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A Total Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing


With over 10,000 affiliate marketing services worldwide, becoming an affiliate marketer is easier than ever. That said, success does require some work.

In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about starting affiliate marketing for beginners, such as what affiliate marketing is, its benefits, the steps for getting started, and additional tips to help you succeed.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission for marketing another brand’s product or service.

It’s similar to when you recommend a product to a friend except you can make money as an affiliate marketer when someone purchases the product or service through your unique affiliate link. Your audience is your friend, in this case.

For example, if you’re a YouTuber who shares travel content, you might work with various travel brands and promote their products to your audience. You can share the affiliate links in your video descriptions.

You can also do affiliate marketing on many other platforms, which we’ll discuss below.

Read more: 10 Steps to Mastering Advanced Affiliate Marketing

What are the advantages of affiliate marketing?

A primary benefit of affiliate marketing is the income it can create. Reports show the affiliate marketing industry expects to grow to $14.3 billion in 2023 worldwide, so the opportunities are expanding. Not only that, but affiliate marketing doesn’t require expertise and is low risk.

  • Little to no expertise necessary: Getting started in affiliate marketing is easy for almost anyone since specific skills usually aren’t required, and you can partner with brands who sell items you’d use yourself. 
  • Low risk: Although you’ll need to put time and effort into growing an audience to be a successful affiliate marketer, there are low risks because you aren’t required to spend money to be successful.
  • Work from anywhere: Since you can do affiliate marketing online, you can do it from anywhere. 
  • Passive income: One of the best benefits of affiliate marketing is that it’s a source of passive income, meaning you can continue earning money without much effort.

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How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Getting started in affiliate marketing requires a step-by-step process. Once you get going, it’s relatively straightforward to continue and expand.

Below, we’ll guide you through each step. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Choose a niche.
  • Pick a platform.
    Grow your audience.
  • Join an affiliate marketing program.
  • Carefully select brands to promote.
  • Create content that converts. 
  • Track your analytics.

Step 1: Choose a Niche

The first step you’ll need to take as an affiliate marketer is choosing your niche or your specialized area. For example, your niche might be health and wellness.

A specific niche is important because it helps you create content to reach a target market. Reaching an audience interested in your content can be challenging if you don’t have a niche.

To decide on a niche, you might ask yourself these questions:

  • What topics am I interested in?
  • Do people search the internet for topics related to this niche?
  • Is there a lot of competition for my niche?
  • Can I find affiliate programs that work for my niche?

Step 2: Pick a Platform

One of the benefits of affiliate marketing is how many platforms you can work with.

These platforms work well for promoting affiliate links:

  • A blog
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • YouTube
  • Podcast
  • Email newsletter
  • Pinterest

For each of these, you’ll create content for your target audience that encourages them to click and purchase from your affiliate links.

To choose which platform to start with, you need to determine where your target audience consumes their content. One way to do this is by asking people interested in your niche which platforms they prefer.  

Typically, you’ll start with one platform. It’s best to begin with one you’re already familiar with. Then, expand to more as you get going.

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Step 3: Grow Your Audience

To earn money as an affiliate marketer, you must have an audience. Most brands and affiliate marketing programs require you to have an audience before working with you because, without an audience, you don’t have people to click your affiliate links and purchase.

Here’s how you can grow an audience:

  • Create valuable content related to your niche. 
  • Engage with your audience by asking questions and replying to comments and messages.
  • Build trust by sharing authentic content and personal stories. This helps your engagement too.
  • Recreate high-performing content.

There’s no specific number for your audience size to become an affiliate marketer. But typically, you can get started with 1,000 or more followers or monthly clicks, depending on your platform.

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Step 4: Join an Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate marketing programs are websites that help you find affiliate partners. 

When you’re ready to start sharing affiliate links with your audience, you’ll need to find brands you want to partner with. Affiliate marketing programs are excellent for this. 

Here are some of the best affiliate marketing websites for beginners:

  • Awin: works with more than 15,000 advertisers and is one of the largest affiliate network platforms 
  • CJ Affiliate: offers a sizable selection of big-name brands, including Zappos and International Hotel Group (requires affiliates to have a website)
  • Amazon Associates: has more than 300 billion products to promote
  • ShareASale: represents more than 270,000+ affiliate programs from various niches
  • Skimlinks: Skimlinks affiliates product links from your commerce content automatically.

Each of these platforms is free to join and easy to set up.

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Step 5: Carefully Select Brands to Promote

Before sharing affiliate links, you want to carefully consider what you promote. 

Use these affiliate marketing tips for beginners to decide what brands to work with:

  • Identify what problems your audience has and what solutions could help them.
  • Consider what products or services you’d personally use.
  • Ensure the business is reputable before working together.
  • Find programs that offer competitive commission rates.
  • Opt for partners with a long cookie duration. This means when a visitor clicks the link, how long do they have to purchase before the cookie expires so you earn the commission?

Step 6: Create Content That Converts

Once you’re ready to start promoting affiliate links, you’ll want to create content that converts. This is how you encourage your audience to purchase the product or service you’re marketing so you can earn your commission.

Here are some tips for creating content that converts:

  • Keywords: Incorporate keywords your target audience is searching for.
  • Authenticity and value: Share content that helps your audience and doesn’t feel salesy.
  • Share the end results: Avoid giving too many unnecessary details and focus more on the results.
  • Focus on various angles: Discuss multiple outcomes of using the product or service instead of focusing on one result. This helps you reach more people.

While all platforms work somewhat differently, you can use these tips no matter where you share your affiliate links.

Step 7: Track Your Analytics

Tracking your analytics helps you optimize your affiliate marketing campaigns and track your performance. This helps you move forward appropriately to ensure your success. 

Most affiliate marketing programs offer a feature to track your analytics. So do the various platforms for sharing affiliate links. For example, social media and search engines show insights to help you discover how your content is performing.

As you track your analytics, you can discover:

  • How people find your content
  • Who your audience is
  • What kind of content your audience responds well to

Affiliate Marketing Tips for Beginners

Along with following the steps to becoming an affiliate marketer above, here are additional tips to help you be successful.

how to start affiliate marketing for beginners
  • Start with what you’re good at. This applies to your niche, the platform you use, and the kind of content you create. After this, you can expand.
  • Always provide value. One of the most important factors of selling is providing value. You want your audience to see why they would benefit from purchasing the product or service.
  • Learn about search engine optimization (SEO). To have a successful online income stream, you have to reach people online. This is where SEO comes in handy. 
  • Try different affiliate programs. With so many options, finding one that works well for you and your audience is relatively easy. So if you aren’t successful with one program, consider trying another.
  • Maintain trust. Avoid sharing content that seems disingenuous and only market services or products you would use yourself. This is how you can gain and maintain your audience’s trust. 
  • Follow FTC regulations. You’re legally required to disclose promotional content. Affiliate disclosures must be clearly visible anywhere you’re sharing affiliate links.
  • Create evergreen content. One of the best ways to create passive income through affiliate marketing is through evergreen content (i.e., blogs) that promotes your affiliates. 

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We hope you found this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing helpful and are excited about possibly creating a new income stream. If you enjoyed reading this, please consider sharing.

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