Updated for July 2020: This post may contain affiliate links. Read the disclaimer
This post on affiliate marketing for beginners is exactly how I started my affiliate marketing journey after being an online digital marketing expert for 1.5 years.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is, imagine getting paid for referring your favorite tools/ platforms/ courses/ products to your audience. Voila! You are an affiliate marketer!
In simple terms, affiliate marketing is the process of earning commissions by promoting other company’s or person’s products and services to your audience.
The company ( whose products you are promoting) pays you a part of the profit for each sale you make.
You are connecting your audience with a product you believe in, and one that will be helpful for your audience. In turn, helping the product’s owner make sales.
If you promote the right product to the right audience, it is a win-win for everyone involved.
Pat Flynn on Smart Passive Income describes Affiliate Marketing as the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
Affiliate marketing involves 3 or 4 parties and is based on the relationship between them.
Let’s look at the different parties involved:
- The Creator or Owner: This is the person or the company who has created a product. Let’s call it Product X.
- The Affiliate Marketer: This is you, the one promoting Product X. So although you are not the owner of Product X, you have signed up for its creator’s affiliate program and are given the opportunity to promote Product X.
- The Buyer: This is the person who buys Product X through you, the affiliate marketer
- The Network: Sometimes, you might sign up on certain affiliate networks such as Clickbank, JVZoo, WarriorPlus, etc. in order to access products you want to become an affiliate for. These networks act as a platform to connect you with affiliate programs of different products.
Types of Affiliate Programs
1. Low cost products
Low cost ebooks, or low cost products on Amazon would fall under this category
2. Low cost products with upsells on the backend
These are generally low cost info-products with done for you offers on the back end. For example, I could be promoting a Facebook ads course for $27 in the front end, with a higher done for you offer for those who buy the front end low cost offer.
3. High ticket offers
You might have seen Amy Porterfield promoting Marie Forleo’ B School. She is an affiliate for Marie’s program. This is a high ticket affiliate program where as an affiliate, Amy gets paid 40%-50% ( This is a rough estimate) of the cost of the product per sale, which is upwards of $500 per sale.
4. Recurring revenue programs
These are my favorite, not only because they pay recurring commissions, but also because they are really helpful for those building online businesses.
For example, I have been using Clickfunnels as a sales funnel builder since I first started my business in December 2017. I have also used it to build funnels for million dollar businesses as part of my full-time job.
So when I started promoting Clickfunnels as an affiliate, it was really easy for me to promote it, since I love it and use it myself. Clickfunnels pays me $38.80 per month for each sale I make on their behalf.
Check out my blog post for a list of 27 Affiliate Programs that pay recurring commissions.
Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: My 7 Step Process
Step 1:Decide on a financial goal for the next 6 months
I know that setting goals was probably something you didn’t have in mind. But I really urge you to take the time to actually map out your financial goal from affiliate commissions for the next 90 days. Mapping financial goals will help keep you on track and stay focused.
Your financial goal should be a stretch, but something that you know is possible for you. It should make you a little uncomfortable, but should excite you at the same time, because you know it is achievable.
If you are new and just getting started, this roadmap will help you build a strong foundation for your affiliate marketing business. So, the first few weeks will be spent on building a strong foundation that you can then build on, in the coming months.
If you already have some skin in the game, use this plan to better organize your business and become more consistent.
Customize this sheet for your business.
Divide your Goal into 5 Big steps and then each big step into 10 smaller steps with timelines. I have filled out the first Goal for reference.
Step 2:Select products/ offers to promote
Before you start creating any assets, it is important to choose your niche and offers that you would like to promote.
The best way to select a niche first, and then select offers that complement each other.
For example, I promote Clickfunnels as a sales funnel builder and Convertkit as an email automation platform. Both of these act as a complement to each other because if you are building a funnel, you will most likely need an email autoresponder.
I would suggest focussing on at most 5 offers when getting started and then building on that.
Step 3:Choose Marketing Strategies
There are several marketing strategies out there that affiliate marketers use to earn commissions.
There are several free and paid strategies that you can use to build your affiliate marketing business.
Spending more money means faster results in more cases, but free strategies work great to build a strong long term foundation for your business.
It is important to understand that there are 2 different types of traffic sources you can use while building your business, search engines and social media channels.
Google, Youtube and Pinterest are the three big search engines. The advantage with search engines is that when someone is searching for a particular keyword, there is intent behind that search. They are actually looking for some information, and therefore they are warmer leads.
With social media platforms, it is generally not the same, unless you start building your community.
But social media channels give you a platform to build your own community, which is the most helpful, mutually beneficial aspect of building a business.
Both traffic sources are important, and the best way to move ahead is to choose at least one of each.
Let’s look at My traffic trifecta.
I am using a blog on my website and repurpose that content into Youtube videos. This gives me a chance to be visible on 2 search engines. You could also focus more on your Youtube channel and then transcribe those videos into blog posts using a transcribing service such as https://www.rev.com
I also added a Facebook group as a social media channel to grow my business, the truth is the more value you provide in the group, the more you learn.
A Facebook group helps you build a community that helps everyone mutually benefit and learn.
Building a community is important and much needed when it comes to building a brand and getting your name out there.
Jacob Caris shares 4 amazing strategies for growing your affiliate marketing business. Check out his course here .
Step 4:Building A Foundation
Now that you have selected your product and marketing strategy, it is time to build a foundation for your business.
Here are the basic steps you can take to build a foundation based on the strategies selected.
- Get a domain and web hosting. I personally use and recommend Bluehost .
- Install WordPress on your domain and choose a paid or free theme. I recommend the
resources page(To share free/ paid resources and make commissions)
Start posting content based on your keyword research and content planning
- If you don’t have a Youtube channel, you will first need to create a channel with a Gmail Account
- Create your channel cover photo, also it is a good idea to create Playlists based on the categories you choose for your Youtube channel
- Create a template for your description so that you don’t need to write one every time you create a new video
- Write down the script for your intro and outro
- Start create videos based on your keyword research
Before you start inviting people to your Facebook group, it is important to lay a strong foundation to drive engagement right from the start. Here’s what you can do to be ready to open your group to your audience
- Set up a good, stand out cover photo with your group’s name
- Fill out the description, rules and create a welcome pinned post which is a video welcoming them to the group and telling them what to expect inside the group
- Scheduling 7-10 posts so that when people start joining the group, there are enough posts for them to interact with
- Plan out a week’s worth of content so you have enough content to drive up engagement during the initial days
- Once you are ready, change the bio, featured image and link on your personal profile to drive people to your Facebook group
Step 5:Planning Content
Content is the backbone of any business, and affiliate marketing is no different. In fact, your time and content acts as an additional incentive for someone who chooses to sign up for a tool/ course using your affiliate link.
It is time to start planning content based on the marketing strategies selected.
If you are going to be blogging or using Youtube, the next step, after selecting your product is to conduct keyword research.
I like to use a Chrome plugin called Keywords Everywhere for Google keyword research.
For Youtube, you can use a plugin called VidIQ for keyword research and for optimizing your videos for Youtube.
You also want to create a schedule for consistent posting.
For search engine content, you want to post content at least once a week.
For social media, it is important to create a schedule that helps you post daily content. This will help you be visible and top of mind for your audience.
Creating a lead magnet aka a free offer in exchange for optins will help you build your email list. The lead magnet can be anything that provides an immediate win to your audience.
The lead magnet will not only help you build your email list, but also your chatbot list and Facebook group.
Here’s how you can use a lead magnet to create a multi-channel connection with your audience:
- Create a lead magnet around a topic that your audience needs help with, and promote it using your traffic sources
- Drive the traffic to a landing page where people with give their email address in exchange for the lead magnet
- Once they opt-in, they are taken to a thank you where you give them an additional incentive in exchange for getting on your bot subscriber list. Check out my free mini bots course at https://bitly.com/botsminicourse
4. Once you have them on your email list and bot list, you can then invite them to join your Facebook group, read your blog and watch your videos on Youtube.
You can also create content to drive leads and sales directly from Facebook. Check out this amazing course that teaches you the step by step process to start making sales on Facebook.
Step 6: Launching and outreach
Now that you have your foundation ready and content planned, it is time to launch your business assets.
At this point, it is important to remember that promotion > creation.
You want to make sure that you are spending enough time on promoting your blog/ Youtube content and creating backlinks through different social media platforms and sharing your content on forums as and when applicable.
Creating promotion workflows will help you build an ecosystem for long term success.
For launching your Facebook group, take the time to reach out to people you know will benefit from your group and invite them to join your group. Aim to hit 100 members in the first 24 hours.
This will help your group grow organically.
The more value you give in your group, the more it will grow.
Step 7:Creating workflows + schedule
Once you become consistent with your content and provide value, people are beginning to trust you and follow you.You want to continue providing value and building your community.
If you have been taking courses that are helping you in your journey, you might want to share those with your audience in order to help them, as well as start earning some affiliate commissions almost immediately.
Once you have chosen your main marketing strategies and planned your main content, creating workflows and a schedule makes it easy to stay consistent.
Sticking to a schedule helps stay focused and consistent. You can create a schedule based on the amount of time you have, to work on your business.
I like to decide my monthly schedule in advance and then plan each week based on that.
For example, if I decide to write 4 blog posts in a month, I know that I will be writing one per week.
I can then look at my blogging workflow and decide how much time each task in the process of writing one blog post will take me. You can find content on workflows inside The Content System
My Blogging Workflow
Once you have a basic schedule in place, you also want to create a content repurposing workflow to use the same content on multiple channels.
Think of your main piece of content like an asset that you can then repurpose on other platforms.
Here is an idea for a content repurposing workflow. You can find more content repurposing content inside The Content System .
Finally, it is important to analyze how you did, what worked, what didn’t and how you can improve.
Use data from Google Analytics and Vidiq to study your blog and video content and make a note of things that did really well. Double down on them and scale what is already working.
In terms of social media, go through and make notes of all posts that received maximum engagement and work on creating similar ones.
You can also add another traffic source at this stage, for example, using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, Youtube channel, Facebook group and lead magnet.
It is important to remember to focus and build out multiple traffic streams over a period of time so that you are not dependant on a single source of traffic.
The next step is to plan the next 90 days building on what you have already created.
If you are ready to start taking action and build a sustainable affiliate marketing business, I’d suggest checking out Jacob Caris’ Dream Car Profits course. It really helped me build a strong foundation for my business.
Track your traffic, leads and sales every week using this sheet.
My favorite courses for Affiliate Marketing for Beginners:
This course is by Anastasia of Anastasia Blogger. It is the most comprehensive Pinterest course I have taken.
Jacob Caris is a Clickfunnels dream car winner and 6 figure affiliate marketer. In this course, he has broken down his journey in an easy to follow, step-by-step process.
I really recommend this course for anyone who is getting started with an affiliate marketing business.