In this blogpost I’m going to introduce you to affiliate marketing for beginners and how they can get started quickly and without having a big budget.
If you didn’t know affiliate marketing online is a huge industry. It’s growing bigger and bigger every year. It is estimated that it has grown to $12 Billion a year and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
You can see that this is a huge cake being served to people that are willing to step up and take a bite.
If you are new to online marketing and “making money online” and have wondered what “affiliate marketing” is then you are in the right place.
I know that people and big-time gurus make it often seem confusing how they actually make money on the internet. It’s not. It’s like this:
TRAFFIC + HIGH CONVERTING OFFER = $$$
So many people don’t get this. But this is the equation. This is the “secret formula”
Let’s break it down.
What we refer to “traffic” are real people on the internet that are coming to a website. Sometimes we call them website visitor but usually it’s just referred to as “web traffic” or just “traffic”.
The more traffic that you can get to a website (or offer) the better because most of the time a percent of that traffic can be turned into customers.
If you are able to present an offer (a solution) to this traffic that solves a certain problem then it’s not unlikely you can get 2-7% of visitors to buy the offer.
You see, to make money online, you have to sell something. I’m sorry but there is no other way around it. Don’t like selling? Maybe internet marketing is not for you.
Don’t worry. Selling is not as hard as you think though. It’s actually getting the traffic that is the hard part.
Why affiliate marketing for beginners?
So what can you sell online? Why whould anybody buy from you?
There are actually only two ways to generate an income online (if you count out gambling, stocks and cryptocurrency which I consider just to be speculation not a business).
You can sell your own products or services or you can sell OTHER people’s products or services. That’s basically how it breaks downs.
Now the trouble is, that when you are starting out online with your journey to become a big-ass digital entrepreneur and leave your dreaded 9-5 to be able to work from the beach, you probably don’t have your own products.
Maybe you have some skills that you could sell as a service. Some people are good at SEO, graphic design or writing and in that case you could sell your service.
But as we are focusing on affiliate marketing for beginners I’m going to assume you don’t posess certain skills that you can sell as a service.
Also the downside of selling your skills as a service is that you would mostly be swapping your time for money. You would be working on a specific task in exchange for a payment.
This is something you want to avoid.
Because selling a product can be an automated process – you can make money in your sleep without having to exchange your time.
By automating the process of selling online there is virtually nothing that limits your growth.
By selling your service you only have 24 hours in a day. So you can just make so much money by swapping your time.
However with a sales page online you are basically only limited on how many visitors your web host can handle and how big the market is.
Imagine selling a digital product that you can copy as many times over as you want to a hungry market that has millions of buyers.
Ok so that’s clear. You want to be selling products – preferably digital ones.
But making your own products to sell has a problem. It’s hard.
Making a good product is one thing but then there are sales pages, funnels, graphics, copy-writing, email marketing and a ton of other stuff to think about in order to set up a marketing process that is going to bring in sales.
The amount of knowledge and skills needed is something I would say is far beyond the reach of newbies that are just starting out online
This is why I and most other marketers recommend affiliate marketing for beginners.
You see, when you are starting out, you are going through a learning process. You want to focus on establishing yourself on a specific platform and then create content in order to get followers.
The only real reason somebody is going to follow you is if you give away valuable content.
You want to be focusing on building a connection between you and your followers and preferably growing to at least 100 true fans.
Fans that will come back to your content over and over again and wait for your new blogpost perhaps, your new YouTube video or whatever medium you are using.
It’s a big misunderstanding that selling something to someone online is hard.
It’s actually not.
The hard part is getting enough eyeballs so see what you are offering.
There will always be a certain percentage of visitors that buys.
You could even have a crappy product and a crappy sales page and still make sales. If you just get enough people to come to your website.
I don’t recommend selling or recommending something crappy – but you see what I’m getting at.
It’s a numbers game. If you have something to sell and you are targeting the right niche audience – somebody will buy from you.
You may get high refund rates of course if your product is low-quality. But imagine recommending something of pure value that could really help your audience.
Your conversion rate will sky-rocket.
So your goal is to build an audience and serving that audience with good content and then you want occasionally tell them about quality products (or services) that can help them achieve their goals faster.
By this time you will have a loyal fanbase that really listens to what you have to say.
If you then tell them, that you have tried ‘Product-X’ and you really liked it and it helped you in your business, then why wouldn’t you recommend that to your audience?
If the the thing you are recommending is in your niche (let’s say it’s ‘Dog Training’) then it’s actually your obligation to tell your audience about it. If it helped you then it might also help your audience.
Bear in mind that you only want to be promoting products and services that fit into your niche.
If your niche is dog-training then you don’t want to promote cat products to your followers. They are not going to be interested because they own dogs.
Same with me. My target audience are people 25+ that want to build a real online business for themselves. If I would suddenly go all haywire and start pushing out recommendations for something in the relationship niche or dating niche – people are going to be like “WTF!”.
Make sure you are consistent on your topic and stay inside your niche box.
Ok, so you should now know how affiliate marketing works. You simply recommend useful products to your followers and get a commission instead. Simple right?
Because making your own product requires some serious hard work then it’s best for you to start with affiliate marketing if you want to start making money online.
Don’t get me wrong – having your own product is probably the most profitable thing when it comes to an online business.
But I don’t recommend that you start out creating one.
Like I said, there are so many moving parts in launching your own product. First you have to create the product itself and then all the marketing material like sales pages, sales funnels, sales copy, emails, web banners and much more.
With affiliate marketing all this has been taken care of for you. You can quickly apply for becoming an affiliate and just start promoting. Most of the time the application process is free and quickly done.
By not having to create the product and the marketing material you can see why I highly recommend affiliate marketing for beginners.
‘Ok Hafsteinn I get it – the hard part is done for me – does that mean that I can just get my affiliate link and start making money right away?’.
Technically yes. But…there is always a but.
Like I said I recommend affiliate marketing for beginners. Does that mean that it’s easy and doesn’t require any work?
Of course not. If it didn’t I would assume that the world would be full of affiliate marketers. Everything worth something requires work.
Not necessarily hard work but the right kind of work.
First of all you have to know where to find good affiliate products and also how to pick the right ones for your business.
Let’s take an example. Let’s say Brian is a dog-lover and operates a blog on dog-training. He doesn’t have his own products but he wants to monetize his blog.
The first thing people think about when monetizing their blog is Google Ads.
Yes you can make some money with them but in reality you have to have a LOT of web traffic to your site if you are going to make good money. Yes you can make money with it but I don’t recommend it unless you want to quickly prove to yourself that making money online is real.
But forget about using Google Ads for growing your income.
It’s a good starting point and also to diversify your income but you want to take things much further than that.
The next thing people look into usually is Amazon. It’s easy to sign up to become and affiliate and start promoting products.
But it’s the same problem. The commissions from Amazon are so low that you really have to be driving a ton of traffic to see life-changing income.
Yes it’s an income stream that you can implement into your business but it’s not something you want to be focusing too much on.
The next step is affiliate marketing. I’m surprised how so many people overlook this option. You can get much higher commissions.
Especially if you focus on promoting digital products because they usually have much higher profit margins then for example physical products on Amazon. Think 50-75%!
You want to be promoting digital products.
Well take a look at Amazon. If you are an affiliate you usually get somewhere around 5-20% on a sale.
Compare that to digital products where you can get anywhere from 25-75% commissions.
These products can range from $25 up to $497 and even more. Sometimes the product creator offers recurring commissions so you make the sale once but you get paid every month while the customer is active.
You don’t get this option with Amazon.
Then there are also high-ticket affiliate programs that give you the option of promoting and earning up to $1000 per sale. But then you usually have to invest and apply to get accepted like I did.
This way you can build your income much faster with a smaller targeted audience instead of trying to get millions to your website and make much less per visitors.
You want to try to grow your earnings per visitor. Most experienced marketers say that you can make your first million dollars with only 1000 loyal fans.
But you will never reach it with only Google Ads and doing affiliate marketing on Amazon.
Ok great. I got that settled.
So where do you find the right products to promote?
Let’s get back to Brian the Dog-lover. He has built up some decent traffic to his blog but he is not getting any real money.
He’s maybe getting a few bucks from Google Ads (Adsense) when people click on banners on his website.
But he wants more. He wants to make an income that can truly make a difference for him.
He has made a lot of helpful and valuable content for his audience, perhaps built a small email list by creating a lead-magnet (like a free report or a checklist) and having people give out their email instead of getting the free gift.
What Brian can do is to head out to the biggest marketplace for digital products, ClickBank.
The process is simple and after he puts in his personal information and bank account info (to get paid) he is ready to go.
Then next thing Brian should do is to head out to the ClickBank marketplace:
He then chooses the ‘Home & Garden’ category and the ‘Animal Care & Pets’ sub-category.
The first thing Brian sees is a list of dog-related products. What Brian wants to do is to sort the results at the top by ‘gravity’ – not ‘popularity’.
Gravity indicates how many affiliates are actually making money promoting the product.
The more affiliates making money with a product means it’s a good chance Brian can make money too.
Products with a gravity score of 25+ is usually considered good. This number is considered to be the amount of distinct affiliates that made a commission promoting the product in the last 12 weeks.
As you can see with the top two products the ‘Brain Training for Dogs‘ has 68.92 in gravity and ‘Doggy Dans Online Dog Trainer‘ has 50.29. This is pretty decent and a good sign that this product does convert and makes money for affiliates.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. As you can see affiliates promoting ‘Brain Training for Dogs’ are earning 75% commission for every customer they refer and they are earning an average of $31.77 net profits per sale.
But it’s pretty clear that affiliates are not making any recurring commissions as the average rebill total is zero.
Recurring income is something that Brian wants to take seriously as he can make multiple recurring payments into his business by just making one sale.
If we take a look at ‘Doggy Dans Online Dog Trainer’ the affiliates are making an average of $111.18 per sale and average rebill total of $110.44.
So the profit potential with the ‘Doggy Dans Online Trainer’ is much higher than with ‘Brain Training for Dogs’.
However take note that it is possible that it can require more effort to sell a higher-priced item.
But in this case Brian really likes the ‘Doggy Dans Online Trainer’ video membership program, he likes the sales page and perhaps he even buys the program to try it out for himself.
He is interested in the puppy training inside the membership course and believes this is something that could be useful for him and perhaps his puppy?
So he buys the course and goes through it and really likes it. He likes it so much that he wants to share it with his audience as he thinks this product could help more people.
He goes to the ClickBank marketplace again and hits the ‘promote’ button:
Brian runs into a small glitch though when he is presented with this message:
Most often you are instantly accepted as an affiliate and you get your hoplink (unique affiliate ID link) and you can start promoting right away.
Sometimes however the product creators want to manually accept people that want to promote their products.
Don’t worry though.
In this message there is a link to go to in order to apply for becoming an affiliate
In this case Brian is taken to a website where he has to put his first name, his ClickBank ID and his email. Usually this application process is pretty straight forward and people are accepted in a few days.
When Brian finally gets accepted he then gets his unique Clickbank hoplink that looks something like this: http://BRIAN.dogproduct.hop.clickbank.net/
In this link ‘BRIAN’ is just a hypothetical example of an affiliate ID and also ‘dogproduct’ is just a dummy example of the product vendor ID.
Now Brian is ready to go and promote his ClickBank hoplink on his blog.
What Brian could do is to create a blogpost where he reviews the program that he just bought. He should introduce the product a little bit and tell his readers about who created the product and how this product should interest them.
Then he would describe the product and his experience using it. He should be honest and talk about what he liked about the product and what he didn’t like.
This is important.
People don’t like to read a review where the reviewer has only positive things to say. It comes as too ‘salesy’.
People take reviews much more seriously that also focus on the negative things. They view that type of reviews come off as more honest and are thus more likely to make sales through the affiliate link. Solid tip!
Brian could also create a video and talk about the product and what he liked and didn’t like.
He then tells the people watching that if they can click the link in the description of the video if they want to check out the official page of the product.
If they buy then Brian gets paid.
It’s also possible for Brian to run paid ads to affiliate offers but that requires investment and some skills.
I don’t recommend beginners to go into paid advertising to drive traffic – at least not in the beginning.
You should try to make some money first by trying to build up free organic traffic and make money with affiliate marketing. When you have acquired more experience (and made some money) you can then go on and scale up your marketing with paid advertisement.
There are many online platforms that you could potentially make money with affiliate marketing.
It’s possible to make money with affiliate marketing for beginners for example on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and heck…even LinkedIn.
I would encourage you though to choose just one platform and just focus on it. You could go with two but no more. It’s going to spread your energy too much.
I highly recommend a YouTube channel because videos are very engaging and also a blog because of the chance to get organic free Google search traffic.
Now, whatever medium you choose you should take note of this tip I’m going to tell you.
Many affiliate marketing beginners don’t understand this (and also more seasoned ones actually).
Here it is:
You should give your web visitors a reason to buy from you.
There should be some enticement for the people reading your blog or watching your videos to buy through your affiliate link as opposed to just going to the official page of the product and buy there (and you not making any money).
Offer a bonus
People love bonuses! They love free stuff.
If you can offer something for free with the product your are promoting then people will be much more likely to buy through your affiliate link.
What you could do is to create something that complements the product you are trying to sell.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated.
Let’s take Brian the dog-lover for example. What he could do is to create a one-page checklist about puppy-training.
Something like ’10 healthy foods for your puppy’ or ’10 things all puppies should know how to do’. You get it. It could be a 1-2 page checklist.
So when people buy the online course they get your checklist as a bonus and this usually does the job.
People don’t expect to get something complex for free. Just a small simple bonus.
Think about this when you start promoting your affiliate offers.
When you have finished creating your free bonus offer you might want to create a squeeze page. Now this is not necessary but it will help with your conversions.
On this squeeze page which is just a plain webpage, you want to have a eye-catching headline that tells the visitors right away that you have a bonus for them.
Then what you could do is to shoot a short 2-3 min video of you simply explaining that you are going to give them the bonus if they buy the affiliate offer you are promoting.
This usually works really well.
People like to see friendly faces that explain to them why they should buy something. Like a friend recommending something to them.
It’s actually pretty simple to setup a page like this with drag-and-drop programs like OptimizePress:
In this video you tell people to simply send their receipt after buying the product you are promoting to your email as a proof that they actually bought the product.
Then you could simply send them a link to a webpage were they can download your bonus.
There is another way to do this however.
Instead of having your free offer (whether if it’s a checklist or report) come as a bonus when you buy the affiliate offer – you could use it as bait or a ‘lead-magnet’.
A lead magnet works similar as a free bonus, but instead of buying the affiliate offer right away, the web visitor inputs their email on the squeeze page in order to get access to the free bonus.
So they can get access to the free bonus without having to buy the affiliate offer.
How does that help in making money?
You see when you have their email you can follow up with them with email-marketing and send them the affiliate offer via email.
You simply put your affiliate link inside the email.
You could potentially market to them over and over again for years to come.
Done For You Systems
Now even though what we have covered is pretty simple in it’s essence it still requires some work. With affiliate marketing you don’t need to put in the work of creating a product but you still need to do some things:
You have find a lucrative market that is hungry to buy.
You have to be able to find high-converting offer to feed to that market.
You have to choose a platform and create content in order to get traffic to the offer (if you don’t want to spend money on ads).
You preferably have to create free bonuses/lead magnets to warm up your audience to get more sales.
You have to create a squeeze page with a video and sales copy that converts.
You have to follow up with email (most of the time people will not buy the first time the see an offer).
Even though affiliate marketing is considered to be a much ‘easier’ way of starting to generate income online opposed to, let’s say, creating your own products, it still requires some decent knowledge and skills.
That’s why some marketers have gone and created their own DFY affiliate programs that let people join and promote offers where everything is done for them.
They include products and offers, sales funnels, digital and physical lead magnets, highly tested sales pages and squeeze pages and also a done-for-you email marketing follow up sequence.
The only thing people need to do is to get traffic to the squeeze page. The system takes care of the rest by selling through sales funnels and email follow ups.
The new and lucrative way of doing affiliate marketing is to have a ‘free+shipping’ offers that work really well.
This is when the product creator has created a whole marketing platform and sequence and aslo created a physical product as a lead-magnet. This can be something like a book or a usb stick with some information.
People really like to get free stuff and when it’s a physical item it is usually has a higher perceived value.
To get the item the customer (or web visitor) only has to pay for the shipping – but the item itself is free.
This way you are able to build instant trust with the web visitor as he hands out money to get the physical item. But for him he is only paying for shipping – he’s not actually paying for the item.
To get the physical item they have to put their address and email so you can follow up with them via email marketing.
This is done however automatically with an already fully tested marketing system that is proven to convert.
So why isn’t everybody joining programs like these instead of going by themselves and finding affiliate products to promote?
Simple – usually you have to invest and pay to get accepted into these kind of high-quality programs.
As all the hard work has been done for you it’s not strange that you would have to pay someone for that hard work.
The good thing is that these systems have been proven to work. They also give you the option of getting much higher commissions than you normally would just by promoting some random product on ClickBank.
Think anywhere between $7 – $5,000 commissions.
Do I recommend these kind of programs?
Yes – if you have the money to invest it’s a good income source into your business. I would not rely solely on this kind of model but definitely it’s a good stream of income.
If you are interested in looking into a DFY high-ticket program like these check out the one I’m a member of
Let’s wrap it up what we have just covered.
The affiliate marketing industry is huge and has grown to $12 Billion a year.
Starting with affiliate marketing is easier for beginners wanting to make money online.
You want to build an audience in a specific niche and then promote helpful affiliate products to them. You make money by serving them content and promotions.
Doing affiliate marketing offers higher profit margins compared to Google Adsense or the Amazon Affiliate program.
ClickBank is the biggest marketplace for affiliate marketing with digital products.
When selecting affiliate programs to promote look for ‘recurring income’ opportunities.
Before promoting an affiliate product – you should actually buy it and use it. How can you recommend something if you haven’t tried it yourself.
Choose one platform and focus on it to drive traffic/build audience.
Create your own unique bonuses to offer with your affiliate offer.
Create lead-magnets to capture leads to be able to follow up with them with email-marketing.