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How to Start Affiliate Marketing

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Do you have a special interest that you’re passionate about? Or something that you know so much about that your family and friends come to you to understand it and learn more about it? If your answer is “yes” to these questions, then how about you turn your passion, which you already spend a lot of time learning about for free, into a side hustle that can make you a lot of money?

By getting into affiliate marketing, you can earn a commission by promoting products that you already use or that you know a lot about, but many people don’t understand how to start affiliate marketing, so here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can get started as an affiliate marketer as a complete beginner.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

If you’re an affiliate marketer, you partner up with companies and they give you unique referral links to their products that you can share with people. If those people use your link to make a purchase, then you get a commission on that sale. As simple as this is, there’s a lot of money to make in it because you can promote multiple products and join multiple affiliate programs for free, and you don’t have to enter an exclusive agreement with just one company.

It’s also important to note that being an affiliate for a company doesn’t mean that you’re bound to that company in the same way an employee working there is, as it’s more like being an independent contractor or a freelancer. Different companies out there have different types of commissions. For example, some companies might just give you $50 for every purchase someone makes through your referral link, while others might give you something like 10% of the sale.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

You can’t learn how to start affiliate marketing without actually having the right direction that differentiates the people who try to get into affiliate marketing and end up giving up and failing, and people who stick to it and go on to make tons of money from it. Here’s the step-by-step guide for getting started.

Focus on a Niche

To make your affiliate marketing side hustle work, you need to focus on a niche that you’re passionate about, so you don’t get bored and give up, and go on to treat the money you make from it as an extra bonus to doing something that you really love. Maybe you’re passionate about health and fitness, and you can make videos or blog posts about it on a daily basis, or maybe you like video games or cooking. Of course, some niches are more scalable and more profitable than others, but if you put in enough effort to grow your blog or YouTube channel, you can get enough affiliate links to make decent money out of it, but keep in mind that you won’t get rich from a very small niche that isn’t exactly marketable and don’t sell a lot.

Find a Product

After deciding what niche you want to be in to start affiliate marketing, you need to start looking for products you want to promote, and all of this comes down to doing really good marketing research. For example, let’s say you decided to get into the finance niche with an investing blog, what are the most popular trading apps? Do more people use Robinhood (NASDAQ: HOOD)? Or do they prefer Interactive Brokers (NASDAQ: IBKR)?

Knowing which product is more popular in the market is important because you should pick an already well-known product to be an affiliate for, since your job as an affiliate marketer is to be the middle-person between the product and your audience, so don’t go for a product that’s completely unknown and won’t sell. If you choose to promote any of these trading apps, or any digital product like software, then you could make a lot of money from them because they have little to no overhead costs because the fulfillment is instant, since all the transactions the customers make are online and they start using the product right away, and you can earn the commission.

Another type of product that you can get affiliate links for are physical products. For example, if you’re in the fitness niche, you might be able to get affiliate links for protein shakes or water bottles. These products sell well and you can make good money from their affiliate links, but you should understand that they won’t make you rich because they usually have a smaller profit margins due to the fact that there are a lot of other costs that comes with selling physical products, like storage costs, shipping costs, and potential refunds.

Find a Company

For the physical products, you can sign up for the Amazon Associates Program (NASDAQ: AMZN), which allows content creators, publishers, and bloggers to monetize their traffic on posts that feature an Amazon product. For example, if you make a video that goes viral on TikTok or Instagram reels, and you use an Amazon product in that video, you can use the Amazon Associates Program to build links that will direct your audience to the product.

This way, you can earn up to 10% in associate commissions from qualifying purchases from people who use your affiliate link. If the product you’re working with isn’t on Amazon, you can simply google the name of the product, followed by affiliate program, and you might be able to find an affiliate program for your niche. Notably, a lot of people prefer to work with the companies directly, rather than Amazon’s associate program, because commissions can be higher this way.

For digital products, you can do the same thing. We mentioned promoting Robinhood in an investing blog, and if you actually google “Robinhood affiliate program” you’ll find a direct link to it, same with any other company that does a digital product. You can also check out websites like or, which can help link you as an affiliate with brands that are looking for affiliate marketers. Just keep in mind that if the digital product is completely free, then it might not be a good idea to join its company’s affiliate program, since they won’t make any money from it to pay you a commission.

Apply to an Affiliate Program

After knowing which product you want to promote and the company you’ll get it from, you can start applying for affiliate programs. On a company’s affiliate program page, you can click on “Apply Now” or “Join Now” or whatever button there is, and it’ll take you straight to the application. Most applications are very straightforward, and all the information they ask for is information they use to confirm you are who you are and that you’re not signing up using someone else’s name, and they might also ask you for your contact information and company information, but you don’t actually need a company, or an LLC, to start affiliate marketing, and you can just type in your first name and your last name in the “Company Name” field.

For the “Company Website”, the companies just want to know where you’re going to be promoting their products, and for this, you can create your very own online platform. Of course, you should prioritize doing your affiliate marketing on social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, but the main problem with these platforms is that you might get banned or lose access to your account, and in turn, lose your entire business and your clientele.

This is why you have to create something else in addition to your social media, and it should be an online platform that’s 100% yours, so you don’t have to worry about your account getting banned or deleted. This means, you should create your own affiliate marketing website, and you can use websites like or to create your website with ease. Then, you can use that website to make posts about what you’re passionate about and talk about it with your audience, while promoting the products you do affiliate marketing for and make money at the same time. If you don’t want to create a website, you can create a YouTube channel, and since the content you’ll post on it is basically video blog posts, you can put it in the “Company Website” field when signing up for an affiliate program. Some affiliate programs instantly approve you, while others get back to you after a day or two, so be patient if they need some time to approve you.

Create Great Content

Your only role after finding your product and creating your website is to create high quality content that will add enough value to people’s lives that they’d be willing to click on your affiliate links, and the type of content that adds the most value is educational content. Educational content is the type of content that works best with affiliate marketing, because people are more willing to click on a link and make a purchase when you’re helping them do something. For example, if you have a referral link for a stock trading app, you might want to make a video that shows a step-by-step guide on how to use that app to buy and sell stocks for new investors.

If you don’t want to make a video, you can publish a post on your blog, but videos usually do a lot better than websites and articles, when it comes to affiliate marketing. This is because websites don’t do as well anymore because of ChatGPT and AI tools that help anyone write articles and make having a blog much more competitive than it used to be. If you still want to run a blog, then you need to learn how to optimize the SEO for your website, so you get better chances of ranking higher on Google searches, which means that your posts will come up to people before anyone else’s. This will take you a long time to master and get right, so it’s important to be patient.

Let’s say that you’ve done everything right, and you posted your video or article but you weren’t getting organic clicks on your affiliate link. If this happens, you can always get into paid affiliate marketing. This is where you run ads on the platform you’re promoting the product on, to get more views and in turn more clicks. For example, if you posted a video promoting a product on TikTok, then you can pay TikTok to promote your video and run it as an ad, and same for Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. TikTok is one of the best platforms to run ads on, because it tracks traffic very well, and allows you to pick an option called “Automatic Campaign Optimization” when you pay for the ads, and it’ll go ahead and find the people that resonate the best with what you’re advertising and show it to them.

Is it Passive Income?

Running ads on big platforms isn’t cheap, so you might want to stick to growing your YouTube channel or blog or TikTok account organically, which shows that it requires a lot of time and effort to start affiliate marketing so you can make a lot of money, meaning that it’s not passive income in the immediate term. But, the best thing about it is that you can turn it into passive income once your affiliate marketing business grows, as the links won’t expire and posts that are years old can still bring you money, so this makes all the work you have to put in worth it.


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