How To Start Affiliate Marketing in 2024

How To Start Affiliate Marketing in 2024

You've probably come across an affiliate marketing company if you've ever made an online purchase based on an influencer's recommendation. To promote brands' goods and services, online creators frequently form partnerships with them. They receive a commission for each sale in exchange.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing in 2024

The field of affiliate marketing is expanding. One study projects that worldwide spending on affiliate marketing will reach $14.3 billion by 2023.

Nevertheless, the upfront expenses associated with establishing a website, building an audience, purchasing a domain name, and mastering expert tactics pose a challenge for numerous novice affiliate marketers. Thus, the query is: Is it possible to launch an affiliate marketing company for nothing? 

Short answer: Yes. 

This tutorial will walk you through the process of starting an affiliate marketing business and help you understand how to generate money online without having to pay anything upfront. Your time is all that you will need to invest.

How does affiliate marketing work?

The method of obtaining a commission through the recommendation of a good or service provided by a different company is known as affiliate marketing. The company pays you for each sale you refer to, so it can be very lucrative as a business model.

However, not every affiliate marketing program is created equal. Some offer a fixed bonus, some pay varying commission rates, and others give away free goods or services in exchange. Programs for affiliate marketing include Amazon Associates and the Shopify Affiliate Program.

Successful affiliate marketing has the potential to transform your side project into a lucrative business with enough time and effort.

Why is affiliate marketing a good business model?

You may ask yourself, "A business built on recommendations? " now. Seems too wonderful to be true. Even though it's a good idea to be skeptical, the average affiliate marketer in the US makes approximately $55,275 annually, according to PayScale.

Due to the profitability of affiliate marketing as a business model, it is possible to make a living from it. This is the reason why:

There is little danger. Unlike influencer payments, businesses only have to pay out when you successfully refer them. If affiliates don't meet the mark, the only thing they lose is time because their costs can remain minimal, if they have any at all.

Everyone wins in this situation. The company gains from the sales you generate, and it then pays you back. However, customers gain from having a reliable recommendation to meet their needs and desires.

Anywhere in the world is a good place to work. Affiliate marketing can enable you to work from anywhere in the world if you've ever wanted to be a digital nomad. However, make sure to abide by any labor or tax laws relevant to your place of employment.

It is possible to generate passive income. Building a collection of high-caliber, timeless content is a smart way to generate passive income. Even though it may take some time, you'll eventually discover that months or even years after you first created the content, it continues to earn affiliate commissions.

How to start affiliate marketing

  • Find a niche
  • Choose an affiliate program
  • Decide on a traffic source
  • Create content to build trust
  • Grow an audience
  • Respond and chat with your audience

Being an affiliate marketer can seem like a difficult path at first. However, it's much simpler to accomplish your goals if you break them down into smaller steps.

1. Find a niche

Building a name for yourself in a particular niche is the best path to success in affiliate marketing. Vivian Tejeda, writer and affiliate marketer, says, "Affiliate marketing takes long-term thinking, especially when you're a beginner with no startup money." "You must first concentrate on the essentials, such as selecting a niche and a traffic source."

The subject you'll become an expert on is called a niche. Among the top specializations are:

Hobbies: travel, photography, golfing, outdoors

Money: Bitcoin, personal finance, credit cards, investing

Health: Fitness, nutrition, vegan food, weight loss, yoga, sexual wellness

Lifestyle: Luxury, airlines, fashion, jewelry

Home: Baby products, pets, plants, security

Tech: Web hosting, VPN, gaming, software

Alternatives include herbal remedies, acupuncture, meditation, personal development, and supplements.

You must have a specialty because if you endorse a wide range of goods, people won't regard you as a reliable authority. On the other hand, if you only endorse and write about a particular kind of product, people will see that you are an authority in that field. 

It also benefits you later on when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) on social media and, should you decide to develop an affiliate website later on, your website.

So, how do you choose your niche?

It is best to begin with niches that are likely to be profitable. For instance, our research* revealed that programs pertaining to business have some of the highest commissions, whereas media, books, and clothing have some of the lowest:

You also have other options, as certain niches perform better on specific platforms than others. Remember that affiliate marketing isn't a means to "get rich quick." You must have at least a passing interest in your niche to stay motivated.

To help you focus and reduce your options, ask yourself these questions:

1. Would you like to know more details about your niche? It is crucial to stay current with industry news and trends in your field if you want to ensure that your audience finds you interesting.

2. Do you currently possess expertise or training in a particular field? You can advance more quickly and flatten your learning curve if you have prior knowledge of a subject.

3. Is it feasible to produce content without paying for it upfront? Certain niches, such as technology or travel, can be very expensive upfront if you need the necessary tools or content.

4. Is it successful? In the end, you want to turn a profit. You run the risk of not turning a profit if your niche is too wide and you face too much competition or too narrow, and there need to be more people interested in it.

Finding the right niche can take some effort and time, so keep going if you start seeing results immediately.

2. Choose an affiliate program

Selecting an affiliate network to join comes next after deciding on a niche. Selecting affiliate products or affiliate programs that fit your niche makes sense.

Derek Simnett is a vegan fitness and lifestyle educator, for instance. He promotes the protein supplements sold by Vedge Nutrition as an affiliate. He chose it because this affiliate program fits with his objectives and content and allows him to promote products he believes in and earn money.

You can search directly for affiliate programs in your niche or use marketplaces to find programs that fit your needs. Suppose you already know of companies in your industry that offer affiliate marketing services. In that case, you can contact them directly and register for their services (affiliate programs typically don't cost anything).

Joining an affiliate network or marketplace, where thousands of programs are available for you to peruse and join through the marketplace, is the alternative.

Affiliate networks provide newbies with free and convenient access to thousands of trustworthy affiliate programs they can sign up for immediately. Affiliate networks present companies in different niches that have affiliate programs. Among them are:

  • ShareASale
  • ClickBank
  • Awin
  • FlexOffers
  • Amazon Associates
  • CJ (Commission Junction)
  • Rakuten Advertising

Although all of these are respectable choices, there are a few additional factors to consider when selecting an affiliate marketing program and its reputation: the commission rate and earnings per click (EPC) rate. Even if an affiliate marketing program has a low commission rate but a high EPC, signing up for it may still be beneficial.

3. Decide on a traffic source

It is now necessary for you to consider the source of traffic for your affiliate marketing efforts. When beginning their journey as affiliate marketers, creators can choose from a plethora of free platforms, as stated by Vivian. "You can create an account for free on these platforms and start creating content right away," she says, referring to YouTube, Instagram, TikTik, and blogging.

People frequently erroneously believe that starting a blog requires having a dedicated website, which is expensive. While it might be useful if you intend to grow the company, it is optional.

Other (free) traffic sources like YouTube, social media platforms, and forum-based websites like Reddit and Quora can also be used to start making affiliate income. Let's examine a few benefits and drawbacks of each channel:


Pros: The biggest social media network available. Your affiliate products have the potential to reach a large audience.

Cons: More appealing to younger viewers. Need more organic outreach.


Pros: Very eye-catching, great for highlighting affiliate goods and services. Heavy focus on video content, such as Stories and Reels.

Cons: Feed posts have a lower organic reach.


Pros: Excellent for optimizing websites for search engines. Its monthly audience is more than two billion people worldwide.

Cons: Most niches have intense competition. For videos to draw in new and returning viewers and hold their attention long enough for them to click on an affiliate link, they must be polished and of the highest caliber.


Pros: Brief video clips that don't have to have a "professional" appearance or feel. More genuine encounters and individualized content. TikTok sets trends.

Cons: You cannot click on links in descriptions. A link on your bio page must point to your affiliate link.


Pros: Great organic reach for marketers using affiliate links. Reputable website for experts.

Cons: Mostly intended for business-to-business audiences.

I mean, I don't have a social media following," you may be thinking. How am I going to get money? This is your opportunity to start gaining a following if you still need to get one. That being said, all you need to do to profit from affiliate marketing is reach the correct audience—a large following is unnecessary.

Many affiliate marketers rely solely on social media for their revenue. One excellent example is the YouTube channel Papery Thoughts, which, among other social media accounts, posts videos on journaling.

Links to products that the creator uses onscreen in the video description are how the channel makes affiliate sales. Here, the creator gives her subscribers access to an affiliate link that saves them 10% at The Washi Tape Shop.

Creating responses to pertinent TikTok videos in your industry or joining Facebook groups in your niche are two more methods of leveraging social media for affiliate marketing. Engagement is more important for audience building than merely bombarding people with affiliate offers.

4. Create content to build trust

The next step is to start producing content that develops trust with your target audience, regardless of the platform or platforms you use for your affiliate marketing campaigns. Global internet users in 2023 logged on to social media for an average of 151 minutes daily. Why do we spend more than two hours a day online? Great content. The best approach for an affiliate marketer is this one.

Publish only top-notch content that imparts knowledge to your readers. Never stop adding value to them; don't make your content just about you.

Kelly Marohl, owner, The Greenspring Home

Being self-serving does not equate to creating the best content, as Kelly Marohl, owner of The Greenspring Home, explains. "Publish excellent content that imparts knowledge to your audience," advises Kelly. "Continually add value for them. Avoid centering your content on yourself.

"Build a highly engaged audience before you can start earning affiliate sales and landing brand deals. You'll be excited to get started." That will yield dividends in the future!

Planning and creating a content calendar or strategy that aligns with your affiliate marketing goals is a good idea, as building a content library takes time. You can outline the kinds of content you'll release on a given day in your calendar by adding items like:

  • Tutorials
  • Q&As
  • Product reviews
  • How-Tos
  • Tips and tricks

If you decide to use YouTube as your platform, consider developing a keyword strategy in addition to your content strategy. After all, if you don't optimize it for search results, even excellent content may get lost in the shuffle.

You can do some research to determine which keywords to use. Try looking up the channels of your rivals on YouTube, for instance. Examine their most viewed videos and take note of the hashtags, descriptions, and titles each one has.

Remember to add links to your affiliate products or services and a disclaimer explaining their affiliation when you engage in affiliate marketing.

5. Grow an audience

In addition to producing content on the platform of your choice, you should start constructing an SMS or email list. This is being done primarily for two reasons:

1. Your contact list is your property.

Therefore, social media platforms are one of many ways to communicate with your audience. Since all of the major platforms occasionally experience outages, you can always reach out to your audience via email.

2. You're able to leverage affiliate links

You can still email links to content you create that contains an affiliate link—you drive traffic to any of your content—even though some affiliate programs (Amazon's affiliate program is the primary one) prohibit you from doing so.

Using your email list is a fantastic way to give your audience more value and establish your authority in your specialized field. Here are some suggestions to get you started creating content for your email list:

  • Industry reports or news
  • Links to new blog posts
  • Interview roundups or summaries
  • Behind the scenes of your life or business
  • Promotional deals (occasionally)
  • Free digital downloads

Many email marketing software providers, such as Shopify Email, Mailchimp, and MailerLite, have free plans for those looking to build an email list. It's worthwhile to compare a few to find the best fit for you.

After gaining an audience's trust, you can begin promoting expensive affiliate programs. These affiliate programs can earn up to five figures per sale. But to persuade people to purchase more expensive goods, you frequently need to have a well-established niche and level of influence.

6. Respond and chat with your audience

Interacting with your audience is the final advice for expanding your affiliate marketing company. In addition to making your subscribers or followers feel heard, creating conversation benefits you in the eyes of social media algorithms.

When users engage with your content, algorithms typically take this as a sign that it should be promoted and shown to more people who might be interested.

For instance, on TikTok, comments you like and reply to on your videos will have a unique badge that reads "Liked by creator" and will stand out from other comments.

In this instance, influencer and affiliate marketer Lauren Loveless assists fans in purchasing the Rare Beauty product she suggests by replying to their comments. Lauren can access several affiliate links from her TikTok account's link-in-bio page. She participates in the comments when she shares content that points to these links.

These exchanges are crucial because they demonstrate to your audience that you are aware of and value their opinions. They will, therefore, be more inclined to engage with your subsequent content (and even persuade others to do the same).

It's a win-win situation when you respond to your audience because it allows you to learn what kind of content they might want from you.

Start your affiliate marketing business today.

There is no need for an initial financial commitment with affiliate marketing. You can get started with affiliate marketing reasonably risk-freely by following the instructions in this guide. The sole expense? Your work and duration.

Thus, consider what kind of niche you could start developing and work your way up to a passive income stream so that you can work from anywhere (or experiment with income streams other than your primary source).

*Methodology: Information from an affiliate network site comprising 200 affiliate programs and 20 randomly selected programs from 10 industries, including program name, industry, average commission, and average conversion rate. The information was collected over seven days (December 7–14, 2021). Restrictions consist of the following: Only one affiliate network website is used to collect data. Due to the limited availability of the program and the time constraints associated with data collection, not all categories could be included.

How to start affiliate marketing FAQ

What are the top 5 affiliate marketing networks in 2023?

The top five affiliate marketing networks are:

1. Affiliate Future

2. AvantLink

3. CJ (Commission Junction)

4. ClickBank

5. FlexOffers

How can I make $100 a day in affiliate marketing?

By advertising several affiliate programs in their content, affiliates can make $100 daily. It takes time to happen. However, you can make regular sales in your affiliate marketing business if you regularly publish worthwhile content that uplifts and encourages your audience.

How can I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

Selecting a niche and platform for your business is the first step in beginning affiliate marketing as a beginner. Brands or affiliate networks like Skimlinks or ShareASale offer numerous affiliate marketing programs. Choose the best affiliate program based on your research and needs, then work on producing content and growing your following.

Can you start affiliate marketing with no money?

It is possible to begin affiliate marketing without money, and it is surprisingly simple. Rather than investing in costly website development specifically for your niche, you can increase traffic from your target audience using free social media platforms like YouTube.

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