Are you interested in affiliate marketing? Well, I don’t blame you. Today we’ll teach you how to start affiliate marketing with no money.
Affiliate marketing can be an additional income stream where you promote products and services to consumers that you’re a fan of. You then direct them to the websites of retailers selling these products and services. A commission is earned when someone you refer purchases something or completes an action, such as joining a service or email list. This is one of the rare occurrences where it’s a win-win for the advertiser and the affiliate.
What’s more, the sky is the limit when it comes to earning potential. In fact, it’s totally possible to make six figures with affiliate marketing.
But, doesn’t it take a boatload of cash to get started. Well, believe it or not, you can actually start affiliate marketing today with no money using the following strategies.
Decide your niche and audience.
Want to be successful in affiliate marketing. You must first establish yourself within a niche. But, how exactly can you settle on a niche?
If possible, choose an that is both passionate and knowledgeable to you. “This helps you come across as authentic and as a trusted source of information for potential customers,” explains Mark Hayes over at Shopify. Additionally, it lets you determine which brands and products to promote.
“Say, for example, you started a blog about dogs,” he adds. “You own a sprocker spaniel and you’re passionate about helping other owners care for their sprockers.”
Then, you create a blog like Sprocker Lovers — which I’ll get more in detail shortly. After that, you can promote your content by soliciting subscribers and encouraging them to share it. “Sprocker spaniels are your niche, and you’re going to invest in content marketing and optimization to grow your audience of owners,” says Hayes.
This is exactly what Elise Dopson, founder of Sprocker Lovers, did.
“The niche you choose for your affiliate site guides how much time or effort you’ll need to put into building it to a point where you begin to see SEO results,” says Elise.
“SERPs for software, marketing, and health care, for example, are all dominated by huge blogging sites with even bigger marketing budgets. The secret is finding untapped areas where competition isn’t as fierce—and getting in there before other people recognize it.”
To learn who and what your audience likes, you can use affiliate marketing tools like social listening tools, website analytics, and social media insights as you post more.
Don’t forget, you won’t be paid to post, it’s not free money. An affiliate program is a performance-based marketing system. By knowing what products your audience enjoys, you can recommend more affiliate products to them to bolster your income.
Join your audience’s conversations.
There’s another reason why you first need to settle on a niche and get to know your audience. You can join their conversations organically.
What exactly does that mean? Well, Kyle Kostechka from ClickBank explains this in a YouTube video from October 2021. In a nutshell, this is nothing more than commenting with affiliate links. The caveat here is that you want to leave these comments where your audience hangs out, whether that’s Reddit, message boards, or forums.
He uses the example of people selling Trump coins. Now, I’m not going to engage in political discourse here. The point Kyle was making was that the people selling these products sold look hotcakes. How? Because these coins were shared on platforms where there were political conversations occurring.
For example, people were leaving comments on message boards like, “Hey, if you really want to stick to Nancy Pelosi, you should really look at this product.” But, that comment only works when the audience is discussing topics like how fed up they are with democrats.
On the flip side, these comments wouldn’t work on unrelated discussions. For instance, you wouldn’t peddle Trump coins when the topic was about a sick family member or sports trade rumors. If you did, that’s spam. And, why honestly enjoys spam?
Even worse? Engaging in spam techniques could get you kicked off the platform as this could be a violation of the platform.
3 Build your social media presence.
What if I told you that you can monetize your online presence through social media? This can be achieved by placing affiliate links in your posts, updates, and profiles. But, instead of spreading yourself too thin, focus on the social channels where your audience hangs out.
What’s more, you should also consider the pros and cons of each social media platform.
- Pros: It’s the largest social media platform available with close to 3 billion global users. Suffice to say, a large audience is accessible.
- Cons: It’s not as appealing to a younger audience. And, it’s not as effective using organic search.
- Pros: Excellent for displaying products and services because it’s highly visual. Also. video content such as reels and stories is emphasized heavily.
- Cons: The organic reach of feed posts is low.
- Pros: Pinterest offers an advantage in that you can directly share affiliate links in the pins you make. Take advantage of the platform to share quality, as well as trend-driven content in your niche.
- Cons: Pinterest traffic caters to a very specific audience.
- Pros: With around 397 million users Twitter is another popular social media platform that is great for showing off what you have to offer.
- Because of Twitter’s character limit (280) for each post, affiliate marketing can be challenging.
- Pros: Excellent for SEO. Additionally, there’s a worldwide audience of 2.3 billion people.
- Cons: Most niches are flooded with competition. And, you’ll need to invest in professional and high-quality videos.
- Pros: Impressive organic reach. Also, it’s the leading platform for professionals.
- Cons: Mostly aimed at business-to-business audiences.
- Pros: Short videos that do not need a professional appearance like YouTube. Also, the experience is more genuine. Moreover, TikTok has become a trend-setting platform.
- Cons: Descriptions don’t have clickable links.
Blog (for free).
There are other ways to market your affiliate products besides social media. You can establish your credibility and engage readers to click on your affiliate links by blogging on free platforms like Medium, Blogger, Quora, Steemit, and Hubpages. However, most of the major players, such as WordPress, Wix, and Webley are also free. However, you will have to pay for website hosting.
Whatever blogging platform you use, producing high-quality content within your niche is paramount. When you do so, you can generate a lot of traffic to your affiliate links using these free blogging platforms. Some suggestions would be;
- Product reviews
- The best tips and tricks
On both Medium and Steemit, affiliate links can actually be used within your content, as long as certain conditions are met. And, even though hosting isn’t free with WordPress, it’s extremely flexible. That means you can create whatever content your audience will dig, as well as drop affiliate links wherever you need them.
Leave glowing reviews.
Reviewing a product or brand positively is at the heart of affiliate marketing. With that in mind, you have an advantage by using review platforms. If you are consistent in your reviewing process, people will start to trust your input.
However, it’s important to give honest feedback. And, most importantly, only on the products and services you have personally experienced.
Where can you leave these reviews? The most obvious places would be review-style websites or the review section of a product website.
Not can does this allow you to give honest feedback, you can also promote your affiliate links. Or you can steer other viewers to your original content, such as your blog. You can then add more in-depth reviews and explanations to your content while embedding your affiliate links in the product description.
Choose an affiliate platform.
As soon as you’ve selected a niche and built an online following, you can apply for affiliate networks. Besides being free to join, these programs are also looking for publishers who can promote their products effectively.
You can search for affiliate products on these top affiliate networks:
- CJ Affiliate
- Amazon Associates
- Rakuten Advertising
This is only a small selection of the many affiliate programs available. For the best platform for your business, you should conduct your own research — simply searching your keyword + (affiliate program) on Google can help. To be successful in this endeavor, you need to be specific and find a niche that appeals to you and your audience.
Final Words of Advice
It isn’t necessary to make a huge investment to get started with affiliate marketing. In most cases, all you need is time, effort, and consistency.
When you begin to earn money with affiliate marketing, you can reinvest some of your earnings. For example, you may want to use paid strategies like ads and purchasing equipment, such as microphones, computers, and cameras. Until then, use the strategies above to start affiliate marketing with no money.
Frequently Asked Questions About Affiliate Marketing
1. What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is fundamentally about relationships. An affiliate relationship is one between a merchant (Retailer) and you, the affiliate, as well as one between you and the consumer.
Your blog, website, social media feed, or other platform allows you to promote the merchant’s products or services. When consumers purchase products/services from the brand based on your promotion, the merchant pays you a revenue share.
Affiliates may receive join incentives; special discounts or special offers in order to familiarize themselves with a merchant’s brand. Examples include product giveaways, blog post bonuses, and, commissions.
2. What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is an all-in-one package you offer a potential publisher to promote your product or service. Details about the product, the retail value of the product, commission levels, and promotional materials are all required.
3. What is a commission rate?
As a rule, commission rates are based on a percentage of the sale (e.g. 10%), but sometimes a flat amount can also be charged. Each merchant determines the commission rate.
4. Is there a cost associated with signing up for an affiliate program?
Getting involved in an affiliate program for a brand is free. Affiliate networks allow you to sign up for as many programs as you wish. It is free for you to do so.
5. How big is the industry of affiliate marketing?
In the US, about $6.8 billion is invested in this industry. The global investment in this industry is at or above $13 billion.