How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

There are two major aspects of affiliate marketing you can approach or will be suitable for your business. 

i) For a product creator and merchant 

ii) For the affiliate marketers 

Affiliate Marketing Through Your Own Product

ecosystem of Affiliate Marketing For Small Business

If you are a small business owner, one of the most powerful and effective methods to sell your products is affiliate marketing

Here you will be utilizing affiliate marketing as a seller, product creator, and merchant. 

There are different parts of the affiliate marketing system you need to know, such as 

  1. Merchant 
  2. Product 
  3. Affiliate
  4. Consumer
  5. Network


Merchant can be the product creator, the retailer, or the company itself that owns or sells the product. 

It can be an individual, small business, retail store, or big brand as well.  

They utilize affiliate marketing systems to sell their products through affiliates in exchange for a commission. 


Product is anything that the merchant sells to the consumers. It can be digital as well as physical. 

It can be of different nature, such as consultation, service, membership, or physical assets as well. 

guide on affiliate marketing for small business


An affiliate is the third party who is marketing the product of the merchant in exchange for the respective commission. 

They also often refer to as publishers and range from an individual marketer to companies as well. 

Affiliate itself can be a huge business to grow where you produce content or grow relevant audiences to market the affiliate products. 

An affiliate can promote multiple affiliate products to earn their commission, convincing potential consumers to buy the merchant’s products. 


The consumer is the end receiver of this affiliate marketing chain or system. 

The consumer has to buy the product to give revenue to the merchant and further commission to the affiliates fulfilling this affiliate ecosystem. 

In affiliate marketing systems, the consumer doesn’t directly reach out to the merchant or vice-versa. 

Affiliates or publishers reach out to consumers either through producing content or paid advertisements and convince them to buy merchant’s products. 


Network often doesn’t necessarily stand out in the affiliate marketing equation. It is an optional intermediary platform where an affiliate and merchant meet. 

Affiliate Networks curate all the merchant affiliate programs for affiliates to choose from depending upon their preferences or requirement.

Affiliate Networks such as ClickBank are a great example here that is essential for merchants as well as affiliates. 

How To Start Affiliate Marketing As A Merchant 

If you do not have a product but want to start affiliate marketing as a merchant, you need to start by creating a product leading to affiliate marketing. 

Finding The Product Idea

Find an idea that is relevant to your interest and also profitable. It needs to be something unique, but you don’t need to be romantically attached to your idea. 

Just focus on creating a valuable and profitable product for targeted consumers. It should resolve a problem for them. 

Be critical with the ideas you are getting to create a digital or physical product to sell. There are different aspects you need to introspect. 

It can be even better if it comes from your expertise or experience in the industry or product you are creating. 

Find Affiliate Program Partners

Once you’ve created your product, you need to find an affiliate to promote it. 

There are plenty of affiliates, publishers, and affiliate marketing networks available, so that’s the easy part. 

But finding an affiliate program that has an audience that will be interested in buying what you are selling is difficult. 

So it is necessary to identify the right affiliate with relevant and targeted potential consumers for your product. 

Focus on finding the specialist in your product or niche because that can get you the best conversion. 

You also need to decide the commission rate that you will offer to your affiliates. Don’t be hesitant to be generous with the commission. 

Pro Tip:  50% or higher commission rates are the best as well as common amongst digital products. 

Affiliate Marketing For Online Publishers & Blogs  

If you own a publishing business, online magazine, blog, or any content-driven small business, affiliate marketing can be one of your primary sources of revenue. 

Here you will be utilizing affiliate marketing as a marketer rather than a merchant or seller. 

Promoting products through your content will help you monetize your website or blog on a larger scale. 

Even if you are selling your own product, you can still choose to promote certain products along with yours to earn some extra revenue as well. 

Step-By-Step Guide To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing 

Step #1: Deciding the platform for Affiliate marketing 

Affiliate marketing, as you know, is about promoting the products where if anyone buys through your link, you will get a commission. 

So, it is pretty much possible to do it on any platform, as all you need is for people to buy through your affiliate link. 

But the most efficient and long-term way to build your audience for regular sales through affiliate marketing, Blogs, or Youtube channels is the best. 

Further, starting a blog is easier, cheaper, and faster than starting a youtube channel. 

It also depends upon what platform you are already making great content; if it is YouTube, can definitely be leveraged for affiliate marketing. 

You can create content around the affiliate products, including the link within. 

A blog might review and compare products to help the customer make more smart buying decisions. 

You add affiliate links in the blog, so when a reader buys the product through that link, you get a commission. 

Deciding the platform for Affiliate marketing
Image Source: Vlogging Guides

With Youtube, you can suggest or recommend products in the description box of the videos from where the audience can do the same. 

Just make sure you are transparent about any income endorsement through your content by mentioning that your content has affiliate links in the place. 

This is essential, according to the Federal Trade Commission( FTC), to be upfront about how a reader clicks on the links you’ve mentioned, and you get a commission out of it. 

Step #2  Selecting Your Niche For Your Blog/YouTube  

You need to opt for a niche for your blogs to get through the competition. It is also essential as a niche to instill credibility and authority for readers. 

People prefer to read about certain things from specialized sources rather than from any generic website. 

So specify as much as you can to select a particular category, niche, or micro-niche for your blog or Youtube channel. 

Focus on a certain type of topic and areas to get a more targeted audience for your blog. They tend to be high-quality leads and more intention to buy through. 

Going for a specific niche also helps you to rank higher in search engines. For example, Google encourages websites to cover interrelated topics in your niche. 

Choosing the right niche for your blog is a very crucial step which sometimes can go wrong easily if you do not really assess the niche that fits you the best. 

Step #3  Figuring Out Affiliate Programs To Join

 There are three different types of affiliate programs you can go for. 

High-paying low, volume affiliate programs 

These affiliate programs are high on the rewarding side, so you have to make fewer sales to generate more revenue. 

For example, the Affiliate program offered by ConvertKit offers around $700 per month for sending just 80 customers to them. 

Since their products are exclusive to a reserved type or number of buyers, they focus more on offering more revenue to their affiliate marketers. 

Another reason for this is with a limited section of buyers, sales become difficult, and you get a high-paying affiliate commission on such programs. 

On the flip side, it also increases competition for marketers as well to make affiliate sales with high commission affiliate programs. 

If you are all starting out, you should not consider this as your first affiliate program because it can be really challenging to go up against expertise and experienced marketers with deep pockets. 

Low-paying high-volume affiliate programs 

Low-paying high-volume affiliate products are the ones where you get low payouts but larger mass appeal. It allows you to sell on a larger scale. 

For Example, lots of products such as books, household items, movie DVDs, and PS4 games have a significantly low payout for affiliate conversions. 

But they sell like hotcakes if everything goes right with your content and marketing strategy. 

People tend to buy them a lot often, also these products relate to the masses. You get only a certain percentage of the product cost as commission. 

For Example,  for PS4 games, you get $2 or $3 on an average cost of $50, but you can generate a lot of sales in that. 

And this is similar to a lot of products under the Amazon affiliate program, but they sell very well. 

High-paying high-volume affiliate programs 

Affiliate programs that have both extreme mass appeal, as well as high commissions are considered to be high-paying, high-volume affiliates. 

It means the product lies under these affiliate programs that cater to a mass audience and yet they offer a high commission to break through the competition. 

One of the great examples of this category has to be credit cards. Everyone needs it, and it is competitive, so banks and financial companies do not hesitate to offer high commissions for their sales. 

This, however, this segment is driven mostly by the marketer with great expertise and deep pockets. 

It is really competitive and edgy for a new marketer or company to earn through it. 

Become the affiliate for the products & services you are already using

If you want to generate revenue through affiliate sales for the products you can promote apart from the ones you sell or if you sell, here’s how you can start. 

Instead of looking out for reliable products with affiliate programs, you can begin with the products or services you already use. 

Being a small business running a blog, or online publishing company, you should be concerned about what products or services you are recommending. 

If you partner up with other brands to get affiliate revenue from promoting their products, you need to make sure the products are worthy. 

So maybe the best approach is to start promoting the product that you already trust. 

affiliate for the products

Image Source: wpbeginner

It becomes easy for you to convince readers as you have first-hand experience with the product or service. 

Various brands, small businesses, and online publishers promote products and services on their blogs to generate another revenue stream for their business. 

You can actually check that by going to the bottom of the website and clicking on something like “Affiliates” or “Partners.” 

They are looking for affiliate marketers or authority websites to promote their products. 

Watch out for your competition. 

You can always look for what products or services your competition or other brands in your industry are recommending. 

Find similar blogs or businesses just like yourself and find out what affiliate products they are promoting. 

You need to figure out whether they are affiliate products or not. Start by checking all the banner ads on the website. 

When you hover your cursor on those banner ads, you will see the link at the status bar of your browser. 

You can detect an affiliate ID in these kinds of links. These affiliate IDs help merchants to know what sales or traffic they are getting from whom. 

And, then there are other ways to promote the affiliate products through reviews, product comparisons, round-up articles, and recommendations as well. 

Make a list of all these similar blogs in an excel sheet and add all the affiliate products you found them to be promoting very often. 

These can be actually great choices for products to promote, especially when you are starting out. 

Research To Figure out The Best Affiliate Programs To Join 

Another best and easiest way to find affiliate programs that suit your blog or company is just doing research on the internet. 

Search “Best affiliate programs for [Your niche/industry]” on Google, where you will get plenty of results. 

Best Affiliate Programs To Join
Image Source: Whatever I know

There are tons of round-up articles on the best affiliate programs depending upon different niches or types. 

Just go through all, and see what fits your brand or business. You can also set your preference to filter out the most suitable ones. 

You cannot just go blindly for the high-paying ones because they might not be exactly suitable for you for many reasons. 

Also, it is not wise to go for just the relevant ones but not give you much profit in the commission. 

So either   

  1. Start filtering the highest paying commission affiliate programs, or 
  2. Find out the relevant, quality, or most likely popular or known products 

Now, in both cases, you will have to further filter it 

  1. In list a), amongst all the highest paying commissions, you can further filter out or choose the most relevant, popular, credible, and relative to you.
  2. With list b),  you now opt for the ones which are high-paying or well-paying affiliate programs. 

Step #4:  Creating Blog & Content 

Your affiliate links require high-quality content to reach the relevant, targeted audience in order to make it a sale. 

Your content is required to be informative and problem-solving in order to reach out to the audience. 

The affiliate links need to be fitted naturally into your content in order to make your approach less of “sales” and more of “marketing.” 

Creating Blog & Content
Image Source: Wallet Squirrel

Don’t just blindly create content on high-profit products. Make sure you are actually helping your customers. 

You can also use the products yourself if possible or at least do thorough research saving tons of time for your customers. 

Product recommendations and reviews help customers to make aware and better choices regarding spending their money. 

They will happily click on your affiliate links to check about the product and buy through to make your affiliate sale. 

It’s a win-win for both! 

Step #5:  Ranking Your Blog & Driving Traffic 

Even with great content, it is not necessarily that you reach the maximum potential target audience. 

You need to do more work to bring relevant traffic to your blog or website. 

Good content can make affiliate sales, but even for that, the user needs to reach your blog. 

There are different strategies you can utilize to drive traffic to your website or blog. 

Search Engine Optimization ( SEO) 

Optimizing your content according to the search engine in order to rank is search engine optimization. 

First of all, you need to understand what content and search terms your target audience is searching for. 

Use relevant keywords to optimize your content and increase the chances of reaching out to more people. 

You can also build high-quality backlinks for your blogs on authority websites in order to push your site higher in ranking. 

Search Engine Marketing ( SEM) 

SEO is all about bringing traffic to your website organically but on the other hand, Search engine marketing (SEM) is a paid method to market or advertise your blog to reach out to more targeted audiences. 

You can create ad campaigns on Google Ads targeting certain keywords where your result will be shown on the SERPs. 

Google ad allows you to accelerate your audience reach by paying per click on your advertisement. 

The PPC model also makes it convenient and budget-friendly as well. 

Email List  

Building an email list helps you retain the targeted and relevant readers and communicate with them anytime. 

Ask your visitor or reader on your blog to give their email address to get more informative and helpful content in the future as well. 

A greater strategy is to use a lead magnet such as a free ebook, templates, offers, or any helpful resource in exchange for their email address. 

Once you have an audience base, through the emails you send to them, they can keep coming back to your website, giving you sustainable traffic. 

Since these are high-quality engaged readers familiar with your content; they are prone to buy confidently through your affiliate links more often. 

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