how to start with Affiliate Marketing

How to Start With Affiliate Marketing: 7-step Guide


    If you want to earn passive income, affiliate marketing is a great way to generate thousands of dollars a month. 

    According to PayScale, the average annual affiliate marketing income is $51,217. The bottom 10% of affiliate marketers earn $37,000, and the top 10% earn $71,000.

    Of course, these are people who have invested several years of consistent effort into affiliate marketing and have succeeded. Most affiliates earn significantly less than that in the beginning. Some don’t even begin to earn money until after the first year or so of doing affiliate marketing. 

    It takes a lot of hard work to profit and thrive in this business model. But if you have the patience and dedication, it is possible to earn as much as these expert affiliates.

    How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

    Affiliate marketing works as a sales tactic that lets a product owner increase sales by allowing a person to earn a commission by recommending the product to others. 

    It is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or purchaser brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. 

    Simply put, affiliate marketing is when you plug a company’s products, and someone buys through your affiliate link, you get a commission. This marketing strategy is a win-win situation for everyone involved. 

    Three parties comprise this symbiotic business relationship:

    • Seller and product creators
    • The affiliate or advertiser
    • The consumer

    What does each of these parties do?

    Seller and Product Creators

    The seller may be a product creator or retailer with a start-up or a well-established brand looking for new methods of exposing their brand to more people. They may be in the business of selling physical products or offering services. 

    Usually, the seller does not have to do the marketing. Their main job is to create the products or provide the services that their affiliates would promote.

    How they earn money: Sites like Amazon, Rakuten, ClickBank, and ShareASale, are examples of a complex affiliate network that also provides an opportunity to earn affiliate revenue on a range of products. 

    The Affiliate or Advertiser

    Affiliates are online entrepreneurs, bloggers, or anyone who promotes the seller’s items on their website or online social platform.

    How they earn money: Affiliate marketers promote their products by implementing banner ads, text ads, or links on their social media accounts and websites or sending emails to their clientele.

    The unique link that an affiliate or publisher provides on his platform sends traffic to the company’s website. If an affiliate’s audience purchases a product using this link, the publisher is paid a percentage of the sale.

    The Consumer

    The customers are important actors in affiliate marketing. They are usually the affiliate’s audience, subscribers, or followers who click on the affiliate’s links, intending to buy the company’s product.

    How they earn money: Purchasers get referred to companies with products or services that are generally compatible with their needs and interests. Although affiliates are getting compensation for advertising the product or service to their audience, they usually only promote products they believe are satisfactory.

    Some affiliates will let their audience know that a company gives them a commission or a share in the profits if they purchase the product. Websites like YouTube and Instagram require their content creators to disclose it to their viewers if they participate in brand deals or profit from any product placements. 

    How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing: 7 Steps

    Step 1: Understanding roles in affiliate marketing.

    Now that you know who the three parties are in affiliate marketing, it’s time to learn more about their different roles:

    The role that the seller or company plays is to manufacture and ship the product.

    Then the marketing affiliate would have the role of promoting their goods. When a buyer makes a purchase, the seller is responsible for the order fulfillment and shipping. The duty of marketers ends when the consumer has been redirected to the company’s landing page.

    The customers have the role of clicking the affiliate link and making a purchase. Their role benefits both the marketer and the company. By clicking the link, the customers generate the affiliate marketer’s commission and buying the product increases the company’s sales. 

    Step 2: Pick a platform.

    You can start affiliate marketing on almost any social media platform as long as you have an audience. Facebook and Instagram are good places to start. You can become an affiliate by putting an affiliate link on your bio or your social media posts. 

    Related: Can I Do Affiliate Marketing on Facebook?

    However, building a following and generating affiliate sales is easier to do on a Youtube channel or a blog.

    Step 3: Choose your niche!

    Aside from the millions of blogs already existing on the internet, several more blogs are created each day. If you create a blog today, you will be competing with countless other bloggers out there.

    The best way to stay afloat in a sea of competitors is to choose a niche.

    You can get started by choosing a topic that focuses on a specific category. For instance, “diet” is a broad category. Instead of writing about that topic in general, try to narrow it down to something more particular, like intermittent fasting.

    Building a more focused audience will be easier if your blog post’s topics are distinct.  It would also help your blog post rank higher in search engines for keywords in that niche.

    Users of social media sites like Instagram or Facebook most likely follow accounts centered around a particular niche that they are interested in. Instagram accounts focused on a particular topic within a certain category, garner millions of followers because users look for specific things that only those accounts provide. An example of this would be a fashion account dedicated to the ’90s, a fitness account that only does a specific kind of yoga, or a makeup account focused on drag queen makeup.

    One popular category on YouTube is gaming. If you are interested in that, you can limit yourself to playing specific video games like horror games or virtual reality.

    Step 4: Create a blog

    Hands typing on keyboard

    Once you have chosen a niche, you should create a blog dedicated to that.

    Creating a blog or a YouTube channel is free. The process of creating an account on Youtube or other blogging sites is very simple. You can even check out several tutorials online on how to grow your channel.  Your blog posts may contain an affiliate link that leads to a landing page or the affiliate partner’s website.

    Read more: How to Start a Blog and Get Paid

    One example of a successful affiliate partner is a makeup artist posting makeup tutorials on YouTube that promotes cosmetic companies’ merchandise.

    You should add affiliate links to your content in the description box or the comments section. Make sure to disclose the fact that you are using affiliate links because the FTC requires you to do so.  On YouTube, put the disclosure in the description box. If you’re posting on your site, put it on a standalone page or in the footer.

    You may find it easier to create a blog and write a blog post than film a YouTube video. Making videos require more time and money.  Creating a blog would definitely be a simpler way to start affiliate marketing and promote affiliate products.

    However, if you do have the time and money to create quality video blogs on YouTube or other video-sharing websites, then go for it. Subscribers feel more engaged while watching videos. Thus, building a good relationship with viewers will be easier. Viewers who feel as though they can trust an affiliate will most likely check out affiliate links and purchase an affiliate product.

    Step 5: Drive traffic

    Once your channel or blog site is running, make sure that your target audience can find you through search engine optimisation by placing the right keywords. You will have a better chance of ranking on the website if you do this correctly.

    Your SEO (search engine optimized) keywords are the keywords and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site through search engines. Affiliate marketing work greatly involves search engine optimization.

    As an affiliate marketer, you need to know how people look for a product, service or information that you offer if you want to make money in this type of affiliate marketing system.

    Step 6: Create and Publish Content

    Add new post at wordpress back end

    Creating high-quality content will attract more viewers or readers. If they are satisfied with what they are getting, they will definitely come back for more.

    As a beginner, one way to find success in this business model is to pick topics that you are actually interested in. It’s easier to continue writing and publishing content about a category on your blog site or YouTube channel if you are passionate about that topic. Consistency will enhance the user experience on your site or channel and help you survive in that particular niche.

    But if you are not the content creator and you’re instead outsourcing the content, it would be better to consult with an expert in the niche. An expert can help you create superior content that attracts more traffic, helping your affiliate marketing business make money.

    When publishing content, try not to over-promote affiliate products or bombard viewers with too many product placements as it may create distrust between an affiliate and a subscriber.

    If you are doing reviews of products, make an effort to try out the product first. Then make sure to give an honest review. Viewers can sense if you are being genuine or not.

    Step 7: Join Affiliate Programs

    Tablet screen display affiliate program

    You can choose from three types of affiliate programs; high-paying low-volume affiliate programs, low-paying high volume affiliate programs, and high-paying high volume affiliate programs.

    High-paying low-volume affiliate program

    These programs for niche products have high pay-outs.  For example, an affiliate program may pay you a high price even if you send only a few customers their way.

    Although the high pay-out makes it seem like this affiliate program would be worth it, note that this program may not be the most ideal way to start affiliate marketing for beginners. This is because your competitors in this program will be highly skilled marketers also looking to get the same high commissions.

    Low-paying, high-volume affiliate programs

    This program involves goods that generate high sales but the affiliate commission for each sale is low. Fortunately, the products are usually cheaper so you will probably have more success in convincing consumers to buy them. Although you get fewer commissions for the sales that you initiate, your commissions will often be based on the entire value of the purchase rather than just the product you recommended.

    High-paying, high-volume affiliate programs

    This is probably the best-case scenario for affiliates when it comes to affiliate programs. These programs are for products with mass appeal that also pays high commissions at the same time.

    An example of this would be credit cards. Some own several credit cards from different companies. People will most likely get a credit card for convenience purposes. Businesses typically pay a high commission for you to lead consumers to get a credit card from their company.

    This is another one of those programs that attract skilled affiliates with a lot of money. As a beginner, you wouldn’t wanna compete with that. You can delve more into this affiliate program once you gain more experience. We all have to start somewhere.

    For now, just know that this program can be an option for you in the future.

    How to decide which affiliate programs to join

    The number of affiliate programs available out there may be overwhelming for beginners.  How do you decide which affiliate programs to join?

    You can decide which one to join depending on your niche and level of expertise.

    We recommend that you try the second model of low commissions and higher sales volume if you’re targeting customers.

    But if your focus is on a business audience, then you might want to choose the first model: high-paying and low volume. Usually, the programs here are for software and web hosting-related products.

    You can easily find the best affiliate programs through a google search.

    How Do You Get Paid From Affiliate Marketing?

    Affiliates receive revenue from the actions that website visitors take, including clicks, impressions, and leads. A consumer doesn’t always have to purchase an affiliate product for the affiliate to get commissions. 

    Depending on the affiliate program, an affiliate may get paid in several ways:

    Pay per click

    In this program, the affiliate earns incentives when consumers are redirected from their platform to the company’s website. The affiliate’s task is to make the consumer visit the affiliate partner’s company website through viewer or reader engagement methods. The increase in the web traffic caused by the affiliate determines the amount of money that he will get paid.

    Pay per sale

    In this program, affiliate networks reward their affiliates in cash or a percentage of the price of the product or service for every sale they get resulting from the affiliate’s efforts. This means that for you to get paid, the consumer must actually buy the product.

    Arguably, this affiliate program is more challenging than other business models.

    Pay per lead

    This program is more complicated than others. The compensation that affiliate programs pay the marketer is based on the conversion of leads. The task of the affiliate is to convince the consumer to visit the merchant’s website and complete the desired action. The consumer might have to fill out a form, sign-up for a free trial, download software, or subscribe to a newsletter.

    Reasons Why Many People Want to Be an Affiliate Marketer

    1. No need for customer support

    Business owners often have to worry about retaining customers and managing customer service. Thankfully, you don’t need to concern yourself with all that. All you have to worry about as an affiliate is earning your commission. The consumers won’t usually ask about a certain product that you endorse, all their queries will be directed at the seller. Of course, if you are reviewing the product, your viewers might ask you a few questions about it. But their inquiries would be limited to your opinions and experience with the goods. 

    Thus, if you create user-generated content under like reviews, you should still reply as much as you can to product-related questions under your posts.

    2. Work from home set up

    You can work from anywhere in the world, anytime you want, as much as you want. Most importantly, you can work from home. You don’t have to get up early in the morning, get dressed in your work clothes and face the rush hour traffic to go to work. 

    If you are one of the many people who are already working from home, you don’t need to make any sort of adjustment. All you need is a stable internet connection and a computer. Since you are able to read this article, it’s safe to assume that you already have both.

    3. Flexible

    You can create a workplace anywhere and decide when to work at any time. You can choose to do affiliate marketing in between or after your day job. It’s your choice if you want to want to work part-time during the weekend or full-time every day.

    If for some reason you can’t work, you don’t have a boss you need to explain yourself to. You don’t have to answer to someone from human relations or participate in tiresome office politics. 

    With affiliate marketing, you get to choose your own work schedule, plan your workweek and set your rest days.

    You also have the freedom to choose which products to promote. Creating multiple campaigns on different affiliate websites and landing pages to market your affiliate links is always an option. That means that you can abandon the poorly performing ones and optimise the successful ones.

    You don’t need to stick to one affiliate marketing program. Select various merchandise from a chosen niche and promote them daily.

    Having the flexibility to create your own working environment according to your will is a strong incentive for you to become a marketing affiliate.

    4. Performance-based

    The main advantage of having an affiliate program is that it is entirely performance-based. Affiliates are paid their cut once the desired action has taken place. If you choose to invest a lot of time and effort into affiliate marketing, you will get compensated proportionally for the amount of work you put in. So if you decide to perform very efficiently during your work hours, you can get the most out of your time and money in affiliate marketing.

    With most regular jobs, regardless of your productivity level for the day, you still get the same salary. Affiliate marketing is purely based on your performance. What goes around, comes around. Refining your reviewing skills and writing engaging campaigns will directly result in an improvement in your revenue. You’ll finally get paid for all the hard work you do!

    5. Passive income

    Suppose you are consistent and persistent enough for a certain period. In that case, your online business will generate money without you even having to perform a lot of actual work at one point.

    Once you start affiliate marketing and have your business properly set up, you can have cash flow generated at all hours of the day, every day.

    How Much Money Can You Earn From Affiliate Marketing?

    The amount of money you can generate is unlimited and the potential for growth is endless. There is literally no income roof and no limits on how fast or slow you move up the revenue ladder. Depending on skill level and actually productivity, those who start affiliate marketing can earn from hundreds to thousands of dollars a month.

    Things to Look for Before Promoting an Affiliate Product

    It’s important to promote an extensive range of affiliate products and partners with several different companies if you don’t want to get stuck with one company’s commission, landing pages and conversion rate. This strategy will vary the commissions you make and create a steady income stream when establishing an affiliate network.

    When deciding on which products to promote, you need to ask yourself two things. First, do you believe that product’s quality is good? And second, is it a good fit for your audience? The answer should be yes to both questions. If your audience ends up liking or enjoying the products you promoted, they will most likely entertain more recommendations from you in the future.

    Another tip is to choose products and services the fall within your niche.

    Affiliate Marketing Vs Other Types of Blog Monetization

    There are other ways to monetisatise your blog. Aside from affiliate marketing, another popular type of blog monetisation is Google AdSense. It is a Google program where website publishers of content sites serve text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements targeted to the site content and audience.

    Why should you choose affiliate marketing over Adsense?

    •  It’s easier to get into an affiliate network than it is to get an approved AdSense account.
    • You can get paid more with Affiliate marketing than AdSense
    • Most of the affiliate companies offer PayPal or Payoneer as a payment method, whereas AdSense does not.
    • AdSense is not allowed in certain niches, while you can find affiliate products for all niches. 
    • There are many large and small affiliate companies, but only Google runs AdSense.
    • Affiliate ads create more money and are more appealing than Google AdSense.


    These are the basics of how to start affiliate marketing. Applying them will help you find success when you become an affiliate marketer.

    Like all types of business models, affiliate marketing will not instantly make you rich. So don’t think of quitting your 9-5 job just yet. Affiliate marketing takes time and effort. You need to be patient and consistent.

    Now that you understand the different roles in affiliate marketing, you can now start to pick your platform and target niche, create blogs and content, and eventually drive traffic to your website. Make sure to scope out all your options first before you join any affiliate networks or programs.

    Considering all the benefits, you should go ahead and get started on your affiliate marketing journey now!