The Definitive Guide to Affiliate Marketing: Getting Started

There’s no exact, foolproof formula that can show you how much you can make doing affiliate marketing online.

Like everything else, the amount of money that will be made depends upon many different factors.

These include:

👍 Product niche
👍 Your time and effort
👍 SEO knowledge and your website traffic/audience

However, the potential to make money is great. We’re about to show you some of the variables involved in determining the amount of money that you can make through affiliate marketing.

Read on to see some of the common factors you should keep in mind with earning big.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a way to make money online by promoting other companies’ products and services.

It involves creating content about what you sell, as well as what others sell, and some people even do it full-time!

In this guide, we will cover what affiliate marketing is, how to get started with affiliate marketing yourself, the best ways to promote your products or those of others on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, what equipment you need for affiliate marketing success, and more!

How does affiliate marketing work?

The merchant gives each affiliate a unique link that allows them to know who paid for the sale.

When you click on this link, a small file called a cookie is placed on your computer which can then be used to reload the website.

Some sites, such as Amazon, have a 24-hour cookie period.

This means that as an affiliate, you could receive a separate commission for a winter jacket and a ski kit bought via an affiliate link, even when you didn’t promote the latter.

It is an extremely popular way to generate online income without having to touch a product.

How to become a successful affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing is expanding, with spending set to reach $8.2 billion by 2022, up from $6.8 billion a year earlier.

To become successful at affiliate marketing, you need to follow a fixed POA, which will comprise several key points. We’ll go through these now.

Review products in your niche ✅

As an affiliate, you are simply a merchant for existing products.

You should review products in your niche that you have a passion for or are at least familiar with.

By writing good quality content that is genuine and not plagiarised, you will start to develop an audience that is interested in the products you are writing about.

Use affiliate links within your product reviews and include clear, highlighted CTAs to prompt your readers to visit the product page to purchase.

Find Affiliate Program Partners ✅

To find affiliate program partners, you need to investigate which brands or product providers are going to enable you to make money. If a brand is paying a 3% commission on a product worth $10 then forget it.

A good place to start is the Merchant Center on Google eCommerce Platforms. When you get there, just click “Create your affiliate program”.

Once you’ve created your affiliate program, check what type of commission they offer.

Next, you can read what they have to say about their products or services. You will also want to make sure the site is safe for you to advertise on because some may contain adult content.

Other places to look are CJ Affiliates (formerly Commission Junction) and Awin.

Join affiliate networks and get to know like-minded affiliates ✅

Meeting like-minded individuals will enable you to share best practices and, potentially, open doors.

You can find many bloggers and affiliate marketers on Facebook Groups.

Finding affiliate partners on Facebook pages is a great way to gain insights from the affiliate marketing industry and understand the latest affiliate marketing trends.

By understanding the strategies that have helped others, you will be in a better position to make a success of your own affiliate marketing business.

You will also learn what to avoid as an affiliate marketer.

Channels to create a solid affiliate marketing strategy

Most affiliates follow common practices aimed at ensuring that customers are interested in purchasing promoted goods and offering their support.

Not all associates promote the product the same way; there are various marketing channels one can utilize. These include:

Paid Social Media Promotions ✅

Paid social media promotions are what they sound like – promoting a product on Facebook, Instagram, or another site for money.

This is one of the most popular forms of affiliate marketing and you can expect to see it very often in your newsfeed!

You will need a good understanding of how ads work before getting started.

Your website traffic ✅

The most obvious way to promote a product is through your money site.

You can do so either directly or by embedding what’s called an affiliate link into the content you produce or create a dedicated sales page.

If you are relying on your website for income from affiliate marketing, the level of success you can achieve depends on your audience numbers and SEO (search engine optimization) efforts.

To grow a website, you will need a good content strategy in place, and you will also need to link build to increase your site’s domain authority.

Doing so provides you with a much better chance of ranking on search engines like Google.

Youtube videos ✅

Another great way to promote products is through YouTube videos.

Although this seems simple, there are multiple factors to take into account when heading down the YouTube marketing path.

These include:

👍 What your video content should be like (length, tone, etc)
👍 What keyword research methodologies are the best for your niche
👍 How much time you should spend on promoting your videos for them to work

The more views or subscribers that a video/Youtube account has, the more likely you are to make money from it.

Just bear in mind that it is not easy to make money from Youtube alone. You will need to focus on a specific niche and, quite often, spend money before you can make money.

You’ll also need to produce quality content for your target audience to grow your following.

Solo entrepreneurs, our advice would be not to put all your eggs in one basket.

If you have time and resources then spread your business across other platforms, linking them all back to your money site to generate revenue.

Initial budget requirements 💰💰💰

You need to think about your initial marketing budget. There is no way around that.

As with every new enterprise, you have to make an initial investment, and affiliate marketing online is no different.

Investing a few hundred dollars in paid advertising or backlinks will enable you to boost web traffic and, eventually, convince potential customers through your blog post.

Understanding the basic aspects of SEO will enable you to make a few dollars initially, but decent money further down the line through more affiliate sales.

Grow your business with PPC advertising

PPC advertising is when you pay to have your website highlighted in sponsored content. It is often paid by the click or by the cost per thousand impressions (CPM).

You should start using PPC advertising for your site as soon as you can.

You can use PPC advertising for the two main following purposes:

👍 To encourage people to sign the webinar with advertisement.

You only make a few cents or even more per sale therefore the margins you can spend on advertising are not great.

👍 Promote the sign-on of a mailing list.

When you begin to attract customers from these many sources and your business grows, it is the best way to explode your business and drive more sales to the sales mechanisms that already work.

Teach your target audience through webinars

A webinar is just what it sounds like – a “webinar”. It’s online training. Your goal is to answer questions posed by your audience in real-time, with the hopes of creating live demonstrations and tutorials at the same time.

These live demonstrations are what makeup what we call an “in-person” event.

There are four main steps to hosting a successful webinar:

👍 Create an Engaging Cover Page for Your Webinar
👍 Collect Signups with Pre-Event Email Marketing Activities
👍 Create Content and Promote Your Webinar on Social Media/On Other Websites

Webinars are great to engage your audience one-on-one and demonstrate the product that you promote live.

You can promote your webinar on social media one week in advance. Pointing to your affiliate link and sharing it at the end of the webinar is a soft sell and it comes naturally because you just spent an hour discussing the product.

Sellers can often offer special sales on brands as companies regularly provide affiliates with temporary coupon codes or discounts.

Build an email list of your prospects

Emails are still a good way to advertise online today, so don’t miss this opportunity.

You can collect email addresses from your website visitors by using an opt-in form.

Hello Bar displays a call to action above your website and redirects people to the page where they can enter their email in exchange for the content.

You can also use the Hello Bar as a departure gate when visitors exit the site quickly.

But try not to sell anything there and then.

Keep your followers informed with a weekly email about your products or thought leadership.

For example, if you are an affiliate for WordPress plugins, send an email about the best plugins you have found out about that week.

You can embed affiliate links into the CTAs, but keep it a soft sell, or redirect that audience traffic to your website first.

The Top 3 Uses of Affiliate Marketing in 2021

Recent trends have made the promotion of affiliate marketing and affiliate link commonplace.

This next section shows some of these trends and the more traditional ways of promoting products online.

Referral Links

If people click on a link on your site and make purchases on the site you link to, you make a commission.

Social media does not provide the best platform to share affiliate links directly. However, you should share links to your published content with affiliate links embedded, and clear CTAs.

Verify all your contents are practical and links are visible within the body of the text.

Don’t forget the usual standards for the creation of well-quality content. You’ll need to use keywords, including CTAs, and create clickable titles.


Bloggers typically specialize in a specific niche and share products or services relevant to their audience.

Make affiliate marketing easy through links and HTML pages on your blog posts. Whenever you publish a blog post, make your followers away through separate social media posts.

Use your blog as a place to bring value to your audience, rather than go in for the hard sell straightaway.

Influencer Marketing

Often, the most successful affiliate marketer is the influencer.

Influencers have become the best face of social media in affiliate marketing thanks to sites like YouTube.

Brands pay influencers for the promotion of products through a youtube channel or any other affiliate platform.

Often, they will share affiliate links with their followers through affiliate networks in return for a commission.

Choose products that make sense for your brand or niche and share only products you enjoy. You want your audience to trust you and they need to trust you for you to monetize your following.

Affiliate marketing success stories – the most successful affiliate marketers?

Let’s take a look at some success stories in affiliate marketing. Consider each of these guys a super affiliate!

Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn started the Smart Passive Income Blog as a way to help entrepreneurs start their online businesses and generate money.

He regularly advises corporate organizations such as CovertKit Teachable and Squadcast.

He has also written books such as Superfans: How do you grow your tribe and how do you make your business go booming again?

Through his book, he demonstrates some of the best ways to test business ideas without wasting time or money. 💰💰💰

Zac Johnson

Since his early days, Zac Johnson has used internet marketing and affiliate marketing techniques as part of a full-time gig earning income.

Johnson has Also run Complete Guide to Affiliate Marketing & Blogging rise of the entrepreneur’s Podcast.

Johnson is also known for his blog and podcast about affiliate marketing and blog-related strategies for building business success.

He is actively involved in the field today and also discusses the importance of search engine optimization.

Shawn Collins

Shawn Collins co-founded Affiliate Summit, the leading industry conference for affiliate marketing.

Collins has also authored Managing and Promoting Linked Sites: How to Recruit, Educate and Retain Affiliates Chapter I.

He shares updates on his blog including his guide “Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants.”

Matthew Woodward

Matthew Woodward helps startups and businesses increase traffic and sales.

He poses important questions we should consider when embarking on a potential affiliate marketing career:

Is there a better way to increase search traffic in your blog? How can we increase relevant traffic to our website and how do we compete with existing affiliate sites in the niche?

The Definitive Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Now we have enough information on how to achieve great success by starting an affiliate marketing course, you’re in a position to get started.

We can all agree that affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online, and a proven strategy for getting started is what we’ve shared here.

However, affiliate marketers should keep in mind that not all strategies work well together – what works for others may not always be right for you.

For instance, if your blog doesn’t have many links or social media followers it’s unlikely that an influencer campaign would serve as much benefit to you at this point.

That said, there are plenty of other ways you can get started with the basics, from opening up an account on Amazon Associates to joining Google AdSense as a publisher partner.

The tips we share here should help you get started when thinking about how you can apply different strategies in your digital marketing strategy to drive sales.

As with any business, you need to consider what your readers want and how your customers think.

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