Making money online is a hot topic at the moment. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. Some people are setting up online businesses, getting into drop-shipping or selling their own freelance services.
These are all fantastic ways to make money online. However, as a beginner, you might be overwhelmed by the workload. Freelancing is great but it takes a while to establish your online presence. You will have to make sure you show your credibility and your prior work.
But what if you have never worked online before?
Well, then it will take some time to break into the freelancing world. Most likely you will have to sell your services for a smaller free just to get that first good review.
What about getting into drop-shipping?
Also a very lucrative source of income but it definitely has a learning curve. Plus, you will have to build an ecommerce website, create a customer acquisition plan, secure a supplier, perform competition research…
You are basically setting up an online business.
Looking for something simpler?
Then affiliate marketing is a great place to start! You don’t need to set up an online store, no need for your own products to begin, and you don’t even have to have a website to be successful.
Keep reading and I will go through different ways that you can start making money with affiliate marketing and what results you can expect as a beginner.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of internet marketing where a business rewards the sales person ( in this case, you). For each sale (or visitor) that you bring to the business, you get a commission.
Let’s say that you get a link from Amazon for a pair of shoes. If you share that link with someone and that person decides to buy those shoes, you will get a commission on that sale.
The commission varies depending on which marketplace or affiliate program you join. There is a slight difference between the two:
- An affiliate program is usually on a per-company basis. Meaning, each company has their own affiliate or partner program.
- For example, Answer the Public has their own affiliate program that you can join via their website. So you will most likely not be able to access their affiliate link through a marketplace
- An affiliate marketplace is a place that has hundreds or even thousand of different products from different companies that all have affiliate programs. All you have to do is search for the product that you want and then ask to be an affiliate.
Whether you use a marketplace or join directly via a company, some programs may ask you to apply for approval before getting a link. But no worries because there are several others who do not require approval for their links.
Which affiliate marketing marketplace is best for beginners?
There are several marketplaces for affiliate products. However, finding out which one is best for you will depend on which niche you choose. You can also join several marketplaces so don’t think that you are stuck to just one.
If you chose to promote physical products like books or clothes, then Amazon Associates (formerly known as Amazon Affiliates) is the better choice for you.
If you are more into software, then you can choose something like Digistore or ShareASale.
And then there is my personal favorite, Clickbank. I am slightly biased towards Clickbank because it is where I got my start. It was super easy for me to find products in my niche, they have a great training program called ClickBank University, and there are tons of products where they do not require approval for you to become an affiliate.
Why you need to pick an affiliate marketing niche
It is vital as a beginner to choose just one niche and stick to it. Some beginners even choose one product and promote the hell out of it.
The reason for this is because you want to establish yourself and your credibility in one niche. If you try to focus on several niches at the same time, you will spread yourself out too thin.
Imagine if you have 3 niches and you promote your links on social media. Let’s say you shared each link 50 times and got 5 clicks per link. This means that, in total, you shared your links 150 times and got 15 clicks. But unfortunately, it was spread out into 3 different niches making it statistically harder to make a sale..
Now imagine that you had only focused on one link. 150 shares and 15 clicks for one link is pretty darn good for a beginner! Statistically, you have a higher chance of making a sale.
But beyond statistics, as a beginner, it takes time for you to test out new things and find which stream converts best for your product. Just because one product does well on one platform, doesn’t mean that all products will work there.
You will do some trial and error and it is a lot easier to get to know your products and your audience if it is all in the same niche.
And trust me, you will save yourself a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and time.
How to start as an affiliate marketer
So now that you found your niche, marketplaces, and products, what’s next?
Generating traffic to your link.
This is where you will float or flop.This is the area that makes most affiliate marketers throw in the towel.
The number one thing you will have to focus on is how to drive traffic to your links, get more leads, and generate sales.
Unfortunately, beginners are not getting the right information. You go on YouTube and all you see is:
“How I made $10,000 i one day!”
“How I got 152,699 clicks on my landing page!”
“How to make thousands of dollars in your SLEEP!”
“How to make $50 dollars every minute!”
Now, I am not saying that this isn’t true, In fact, it is completely possible to make money like this with affiliate marketing.
However, what beginners do not realise is this is coming from youtubers who are getting thousands of views on their videos (sometimes millions) and are leaving affiliate links in the description box.
If you have thousands of people clicking your links everyday then OF COURSE you are going to get tons leads and sales and make more money.
The problem is getting that amount of traffic and it is something that a lot of people do not talk about. The truth is, if you are going to try to get organic traffic (meaning unpaid traffic) to your affiliate link, you are going to have to invest time and it is going to take a while.
Unless you already have an established platform or thousands of followers on your socials, you are going to have to build up an email list, a website or blog, a social media platform, or use forums to get leads.
Hope I haven’t discouraged you. I just want to tell it like it is.
You are most likely not going to make your first sale the first day you start. It will take weeks, maybe even months, and THAT IS OKAY!
We are not running a sprint here, it’s a marathon. We want a long term passive income stream. So be willing to invest your time and be in it for the long haul.
5 Free Ways to Start Sharing Your Affiliate Links
If you have the budget, one of the fastest ways to generate traffic is by running paid ads. You can run them on facebook, pinterest, and other platforms starting from as low as $2.
But for most beginners (especially if you are frugal like me), you either don’t have the money for it or you just don’t want to invest.
I totally get it.
When I first began, I made a decision to not spend a dime until I made my first sale. I wanted to prove to myself that I could make at least 1 sale without ads. More than anything, I wanted to make sure this whole affiliate marketing thing was actually lucrative. When I finally made my first $100, I took that money and invested it back into ads.
So for my frugal friends, here are 4 free ways to start sharing your affiliate links.
Affiliate marketing using a website or blog
I put this one first because this is my number one way to generate traffic, value, and sales.
Now, I know I said that you do not need a website.
You don’t and you will find the other alternatives below.
However, that doesn’t negate the fact that, if you like creating content and enjoy writing, this is one of the best ways to share affiliate links.
If you have a blog/website, it is yours. That means that you can post all the links you want without having to worry about getting stuff taken down.
You will find that a lot of platforms are not that friendly when it comes to affiliate links. So you may have to shorten your links or create landing pages for your links.
Whereas, if you have a blog, your post will work like a landing page.
Plus, if you get enough traffic, you can add things like Google ads and monetize your blog/site and you can build your email list.
Starting a Youtube Channel for Affiliate Marketing
A YouTube channel is a great way to start an affiliate marketing business.
You can make videos on YouTube and promote your products to your audience by leaving an affiliate link in your videos and plugging them in your videos.
If you hear a YouTuber say “Link is in the description” and it isn’t a sponsorship, it is most likely an affiliate link.
You would be surprised to know how much YouTubers make off of their affiliate products.
Matter of fact, most of them make more money from their affiliates than from AdSense. You see, AdSense is something that varies A LOT. You can make $1000 one month and $200 the next. It is actually a very unstable means to monetize a YouTube channel.
What’s nice about affiliate marketing and YouTube is that you do not have to wait until your channel reaches the 1K subscribers and 4K watch hours to start! You can start right away with 0 subscribers if you like.
Just keep in mind, a scandal is quick on YouTube. DO NOT promote products that you do not use, do not like, or that is not good. Trust me, the YouTube community will come for you. We have seen it happen countless times with very well-known YouTubers. Your affiliate products are a part of your reputation so make sure they are legit so that you can build trust with your audience.
NOW don’t get it twisted.
Do NOT expect to start making money in your sleep just yet. If you have a YouTube channel then you know how difficult it is to grow a channel. It takes time.
So just like it takes time to build a channel, it takes time to get clicks on your links and to get sales.
But it is something almost essential to have when your channel starts to grow and you want to make a stable income off of it.
Affiliate marketing using Email Lists
This is something that a lot of affiliate marketers overlook. If you read my previous post, then you know why I believe email lists are vital for any business, but especially if you are an affiliate marketer.
If you have a well established email list, then you won’t need a website or landing page. You can send emails to your list and put your links in the emails and generate sales.
The bigger the list, the better!
There are marketers making millions of dollars simply from their email lists alone. No websites, not social media.
As I also mentioned in my previous posts about email marketing, you are going to need an email marketing tool to start off.
My top choice right now is GetResponse. But, when I first started off, I used Mailchimp. Both have great free plans where you can have automated emails, create campaigns, and even create landing pages to collect emails.
Affiliate marketing using forums
This method is going to take some work, but it is a great way to generate traffic to your links and establish yourself online.
I personally started out on Quora. It is a great place to ask and answer other peoples questions. The same goes for Reddit.
The more you ask and answer, the more views and upvotes you get.
But you need to give good responses that actually solve the person’s problem.
For example, let’s say you are in the fitness niche (a very competitive niche, might I add) then you will want to join health, fitness, and diet spaces on these forums and help people. If someone has a problem that your affiliate product can fix, then you share that with them.
Same thing goes for blogging. If you have an article that answers the question, give a little teaser on the forum and then link to your blog for them to read more.
That being said, be careful when it comes to sharing your affiliate links directly. These particular forums don’t like them so you will have to cloak your link by shortening it or creating a landing page.
Affiliate marketing using social media
Social media is always a great way to share things. If you see your favorite influencers saying things like “link in bio” or “link is in the description”, they most likely have an affiliate link.
If you are going to use social media, you have a bunch of platforms to choose from. BUT, when you do choose, stick to one!
Focus on only one social media platform in the beginning. I promise you, trying to do Pinterest, Facebook , and Instagram at the same time is going to burn you out and your efforts won’t mirror your results.
When you finally get the ball rolling, then you can start to think about going to other platforms and you can get your followers to follow you to that platform.
My personal favorite is Pinterest. When I started my Pinterest account, I had 0 followers and 0 views.
Within 1 month, I managed to get 2,000 views. I wasn’t even fully focused on it and I only had 10 pins.
What results can you expect as a beginner in affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a very lucrative business and it is not something that is going away any time soon.
Now more than ever, people are opting to buy things online. Whether it is services, food, clothes, software, you name it!
Strike while the iron is hot.
That being said, be careful not to fall into the traps of those people telling you that you can make thousands of dollars in a day as a beginner.
One of the number one reasons a lot of affiliate marketers fail is because they give up too soon. They throw in the towel after the first week or the first month.
Like I said earlier, you have to be in it for the long haul. Be prepared to test new things and be prepared to FAIL. You won’t know what works for you until you figure out what doesn’t work for you.
If you don’t get your first sale in a month, change your method. Tweek some things here and there. TEST, TEST, TEST!
Keep your expectations low in the beginning but put in the work and I promise you, you will see the fruits of your labor.