The push toward financial freedom has never been stronger than it ...
So, you have discovered affiliate links online and are interested in adding this unique way to make extra money to your financial plans. But doesn’t that cost money? Actually, it doesn’t! Contrary to popular belief, there is no buy-in to affiliate marketing. You don’t need to spend a single cent in order to start making passive or side income to help boost you toward your goal of financial freedom.
You may not believe me, but you can release yourself from the fears of entering into a market where you must invest money up front in order to realize your dreams of making passive income. Honestly, you have the tools to begin adding affiliate links to your website and social media accounts without needing to pay anyone for anything.
Let’s discuss how exactly you can start the journey to becoming an affiliate marketer without investing any money upfront.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
First and foremost, what even is it? Affiliate marketing is something that you will have noticed while out and about online or on social media. It is a form of commission-based marketing where businesses use third parties in order to sell their products.
In order to market through affiliates, businesses will invest money into paying them a portion of their profits based on how much visibility or sales that the affiliate provides the company with. You will commonly see this in the form of affiliate links or specialized discount codes.
If you have ever seen a product being advertised by an influencer with a code like SARAH15, this is most likely an affiliate discount code. In this case, Sarah is offering the prospective customer 15% off their order. The business is likely also paying Sarah for bringing in this sale.
Some arrangements for marketing are done through commissions, while others are based purely on clicks. Commission-based affiliate marketing will allow you to see returns once customers complete sales through the business’ website with your code or link like in our above example.
What Do You Need to Become an Affiliate?
The process of marketing through affiliate links or affiliate codes is actually fairly simple. There is a quick exchange of information and responsibility in the relationship between affiliate and business.
First and foremost, you should have a platform in which you are going to share and promote these products. It will do neither yourself or the business you are working with any good to place affiliate links out into the void. You will need a website, a blog, or a social media account where people are viewing your content.
For many businesses, they will want to see proof that you do have a certain amount of followers or a certain level of engagement before they proceed with you as an affiliate. The good news, however, is this is entirely free! The only thing that you will have to spend is some of your time to build up these platforms.
Once you have a place to advertise, you can then start to become an affiliate for businesses and start to see a return on your investment of time.
Now let’s set you up step by step.
STEP 1. Choose A Niche for Affiliate Marketing
Your first step when beginning affiliate marketing should be to pick a niche.
There are a few reasons why choosing a niche for affiliate products should be your first step. Picking a niche entails establishing yourself as an authority on a subject matter or area of product sales.
Marketing is hinged on trust, which is the main reason why establishing yourself as an authority on a topic should be your first step when first starting out.
Deciding on something that you already know about can be extremely beneficial for your endeavors. By picking a niche that you already know about, you can avoid some of the costs that can occur when learning about a new niche.
Think about the topics that you already know about. Is there a particular area that is already coming to mind while you read this article?
It could be something that you are already passionate about or something that you have been interested in for a long time. Alternatively, this niche could be something that you have personal experience with.
Using personal stories as a way to establish trust while being an affiliate is especially helpful. Think about whether or not you could use something that you have overcome in the past to narrow down your niche.
Certain niches have more opportunities for affiliate marketing such as: health and wellness, finance, and personal relationships.
Learning how to choose a niche for affiliate marketing is important for your success. Once you have selected your broad topic range, you will need to narrow down your niche into a sub-niche.
For example, if you have chosen health and wellness, you will then need to narrow this niche down into the who, what, where, and why of this niche.
- Who is your target audience?
- What are they looking for?
- Where are they located?
- Why do they need these products?
From here, you can narrow down health and wellness to ‘heart health for American men in their 40s’. This specific niche and target market will allow you to create trust between you and your audience and start profiting off of affiliate marketing.
Some of the niches that you might be exploring can be saturated, but this is likely because there is high demand for products that address your niche.
Let’s get into the next step that you should be taking as a beginner, joining an affiliate program for your niche.
STEP 2. Find and Join Affiliate Programs
Selecting an affiliate program that does not cost you any money should be fairly easy because most of them are free.
Like other types of online marketing, the marketing that takes place through affiliate programs is paid advertising in return for clicks or sales.
In other words, affiliates get paid when the product or service owners receive traffic or sales. In this way, signing up for most affiliate programs is completely free.
You will find that the market for affiliate programs is pretty saturated, but this will allow you to find a program that offers products that are suited within your niche.
When thinking about how to join an affiliate program, you should be considering three main things:
- Does the affiliate program pay well?
- Are there products in my niche?
- Can I select multiple products to promote?
The first two questions might seem obvious to you. Of course you will want to make money from affiliate work and you will need products to fit your niche as we discussed in section one.
The third may come as a surprise though, this question is here because having multiple products to promote is best for making money through affiliate marketing.
Some great and accessible affiliate networks for new affiliates are Clickbank and ShareASale. Both platforms are easy to use and feature many options for product deals.
Clickbank will even show you if a product that you are interested in selling has made many sales with or without the help of affiliates. Selecting best selling products is a great way to make more money while marketing products.
It is difficult to say which affiliate program is best, as there are so many available to choose from. However, Clickbank and ShareASale are highly recommended platforms to choose affiliate products from.
As well, both platforms offer high pay out for their marketing deals.
You can also search for products and affiliate deals by searching your specific niche and the words “affiliate program” or “affiliate products”. This may result in you finding some specified programs for your new income stream.
Amazon is an incredible option for beginners to the world of affiliate promotion. While nearly everyone knows what Amazon is as a business, not many people realize that Amazon is a popular option for affiliate links. You may be clicking on Amazon affiliate links every day without even noticing that you are doing so.
You can sign up to be an affiliate through Amazon for free and the process is extremely easy. There are no requirements for size of social media accounts or limit on website traffic, making Amazon one of the most accessible options for beginners.
Finally, choosing an affiliate program does not marry you to a single program. You can use one or even many to try to convert clicks to sales of products.
STEP 3: Make an Affiliate Bridge Page Funnel
Something that you can get started as a beginner to set yourself up is known as an affiliate bridge page funnel.
This is a strategy that major players in the affiliate game choose to implement into their websites and webpages to include email marketing and gain clicks.
Email marketing is a huge tenet of online marketing as a whole and should be used in combination with social media and website marketing. Creating this funnel will allow you to gain individuals to market to via email marketing.
The basic setup of this funnel is to direct traffic from your website to a bridge page, to an email collection, to a sales page.
This is done by offering an interesting piece of content online to entice visitors to your webpage. A common example of this is an online personality quiz or an intriguing article.
Upon completion of the quiz or article, the visitor is then offered the opportunity to sign up for emails for a discount or a newsletter.
If the visitor chooses to input their email, you will then gain their email to access this visitor by email and market directly to them in the future.
Then, your visitor will be directed to the sales page, resulting in an affiliate link use by this visitor.
Implementing this strategy can be costly if you are interested in automatically sending emails to your new website visitors, but there are free trial options available on the market currently.
Also, if you are focused on keeping your endeavor into becoming an affiliate marketer completely free, you can skip the email collection step and just use a bridge page funnel as a method of getting more affiliate link clicks!
The goal of using a bridge page in this way is to get an audience of visitors who wouldn’t normally click on a sales page or a sales pitch during their day to day scrolling.
By using a bridge page such as a quiz or an article, you are more likely to attract an audience that hasn’t been tapped before by affiliate sales pitches before.
Like we mentioned, this is a strategy used by affiliate and nline marketing pros and will definitely give you a leg up on your competition if you start to use it as a beginner.
STEP 4: Choose a Traffic Source to Promote Affiliate Products
We’ve gone over the two most important aspects of starting out as an affiliate marketer and we have also addressed a pro-tip for gaining affiliate clicks and sales.
However, we haven’t yet dove into the places that you should be posting your affiliate links to generate sales from on a regular basis.
There are many other ways that you can drive traffic toward affiliate links without spending any money on doing so. Let’s go over two of the most popular places to post content with affiliate links:
1. Posting Videos on YouTube
Not only is YouTube a great way to post video content for free, it is also an amazing place to reach people who are looking for more information.
You may associate YouTube with a video platform full of funny videos, but did you know that YouTube is the original home of the online influencer?
In fact, one of the best ways to generate clicks and sales through your affiliate links is to post YouTube videos that directly market your affiliate products through your YouTube videos.
Some video ideas include product reviews, product comparison, or product how-tos that you can complete with your affiliate products. Including an affiliate link in the video description is easy and quick to perform.
As well, you can also monetize content on YouTube once you reach a certain level of views and subscribers. In this way, YouTube can be a great double whammy for generating income online.
Our Honorable Mention for video content for affiliates is TikTok.
2. Instagram Photo Posts
Instagram provides new affiliates a happy medium between video posting and photo posting. The social media app is a free to use platform and is a must-use for marketers.
With the new Instagram Reels feature, you can have the benefits of posting short form TikTok-like content, while also being able to just post photos on the platform.
This platform allows you to connect with your followers on a deeper level and give them a glimpse into your brand that isn’t seen on the more scripted YouTube platform.
Posting links through Instagram is fairly easy, especially once you have a following built up. You can post links in Instagram stories when you have 10,000 followers. Otherwise, you may post your links through a link tree in your Instagram bio.
All in all, Instagram is a great pick for affiliates, especially those in a lifestyle niche.
Conclusion and Takeaways
Consider why you want to start being an affiliate for products and businesses. Your intentions and your actions will show through your content. Be picky about the opportunities for affiliate links and codes that you take to ensure that your audience still trusts you even though you are advertising products to them
All in all, focus on trust and focus on promoting products that you are comfortable with promoting. You can go very far with marketing products through your website and social media accounts with the right amount of dedication and consistency! We hope that this guide to starting to be an affiliate marketer with no upfront investment with cash has been helpful to you!