Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Last Updated on October 7, 2021 by Vasco Lourenço

Welcome to the Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Ultimate Step by Step Guide.

Almost every website that makes money on the internet uses the power of affiliate marketing.

Although that might not be obvious at first, when you dive deeper and examine the URLs linked to a product someone is referring to, you’ll notice that affiliate marketing is everywhere.

This may have already happened to you: you think of buying a product (digital or physical), you type it on Google, and read a blog post about that product. Is the product really good, or is it just the reviewer leveraging affiliate marketing to try and make some money?

Whatever it may be, there’s a purpose to all this: to convert the reader into a buyer.

In my opinion, the best reviews don’t push the reader to buy something. Instead, they offer tremendous free value to the reader so he can make up his own mind and maybe (maybe not) feel inclined to buy whatever they were searching for. It’s a subtle game!

Anyway, when the reader is looking for a product review, he’s already in a buyer mode. He just needs to feel confident about the purchase.

Affiliate marketers boost the buyer's confidence. Click To Tweet

In this guide, I’ll show you all there is to know about affiliate marketing, and how you can start leveraging this channel to earn passive income while working from home.

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links. What this means is, if you end up purchasing any of the products through my link, I may get a small commission that will help keep this blog running. Don’t worry, there’s no extra cost for you.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based or action-based marketing. Based on referrals, companies pay commissions to affiliates. 

This means you can earn money by simply referring traffic (people) to a company’s website. You turn yourself into a kind of freelance digital marketer.

Referrals are tracked through unique URLs (links) that are assigned to you as an affiliate. When someone clicks on your link and then makes a purchase… you earn a commission!

One thing to notice, though, is that the visitor doesn’t need to make the purchase right away. When he enters the website, a cookie is stored on his browser, and if he buys within the cookie duration window, you’ll get the commission.

Usually, this window ranges from 30 to 90 days, depending on the company. This means that if the visitor clicks today on your link but only buys the product after 89 days (for a cookie duration window of 90 days), you still get a commission.

Even if they enter the website directly without passing through your link. How great is that?

Affiliates, publishers, and vendors

In the game of affiliate marketing, there are two players: affiliates or publishers, and vendors.

An affiliate is a publisher with an online presence. He can be a blogger, a YouTuber, and influencer present in social media, or anyone with an active email list. Basically, an affiliate is a content creator that markets a chosen product with his/her audience.

If you’re a publisher, you probably already use software and other products that may have an affiliate program. So why not take advantage of that and start promoting them to your audience?

It’s always good to review products that you specifically know of, or have experience with. You want to give value to your audience, helping them choose what’s right for them. Don’t just throw a bunch of links and hope someone clicks on them.

A vendor is the person, company, or brand that creates the product. If you’re a vendor, it just makes sense to partner with publishers and leverage their audience so your brand reaches more and more people. And this means more sales and more customers.

Why Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to start making money online. It’s easy for beginners and experts alike to get started.

The affiliate marketing model allows beginners to get started with little to no investment yet provides the opportunity to scale well into the 6 or even 7-figure per year range.

According to Statista, the U.S. affiliate marketing spend is due to reach 8.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2022. We just need a little slice of the pie.

With affiliate marketing, you can generate what is called passive income. This means you can earn while you sleep.

But it’s not that easy as it might seem in the first place. Creating great content, SEO optimization, and driving traffic to your affiliate offer are 3 fundamental steps to become a successful affiliate marketer.

Before going deeper, let me show you the benefits of affiliate marketing.

What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?

Besides the potential for passive income and financial freedom that we all wish somehow, there are 3 main benefits of using affiliate marketing as a business model:

  • You don’t have to create a product yourself, set up a shopping cart, or process payments.
  • You don’t have to worry about customer service, product fulfillment, or processing any potential refunds.
  • You can do this anywhere in the world as long as you have your laptop and an internet connection.

Besides, affiliate marketing programs are almost always free to join.

What are the 3 types of affiliate marketing?

According to Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, there are 3 types of affiliate marketing:

  1. Unattached affiliate marketing
  2. Related affiliate marketing
  3. Involved affiliate marketing

Basically, these 3 types differ based on the relationship between the affiliate and the product being promoted.

1. Unattached affiliate marketing

You’ve probably seen many advertisements, for example, on news sites, that blend well with the rest of the content. These are pay-per-click ads that will take you to a landing page, further promoting the product, and then finally, direct you to the product website where you can make the purchase.

Although they use affiliate links, you do not know who is promoting the product. These affiliates have no presence and no authority on the niche of the product they’re promoting.

To start with this type of affiliate marketing, you just need to sign up for affiliate networks, place ads on websites or social media, and create landing pages. These pages are what is called “bridge pages”, that redirect the visitor from the ad, persuading him even further into buying the product.

The affiliate thus becomes the unseen middle man, waiting for someone to click on the link, hoping to earn a commission.

This type of affiliate marketing is very attractive for beginners because you don’t need to build trust with your audience, which takes time and effort. On the other side, to really become successful, you need to spend a lot of money on ads, refining your strategy with a trial and error approach.

In this type of affiliate marketing, you already have some online presence, whether from blogs, social media, YouTube, or even podcasts. You have a niche, and start promoting products in that niche that you actually don’t use.

Because these products fit well within your blog, for example, your audience doesn’t know if you’re really using the product or not. Since they trust your authority on that niche, they may find the product relevant to them, which might earn you more commissions.

These affiliate links are usually placed in banner ads on the sidebar, or through text links within your posts.

With related affiliate marketing, you’re leveraging your online presence and stablished authority to earn more commissions without risking losing money on PPC (pay-per-click) ads.

3. Involved affiliate marketing

Like the name implies, involved affiliate marketing means that you really use the product, know its pros and cons, and know exactly why you are promoting it to your audience.

Because you believe in the product, your marketing efforts will sound natural, and instead of relying only on sidebar banners, you actually write (or talk) about the product itself, giving tremendous value to your audience.

It’s your involvement with the product that makes your audience feel that they also need it. And your offer becomes much more attractive than any other offer.

Rather than being the unseen middle man, you show your face for the product and use your trust, authority, and reputation to make sincere recommendations to your audience.

Now that you understand what affiliate marketing is, let’s dive in to the actual guide.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide Click To Tweet

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Ultimate Step by Step Guide

Now that you know how affiliate marketing works and its different types, I’m going to show you how to implement it in this step by step guide.

  1. Choose your niche
  2. Find products to promote
  3. Best commissions
  4. Get traffic to your offer
  5. Create a strategy

1. Choose your niche

Your niche is your topic.

This lays down the foundation for the type of affiliate products you promote.

Your niche should be in line with a passion or interest of yours. It is important that you resist the temptation to go after something because it “seems like a profitable idea” unless you’re experimenting with the so-called unattached affiliate marketing, mentioned previously.

For instance, let’s talk about a trend that took off a while back: intermittent fasting. It seemed like everyone was talking about this approach to weight loss. And since there is always plenty of money to be made in the weight loss industry, perhaps this would be a good niche.

However, if you are not passionate about intermittent fasting then it is going to be difficult to become a leader in the intermittent fasting niche, therefore, you are most likely not going to see the success you had hoped for.

On the other side, if you are passionate about sharing the benefits of natural remedies, then this would be an opportunity worth exploring. It is a subcategory of one of the 3 Evergreen Niches, and your passion for the topic will keep you motivated as you build your web of influence.

The 3 evergreen niches

Evergreen niches - a tree growing from money

The 3 evergreen niches are the categories with the highest earning potential:

  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Love/Relationships

Health, wealth, and love are important to us on an emotional level. And as a result, when something is not to our liking within one of these areas, we are willing to spend money and take action to rectify the situation.

For example, if you and your significant other are fighting a lot. Yet deep down you really love each other and want to stay together. Then you would be highly likely to search for a solution. This could involve purchasing a program designed to help you overcome your struggles.

And this is the key.

Even though most affiliate marketing takes place online, money still comes from other people.

The same can be true for couples looking to spice it up. Or parents who are having trouble with their children (i.e. behavioral issues).

The wealth niche could be investing, real estate flipping, selling on Amazon, etc. The health niche could be “how to lose weight” or “how to be healthy.”

Keep in mind that it’s important to remember to follow your passion or interest. If things go well, you will become a leader in your space and continue to profit for many years. Too many marketers burn themselves out because they chased the money instead of following their passion.

Remember that you can become whoever you want to be.

Everyone loves a transformational journey, and this is a great way to build an audience.

2. Find products to promote

After you decide that affiliate marketing is the smart way to go, you have to find products to promote.

The good news is, there is no shortage of products and services with affiliate programs. A quick Google search of “my niche affiliate program” can lead you in the right direction. In the example below, I used “travel affiliate program.”

Google search "travel affiliate program"

You have plenty of opportunities to explore.

If you have a product in mind, one of the easiest ways to see if they have an affiliate program is to scroll down to the bottom of their home page. Oftentimes this is where you will find a link to their affiliate sign up page and commission structure. Here’s the footer section of Dreamhost.

Dreamhost footer section pointing to affiliate program

One thing I found out during the years is that if you have a blog, regardless of the niche you’re in, you probably want to help people start their own blogs along the way.

Whether you’re an individual or a business, you’ll need tools to start an online endeavour.

Software As A Service (SAAS) and website hosting are highly lucrative affiliate marketing opportunities that can be easy to promote. These are tools necessary to run a business.

By connecting people to the software required to run their businesses, you can earn a commission. And you’re not selling, you’re recommending.

Dreamhost, for example, is a web hosting company that is great for people who want to start a blog. You can earn up to $200 for each new customer referred. For more detailed information about web hosting companies, check my post on the best hosting services available.

You could also write about email marketing software, essential to connect your readers with their audience.

Basically, you could build a resources page where you showcase the products you recommend for people that want to start their online journey too.

Another way of finding relevant products in your niche is through affiliate networks.

Here’s a list of the most popular affiliate programs and networks for affiliates:

  1. Amazon Associates Program
  2. Clickbank
  3. Commission Junction
  4. ShareASale
  5. eBay Partner Program
1. Amazon Associates Program

Many people do not realize that Amazon (that’s right, the world’s largest eCommerce retailer) has an affiliate program.

Amazon footer section pointing to affiliate program

As you can see on the U.S. version of their home page, down at the bottom you will find the link to become an affiliate. Once again, this is free to join.

Amazon Associates Program
A

To be able to participate in the Amazon Associates Program, you only need to have a blog, a YouTube channel, or some other online presence.

Sign up for Amazon Associates Program

After approval, you have the opportunity to earn up to 10% on purchases made by your referrals. Although not the highest rates in the market (actually, they’re quite low), there’s an advantage here: it doesn’t matter if your referral buys the product you promoted. If he ends up buying any other product, you still get the commission.

Amazon sells everything, so it’s rather easy to find relevant products regardless of which niche you choose.

In affiliate marketing, ease of purchase is a must, and since Amazon packages, ships, and takes care of customer support, you can rest assured there’ll be no problems.

2. Clickbank
Clickbank homepage

ClickBank is a marketplace for digital products. Essentially, they connect digital product producers (vendors) with affiliates. The best part is that ClickBank processes all of the transactions for the vendors and pays the affiliates. They’re like the middleman between the two parties.

ClickBank products have been promoted for more than 20 years, and earned more than $4.2 billion in commissions.

With ClickBank, you also can promote products with subscription options. This means you can earn recurring commissions every time a buyer pays the subscription fee, month after month.

Here are the top 3 reasons why you should want to promote ClickBank products:

  • They are beginner-friendly. It’s easy to get approved to promote ClickBank. And they have their own training program called ClickBank University, created to help you promote ClickBank products.
  • They offer mostly digital products. And since their products are digital, there are almost no fulfillment costs. This allows companies to pay up to 90% commissions. Meaning $100 products can earn you $90 commissions.
  • ClickBank has a huge selection. In their marketplace, you can find a digital product to fit any niche. They have everything from WoodWorking Plans to Survival Strategies and Forex Trading.

????Tip: When searching for products, sort by “Gravity” or “Popularity”

3. Commission Junction
Commission Junction homepage

Another free platform to join as an affiliate is Commission Junction. Just like ClickBank, they’ve been around for more than 20 years, paying out affiliates $1.8 billion in commissions annually.

They’re home to some of the best known brands out there, hosting their affiliate programs, like Barnes & Noble, Lowe’s, and Priceline, among others.

Although they’re free to join, they have a Content Certification Program, where you can partner with the top brands that are serious about content. In order to be approved, you need to have 10K+ page views a month, or substantial following on specified social networks. In this program, you can have increased commissions, and extra opportunities to partner with advertisers in terms of sponsored posts.

Just like ClickBank, you get a variety of products in several different niches, so you always have something to promote.

4. ShareASale
ShareASale homepage

ShareASale is another affiliate network giant with 20 years in the industry. Just like the other networks, they’re easy and free to join.

With over 4.500 merchants on the network and more than 40 categories, you’ll have no problem choosing products to promote. Some best known merchants include Masterclass, WP Engine, Namecheap, StudioPress, and many more.

Although at first sight you’ll notice that their interface is a bit outdated, they are a solid affiliate network with plenty of product to choose from, and their sign up process is by far the easiest and simpler to start with.

5. eBay Partner Program

Just like Amazon, many people don’t know that eBay has a partner program. I just found out about it recently.

eBay Partner Program homepage

Although eBay is an auction-style based market, 90% of their 1.4 billion listings are set as “Buy it Now”, making them perfect to promote. Besides, 72% have free shipping, which becomes more attractive.

And like other affiliate networks, eBay Partner Program is easy and free to join, even if your blog is brand new and you have no traffic yet.

You might think that eBay only sells used or “like new” products, but actually 80% of all merchandise sold is new. Brands like Adidas, Nespresso, Philips, and many others sell their products on eBay.

If you want to start affiliate marketing with a trusted and solid company that continues to grow to this day, you should try eBay Partner Program.

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links. What this means is, if you end up purchasing any of the products through my link, I may get a small commission that will help keep this blog running. Don’t worry, there’s no extra cost for you.

3. Which are the best commissions?

In general, it’s much easier to earn one $1.000 commission than it is to earn one hundred $10 commissions. The problem for most beginners is that it takes a lot more skill, experience, and technique to sell a product that will earn a $1.000 commission than it does to sell a product that will earn you a $10 commission.

That’s why beginners should partner with companies that have a proven value ladder.

The value ladder

The value ladder is the affiliate marketer's secret to massive earnings. Click To Tweet

The value ladder is the affiliate marketer’s secret to massive earnings. Typically, you (the affiliate) will promote a low-ticket entry product. In some cases, it could actually be free. These low-ticket products can sometimes be referred to as tripwire offers. Here are some examples:

  • Free Trial
  • Low Monthly Membership Fee
  • Free + Shipping Book

This allows the affiliate to more easily get customers into their partners’ pipeline. Once that first tripwire offer is set, that customer is then attributed to your earnings for life. This means that if they purchase a $2.000 product 6 months from now, you still earn the $1.000 commission (assuming a 50% commission rate).

When you join an affiliate partner with a proven value ladder, you leverage the capability and experience of professional marketers with a sizeable advertising budget.

Let’s take a look at 2 programs you can start promoting today that have lucrative value ladders.

1. ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels has numerous affiliate marketing opportunities, and their affiliate program is free to join. In the following example you can see how giving a book away for free can earn you $264.40 in total commissions.

Traffic Secrets affiliate commission breakdown

As an affiliate, you simply promote the Traffic Secrets book. This book is a tremendous resource that you can feel great about recommending. Plus it’s free (buyers simply have to pay for shipping) so it converts at a high rate.

Then ClickFunnels will follow with upsells and back-end offers. All of which earn you a 40% commission. This is without a doubt one of the best ways for beginners to start earning big commissions fast.

2. Legendary Marketer
legendary marketer

Much like ClickFunnels, the value ladder put together by Legendary Marketer has the potential to change the game very quickly. Let’s take a quick look at the earning potential with Legendary Marketer:

Legendary Marketer products commissions

As you can see, massive potential. If one of your referrals purchases a ticket to the Entrepreneur Mastermind (the last on the list), that earns you a $4,800.00 commission.

Remember, it takes a lot of time and resources to build out a value ladder of this magnitude.  Yet, in partnering with a company like Legendary Marketer, you can instantly leverage:

  • Their back-end sales processes.
  • Their phone sales team.
  • Their product line.
  • Their years of experience in closing sales.

One more thing that is interesting about an affiliate partner like Legendary Marketer is the MLM aspect of it. Don’t be scared, this isn’t a bad thing. And you don’t have to bug your friends and family. Allow me to explain.

When you join Legendary Marketer, you learn how to promote Legendary Marketer. This can benefit you in 3 ways:

  1. Clarity. A lot of times when you sign up to promote an affiliate offer, the affiliate partners will give you tools. But they will generally rely on the affiliates to figure out how to connect the dots. This may be because a good affiliate who knows what he/she is doing can drive more traffic than 10.000 beginners. With Legendary Marketer, they focus on teaching you the system that allows you to earn commissions.
  2. Earn While You Learn. You can absolutely hit the ground running. As a matter of fact, in some cases, brand new affiliates are able to implement the system and earn their first commissions in 15 days or less.
  3. Self Validating System. When you recommend a product that you use, you become a trusted ambassador for that product and people are likely to trust your recommendation.

Regarding the self validating system, think of it like this:

Let’s say you see an advertisement for a new restaurant in town. It might catch your attention.  It might peak your interest. But restaurant advertising is nothing new. As a result, you may visit the restaurant, or you may not.

However, if someone you know says “Oh my gosh. We went to this new restaurant last night. It was so good, you have to go.” Then there is probably a high likelihood that you will try that restaurant out. The restaurant’s worth has been validated.

This is the exact same way Legendary Marketer works. If you can say that you earned your first ever dollar online with Legendary Marketer, then other beginners are going to be highly likely to join Legendary Marketer. And when they do, you earn another commission…and the snowball effect kicks in.

To learn more about the Legendary Marketer opportunity and how you can launch your online business in 15 days or less, I recommend you visit their 15 Day Online Business Builder Challenge. Or you can read my 15 Day Online Business Buidler Challenge review.

To get a good glimpse of why they have one the best online marketing education platforms out there, check my Legendary Marketer review.

4. Get traffic to your offer

increase website traffic

Traffic (people clicking on your links) is obviously one of the key components of affiliate marketing. Without it, you get no conversions and no commissions.

There are 2 types of traffic in the digital marketing world:

  1. Paid traffic (e.g. Facebook, Instagram ads, native ads)
  2. Free traffic (also referred to as organic traffic)

Each has their pros and cons. Let’s dive in…

Paid traffic

Paid traffic has two main advantages over organic traffic: it’s fast and controllable.

If you have an offer that you wish to promote on Facebook, simply pay for the space and choose your target market. You can almost instantly get your offer in front of as many people as your budget will allow. If a campaign is profitable, scale up. If not, turn it off.

The challenges of paid traffic with affiliate marketing

There are two factors that make it difficult for beginners to use paid traffic in their affiliate marketing efforts. Unfortunately, some “gurus” in the space will tell you otherwise (in hopes of selling a course probably) because paid traffic sounds easier.

In reality, paid traffic only works for the best affiliate marketers. And there is a perfectly logical reason for this.

Advertising is sold on an auction basis (meaning, the space goes to the highest bidder) and everyone has access to the same affiliate products. So in theory, the profit margins will always go to zero. Only those with complex funnels & systems will earn the competitive advantage necessary to make this model profitable.

And the second reason affiliate marketing beginners will struggle with paid traffic is the payout schedule. Let me explain…

If you are selling a product where you take the payments, then you receive that money almost instantly. Let’s say that today you spend $100 on ads to make $200 back. That means tomorrow you can spend $200 to make $400…etc.

With affiliate marketing, commissions are often held for 30 days. So if you are able to spend $100 today to earn $200 in commissions, that’s great. However, with the affiliate model, you can not immediately re-invest those earnings. As a result, it is very difficult for beginners to sustain long enough to make this model work.

For this reason, the best method for beginners is…

Organic Traffic

You may have heard of a number of ways you can generate free organic traffic. Instagram and blogging are two examples of ways people make money with affiliate marketing using organic traffic. However, the three best organic traffic sources are:

  1. YouTube
  2. Facebook groups
  3. Quora
1. YouTube

YouTube is king, and everything else is secondary. But your first reaction might be “YouTube is too hard.”

In reality, the opposite is true. Here’s why.

The most important thing to remember about YouTube is that YouTube is the second largest search engine (Google is the first on the list). Because of the “discovery” nature inherent to search engines, beginners have just as much of a chance at “ranking” as established channels, having the potential to start making money with YouTube through affiliate commissions, without displaying ads.

Now, it would be foolish to think that established channels with huge followings and authority don’t have an advantage. However, with the right combination of content and keywords, it’s possible for a new channel to rank well and fast. And the result of ranking on YouTube is floods of highly targeted traffic. One “highly ranked” video can change your life.

The second reason YouTube is great for beginners is that it automatically leverages your competitive advantage.

When you boil it down, YouTube only cares about user experience and watch time. They don’t play favorites. This can benefit you because as long as you upload consistent content, YouTube will work hard to find your audience for you.

Think of it like this. Let’s say you and I both are good at making cupcakes. As a matter of fact, if we each made a batch of 12 cupcakes and put them in a group for a blind taste test, there would be no clear winner. It’s safe to say we are equal in our ability to make cupcakes.

Yet in that blind taste test, 6 people would prefer your cupcakes. And the other 6 would prefer my cupcakes. Neither one is necessarily better, it just comes down to a matter of preference.  This is exactly how YouTube works. Your audience is out there waiting for your unique view and approach.

2. Facebook groups

By finding and joining Facebook groups, you are looking for highly targeted potential visitors to your content.

People will more likely watch your video or visit your blog because they’re already interested in the subject, to begin with.

Besides, you can interact with the members and see what their struggles are, so you can deliver specific content tailored to them.

However, you need to be careful with promoting your business, as it may sound spammy. Be sure to read all the guidelines, or you might be banned from the group.

Rule of thumb: people will respect you when you bring value to the table, instead of just promoting stuff.

3. Quora

Quora is the biggest Q&A website right now. Users ask questions and they’re answered by the community.

The more upvotes your answer gets, the more it moves up so more users will see it.

Quora is a great place to see what people in your niche are looking for. You can even have great ideas to your next blog post.

By giving a detailed and well constructed answer to a question, you can generate free traffic to your blog, video, or even a page where you’re selling an ebook. You build your authority and gain exposure for your brand.

Bonus: the best way to leverage YouTube

how you can leverage YouTube

The best strategy for growing your YouTube channel fast is to either educate or motivate. Both strategies crush it in affiliate marketing.

Let’s look at 2 specific examples.

A great way to educate on YouTube is to create “how-to” videos or tutorials. This can be anything from how to make vegan sausages or how to make money with Airbnb to how to create the perfect makeup.

Remember that YouTube is a search engine, and as mentioned in the previous image, 51% of adults use YouTube to find solutions to what they don’t know. On the other side, Google is the search engine people use to settle a bet or find a restaurant. 

Motivation also works well. People love to be motivated or inspired. Think about the weight loss or personal development niche. If you have the ability to inspire people to take action, you will never run out of affiliate product opportunities.

As you continue to create content, focus on growing your brand, building your audience, and providing value. This will future proof your business and bring about exponential increases to your income.

Remember that it’s so much easier to have an audience and then find products for them to buy than it is to have a product and try to find someone who will buy it. Start by building your audience and then simply feed the machine.

However, if creating videos is not your thing, what I recommend is starting a blog and create good quality content. Although it might be difficult to get free traffic at the beginning, if you publish consistently, you’ll see results.

If you want to start your blog today, I’ll give you a $50 discount on Dreamhost, the best web hosting for beginners (the discount is only available through that link).

5. Create a strategy

By now you already know what affiliate marketing is. You know how to find the offers to promote and how to drive traffic to the offers for free.

Now it’s time to learn how you can create a system that can deliver consistent commissions and passive income. In simple terms, the strategy is:

VALUE > VALUE > OFFER > FOLLOW-UP

You have most likely seen this same formula or pattern repeated thousands of times, even if you haven’t realized it.

The initial value builds your audience.

Take for instance the YouTube and ClickFunnels examples we discussed earlier. You could create video content on building mini-tutorials for beginners. Using a free tool like Keywordtool.io you can see what questions people are actually asking.

By simply entering your main keyword into the search bar, you can get a list of keywords and questions that represent what people are actually searching on YouTube. Then simply make videos addressing these keywords and questions.

  • You could make a video that compares ClickFunnels and Builderall.
  • Or make a video that talks about ClickFunnels’ pricing.
  • Or you could offer your review of ClickFunnels…etc.

And if you link your YouTube channel to your blog, you get to repurpose your content, increasing the potential for more commissions.

The key to YouTube is not being super professional. It’s about being relevant and relatable.

This is your first piece of value that builds your audience. The next step in the formula is once again value.

Sticking with this same example, your second piece of value would be a ClickFunnels setup tutorial. You could offer this for free in exchange for email addresses. This free course would give people confidence and get them to take action. And because they are in your system, they are likely to click on your affiliate link.

You present the offer, and if they sign up for ClickFunnels, you earn a monthly recurring commission, plus 40% of any back end sales.

VALUE > VALUE > OFFER > FOLLOW-UP

Looking at that formula again we can see the last step is the follow-up.

People are resistant to change, especially when an effort is required. This is true in weight loss or self-improvement just as it is in starting a new business. Because you captured their email address, you can follow up with them using newsletters of auto-responders.

You can nudge and encourage them, thus, increasing your conversions. And this follow-up is what turns a good business model into a great business.

Yet, it doesn’t end there.

Follow-up is actually two-fold. Because you have acquired email addresses, you can actually follow up with subsequent and related affiliate products. For instance, someone looking to start a business with ClickFunnels might someday be interested in running ads to promote their business. You, as the affiliate, can find a reputable Facebook Advertising Course with an affiliate program. And by simply making a recommendation, you can easily increase the lifetime value of your list.

Wrapping It Up

Affiliate marketing is a real opportunity.

And I believe it is about to go mainstream. As advertising costs continue to increase, I believe more businesses will rely on affiliate marketing as a way to control their marketing budgets. Here’s a favorite quote by Bob Bennett:

Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires.

Robert Foster Bennett

Because it’s true. The very nature of affiliate marketing allows ordinary people like you and me to partner with huge companies and leverage their systems. For this reason, an affiliate marketing business is easy to start, yet has the potential to scale well into the 7-figure range.

If you are ready to hit the ground running, yet aren’t sure which direction to step first, then keep one thing in mind: the most money is in the “wealth” niche. Marketing or “starting an online business” represents huge earning opportunities. If you are interested in this potential, I recommend starting with the Legendary Marketer 15 Day Online Business Builder Challenge.

In my opinion, the 15 Day Challenge is the best for beginners, as it provides the most guidance, and you’ll feel you have your back covered.

A Brief History of Affiliate Marketing

Before you go out and start making killer offers, let me show you a bit about the history of affiliate marketing.

It all started in 1989, when a man named William J. Tobin, considered the first internet marketer, created and patented the term affiliate marketing.

William J. Tobin

Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts, launched the world’s first affiliate marketing program on the Prodigy Network. By 1993, he was generating more than $6 million dollars yearly!

He then tried to patent the concept in 1996, but it was only issued in 2000.

In the meantime, in 1994, the company CDNOW launched its BuyWeb affiliate program. This allowed music sites to review albums and link their visitors directly to CDNOW in return for a commission of the sales generated by those visitors.

In 1996, Amazon entered the scene with their associates program, attracting a wide audience.

Amazon associates report overview

The Amazon Associates Program offered affiliates the opportunity to add affiliate links to their websites and earn commissions for every sale credited to them.

To this day, the Amazon Associates Program is one of the biggest affiliate programs out there. And by the way, did I mentioned that it’s free to join?

In 1998, some students from the University of California at Santa Barbara created Commission Junction and, soon after, Tim and Eileen Barber founded ClickBank.

These two affiliate networks allowed smaller merchants to enter the world of affiliate marketing. Besides opening the doors to many other merchants, these networks facilitate exchanges between affiliates and merchants (vendors).

Affiliate marketing was on the rise, and the government had to do something to keep the legitimacy of it all. So, in 2000 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission published guidelines regarding affiliate disclosures.

They called it the “Dot Com Disclosures: Information about Online Advertising”.

Later in 2008, the guidelines were updated, requiring bloggers to disclose their partnership with affiliate networks or brands.

affiliate disclosure

One of the reasons why affiliate marketing is still growing stronger is because customers want to research and gather information about products before they buy them. This places a lot of pressure on affiliates to create the best content possible for a specific product in order for him/her to be seen as a trustworthy source.

I believe affiliate marketing is here to stay for a long, long time, and if you want to be able to sell anything, I recommend you start with the 15 Day Challenge by Legendary Marketer.

Read my detailed review of the 15 Day Online Business Builder Challenge.

Affiliate Marketing FAQs

Here are the most common questions about affiliate marketing:

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate receives a commission for every sale credited to him. By promoting other people’s products or services, the affiliate becomes the middle man between the customer and the merchant, being compensated for any sale generated through him.

How much money can I make with affiliate marketing?

Affiliate income varies a lot depending on the niche and experience of the affiliate. While the majority of bloggers and marketers earn less than $20.000/year, some super-affiliates earn more than $1 million/year.

What are the best affiliate marketing programs I can join?

The best affiliate marketing programs to join are ClickBank, Commission Junction, ShareASale, Amazon Associates Program, eBay Partner Program, JVzoo, and Hotmart.

Can I do affiliate marketing on Amazon?

Yes. To be accepted, you only need to have a blog, or a YouTube channel, or some other online presence. You can go here to make your application.

Is affiliate marketing legit?

Yes, it is. There are some myths saying affiliate marketing is a scam, but the opposite is actually true. With this business model, you choose what products you want to promote, and just like in any other business, success is tied to how much you’re willing to put in the effort.

How do I start in affiliate marketing?

My best recommendation is to start a blog. This yields the best results long-term. If you think starting your own blog is not for you at this moment, you can try PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, where you pay ad networks or social media to place your ads. This type of marketing requires great experience by the affiliate and it’s not for everyone.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for beginners to start making their first dollar on the internet.

There are many avenues to choose from, like blogs, YouTube channels, email newsletters, native ads, social media ads, etc. I think the most legitimate way of paving for yourself a secure and reliable way that can last years and years is by starting a blog and create strategies to generate good traffic, good offers, and building trust with an audience.

I hope I answered all your questions regarding affiliate marketing. Let me know how you feel about all this. Do you want to be an affiliate? Are you already in the game? Let me know in the comments down below.

And if you want to learn the nuts and bolts of affiliate marketing, join Legendary Marketer’s 15 Day Challenge.

Vasco Lourenço is a digital entrepreneur and created his blog vaslou.com to inspire people to start their online business journey. Besides writing on his blog, Vasco delights in playing the piano and composing music.

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