How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Free

Would you like to build a profitable side business without investing a lot of money or time upfront? If so, you may want to consider getting into affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest and fastest ways for new marketers to get started with their own business quickly and on a small budget. You don’t need to launch your own blog, website or social media platform to begin affiliate marketing.

Thanks to the rise of social media, there are plenty of online networking sites like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter that make great platforms for sharing your affiliate links and tracking your ROI (return on investment).

Whether you want to supplement your current income or build an entirely new career as an affiliate marketer, this article will help you understand how to start with the basics.

Topic Index
  1. What is Affiliate Marketing?
    1. Build a Network of Sites
    2. Find Products to Promote
    3. Write Content for Your Site(s) and/or Product(s)
    4. Create a Tracking Website
    5. Bottom Line

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing where a business rewards individuals for generating sales via their marketing efforts. In an affiliate marketing scenario, the affiliates receive a percentage of the sales revenue as a commission.

Affiliate marketers are often paid a portion of the commission generated. For example, if a company pays an affiliate $100 for a $500 sale, the affiliate receives a 25% commission.

Affiliate marketing can be both a source of supplemental income and a primary source of income. As a source of supplemental income, affiliates earn money by selling the products of another company. They are paid a commission on each sale. The products are typically digital in nature and sold via a marketing channel such as a blog, email, social media, paid search engine, etc.

As a primary source of income, affiliates use their marketing efforts to build an audience of readers/viewers. They are paid a commission each time that audience members buy something from a company affiliated with the affiliate’s marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which an online publisher receives a commission for each sale or lead generated by their own marketing efforts. Affiliate marketing can be done by anyone with a website or social media presence, and it's quickly becoming a major source of income for millions of people around the world.

Build a Network of Sites

While you can focus your affiliate marketing efforts around a single product or brand, you may want to think about building a network of sites focused on varied product verticals and/or niches. Building multiple sites has a few advantages:

  • You can diversify your affiliate marketing efforts.
  • You can diversify your revenue streams.
  • You can scale your business faster.
  • You can create more leads.

You can start building a network of sites by either leveraging an existing site or buying your own domain and hosting. If you choose to leverage an existing site, you’ll want to make sure there are no affiliate links on that site, or any kind of links that may violate that site’s terms and conditions. If you want to start from scratch, you can either buy your own domain and hosting or sign up with a site like Bluehost .

Find Products to Promote

Once you’ve built a network of sites, you’re ready to start finding products to promote. You can do this by picking a category or product type and searching for affiliate programs that fit within that niche.

Affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Linkshare and Rakuten have thousands of affiliate partners and products. You can search each of these databases to find a product or niche to promote. Once you’ve found a product you want to promote, simply sign up for the affiliate network and add your link to your site.

Affiliate networks help you manage your links, report your earnings and access support from other affiliates. They also help you avoid fraud and find legit affiliate program partners.

Write Content for Your Site(s) and/or Product(s)

The best way to ensure consistent and continued affiliate marketing revenue is to build a loyal audience. One way to do this is by creating valuable content on your site(s).

While affiliates are paid per sale, they’re also paid per lead. This means that if someone visits your site but doesn’t buy anything, you still earn a commission. To rank higher in search engines and bring in more leads, focus on creating high quality content that’s relevant to your niche.

You can also write content around the product(s) you want to promote. For example, if you’re an Amazon affiliate and want to promote a product like the Instant Pot, create an article on how the Instant Pot can improve your life or expand your cooking skills. Every product has a problem that needs solving, so aim to solve them via your content.

Create a Tracking Website

As an affiliate marketer, you’re probably tracking all of your sales and leads. If you’re using a tracking system like Google Sheets, or a spreadsheet, you may want to consider investing in a tracking website.

You can buy or create your own tracking website for less than $50. The most common types of tracking websites include WordPress and Blogger tracking websites, Squarespace websites and Wix websites.

Tracking websites enable you to track affiliate sales and leads in real-time. They also enable you to simplify your tracking process, so you can focus on growing your business. Tracking websites also help you diversify your affiliate marketing efforts. You can track multiple affiliate programs on a single platform.

Bottom Line

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn extra money on the side or even create a full-time income. To get started, start building a network of sites to promote multiple products, write high-quality content that solves your readers' problems, and create a tracking website so you can easily track everything.

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