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Affiliate Marketing For Beginners-How Does It Work?

Here's what we'll cover

Affiliate marketing is becoming popular as a source of making money. If you are interested in doing affiliate marketing, here is a comprehensive guide for beginners.

Let’s get started.

In the article, I will explain how affiliate marketing works, how to pick a niche, how to start a website or blog, keyword research, promoting your website, and how much you can make from the marketing.

In addition,

You will also get to learn the components of a successful system, steps to becoming an affiliate marketer, and popular affiliate programs in the market.

It is not a secret.

Times are hard with the current economy, and everyone wants to make that extra shilling. The good news is that there are thousands of ways that you can earn cash. One of the fastest ways to make some money is through affiliate marketing.

If you have never heard of it or do not know how to go about it, here is a step by step guide on how affiliate marketing for beginners works.

I can assure you this guide is suitable for beginners as it explains the concept in the simplest way possible.

So let’s get busy.

Download Now: Free Content Marketing Strategy For Affiliate marketers

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Affiliate marketing entails promoting another company’s or person’s product and earn a commission if a sale is made through your advertising.

Does it sound familiar? If not, don’t worry, we will do this step by step.

So what do you need to get started?

All you need to do is identify a product that you like, promote it to other people, and earn some commission for every sale made. That is mainly achieved through product reviews. It is a smart way of earning passive income.

The Components Of A Successful Affiliate Marketing System

There are various parties involved in this form of marketing. Ideally, the principal parties are the product creators and sellers and the affiliate marketer.

However, you can be both at the same time. An ideal marketing system consists of the following.

  • The merchant
  • The affiliate
  • The customer
  • The network

The merchant

This party is also referred to as the creator, brand, vendor, or retailer. It can be an individual or company.

Merchants need not be actively involved. They just need to have a product to be sold.

The Affiliate

The party is also referred to as the publisher. Affiliates can be companies or individuals and earn commissions that are determined by the total sales of the product.


They have to convince the potentials that a merchant’s digital products are valuable so that they buy them. 

The Customer

The consumer is the backbone of an affiliate system. Without sales, there would be no profits earned by merchants hence no commissions to be collected by affiliates.

The Network

A network works as a link between the affiliates and merchants. Some people believe that they can promote a product and get a direct commission from the merchants.

As simple as it sounds, this is risky. For instance, not all merchants are trustworthy, and you might not get your share of the profits.


Customers will take you more seriously if you use reputable networks. Also, you will only find certain products of interest on specific platforms.

Networks serve as databases for many products, and affiliates have a variety of products to market at their disposal.

Therefore, you need to make use of a network and enjoy numerous benefits.

There are many affiliate networks in the market, and you cannot lack an ideal option. A few examples are eBay, ShareASale, Amazon, Clickbank, and Shopify.

So how do you choose an affiliate network?

Deciding on the network to choose is difficult due to the existing variety. It is advisable to work with a platform that is reputable and has a variety of products and payout options.

Before you make the final decision,

Visit the websites of the platform you are interested in and learn more about their products and their terms and conditions. 

Steps To Becoming An Affiliate Marketer

Are you still with me? Now you are closer to becoming an affiliate marketer.

As said earlier,

Affiliate marketing is primarily composed of merchants and affiliates as the principal shareholders. If you are interested in becoming either, here are the main steps.

How To Become A Merchant

  • Have a product idea
  • Get feedback, create the product and find affiliate partners
Have A Product Idea

What exactly does this mean?

Having ideas is easy, as many people have things that they love. However, there is no guarantee that what you like is a good idea. The right product is one that solves different problems of the consumer.


Even if you are thinking on the lines of what you like, think solutions. Also, consider existing products and establish positive changes that you can make so that your product is unique and useful too.

Get Feedback, Create The Product And Find Affiliate Partners

Once you get the idea, get feedback from potential customers. Tools such as Topsy can help you get a rough idea of how much traffic your product attracts. If you are confident that your product is ideal, create it and find affiliate partners.

How To Become An Affiliate

  • Pick a niche
  • Find a suitable affiliate partner
  • Start a blog or website to review products that are in your niche

Pick A Niche

It is essential to select a profitable niche if you want to make good money. However, picking the right marketing niche is not as easy as it sounds.

Why is that?

Some people suggest that you should not stick to what you know and that you should be flexible enough to handle any niche.

Well, that depends if the niche is going to be worth investing in.

Nonetheless, the learning curve for some potential niches is long and grasping the concepts might take you longer than expected.

Most of the areas are generally quite competitive, and it is wise to stick to a field that you have some knowledge or experience.

However, what I can tell you is this.

The rule of thumb is to select an area that has low competition. Some tools such as  SEMRush and Google Keyword Planner can show you the competition level for better insight.


More competition does not necessarily mean poor sales. It is essential to note that each niche has many sub-groups that have great potential.

Hence, select an area that can expand and present opportunities to make money. The smaller categories offer new affiliates with a chance to build a brand in specific niches and gradually progress to broader ones.

Find A Suitable Affiliate Partner

However, you must find affiliate partners first as it will help you know what exactly you will be promoting. Fortunately, with tools such as Digital Product Delivery and Gumroad, you can easily create affiliate partners and enable the collection of commissions. 

But here comes the challenging part.

Finding affiliate partners that have an audience that has an interest in what you are selling is not a walk in the park. To make this easy, you should search for your product of interest in any search engine and identify relevant company sites.

Having done that,

It will be easy to pitch to different merchants whose products fall within your niche.

If you meet the criteria for partnering with potential companies, contact them, and convince them to partner with you.

You can send an email, introduce yourself, and your product and ask whether they would be interested in partnering on sales where you will share revenue.

If you proposal is accepted, What’s next?

Go ahead and set up a meeting for further discussions. It would be a good idea to discuss the commission percentage as well. Rarely do affiliates get offered commissions of 50% and above because digital products do not have replication costs.

Some free piece of advice.

Do not be greedy when negotiating. Split the profits reasonably to get you in business.

It is also vital to note that having a website or blog is crucial as some partners will not accept you if you do not have one.

A good website is a prerequisite for successful affiliate marketing, and every partner wants serious affiliates in their team. However, it is not the end of the road if you do not have one. 

Start A Blog Or Website To Review Products That Are In Your Niche

Starting a website or blog is easy, thanks to the many website-creating tools available online. Some platforms such as Wix are user-friendly and have special features such as Artificial intelligence.

So this should not be a problem. Right? If That is a problem, you can check out the best blogging platforms here.

Once you provide all your information describing your business and type of website you want, you can select a template, and a new website or blog will be created.

Once you have gotten it tapped,

You can customize it to fit your needs. Alternatively, you can hire professionals to develop a website for you, although this option might be expensive.

Once the website is set up, you need to make sure that your website copy is relevant to your readers. The content should be SEO friendly to get your website to the top ranks fast. To achieve this, you must pick the right keywords.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is essential as it helps in increasing traffic to your website. The process entails search engine optimization (SEO). The primary purpose is to identify words that individuals search for and use them on your site.

Therefore, you need the right keywords on your website so that you can be among the top websites in search engines. Most people will choose commonly used words.

But the bottom line is this.

It is essential to examine the kind of key phrases that your competitors are targeting. You can use tools such as Buzzsumo to identify the major players in your interest area and knowing the words that resonate most in that area.

Types Of Keywords

There are two types of keywords that most affiliates use. Short-tail and long-tail keywords.

Short-tail keywords are composed of one or two words and are less specific compared to searches with more words.

In addition,

They are searched for more than long keywords, but more particular phrases make up a more significant part of the search volume. 

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific and contain more words, generally between two and five words. They are usually low volume, which means that fewer people search them compared to short-tail keywords.

That can be discouraging, especially if you are just getting started on affiliate marketing. It would be pointless to target keyphrases that anyone hardly searches.

This does not mean that they are completely useless.

Long-tail keywords have some benefits. Your affiliate site is likely to be ranked highly in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Additionally, users are more likely to convert.

You will probably get a purchase from someone conducting a specific search than a general one or two-word keyword. In a study conducted by marketing technology company conductor, long-tail keywords have a conversion rate that is 2.5 times higher than that of short-tail keywords.

The information should not come as a surprise because high-volume search keyphrases constitute 30% of all searches. Long-tail keywords make up 70% of the globe’s search volume.

If you target long-tail key phrases, there is a likelihood that you will attract the right audience and boost your ranking in the SERPs. That is all you need.

Long-tail vs. short tail keywords

Short-Tail KeywordsLong-Tail Keywords
More GeneralizedMore specific
More competitionLess Competition
Possibility of low ranking on the search enginesHighRanking on search engines
Perfect for Large businesses  Good for small businesses

As mentioned earlier,

High volume translates to high competition. When you focus on short-tail keywords that are generalized, you will put your affiliate website in direct competition with major brands in your niche.

Why is this?

They have already earned their position on the first pages of SERP ranks for short-tail keywords. Additionally, they have more marketing resources than you. Therefore, competing with them is a daunting battle that you will probably lose.

How To Find Keywords For Your Affiliate Site

Investigating your competitor’s content is a step in the right direction. You can target the right phrases by understanding what other affiliates in your niche prefer.

To get the best keywords,

Start by using free tools because you want to limit your expenses as much as possible. However, some of these tools are not free, and you probably need to pay some little cash to use them.

The good thing is that they are worthy of your money as they help you grow your keyword pool significantly. Here are some free keyword finding tools.

  • Google search
  • Ubersuggest
  • SEMrush
  • Wordtracker

The quickest way to find keywords is by using Google search. It is a free method, and you can learn what most people search for by using the autocomplete feature on the search bar.

The best part is.

You can get suggestions that match your search. Also, you can check the ‘related search’ area found at the bottom part of the results page.

That will help you to narrow down on potential search phrases, and you can find new ideas for other niches.


It creates keywords based on the searches people type on google and your competitor’s preferences. When you search your keyword, you will get to know its search volume, cost per click, SEO and ranking difficulty.


It is a popular SEO tool that works well for digital marketers. It provides top-notch features such as competitive intelligence and technical SEO auditing.

You can find the keywords you need for your site quickly while preserving your affiliate marketing strategy.

Most importantly, the tool accommodates multilingual and multinational environments making it easy for marketers to penetrate international markets easily. A plan with the platform will cost you $99.95 monthly.


This is an excellent tool that gives insights on competitor’s keyphrases, related terms, competition levels, and gives information from various sources such as Google and Amazon.

You can open a free account that only gives 100 keyword results. The paid option is better as you can access up to 10,000 keywords.

Reviewing Products

Reviewing is easy once your blog or website is set up because any product works. You just need to focus on the products you use and like.

Most importantly.

You have to publicly talk about these products to reach out to as many people as possible. You can achieve this by reviewing products in your blog.

The best kind of review is that of comparing your product to that of a direct competitor. Also, ensure that you relate to the product so that your reports are generally helpful.

You can only review a product credibly if you know it in and out and have probably used it. Many consumers will not buy your product if they feel like your aim is to make money. 

No one loves scammers!

If you are promoting a book or online course, your review might be a bit different. Perhaps, consider dwelling on the excellent reputation of the author or tutor and previous works if you have known them for some time.

Want to know a secret?

When reviewing the products on your blog, you can add an affiliate link to the products that you are promoting. You can get a short link on websites such as Amazon and start getting commissions when people buy through this link. 

However, if you only rely on this link to make money, you will probably need to have lots of traffic. Hence, you need to find a direct way to contact potential customers to market to them when you want instead of waiting for them to visit your site. 

That calls for the following step.

Marketing Or Promoting Your website

You can promote your website in various ways. 

  • Create a list of emails with your prospects
  • Use live webinars to educate your audience 
  • Expand your business with PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising
  • Use social media platforms
  • Make use of YouTube 

Create A List Of Emails With Your Prospects

Email is a favourite when it comes to online marketing. You can collect email addresses of people that visit your site quickly by using tools such as Hello Bar, Sidebar Widget, and Exit Gate. The more the emails, the higher the chances of making a sale.

However, you can still get significant sales even with as little as 500 email addresses as long as you keep your audience engaged. You can send updates weekly and inform them when you have any new reviews.

But wait-There is more.

Perhaps, you might have identified a new favourite product. You need to tell your audience your reasons for the change of heart and why you think they should switch to that product.

Use Live Webinars To Educate Your Audience 

Once you have collected the emails, be proactive, and take the promotion a notch higher. Apart from reviews, consumers enjoy watching live presentations as well.

You get a chance to engage your audience directly. Tools such as LeadPages can help you create a page where people enroll for your webinar.

You can promote your live stream on social media in advance and get interested parties to sign up.

In your video, you can show the product features, how to use the product, and even share your experiences with the product. You also get to answer questions that potential customers have.

Your webinar should be informative and short. Consider sharing your affiliate link at the end of the video so that interested buyers can buy the products.

Expand Your Business With PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising

You can think about paid advertising when your business starts to do well. However, you should only engage in this if you are sure that you have a means of getting your money back.

If not, you will not make it in affiliate marketing. Additionally, you can use PPC to asses the level of competition. If nobody is advertising or placing bids on a given space, this is an indication of low appeal.

You can use PPC advertising to increase sales, grow your email list, and get more traffic to sign up for your webinars. That increases your chances of making more sales hence higher commissions. 

Use Social Media Platforms

Many potential clients have social media accounts, and you can reach out to them quickly. You need to join the affiliate programs of the platforms of interest.

Then, create pages for your brand on various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. Ensure that you link them to your website. Soon you will have a significant following and might get some sales quickly.

Make Use Of YouTube 

You can become a YouTube affiliate and record more sales. Joining YouTube’s affiliate program is instant, and you can post your video a soon as it is ready.

It can be a how-to video, unboxing video, or even a review pf your products as long as it persuades viewers to make a purchase. Your videos should be of good quality with informative content.

How Much Can One Make Through Affiliate Marketing?

There is no defined figure when it comes to affiliate marketing returns. But, if you are wondering whether it can make you wealthy, the answer is yes.

You can make thousands or even millions depending on your choice of product, partners, and networks.

If you want to earn millions, ensure that you promote your products aggressively, and have the right people in your team.

Also, choose the right tools to help market your products and support as many products as you can. Most importantly, build a good reputation, and you will always have clients making sales.

How do I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

To start affiliate marketing, you have to choose a niche, research different affiliate programs and products, build a site, produce excellent content, build an audience and promote affiliate products.

How do I become an affiliate marketer?

The secret is choosing a proper niche, right affiliate network, consider buying the product even before promoting it and lastly utilize social media marketing.

What is the best affiliate marketing program for beginners?

Some of the best affiliate programs for beginners include Amazon, Shopify, Clickbank and eBay

How much money can you make as an affiliate marketer?

There is no limit. The amount of money depends on how much products or services that you are promoting are bought.

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