Affiliate Marketing

A Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing

There are a million reasons to fall in love with Affiliate Marketing.  One of my personal favorites is passive income.  When done properly,  the value that you generate with your content can lead people in the direction of a product that you recommend.  Every sale that’s generated from that recommendation will turn into profit in your pocket, welcome to affiliate marketing.

Once you start to build a network of affiliates online, it’s easy to see why digital marketers love affiliate marketing so much.   The profits are plentiful and in many cases passive.

Full Disclosure:  Affiliate marketing is certainly not what it used to be.  That doesn’t mean affiliate is dead, trust me, it’s not! 

Passive Income: Passive income is an income that requires little to no effort to earn and maintain. It is called progressive passive income when the earner expends little effort to grow the income.


What is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply put, affiliate marketing is the program by which an affiliate promotes someone’s (or a company’s) products and receives a commission from each sale.  An example of affiliate marketing is if you were to set up a blog reviewing every pair of Lebron’s.  As you start to write more reviews on your blog,  you’ll drive traffic and offer a recommendation.  The sales generated through your link (recommendation) will earn you an affiliate commission.

Lebron Affiliate Marketing Site

The Consumer:  The person actually buying the product is the consumer.  Without a consumer the affiliate model does not work.  Driving the right type of consumer to your content is crucial for building a strong affiliate business. 

The Merchant:  The Merchant is the owner of the product.  In most cases this is who created the product you’re promoting.  Merchants can range from a single person with a single product to large corporations with thousands of products.  

The Affiliate:  Like merchants, affiliates come in all shapes and sizes.  Solopreneurs all the way up to fortune 500 companies.  Affiliate marketing businesses can produce millions of dollars in revenue per month.  A very profitable endeavor for many publishers (affiliates).

The Network: Sometimes affiliates go through an affiliate network in order to promote a merchant’s product.  Technically, affiliate marketing could work without an affiliate network.  However, if you’re serious about growing a substantial affiliate marketing business it’s a good idea you know what an affiliate network is.  Websites like ClickBank or Commission Junction handle all financial transactions and delivery of the product.   Additionally, the affiliate network also serves as a hub with other products you can promote.   One of the largest affiliate networks is Amazon, in which you can promote any item sold on their website.

Affiliate Marketing Channels

Why become an affiliate marketer

If you’re new to online marketing, affiliate marketing is a great place to start because you don’t need to have a product or service.   Creating a product requires skill to develop and time to create.   Most newbies have neither.  So if you’re new to earning money online, affiliate marketing allows you to profit quickly.

Moreover, it has extremely low start up cost, no sign-up fees, no inventory, and you can choose from thousands of products online.  You decide what you want to promote, whatever niche you’re passionate about surely has products you can promote within it.  

It goes without saying but earning money while you sleep an ideal situation for everybody.  You’ll quite literally be earning profits 24/7 if you set it up right.  The revenue potential is limitless with affiliate marketing.  

Common Affiliate Marketing Channels

Not all affiliates advertisers their products the same way.  There’s several well-known channels affiliate marketers will utilize to attract, engage and sell to their audience.  

1. Bloggers

Bloggers immediately have a leg up on other affiliate programs simply by ranking well in the search engines, organically.  Bloggers can write reviews, offer recommendations, and disperse affiliate links throughout their blog  content, driving conversions. 

2. Influencers

As the name suggest, influencers build a following by influencing a certain segment of the population.  Influencers are in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing because they already have loyal followers.  When they create a post for their audience and attach an affiliate product they can benefit from how many sales they helped generate.  

4. Email Lists 

No, email marketing is not dead.  In fact, according to Oberlo, 80% of small business rely on email marketing as a primary sales channel. Social media certainly has a lot of flare, but it’s email marketing that has withstood the test of time.   Add call-to-actions on your website and build an email list that you can consistently promote new affiliate products to.

5. Drive Traffic with Paid Ads

Use paid advertising on Google and leverage the use of landing pages to offer unique content that serves your users exactly what their searching for.  By offering hyper-focused content and bidding on exact match keywords, you can drive conversions that generates sales at a high close rate. 

A ways back we worked with a gentlemen that built out a content rich landing pages about solar panels.  He would then pay for traffic searching for terms like “solar panel installer.”  Once someone filled out a lead form on the website it was directed to a partner company and the affiliate would get a portion of the sale.  


As mentioned earlier, there are two main sides to affiliate marketing, the merchant and the affiliate.   It’s important you understand what you’re role is when determining how you want to build your online business.  

Becoming a merchant will allow you to have others sell your product, obviously, you’d be responsible for providing a slice of the commissions you earn from that sale.  

On the other spectrum, there’s the affiliate marketer.  You can choose one product or several products you’d like to promote.  For beginners just starting out, becoming an affiliate is the most common avenue for making money.  

Just because going the direction of becoming an affiliate is easier doesn’t mean it’s simple and quick.  Establishing yourself as a publisher and getting people to engage your content to the point where they’ll buy something from you takes time and patience.   Sales will not come by simply building a website full of affiliate links.

4 key players of affiliate marketing

Why and How to Become a Merchant

There are many reasons to become a merchant online.  When you have a product or service of high value but you don’t want to get involved in promoting it, you can leverage affiliate networks.  Therefore the merchant can sit back while the affiliates do all of the work.  

Becoming a merchant requires a few things, which we’ll cover in detail below.  The first is an idea for a product you’d like to develop.   Secondly, Before jumping in blindly about which product to create need to make sure there’s demand for your product idea.  We’ll help you generate ideas and identify in-demand niches so you can create products specifically tailored towards problems people face within that niche.  

Thirdly,  you’ll need to actually create the product.  This is where most of the heavy lifting is done.  If you’re new to online business it would be a good idea for you to start developing digital products.  Digital products are cheap to make but also require a lot of time, something a newbie shouldn’t have an issue with.  

Once your product has been created you can then promote your product yourself, or go through an affiliate program to help you find affiliates to promote and sell your product.  

Step 1: Find Ideas for Products to Create

Truth be told, ideas are the easy part of creating a product.   Unfortunately we’ve discovered that people become very attached to their ideas.  Just because your idea might be original doesn’t mean you should be attached to it.  In affiliate marketing, ideas come and go.

In the marketplace today there’s a host of problems that exist in virtually every niche.  Look at what problems are out there and try to build your product around those problems.   You’ll generate much more sales this way.

Or, you can develop a product based around something your passionate with.   Even if you decide to go the route of passion over market demand, there’s still questions people would like answers on within your “passion niche”.

Maybe you’re passionate about stock trading, and you’d like to build a business teaching people how to trade stocks

This is what came up when I search “Stock Trading Course”

Stock Trading Course - Market Research

As you can see there’s a ton of reviews! Click on each of the course and start reading all the 1 star reviews.  

Online Course Reviews to generate affiliate marketing  ideas

The image above only shows to reviews but had you went through all those courses and read the bad reviews you would notice a lot of commonalities.   The authors of these courses were not showing real-life examples of trading.  They were essentially teaching based on theory.  If I was to create a course on Stock Trading I would emphasize real-life examples and technical analysis.  

If you’re still identifying which niche you’d like to sell on using a tool like Google Trends you can see what’s popular and trending online.   For example, you decided you’d like to create a product about advertising on various social media channels, use Google Trends to see which channels are becoming popular.  

Marketing Trend Analysis

If we were to create a course about advertising on social media, we’d spend our time developing a course around Tik Tok vs. Pinterest.  As you can see Pinterest is losing popularity while Tik Tok is building popularity quickly.  

Step 2: Validating your idea

When launching a new business online it’s important that we validate the concept so you’re not selling a service or product nobody wants.  Once we validate the volume of people searching for your idea we now need to get in front of them. 

Validating monthly search volume for niche ideas

It’s time to get in front of these searchers.  Without paying for ad space we can identify this segment of people by identifying them on social networks or online forums.   On Facebook, for example, you can search groups and find a network of people interested in stock trading.  

Joining FB group in your niche

When you join a group like this you have to provide more value than you give in order to establish yourself as someone valuable to the group.  Once you’ve posted valuable content, ask the members of the group to comment on a post asking about the biggest difficulties they face in trading stocks.  Once you’ve built a list of commentators add a link in the comment section where they can provide an email address in order to get early access to a course you’re about to develop.  

Step 3: Create a product

If this were a guide on how to create products online this page would never end.  So I’ll give you a quick rundown of ideas that merchants have used to sell online.  


Online Courses


These links will point you in the right direction for creating a product online.  You might’ve noticed that the examples above are all digital products.   In our experience digital products are much easier to create and you only need to create it once.  

Step 4: Finding affiliate program partners

The first and most obvious place to look for program partners are affiliate networks and directories.   Forum and Communities like Clickbank, JVZOO, and ABestWeb provide the easiest place to connect with potential partners.  Affiliates go to these websites specifically to look for products to promote.  

You can also connect with Bloggers and Influencers.  Find influencers and established bloggers in your niche and reach out to them directly.  Just make sure your build rapport with them before pitching your product for them to promote. 

Affiliate Marketing Networks

Tips for becoming a successful merchant

  • Offer generous commissions for your products – the cost of making these products are near nothing.  The higher the commissions the more intriguing your product is to sell.
  • Start with one course.  Once you understand how well it’s performing and you’re starting to generate consistent sales then move on to the next product.
  • Don’t create a product that’s too broad.  The more niche you can get the easier it will be to pitch. 

4 steps to become an online affiliate marketer 

As mentioned earlier, there’s a lot to love with starting an affiliate marketing business.  Low start-up costs, generous commission plans, and generating passive income are just a few.  With that being said, there’s still a lot of work that is involved.  No successful affiliate marketer made it without putting in the hours.  Here are 4 steps you can take to get started building your affiliate marketing empire. 

First, and possibly most import, you need to conduct thorough market research.  Start by Googling your niche and find popular blogs and websites in your niche.  Check out their social media pages, what they’re selling and join their email list.  Get an idea of how they’re generating profit.

Second,  build an email list to promote your affiliate products.   An email list is the time tested way to generate business online.  Email marketing is a great way to stay top of mind,  promote special offers, and stay engaged with your customers.  

Thirdly, you need to educate and create value to your list of subscribers.  This can be done a number of different ways.  Consistently publishing new blog post, socializing on social media, and educating through webinars is a great way to do this.  

Lastly, now that you’ve performed your market research, built an email list, and educated your audience, you can now scale up with pay-per-click advertising.   

Step 1: Conduct thorough market research 

You’re about to be spending a lot of time building and growing a business.   The better you understand your market, the more targeted you can be with your marketing.   It would be a very sad thing to build a business that sold a product nobody was interested in.

Market Research by search volume

Start by jotting down a list of ideas you’d like to start a business around.  Next, google your business and check out the results, gather ideas about what people are creating articles around.  Then go to youtube to see if there are any popular videos on the topic.

At this point you’re just gaining intel and trying to understand what works for other people in your same niche.

Generating Affiliate Marketing Content Ideas

Most importantly, you need to provide real value to people that would come across your piece of content.  The more you know the product, the better.  Rarely does someone crush it in affiliate marketing if they”re generating content just for profit.  When you can relate and offer a logical opinion of the product, you’ll build a lot of trust, which leads to affiliate sales.  

Step 2: Build an email list 

People new to blogging and affiliate marketing really underestimate the power of email marketing.   The numbers speak for themselves.  Building an email list is the quickest, most effective way to close your readers into buyers.

Email marketing statistics

Making your website have the ability to capture email addresses is vital for email marketing to work.  The size of your email list is not nearly as important as the quality of your list.   Whatever you do, do not buy a list or reach an audience that’s too broad for cheaper clicks.  The more focused your list is, the easier you can sell to them.

Just be sure that you’re communicating with your list regularly.  The more you can segment your list the better off you’ll be.  Once per week is a good starting point.

Check out this article by Peter Havranek, who offers unique ways to capture email addresses on your website.

Step 3: Provide value and educate your audience

There are many different ways you can provide value and educate your audience.  Many people will have common questions within your niche that you’re perfectly suited to answer.  Provide answers to these commonly asked questions and start earning trust as soon as possible.  

Webinars are one way people like to educate their customers.  If you’re promoting a highly technical product, offering a webinar that explains the program and helps people understand it’s benefits will put you in a position to win.  

Another way is to just blog and post content on your social media.  As you start to build an audience you can engage them and ask them what it is they’d like to learn.  

Step 4: Grow your business with PPC advertising

Once you’ve grown a decent customer base and are starting to see revenue trickle in, it’s time to start scaling up.  Paid ads are a great way to buy yourself at the top of the search engines and bid on clicks for popular keywords.  If you’re promoting a course on how to build a dog house, you would bid on the keyword “how to build a doghouse” and basically buy traffic searching for that keyword.   Teaching you PPC is a course in itself, so I won’t dive in too deep here.  I found this page helpful when I was getting started with PPC advertising.   

 The beautiful thing about pay-per-click advertising is that it’s all data driven.  The second someone clicks on your ad, your paying for that click and you can now track all of that users activity down the conversion funnel.  Ultimately  the goal you want to accomplish is conversions. 

Conversions can come in all shapes and sizes.  Whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish when someone comes to your website is the conversion you’ll be tracking.  This could be capturing an email address, getting sign-ups for your webinar, or generating a sale.  

Pay per click - by the numbers

Tips for becoming a successful affiliate marketer

1. Develop a rapport – If you’re selling a product over $100 it’s important that you’re developing rapport with your prospects.  Develop detailed content that covers every area of your product.

2. Make it personal – sending a personalized message changes the game for marketers.  The more information you have on users on your website the more dangerous you can be.

3. Start reviewing products and services  – reviews hold a lot of weight when prospects are making their buying decisions.  The more valuable information you can provide in a review the better your chances of generating a sale out of it.

4. Use several sources – in the world of affiliate marketing, the more diverse you are the better.  As you start to fill your affiliate network test out different products and identify who your best partners are.  

5. Choose campaigns with care – when you’re first starting with affiliate marketing it might not be the best idea to run campaigns asking for sales.  You’ll want to take a more holistic approach of capturing emails, generating value,  Ask for the sale after you’ve earned their trust. 

6. Stay current with trends – Things change with time, especially if you’re selling a digital product.  Be sure that you’re affiliate partners are consistently updating their products and your constantly updating your content on your website. 


In conclusion, there’s two ways to get started in affiliate marketing.  The first is by becoming the owner of a product.  Second is by promoting products you do not own.

To become a merchant you need to find ideas for products to create, validate your idea, create a product, and find affiliate program partners.

The second way, and most common, is to become an affiliate marketer.  To become an affiliate marketer you’ll need to conduct thorough market research, build an email list, provide value, and educate your audience, and grow your business with PPC advertising.

Regardless of what you might’ve heard, affiliate marketing is alive and thriving!  It can be a great way to establish profitability and building a stream of passive income.  

We hope you found this helpful!  Please share your thoughts by dropping us a note here! Thanks for reading, see ya again soon! 

Affiliate Marketing FAQ

How do affiliate marketers get paid?

Affiliate marketers get paid by promoting a product that someone else owns.  Through generating sales the affiliate marketers will get a commission.  

How do you find affiliate programs?

Affiliate networks like JVZOO and Clickbank have entire networks of affiliate products you can potentially sell.  You can also reach out to blogs in your niche to see if they’re offering a course.  If they are, direct message them and ask about becoming an affiliate. 

What are the pro's of affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a billion-dollar business.  It requires very little start-up cost, no specialization and It can provide a secondary source of income.  You also don’t have to actually create products. 

What are the con's of affiliate marketing?

As great as affiliate marketing is, there are certainly some cons.  For one, you don’t control any of the affiliate marketing programs.  The owner of the product decides what you commission out on with each sale.  Additionally, there’s no guarantee for revenue with the time you put in unlike a traditional hourly or salary job. 

How much to start affiliate marketing?

The upfront cost for affiliate marketing is very cheap.   All you really need is a domain name ($12 per year), hosting ($8 per month), and a website.  WordPress is free to start building a website.   To start, you’re looking at about $20.  

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