Affiliate marketing can be a great income source for those willing to work online. However, starting affiliate marketing without investing money can be tricky.
In this article, I’ve shown the steps you can take to start it with no spending. If you are new to BuzRef, don’t forget to join the BuzRef community for amazing affiliate marketing growth tips & strategies.
Generally, affiliate marketing involves 4 steps:
- Sign up for an affiliate program
- Get a unique affiliate link for each product you want to promote
- Promote the product and send visitors to the affiliate links
- Get commission for every sale you’re responsible for
However, these steps are superficial. There’s a lot more involved. Below I’ve described the 5 steps necessary to start & become successful at affiliate marketing without spending money.
Now let’s get into the 5 steps to get started with affiliate marketing.
Table of Contents
#1 Decide how you’re going to promote your affiliate products
Before signing up for an affiliate program you should be clear about how you’ll promote the products.
There are a lot of freeways you can do affiliate marketing. Some of them are described here.
YouTube is the greatest platform to start affiliate marketing for free. You don’t have to pay anything to start a YouTube channel.
You must have seen many times that many video creators on YouTube promote some kind of product and put the affiliate links in the description.
That’s exactly how you’ll do affiliate marketing on YouTube for free. You can upload as many videos as you want for free and get traffic to them through YouTube search and recommendation.
Needless to say that it requires a lot of hard work to produce videos. But, if you are ready to do the required work, it’s possible to monetize those videos through affiliate marketing.
Here are the basic things needed to run a successful YouTube channel and earn money through affiliate marketing.
- Courage to face camera
- Presentation skill
- Knowledge about the topic your YouTube channel is about
- Video editing skill
- Basic YouTube SEO
- Marketing skills
You can learn all these skills easily through blogs and videos. You don’t need to be an expert on video editing, SEO, or marketing. You can learn them gradually in the journey. However, basic knowledge is compulsory.
Pros of doing affiliate marketing on YouTube:
- It’s completely free
- If you can produce really good videos, your chances to grow on YouTube are faster than on social media or blogs.
- Huge traffic potential
- Passive income source
- Hard to produce high-quality videos for a shy person
- High competition
- Takes time for results to show
- Dependence on YouTube (they can ban your channel if you don’t follow their policies)
Requirements for success:
- Production of valuable videos around a particular niche
- 1 year of work without expecting anything in return
Social Media & Online Communities
Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and online communities like Quora are also places where you can start affiliate marketing.
These aren’t as great as YouTube & Blogging if you don’t have a large following and don’t want to spend money. However, you can still earn money from affiliate marketing using these mediums.
To do affiliate marketing in Social Media you have to build an audience first. Creating helpful and valuable content is a way to gain followers organically on social media.
Focus on at least two or three social media channels for maximum long-term results.
Let’s discuss some of the places where you can start affiliate marketing without investing a single amount of money.
Do you know that you can make money doing affiliate marketing through Facebook groups?
You must have encountered people sharing some irrelevant links on group post comments. They’re actually sharing affiliate links hoping that some will visit the links and buy something.
No, I’m not telling you to do the same. Spamming affiliate links end in getting banned from Facebook. Spamming is never a good affiliate marketing strategy.
By the way, did I tell you that you should join the BuzRef community to get free affiliate marketing tips & strategies?
What you can do on Facebook is create a group and increase the group members. Moreover, the Facebook group should be about a particular topic for example group of people who like to talk about Android phones. Never add random people from here and there to your group.
Things you can do to increase group members are:
- Adding friends to the group and requesting them to add their friends as well
- Share group link where it makes sense on other groups (remember, don’t spam- make it relevant)
- Adding a few more friends to your friend lists and then adding them to your group
- Keep the members engage by posting regularly; commenting on others’ posts; rewarding the regular contributors by mentioning them in your posts or making them moderators.
After having decent members in your Facebook group you can promote affiliate products to them. Make sure to promote products that are valuable to the members and don’t overdo it.
Similarly, you can start affiliate marketing on Instagram, Twitter, and Quora.
I don’t recommend starting affiliate marketing on social media & online communities if you’re doing it from scratch and aren’t willing to spend money.
You can pick up a social network with either a YouTube channel or a Blog to do affiliate marketing for higher results.
- Networking skills
- Marketing skills
Pros of starting affiliate on Social media or online communities:
- You can make money
- You become an influence in the journey
- Opportunities of earning other than affiliate marketing such as getting sponsored.
- Networking- opportunity to get familiar with other influencers
- Lower earnings from affiliate marketing compared to YouTube & Blog
- Takes time to build an audience
- Active income source rather than passive
Blogging has the highest earning potential from affiliate marketing.
Platforms like Medium, Blogger.com, and Tumblr are free. You can use them to create a free blog and start affiliate marketing.
However, to do affiliate marketing professionally, I recommend getting a custom domain & web hosting, which costs as little as $20 a year.
Remember, we spend thousands of dollars for a college degree so that we can get a good job. 20 dollars compared to that is nothing. If you are serious to earn passive income online, that’s the least you can do.
Alright, it’s totally up to you. If you want to go free, create a blog using the free platforms I mentioned earlier.
You can include affiliate links within the blog posts you publish.
Bringing traffic to the blog is also important to generate sales and make money. A few traffic sources are Google, social media, and niche forums.
- Content writing skill
- Networking skills
- Marketing skills
- Graphic designing/ photo editing
Pros of doing affiliate marketing through a blog
- Higher earning potential
- Passive income
- Earning possibilities other than affiliate marketing such as sponsored posts, and ads.
- You can set up an eCommerce store on your blog when you have enough monthly visitors
- Needs great effort to grow a blog
- Very high competition
After deciding the online platform you’re going to use for affiliate marketing, there’re series of things you need to do next.
- Select the niche
- Create content around that niche & build an audience
- Find affiliate programs & signup for them
- Get affiliate links & promote them
Let’s see how each of these can be done in brief.
#2 Select a niche for affiliate marketing
The initial step in affiliate marketing is to select an industry. You’ll be promoting products related to that specific niche or industry.
It’s not a good idea to promote random products. For example, you shouldn’t promote one product related to health and another related to gadgets. Be specific with the products you select.
A few things to consider while choosing a niche are:
- Your interest in the topic
- Types of affiliate programs within the niche
- Your knowledge or skills related to the industry
How to find out your interest, competition, affiliate programs & level of knowledge for a niche?
Finding your interest: Know more about yourself to find what you might be interested in. Answer these question:
- What’s your profession?
- What did you study (are studying) in college?
- Which sports do you play?
- What type of content do you consume most on the internet?
- What types of books do you read?
- How do you spend most of your time?
- What type of talks do you like to have with your friends?
- What are the things you are good at?
- What do others say you’re good at?
Make a list of a topic answering similar questions and choose a topic from them. You need to be comfortable creating content (videos, infographics, articles, social media posts, etc) around the topic you selected.
Checking the competition: Generally the broader the niche the harder the competition will be. Do the following to get a glance at the competition you’ll have to face.
- Search the topic on Google and see how big website has created content
- Search the topic on YouTube and see how big channels have created the videos
- Search the topic on social media (Facebook, Twitter) and see how many people are talking about the topic, the popular accounts
You may want to go with a less competitive topic. Suppose, you selected “personal hygiene” as the niche and it has too much competition. In this case, you can narrow down the topics such as “personal hygiene for young people” or “personal hygiene for old citizens” or “personal hygiene for sportsmen”.
Find out the affiliate programs available: Almost every niche has some kind of affiliate program. You can search “[your niche] affiliate programs” on Google to see the types of programs available.
Alternatively, you can sign up with affiliate networks to check the affiliate programs within your niche. Keep reading for more information.
Your knowledge about the particular topic is also important to select a niche for affiliate marketing.
You can learn things in detail later on the journey but basic knowledge is a must.
#3 Create Content & Build Audience
You decided which platform to choose for affiliate marketing and selected a niche, now, it’s time to set up the platform and produce content.
You can find tons of online tutorials by a Google search to start a blog or YouTube channel. We’re not going to discuss that here. Instead, I’ll give you some tips to create content and build an audience.
Tips to create content (video, audio, article, images, etc):
- Before creating content find out what user might like to consume
- Have the user-first mentality- don’t be self-focused
- Create content for a single person because everyone is going to consume it individually
- Create content that helps users to get what they were expecting from your content before consuming it.
- Make it look professional
- Without compromising the quality, produce as much content as you can
Tips to build an audience
For a YouTube channel:
- ask viewers to subscribe to your channel in every video;
- make face videos;
- quality of the video is important;
- be good at editing; produce as many videos as you can without compromising the quality;
- be specific to a niche, don’t make random videos;
- reply to every comment;
- learn & apply YouTube SEO;
For a blog:
- start building an email list as soon as possible;
- use sites like Quora to get more exposure;
- make simple and clean blog design;
- don’t add too many distracting ads, banners, popups;
- invest time in SEO for consistent free traffic
- consistently publish a blog post
For social media:
- produce valuable content
- keep networking
- publish content more often
#4 Join affiliate networks & get affiliate links for each product you want to promote
Affiliate networks are where you can find affiliate programs. A few affiliate networks are:
- CJ Affiliates
- Amazon associates
- eBay Network
Amazon associates is the most popular affiliate network run by the world’s largest online shopping company Amazon.
You can make an affiliate site solely based on Amazon associates. After signing up for an affiliate program you can choose any of the products available on Amazon to promote. For every sale, you get up to a 10% commission.
An affiliate link is a link to a product landing page that is used to track visitors from an affiliate.
Clickbank, ShareASale, CJ Affiliates are other affiliate networks where you can find affiliate products/ programs to promote. Creating an account with these networks is completely free.
Once you signed up for an affiliate network, you’ll find an option for generating an affiliate link for the product you want to promote. The process is, however, different for each affiliate network.
Then, the goal would be to send visitors to that affiliate link so that you get a commission for every purchase they make.
You can use a blog, a YouTube channel, or social media to send visitors to affiliate landing pages through affiliate links.
#5 Get Potential Buyers
The final step is to get potential buyers and send them to the merchant.
You have to use a blog, a YouTube channel, or social media to build an audience, and promote your products to them.
I’ve already covered a lot about building an audience through these channels.
Read the article on how to add value with affiliate marketing for more details.
In this article, I’ve described how you can start affiliate marketing with no money. It takes patience & hard work to succeed online.
The five steps covered here are:
- Choose a platform
- Select a niche
- Build audience
- Join affiliate networks
- Promote the product
YouTube channel, blog, or social media are the three free mediums you can use to do affiliate marketing. The goal is to build an audience using these channels.
If you don’t want to spend a single dollar, I recommend starting a YouTube channel.
What do you think is best for affiliate marketing among these three? Let me know in the comments.
To get free affiliate marketing tips & strategies don’t forget to join the BuzRef community.