Affiliate Marketing Guide For Beginners

Quick Summary

Affiliate marketing is simple: choose a product with an affiliate program, get your promotional materials, create quality content, use best practices to drive traffic, and scale your efforts over time.
Table of Contents

AFFILIATES DISCLAIMER
The Site may contain links to affiliate websites, and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website using such links. 

When I first became interested in making money online, I would regularly search the internet to see how people were doing it. One of the methods that kept coming up over and over again was affiliate marketing. In fact, I learned that affiliate marketing accounts for 15% of all digital media revenue.

So, it was clear that if I wanted to make money online, I needed to incorporate affiliate marketing into my website.

However, there was only one problem: I had no idea what it was. I knew you needed a special link and that once someone made a purchase using that link, you’d get paid, but that was it.

I didn’t know how to get those links, how to promote them, or anything else. And since I was just starting out, I didn’t have any money to invest in a course or pay someone to teach me. So, I ended up teaching myself using Google and YouTube.

Today, there are plenty of blog posts, videos, and affordable courses online on affiliate marketing. Some are better than others. But here’s the thing: you don’t really need to spend any money if you’re looking to get started in affiliate marketing. You just need to understand the basics and generate your first sale, so I created this affiliate marketing guide for beginners to help you do just that.

The excitement of generating your first sale is enough to keep you going, and over time, you eventually learn tips and tricks to increase your revenue.

So, for now, let’s get started with what actually matters.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

You’ve probably seen the phrase “affiliate link” on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms, but what is it?

Well, it’s actually pretty simple and straightforward to understand.

Companies want to make as much profit as possible, and one of the ways they can do that is by using you to market their products. In return for bringing more visitors and customers to their products and services, they pass down some of the affiliated profits they made through your marketing to you.

This could be in the form of either a flat payment, payment per sale that you help make, or even a percentage-based commission which is more common.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

If you want to make money with affiliate marketing you need to join an affiliate program in order to get your special link. Through that link, you can track how many people click the link and how many times the product/service was bought using the link.

these links usually look like this:

Normal link:

https://www.amazon.com/product-name

Affiliate link:

https://www.amazon.com/product-name/affiliate?=UHF10&tag=lucassilva-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=e92ada7feaec07a

Once someone clicks the link and makes a purchase you’ll earn a commission, the cool thing about this is that some affiliate programs incorporate cookies in the links they give you.

Cookies can last anywhere from 24 hours to months and sometimes never expire this means that you still earn a commission even if someone doesn’t buy the exact product you recommend.

Here’s an example that I think might help you better understand:

You’re into kayaking and you joined Amazon Associates to promote a kayak you love and think other people will love too. You get your affiliate link and post it on your social media accounts and website.

Now, let’s assume one of your visitors is interested in the kind of kayak you use, so they click the link but decide it’s better to wait to buy the kayak another time. Later in the day, they remember they need to buy a new TV, so they open up Amazon again and purchase a $600 TV.

Because they clicked your link earlier in the day, their cookie is still saved, so even though you didn’t earn a commission on the kayak, you still earn a commission on the TV.

This is great if you’re looking to make passive income because you can create a post using your affiliate link and earn money over and over again for years to come down the line without too much effort.

The Easiest Way To Start Affiliate Marketing

Okay, now that we have the basics out of the way you’re that much closer to earning your first commission and making money with affiliate marketing.

Although it’s as easy as joining an affiliate program and posting the links there are some steps you can take that will make it easier and guarantee that you make money with affiliate marketing. These are the most important steps you need to take:

Build Your Own Website.

You can technically do affiliate marketing on any online platform, such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or even Snapchat. You just need to place your affiliate link where people can see and click it.

However, most affiliate programs require you to have a website. Owning your own website gives you full control over your content and audience.

You’ll want to build a self-hosted website. This gives you the most control and allows you to include a blog with content related to what you plan on promoting, enabling you to actually make money.

Building your own website is not hard at all. I have a step-by-step guide to building your website in four steps that will help you with detailed instructions if you need more assistance. However here are the basic steps you need to take:

1. Select a Domain and Hosting Plan

Your domain name is just the technical term for the name of your website. What do you plan on calling it? It’s completely up to you, but there are some rules you should follow to pick the best domain name:

  • Make it simple to remember.
  • Choose something easy to spell.
  • Relate it to you or the topics you plan on covering.

Once you have an idea of what you want your domain name to be, the next step is to confirm its availability and purchase it. This is also when you’ll purchase your hosting service.

Your hosting plan is where you’ll store all the files of your website so that visitors can access them from anywhere in the world.

You can purchase your domain with your hosting. To do this, head over to the hosting provider you plan on going with. I recommend using SiteGround as they’re the fastest and most reliable. Enter in the domain name you plan on using and select the hosting plan you’d like. Unless you plan on building multiple websites, you can go with the cheapest option.

It’s easier to purchase these together, but if you want to save more money, you can purchase your domain separately from a domain seller like Namecheap and then link it to your hosting provider, as it will be cheaper than buying it from the hosting provider. Check out my step-by-step guide for more details on how to do this.

2. Install WordPress and Themes

After you have your domain and hosting plan, the next step is to build your website. There are plenty of ways to build your website, but the easiest way is with WordPress.org It’s free and can be installed on your domain with just one click from Siteground.

Once you installed WordPress you can then choose a theme you like. This will determine the look of your website and control elements like fonts, colors, pages, and layout.

That’s pretty much it. Having a website will make it easier to apply to affiliate programs and provide an alternative method to display your affiliate links in your blog posts.

Find The Best Affiliate Program For Your Audience

There are plenty of affiliate programs out there, so you’ll want to select and join one that aligns with your interests and that your audience will enjoy.

There are two main kinds of affiliate programs:

Affiliate Program:
An affiliate program is an individual company offering affiliate sales. They create the pay structure, and marketing material, and provide your affiliate links.

Affiliate Network:
An affiliate network takes multiple affiliate programs and places them all under one website, giving you access to multiple programs all in one place. This makes it easier to find and apply to affiliate programs and monitor your earnings.

The best approach is to join an affiliate network and start looking for and applying to affiliate programs. You can also visit the website of a product or service you love and see if they have an affiliate program, often found at the bottom of their website. If it’s not visible, search the company name along with “affiliate program” on Google to find their affiliate program.

These are the main three I would join if you are just starting out:

Things you need to know before applying to any affiliate marketing programs

1. You will get rejected!

Each affiliate program has different requirements. You need to apply and fill out a form with basic information such as your name, business, website, etc.

Generally, companies want to partner with people who will help bring more traffic to their business or product/service. Make sure to stand out by having a few blog posts on your website, making it look professional and legitimate, and ensuring all your social media accounts align with your website.

Sometimes companies will not accept you for various reasons. You can try contacting them to find out why. Nine times out of ten, it’s because you’re missing a website, you don’t have the proper pages on your website (like legal pages and contact information), or you don’t have a large enough following yet.

Regardless, be ready to face rejection, especially when you’re first starting. Don’t be discouraged and continue applying to other programs.

2. You Won’t Get Paid Until You Meet The Minimum Threshold Payment

Each affiliate program has its own set of rules, but generally, you won’t be able to withdraw your money until you earn anywhere from $10 to $100, depending on the program you join. Keep that in mind as you make your first commissions.

In addition to having a minimum withdrawal amount, affiliate programs typically pay out at the end of the month. They need to verify that the sale is accurate and legitimate and ensure the customer doesn’t return the item. If the item is returned, you won’t get paid. It can take anywhere from 15 to 30 days from the pay period to receive your check.

4. Check how much commission you will receive

As I mentioned earlier, affiliate sales can be based on the number of products you sell, a flat rate, or a commission based on the price of the item. Every affiliate program is different, so make sure to check and understand your pay structure.

You can try selling high-ticket items for bigger payouts. However, just as buying coffee every day can quickly add up in dollars, so can small commissions over time. Don’t be discouraged if the affiliate program you want to promote offers less than you’d like.

5. Keep track of your affiliates

If you are applying for affiliate programs within an affiliate network, it’s pretty easy to keep track of the programs you’re part of. However, as soon as you start joining individual affiliate programs or multiple affiliate networks, it becomes harder to manage each one.

One trick I like to use involves my search engine. I use Google Chrome, but you can do this just as easily in Safari, Firefox, or any other browser. Keep a bookmark tab specifically for all the affiliate programs and networks you’re part of. This way, they are easily accessible and all in the same place.

How To Make Your First Affiliate Sale Commission

Okay so now you know all the basics of affiliate marketing, you’ve set up your website, and you’ve joined an affiliate program of your choice. What’s next?

Well, now it’s time to actually post your links and create content, and make your first affiliate sale. This will motivate you to keep going and eventually grow and earn higher revenue with affiliate marketing.

Here’s how you can get your first sale:

Get Your Affiliate Link:

  • Find a product or service you’re ready to promote.

Contact Your Friends And Family:

  • Go through your phones contacts. You’ll want to contact everyone you can and send them a link to the product or service you’re promoting. A simple message like, “Hey, I found this product/service and I really enjoy it. You should check it out and get it for yourself, I think you’ll really enjoy it,” is enough.

Utilize Social Media:

  • Do the same with your social media accounts like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or X. Send out as many direct messages as you can to people you follow and know. I guarantee that within a week, you’ll have at least one sale.

Congratulations! You’ve made your first sale and are no longer an affiliate marketing beginner. But it doesn’t end here. After you make your first sale you’ll need to start creating more content and displaying your affiliate links more often to increase your commissions and earn as much as possible.

Strategies To Maximize Your Earning Potential.

Create Amazing Content

To make a good amount of money with affiliate marketing, you need to bring a lot of traffic to your affiliate links. A good way to do that is by creating high-quality content that aligns with you, your audience, and the brand or service you are promoting.

There’s a lot of content out there, so you’ll need to stand out; by making sure your content goes above and beyond for readers. otherwise, your content will just be buried with all the rest.

In addition to high-quality written content, you should also practice SEO best practices. This means including keywords in your articles and ensuring proper formatting, which will help your blog content rank higher on Google. Higher rankings lead to more traffic to your links and more sales.

You can also create different types of content to attract different kinds of audiences. These include:

Reviews: Great for someone who’s looking to buy but needs a little more assurance.

Product Comparisons: For people who are ready to buy but aren’t sure which option to choose. List all possible options, explaining the differences, pros, and cons of each one. This way, you can earn a commission regardless of their final choice.

List Articles: These are great for people who aren’t sure what they want. Giving them options lets them pick what works best for them, giving you more opportunities to generate a sale.

Tutorials and “How-to” Guides: These help bring attention to a product or service. Even if readers have already bought the product and are just looking for a guide on how to use it, providing valuable tutorials can lead to future purchases through your affiliate links, as satisfied customers are more likely to return and buy other things you recommend.

Utilize social media and other platforms

This is something I wish I had known sooner: utilize your social media platforms to generate traffic to both your website and your affiliate links. Creating good content is great for your website, but everything you do online brings attention to your site, including social media.

Platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and X are great for generating buzz and talking about your business and website, so don’t shy away from them.

However, the platform I wish I had focused more on personally is Pinterest. It’s great because their business model is to promote links directly to users. You can post your affiliate links directly on Pinterest or funnel them to your website.

Getting people to see your links is only half the battle; you’ll also need to get them to click by bringing attention to your affiliate links.

First, consider where you’re placing your links. Are they in an obvious place where every reader can see them? Do those links make sense there? Consider the context behind the link. Basically, you have to make sure that you’re hyperlinking words that make sense.

You wouldn’t want to hyperlink a phrase that has absolutely nothing to do with what’s linked on the other end. So, you have to think about common keywords and phrases that people may identify with the product or service you’re promoting. Then, use that keyword as the hyperlinked phrase.

Lastly, you should also be using stand-out options for affiliate links. You could use buttons, tables, boxes, banner ads, promotional photos, and videos. You can find these in your affiliate program portal. These elements will draw more attention to the link you want to promote.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, affiliate marketing isn’t as hard as you might have thought. With good practices and knowing the basics, you can easily make your first sale. From there, use the strategies and tips from this article and other places to increase and scale your affiliate marketing efforts. With dedication and continuous learning, you’ll be able to grow your audience, boost your traffic, and maximize your earnings. Stay consistent, keep experimenting with different approaches, and always focus on providing value to your audience.

Quick Summary

Affiliate marketing is simple: choose a product with an affiliate program, get your promotional materials, create quality content, use best practices to drive traffic, and scale your efforts over time.

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