Affiliate Marketing For Beginners – How To Get Started For Dummies (3 Steps)

Get started with affiliate marketing

I've been making a living from affiliate marketing the last decade.

It's actually becoming quite a popular choice among people looking to create a passive income, and it's easy to see why that is.

So lets talk about affiliate marketing for beginners and how to get started on that journey.

It's a simple concept to grasp, it requires almost no capital to get started, creates freedom of location, and the income-roof is limitless.

Merchants are offering greater opportunities to earn money through affiliate marketing than ever before.

There's literally affiliate programs for everything today.

Even though there's a lot of competition, it's still a great time to get in the affiliate game as a beginner.

So, how to start affiliate marketing as complete beginner?

Well, this post is all about affiliate marketing for dummies, so you're definitely in the right place to find the answers you need.

Affiliate marketing 101 – The basics for beginners

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work for beginners?

Let me summarize it real quick with the following three questions you probably have on your mind.

💡  What is affiliate marketing?

One word: recommendation. Being an affiliate means that you recommend other companies products and services.

Affiliate marketing in a nutshell: 

  • a way of earning a commission by selling another brand's products or services.
  • based on a revenue-sharing concept.
  • is a well-tested monetization model that offers profitability for all parties.

💰 How do you get paid?

You get paid when people coming from you takes an action on the advertiser's website. There are three pays to earn money as an affiliate marketer:

Commission models:

  1. Pay per Sale (PPS): Earn a percentage of the sale.
  2. Pay per Click (PPC): Get paid for the number of visitors you send to the merchants website (regardless if a sale is made or not).
  3. Pay per Lead (PPL): Get the customer to visit the merchant’s website and complete the desired action. For example, subscribing to a newsletter.

All three ways can generate a decent income and serves their purpose. Which one you should focus on depends on your industry and visitor behaviour.

👨‍💻 Why become an affiliate marketer?

So, before we delve into the realms of how to become an affiliate marketer, lets first touch on why you would want to become one.

There's some real nice upside to making a living through affiliate marketing. In a way, it's dream career for many people.

Why start an affiliate marketing business: 

  • You can actually generate a passive income.
  • No limits or restrictions. No scalability dilemmas.
  • Location independence. You choose from where you want to work.
  • Flexibility. You choose with what niche you want to work, or how you want to work.
  • Limited start up costs. You actually don't need more than €30 to get started.

I actually wrote a longer post about why you should consider affiliate marketing here.

Me by the pool, working on some affiliate projects.

How to get started with affiliate marketing (3 steps)

Now that we have covered the affiliate marketing for dummies part, it's time to concentrate on the main topic: how to start affiliate marketing.

Here are the 3 simple steps on how to become an affiliate marketer:

1.  Join an affiliate network

Finding a decent affiliate network or program is important when starting out as an affiliate marketer. Some affiliate networks are better than others, so always do your research.

Here's the top 5 (biggest) affiliate networks:

📃 See the complete list of affiliate networks (50+)

After signing up to an affiliate network, you'll be able to browse through the different products and services available to affiliate with.

You will see what companies are offering as a commission percentage and what you can expect to get for PPS, PPC or PPL.

Depending on your chosen niche, some networks will more relevant than others.

2. Find a specific brand, product or service that you want to work with

There's hundreds of thousands of products and services, so today, you can literally find affiliate programs for anything.

Now, all you have to do is figure out what products you want to promote.

So, how do you know what products you should promote?

Well, there's no easy way to tell, and many factors are involved.

Here a few things to keep in mind:

→ Something you have passion for. When starting out as an affiliate marketer, I would recommend becoming an affiliate for a product or service that you resonate with and have some level of passion for. If you have an interest in the thing you're trying to sell, it's more likely to come across in your marketing message, and that might lead to increased conversion.

→ Expertise is a big plus. It's a big upside if you have experience with the product, or expertise about the topic. Trying the product or service first hand will ensure that you can speak honestly about your own experience, and it will add credibility to what you're saying. It will also build a sense of trust with your audience and potential customers. This is harder to do if you have no prior experience, but of course, still doable. Again, conversion goes up if you can offer an expert opinion.

→ Niched topic. The more niched products, the easier to sell them. If you go broad, you'll have a more difficult time to convert your visitors into money. Niched products do have a big advantage.

(You'll also need to make sure you can actually sell this product online. Luckily, in 2020, there's not many products or services not being sold online, so barely worth mentioning).

Once you find the products or services:

  1. Create a website or other media around your niche (the products or services you're going to promote), and add it as a channel to the affiliate network. Although creating a website is a fairly simple process today, we're not going to explore that in this post (this might help get you started with a simple WordPress site). You can also check out my free affiliate marketing course where I show how to set up a website step by step. Remember to do proper keyword research and build your website targeting keywords with high volume (check out this keyword tool to see search volumes).
  2. Apply to become an affiliate for the company you want to promote through an affiliate network. This process is different for each network, but generally, you should be looking for a “Join” button. Sometimes, it takes a few days to get approved.
  3. If you get accepted, you will receive a unique link which is known as your affiliate link. This is added on your website where you want to promote it. Every time someone clicks the link, the sale or lead that later takes place will be tracked to you.

3. Generate customers and earn a percentage

The final step is all about getting customers, making sales and earning that passive income.

That means, you need to figure out how to get traffic to your website. Of course, that's not always easy.

But with sustained efforts for a longer time, you'll slowly build up your audience, and start getting sales.

Here's 3 basic tips for getting traffic:

Learn SEO. Standing for search engine optimization, it's basically the art of making your website rank high in Google. If you can make your site rank on relevant keywords to your niche, then you'll have plenty of sales coming in and converting will be easy. Here's 7 SEO techniques you might want to learn.

Get social. Advertise your website on social media. Publish valuable content around your topic to get people curious and want to visit your website (and ultimately interested to buy your products).

→ Create content. Become a content creator machine, and create new content often. Write content for the purpose of your reader, but also write content for SEO. You can also create content for other sites to market your own – there's dozens of ways to contribute: write guest posts, post in forums, comment on blog posts, upload videos to Youtube and more. Remember to do keyword research and optimize your content to keywords with both high and low volume.

3 tips to succeed as an affiliate marketer

Here are 3 basic but fundamental tips I would give anyone thinking about giving affiliate marketing a go:

1. Affiliate marketing is easy – don't overcomplicate the process

It's actually really easy to get started as an affiliate, don't over complicate the process.

The truth is, most people never start because they think it's too hard.

And many times, they try to learn everything there is about the affiliate game before even starting with their first website.

It's not really that hard, and you don't have to learn everything.

Just get started.

What's hard is be resilient enough to keep working hard for at least 3-12 months, to see the good results.

2. Promote affiliate products you know

It's important that you understand and believe in the product or brand you are promoting.

So pick a product you can understand and believe in.

Then really get to know your target audience: how best to get through to them and what makes them want to purchase what you're offering.

Having an audience who have a connection to your content and products means they are more likely to purchase the stuff you recommend.

As an affiliate marketer, it's your goal to become an authority figure on the products you intend to promote.

3. Be realistic about what affiliate marketing is

Building an affiliate marketing business has the potential to generate a sizeable passive income stream with great opportunities to scale and expand into something huge.

But also, it is important to understand that affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme, and income is not always stable.

You will get successful if you work hard, but it will still take a lot of time.

You need to be mentally prepared to put in the time, have patience and work hard.

Having unrealistic expectations ensures you're gonna quite too early.

Affiliate marketing course – 7 steps to get started as a full time affiliate

Thanks for reading. This was a very simplified post on how to get started with affiliate marketing as a beginner, and doesn't even begin to cover all the things you need to know to become successful.

Today I am making more than a 6 figure income per month, solely from my affiliate projects. And yes, you can too.

But let us be honest: it's gonna take you a while to get there – there's no doubt about that.

However, there's no need to take unnecessary detours. I mean, it took me almost 10 years, mostly because I didn't know where to focus.

Luckily for you, I've created an affiliate marketing for beginners course, explaining how to get started on a more practical level in 7 simple steps, and what's important in this game.

The course is free, you don't need to enter any card information and you can sign up in a few clicks using Facebook.

What you will learn in the course:

  • Introduction to affiliate marketing
  • The reality of being an affiliate
  • Choosing your niche – practical guidelines
  • Buying a domain and hosting in 5 minutes
  • Setting up your own site with WordPress and configuration
  • Content writing 101
  • Finding affiliate products and getting your first sales

If you want to get involved and start the course today, click here to sign up.

Written by
Johannes Larsson
Join the discussion

  • Hello!
    Your article nicely lays down the fundamentals and the exact steps through which everyone can master affiliate marketing.
    A big Thank You.
    While I will myself start working on it, I am happy to share that I have already shared your post with my children and grandchildren to benefit from affiliate marketing.

  • In a very simple language, you have projected a complete business plan.
    Sir, certainly by earliest I will attend your training program.

  • A pretty good guide on affiliate marketing. Although I’m not quite sure I understand how you actually get the sales.. how exactly do you generate traffic?

    • You can get traffic with valuable content, SEO and lots of patience. Maybe check out my free course if you need some more info!

  • Thank you so much for this helpful and informative article. I will be using these techniques to earn even more.

  • Hi Johannes,
    I just wanted to say that I started out on the affiliate marketing journey only three months ago. And reading this blog of yours today got me just as excited as I did back then. So congratulations on such a good post. I love how in-depth you have throughout your topics covered here.
    What really stood out to me was ‘why you want to become an affiliate marketer’ and the reasons that you give are spot on. I started up my own website when I began and have to say there’s so much to learn but as you’ve said it’s best to not overcomplicate it. But the reasons that you have given to start-up are some of the exact reasons that I began my journey to freedom. To have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world would truly be the icing on the cake for me. And to get out of retail and into building my own business which is scaleable to how I want it is truly the dream come true.
    I recently did my own blog exactly on this of how much money you can truly make from affiliate marketing as a business.
    Honestly being new into this any advice would be great from you and how long have you been blogging for alongside your affiliate marketing business? It would be nice to find out a little more information about this as I’m blogging primarily to help guide people in a similar way to you. And it’s great to learn from the people out there who have gone through the journey themselves. You really are an inspiration and anyone who chooses this digital lifestyle over the standard 9-5 from reading your posts is just as amazing.
    I Will look forward to reading more from you. And thank you for such a good post for all your readers, so nice to see something authentic like this.

  • Thanks for sharing Johannes. Your Step-by-step tutorials are easy, it’s a matter of time before I start having cash rolling in! Appreciate you sharing your knowledgeess. Can’t wait to get started.

  • Wow, this article was packed full of great tips for people who are new to affiliate marketing. So many people give up too quickly but remembering this is a long term game, not overnight success – perseverance pays off.

  • In German we say – “Traumberuf” the dream job. Yes journey is tough but worth taking as it opens the door to living life on own terms. nützliche Info!!

  • Such a nice post laying down affiliate marketing tips for the beginngers. Undoubtedly, your website has such a clean and eye catching design. It was truly great read. :)

  • Creating a simple website has become my biggest hurdle. I tried your way – this might help you get started – but did not work for me – too technical, too much to learn & what if I am mid way (already bought a dmain etc..) will greatly appreciate a new post from you on How to create a simple blog for beginneres & how to create simple blog for not so beginners (mid-way)