions.
Simple Conversion Rate Example
So perhaps you change the header on your article or content, and it might help increase your conversions by 1 to 2%, from 5% to 7%.
That would mean for every 100 people that came to your website, you were converting 7 of them into a sale.
So, if you earned $50 from every conversion it would work like this:
- 100 visitors at 5% conversion rate = $250
- 100 visitors at 7% conversion rate = $350
- 500 visitors at 7% conversion rate = $1750
So you can see by making a few changes to help increase your conversion rate is super important.
So when it comes to this point of tracking and optimizing, you have to never stop doing that because the better you can optimize your content for conversions the more sales you will make.
Step 5: Receive commissions
And after you have made these sales this is where you receive commissions.
That is basically what the product owner actually pays you to promote their product.
And when you make a sale, you receive that into:
- Your bank account, or,
- Your PayPal account, or,
- A cheque, or,
- Whichever is the preferred method of payment.
When you receive that first commission cheque it does make affiliate marketing worth it, and you WILL become addicted to it.
How To NOT Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?
That’s a good question because most people don’t make money when they start out with affiliate marketing.
The #1 reason that I don’t is that they have…
Shiny Button Syndrome
This is when a person begins to learn a strategy from one person but then jumps to another strategy without making any money at all from the first strategy.
This basically happens like this:
- A person is working on creating an affiliate business utilizing somebody’s strategy, but it starts to get a bit hard,
- Then they see another strategy that they think will get them to their goal quicker so they leave the strategy that they started with and take on board the new strategy…
- Now what happens after spending time learning this new strategy, they see a new strategy that promises overnight riches and money in a much quicker time,
- So they drop the strategy they had taken up and they go for this new strategy…
Sound familiar? If it is not you, maybe you know someone like this?
That is Shiny Button Syndrome, or you may know it as — the grass is always greener on the other side.
And when people keep doing this, it not only wastes time, but makes them feel that they will never be successful in affiliate marketing.
And they never reach their goal, and sometimes never even make their first sale.
It’s a really sad situation to see so many people in.
The key to making money with affiliate marketing is this:
- Focus on one strategy and,
- Get really good at it, if you do this you can make money very quickly.
How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?
It took me five years of messing around with too many strategies before I chose one and stuck to it.
I had Shiny Button Syndrome too.
I was able to do this because my mentor pointed out my issues and I realized what I was doing, and when I focused I got really good at affiliate marketing.
So good in fact that when he told me to put up my first website it went from zero to $10,000 in 28 days.
Now I’m not saying that that is going to happen for you, but I am saying you can make a good income online if you stick to it and dedicate yourself to building your online business.
Here’s a simple truth:
You could make your first sale in a day, it could take a week, or it could even take a month, but here is what I want you to know…
The more work you put into the set up at the start, the better your website will work in the long run, meaning more visitors and more profit.
How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing?
So how do you get started with affiliate marketing in the right way — and this here is really the key to your success.
Take note of the following sentence.
You need to find somebody who has become successful at affiliate marketing in the strategy that you want to do it in, and then you must follow what they do. Don’t follow anybody else, just follow one specific person to get to the level where you are making sales.
That is it!
But that is probably the hardest thing for most people to actually do… to stick with one thing and make a success with it.
I’ve mentioned it a few times because this is the MAJOR problem with failure in the affiliate marketing industry.
How To Start Your Affiliate Marketing Business Smartly
The Rule Of 1.
- Find a strategy/trainer who you think that you can actually learn from, potentially see videos of them on YouTube, like me.
- Pick up some of their free training, like here.
- And make a decision if you like this person or not.
- If you like the person and you like the method that they’re actually teaching, then go and purchase their product from them, like I have available here, called Beating the Giant Affiliate Formula
- Then go and follow exactly what they’re saying until you get a result.
After you have made your first sale then go and focus more on that strategy and get more results.
Alternative Option In Affiliate Mentorship
Now while some people can get results from training courses other people have to actually look at mentorship.
- This is where you pay a lot more money but…
- You have access to a lot more in-depth training and…
- Potentially one-on-one or group communication.
Affiliate Mentorship can really help you reach your goals so much quicker by keeping you motivated and helping you follow the plan that the mentor has put in place for you.
So that is the number one key to being successful in affiliate marketing, the Rule Of 1…
- Pick 1 Niche
- Pick 1 Strategy
- Pick 1 Mentor/training
If I was to start all over again and forgot absolutely everything I know now, I would do it this way, it would have saved me YEARS Of Wasted Time!
Affiliate Marketing is worth it when you follow a set strategy and put it into place… or else you just waste time.
So, let’s dive a little bit deeper into getting started with affiliate marketing, and actually making the right choices before you start, so you are super happy with the process.
And that starts with choosing your affiliate marketing niche market.
How To Choose An Affiliate Niche For Beginners
The next thing we have to look at is how do you actually choose your affiliate niche because spending a little bit extra time and getting this right makes it so worth it.
A lot of people have their opinions on this, but mine is this…
- The most important thing that you need to be able to do is to learn the affiliate process, first before you start making real money.
- That basically means that you understand all of the different elements that you need to create make a successful affiliate business.
Now during the process of you learning, what is going to happen is you’re going to come up against roadblocks.
It basically means that you’re going to have problems when you’re building your business, it happens with everyone so don’t think you are strange when it happens to you.
And this is where choosing a niche that you really love first off will help you break through the barriers of those roadblocks, and potentially earn a nicer profit too, quicker.
Choosing A Roadblock Niche
Let’s imagine you are interested in UFC fighting or you love UFC and MMA.
The WRONG THING to do would be this…
- You decide to actually promote knitting as an affiliate niche.
- You don’t know anything about knitting but you saw that the commissions that were paying were really good so you decided that you were going to use it.
- So you build your first website about knitting,
- Then you started to create content for it,
- And because you don’t know anything about knitting it becomes hard for you to create that content,
- Then what happens is your first roadblock pops up, your content creation roadblock, and you aren’t able to break that down.
The unfortunate thing about adversity is this, most people give up on things when they hit roadblocks, more so if they don’t like what they are doing.
So, if you don’t know anything about your niche, it is going to be harder to break down that roadblock.
Versus this scenario:
Choosing A Banana Peel Niche
This is a niche that you just slide on through…
- Seeing that you like UFC, you decide to create an affiliate website around UFC and products associated with it,
- It becomes so much easier for you to create content, so you do it, not well at first, but you do it anyway…
- Next, you hit a roadblock, but because it’s in a niche you love, it becomes a fun problem to solve, and you plow through it.
No matter what that roadblock is, it isn’t as hard to break through when you know your niche.
Do you get me?
So my recommendation for YOU is to choose a niche that you absolutely love when you start out, so you can learn the affiliate system.
And once you have learned the system, then you can go into bigger money-making niches, like:
Most Popular Affiliate Niches
- Make money online,
- Weight loss,
And a whole rake of other big commission affiliate Markets.
So you have now got your banana-peel niche chosen, the next thing you need to do is set up your website and people will automatically buy from you?
Na, unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this…
How To Make Your First Affiliate Marketing Sale
So once you have your Niche chosen, the next thing that you need to do is actually create a website, this will be where you promote the affiliate product on.
Quick Affiliate Marketing Website Setup
The website setup isn’t that difficult, my recommendation would be this:
- Buy a good niche relevant domain name (leandomainsearch.com can help you find a good domain, but buy it on Namecheap.com), Cost:$9.99, per year.
- Buy a good hosting service (my recommendation would be A2Hosting for this), Cost: $2.99+ per month.
- Set up a quick WordPress website (can be done with the click of a button, for free inside of A2 Hosting) Cost: Free with Hosting.
- Add relevant plugins to your website (to start with add: Rank Math, EWWW Image Optimizer, Nitropack.io and WordFence). Plugins are a mixture of free and paid, most plugins have free versions you can use.
- After this you need to create and add content.
In the image I give you a basic overview of the costs, now while this is the cheapest, remember that as you grow and make more money, EXPECT to pay more money, it is all relative.
Don’t invest huge amounts of money into things when you don’t know what you are doing.
In order to make sales, you will need to create great content that will:
- Help your future customers learn about the product you are promoting,
- And how that solves the problem that the person has.
If we think of the UFC idea, potentially your website is focused on helping wannabe MMA and UFC fighters to become better at grappling.
On your website, you will have information about:
- How a person can get better at grappling, grappling moves, fitness, but most importantly…
- What you’ll have is a recommendation of a great product or training that a person can buy, so…
- You make a commission when they buy from your recommendation.
So ok, you get that you create a website and content, but…
How do you actually get people to your website?
Just because you create content and build a website, doesn’t mean that people are automatically going to find your website.
For this, you need to think about promotion, and for me, my recommendation is…
Using SEO For Website Visitors
We spoke earlier about search engine optimization, which is the optimizing of content to appear in the search engines.
We also spoke about social media marketing like Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest.
And then we also briefly mentioned YouTube as well and the optimization of videos on YouTube.
To get started I think the easiest one to do is content creation and search engine optimization.
And the reason I say this is because if you love the niche that you have chosen, you will be able to:
- Create better content (which helps with SEO),
- With really relevant keywords that are what your customers are searching for, but not only that…
- It will make the search engines love what you do,
- This is the basics of SEO or Search Engine Optimization (Don’t let the word scare you).
SEO and the Law Of Compounding
When you start to create more and more content Google and the search engines will start to see your website as a semi-authority in the field (don’t be scared of this again, it just means someone who knows something helpful).
When they see your website as an authority in that field what they’ll do is…
- They will start to rank you in the search engines for those keywords that people are looking for…Like when they are looking to improve their grappling.
Now that’s a very basic overview of what needs to be done to get people to your website, but it’s a good start to help you understand that…
You do need to pick a single strategy to get people to your website, to start.
My choice is search engine optimization, as I keep saying.
That is not to say that the other strategies aren’t great, they are…
I also use all of the other ones that I spoke about as well, but search engine optimization is my go-to for anyone new to starting an online business, as it builds real solid digital marketing fundamentals.
If you start and get these things in place, then you can expect to make your first sale much quicker than if you didn’t stick to one strategy.
So, you get the overview of SEO and Content, but how do you actually create it?
How to create content for affiliate marketing?
So if we were to look at search engine optimization and content creation for affiliate marketing, this is how I would start if I have to start again.
- I would choose a topic that I really love and that I know a lot about.
- After that, I would break the niche down into a sub-niche.
By this I mean, if we use the UFC idea again, I would look at UFC and then break it down into a sub-niche, like:
- UFC for women,
- And then I might even do it another breakdown, of grappling for women…
- Or MMA grappling training for middleweights, or strawweights, or nutrition for mma fighters under 155lbs…
- You get the idea I think.
So that would be the first thing that you would do, break down your Niche into a Sub Sub Niche.
And here is the cool thing about doing this…
It means that it’s more specific and easier to rank in the search engines.
3. The next thing you would do once you found your Niche or your Sub-sub-niche, is search on Google to see who your competition is.
And you would look at what your competition is actually doing.
You do this by looking at their websites and seeing what type of content that they are creating, how many words they’re writing, etc.
Spying On Your Competition For Content Creation
So an example of this would be…
- Look at all of the word counts of the top 5 articles from what is shown on Google, make a note.
- Add those word count numbers together, and then divide by 5. This will give you the average number of words to create for your article.
- You want to do something better also, so you should add 10 to 20% more words to your article than the average number of words.
- After that, You would do the same with headings, keywords, images, media, and anything else that they were using.
And then there are four options that you have.
Getting Content Created For Affiliate Sites
- You can write the content on your own,
- You can speak into Google Docs and transcibe your article from your voice,
- Outsource it to somebody else to do it for you, or… iwriter.com, upwork.com,
- Use artificial intelligence to create the content for you, which is all the rage now at the moment, people are going mad over Jarvis.
So those are the steps that I would take to start my first affiliate marketing website if I were planning to do it again, and you should too.
I would cut out all the BS and all the mistakes and just follow that simple strategy to succeed.
But what if you want to go another route, can you start affiliate marketing without a website?
You can, but it REALLY is not as powerful as your own website.
But, let’s have a look anyway…
Problems Starting Affiliate Marketing Without A Website
Now if you don’t want to start your own website then what you can do is you can utilize a free website creator, something like:
- Google sites,
- You could even use Facebook and create a Facebook page
- And potentially even a Facebook group,
But in my opinion, the best thing to use is a website, that you own and operate, not someone else.
While it might cost a little bit of money to start, normally less than $100 for a domain name and hosting (for the whole year), it gives you so much more freedom in creation, but not only that — you own it, so no one can take it away from you.
What I mean by this is…
If you are creating content on Facebook and posting it on to your page, one day Facebook might decide that they don’t like what you are doing anymore.
If they decide this they won’t give you notice and will remove your access to your Facebook page and potentially even your whole Facebook account.
They will just delete it, which means that you have wasted all of your time in building something that you don’t own.
Think it’s a bit of fluff? Not really, just look at all of the people that they banned from their ad platform over the last year and a half…
Facebook recently blocked my own access to one of my Facebook accounts.
Now, this was because my phone number was not updated (the phone number was based in Asia and because of Covid I was in Spain).
I lost the phone number and somebody else purchased the number (you can do this in Asia) and signed into Facebook with that phone number.
So I lost 10 years’ worth of Facebook content, pages, access, and everything… crazy!
So you don’t want to go through the same thing as me which is why I recommend picking up a cheap domain name and web hosting to get your first website started
If I was going to use social media for affiliate marketing here is exactly what I would do.
- First I would find the topic of the content that I am going to create.
- Next I would look at real problems that people are having in the niche and how your product solve that problem.
- Then I would create a video between 5 and 10 minutes long.
And this is where the real magic happens…
I would make that video Perfect for all of the different social media channels.
If we started with YouTube, I would make it perfect for YouTube and make sure that I optimize the description and the titles in the YouTube video.
I would also add things like an image thumbnail and tags and hashtags into the YouTube description to help people find my content.
Facebook and Instagram
I would then look at getting the video ready for a website like Facebook, and I would use a free tool like VSDC Free Video Editor to make the video Square 1080 x 1080 pixels.
Then I would upload my video to Facebook and optimize the description again with keywords, and I would also do the same for Instagram.
Then what I would do is I would transcribe that video using a free service like Google Docs, where you can just play the video on your computer and transcribe the document on your phone.
I would then place that onto a free website like Google Sites and make sure that it is optimized for the words that people are searching for.
And that is how I would use social media to promote affiliate marketing products.
BUT… and I’ll say this again, no matter how good these Free Social sites and Content sites are, they are NEVER as good as having your own website, that is, if you really want to build a sustainable online business that actually makes good profit.
Conclusion: Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
In my opinion 100% YES.
But, I want to throw a big disclaimer in here. You will not make money unless you put the work in, nothing in this life comes for free, and you will have to go through a lot of learning experiences to get your affiliate marketing business to a place where you can retire from your 9–5.
But, if you can do this, and stomach the issues that arise, you can definitely begin to live a much freer and happy life thanks to Affiliate Marketing.
Next Steps In Your Affiliate Marketing Journey
I’ve created a free training based on the same process that I use as an affiliate to create highly profitable affiliate marketing websites.
And you can grab it for free while I still have it available.
It utilizes SEO for Affiliate Marketing as I have mentioned throughout this article, I hope you will enjoy it.
You can pick it up by going here: Beating the Giant Free Training
All the best
Ciaran “Life should be free” Doyle