Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: How to Start, Earn and Grow?

If you are here hoping to learn about Affiliate Marketing, then one thing is for sure. You already know what this term means.

It’s also clear that you are interested in earning with affiliate marketing.

Over 90% of professional online marketers I know use affiliate marketing one way or another to earn money.

And why wouldn’t they?

After all, affiliate marketing is the most popular and the highest yielding online money-making marketing strategy.

I, too, have used all the money-making strategies possible, and to tell you a fact, affiliate marketing has the highest yielding rate.

If done properly, you won't even need to bother around for a job in your whole life.

It has the highest ROI (returns on investment) among all money-making strategies.

Not just this, affiliate marketing is the easiest to learn and work upon. You can quickly learn, and with some planning, you can start making huge money in quick time.

In this guide, we will learn affiliate marketing under the following headings:

What is Affiliate Marketing?

computer, website, e-mail, affiliate marketing for beginners

Definition time. ✅

Affiliate marketing is an online practice in which a business rewards its affiliates when they successfully refer customers to its products.

Hubspot's definition of affiliate marketing 📑

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing tactic in which a retailer, typically an online one, rewards a website with a commission for each customer referred via the website’s promotional activities. The website, often called an affiliate, will only get paid when their promotion results in a transaction.

🔥 Fire point: Affiliate marketing is #3 on my list of 20 best ways to make money online.

In affiliate marketing, there are two parties:

  1. One who pays in return for getting referrals or sales.
  2. One who gets paid in return for referring referrals or sales.

One who pays in return for getting referrals or sales is called a merchant or affiliate advertiser. The merchant can be an individual or business or a platform/network that hosts a lot of brands. The commission-based platform or network is called an affiliate network.

One who gets paid in return for referring referrals or sales is called an affiliate or publisher. This is going to be you!

I am an affiliate of WP Rocket (merchant) which uses ShareASale (an affiliate network) to make sales.

How does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Let’s assume you register yourself with an Affiliate Network and decide to promote a product which is, say, a Coffee Maker. You promote it with various means like creating websites, posts on your site, PPC advertising, banners and text ads on social networking sites. Now someone clicks on those affiliate links and buys one or more products. Then that will be called a sale through your affiliate link. Once done successfully, you will get the commission as fixed by that merchant.

This commission sometimes goes up to 30% to 50% of total sales value, so if you can sell stuff for $100 then you can easily earn a good amount of $30 to $50 per sale as your affiliate commission. Happy?

The only thing you need to know is how to market that product.

Some affiliates like SEMrush even offer up to $200 per sale.

The basic concept of affiliate marketing is simple to explain.

If you have a website, blog, etc., you will host links, banners, or buttons on the site promoting a retail seller. When these ads are clicked on, and a purchase is made, you will get a small commission for the sale. Consider the process to be much of a numbers game. The more people that visit the site, the greater the odds of higher click-throughs. This, in turn, means you will experience greater amounts of commissions.

Before You Start

I know the eyeballs of some of you who just learned about affiliate marketing are twinkling.

Yes, this is what you want to do, but hold on.

There are a few other things you must understand about affiliate marketing before jumping into it.

After all, this book is titled Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners for a reason.

It’s not as easy as it seems.

It’s not about spamming people with your affiliate links.

Many beginners found affiliate marketing the easiest way to make money online.

Rightly so.

But as soon they get themselves registered with a couple of affiliate networks to promote a couple of products and find it hard to make any sales and they give up.

The rule, the only rule of affiliate marketing that you need to remember is don't give up.

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It is important to know which product to promote and which one to not. But it is also important to know how to do that and how not to.

The product you choose and the community in which you promote your affiliate product are the two very important factors.

Secondly, it’s not about continuing to throw affiliate links at your friends/subscribers, it could be of some value addition, and you need to find your customers and then sell them the goods and stuff they want.

You must select affiliate networks worth selling and investing your time in. Don't go all in with all the affiliate products that you fins.

There are not too many affiliate networks that allow choosing from a range of products that you can choose to promote. Be sure to join all of them.

Let’s understand affiliate networks and what you should consider while selecting the ones to promote.

Affiliate Networks are a bridge between Merchants and Publishers.

These are platforms where you meet merchants and select products which you want to promote.

Based on my experience, I recommend the following affiliate networks to join:

  1. ShareASale
  2. Commission Junction
  3. Click Bank
  4. Impact
  5. Amazon Affiliate Program

🔥Fire Note: Here are the best affiliate programs that offer the best pay-per-sale rates.

Before signing up to any of the affiliate networks, you can check up on the following things:

  • How good is their support service? If you need to ask any question, are they available to resolve your quarries via email, live chat or by any other way?
  • What sort of information is available in the Knowledge Base or FAQ section? Sometimes you need to learn and earn together.
  • All leading Affiliate Networks now assign a specific Affiliate Manager to each individual Affiliate who joins their network, check out if that is there.
  • Who is promoting that Affiliate Network? Are there any big names pushing it up? This shows how popular that network is among the big boys of the affiliate marketing industry.

There are three ways the merchants can pay you for your affiliate efforts;

  1. Pay Per Thousand Impressions, aka Cost Per Mile (CPM)
  2. Pay Per Click (PPC)
  3. Pay Per Sale (PPS) or Revenue Share

In Cost Per Mile (CPM), you will get paid for every 1000 Impressions of your merchant's advertisement. Say the CPM rate is $0.25 and an advertisement on your site gets 3000 impressions, then you will receive a commission of 3000 x 0.25/1000 = $0.75.

At the Pay Per Click (PPC) rate, you will get paid for every single click that an affiliate advertisement gets. a very simple and straightforward method of payment.

In the Pay Per Sale (PPS) or Revenue Share method, you get a commission when visitors click on your affiliate link to land on the merchant’s site and buy products. You will only get paid for the actual sale you made through your affiliate link.

👨‍💻PPS is the most commonly used method as every merchant is interested in sales. More than 85% of price models are based on the Pay Per Sale method.

🔥Here are the best affiliate programs that offer the best pay-per-sale rates.

Promoting Affiliates

Here is a brief list of methods generally used to promote an affiliate product:


If you are a blogger, you can use your blog as a platform to promote your affiliate products related to your blog niche.

For example, if you are a tech blogger who writes about the latest digital technology, you can easily promote digital products by endorsing them in articles.

Email Marketing

This is the best method for affiliate product promotions, provided you have a large list of subscribers.

You can categorize your list based on subscriber interest and send them merchants' promotional offers.

When they click on the affiliate links in the emails and buy those affiliate products with your affiliate link, you will get paid commissions.

Collecting and establishing a huge subscriber base is a difficult task but is not impossible. Use this guide to start an email marketing list and grow better in affiliate marketing.

An affiliate with a large email subscriber list base rakes in millions of dollars by simply writing promotional and effective copies to sell affiliate products to their subscribers.

Niche websites

If you are a Tech or Education blogger who knows that a particular affiliate network is showing a particular Coffee Maker as a hot-selling product then what would you do? You simply cannot write a post about coffee makers on your tech/education blog.

You can rather create a niche website on coffee makers, fill that website with articles about the history of coffee, what sort of coffee is available in different countries, how people cultivate coffee, the latest techniques added in coffee making and then write in detail about your affiliate product, a Coffee Maker.

The best thing about niche sites is that you don’t need to update them daily as you do in the case of your blog.

You need to devote your time once while creating it, filling it with necessary keywords and then all you need is to gain traffic to these sites.

You have to do a thorough study of competitive keywords and market your affiliate products.

PPC Search Engines advertising

You can invest some money in Google Ads to gain targeted traffic to your pages for more competitive keywords. You will need to spend some money creating a PPC campaign for your affiliate product to advertise it through paid search.

In this, you bid for certain keywords related to your affiliate products and your pages appear in the sponsored link area when someone searches for a bid keyword. If they click on your PPC ad, you will get paid after a successful sale.

Social Networking

Affiliates use social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. to promote affiliate products. Facebook ads are a better source for affiliates to rake in huge affiliate money. You must have noticed various affiliates tweeting about products with their affiliate links. You will also find various Facebook groups promoting their affiliates.

OptinMonster has an article on how to use Social Networks to do Affiliate Marketing. Have a read here.


I have never used this method to promote affiliate products, but forums provide you with better opportunities to promote affiliate offers.

People search and ask in discussion forums about their needs for a particular product.

So now we better understand how to promote affiliate offers using various methods. You can use one or all, whichever suits you better.

How to be Successful in Affiliate Marketing?

Being successful with affiliate marketing is not easy. Sure, the concept of affiliate marketing is easy. That is a good thing. However, like any legitimate business, a lot of legwork needs to be employed.

When working with a website, first and foremost, you need a website and blog that is visually impressive to visitors and contains valuable and worthwhile content. Spam blogs and websites designed to promote affiliate marketing ads are unlikely to be successful.

Also, you will need to generate traffic and a lot of it since conversion rates will be in the 1-2% range. That means only 1-2% of your visitors will actually click through your affiliate links, so you need to really boost traffic.

1-2% of 100,000 is a lot more than 1-2% of 1,000.

You definitely need to match the affiliate programs you select with the content and theme of your website.

This is because you want to offer advertisements that will prove appealing to those that visit the site.

For example, if you have a sports blog you will want sports and “guy related” affiliate banners. Incongruities between the ads and the content will sink the whole venture.

Experiment with your business

There is no shortcut to success; the same is true in the case of Affiliate Marketing.

If your earlier strategies aren’t working, try a new one. If one niche isn’t working out for you, go for three or four niches or even a dozen.

Experimentation is the only thing that can help your failing affiliate business.

These things are usually the most common and should always be in your plans. Use apps, WordPress plugins, or whatever you find — just try everything you can.

Psst, here is a list of the best Amazon Affiliate Plugins for WordPress.

Offer Something in Return

You should look for new advertising and selling methods, even selling the same niche products.

Try to offer your readers something exclusive.

I will take a case study of John Chow. John Chow is an affiliate of HostGator.

He provides free WordPress website installation for any purchases you make using his referral link. You might wonder why he does this.

Some affiliate programs pay way more than you can imagine. (See this list of high paying affiliate programs.)

HostGator offers $65 to $120 per sale to its affiliates.

Installing WordPress on any purchase will be a matter of just a few minutes.

I guess, for a worth of $30 of time, John Chow earns $120 per sale: a net profit of $90 per sale.

Since John is an acclaimed WP expert and buyers are getting more than they wished for and they opt for it.

John has been extremely successful with this, and even HostGator approves these kinds of initiatives.

This is not illegal and most of the affiliates promote such ventures. I even asked Hostgator team about this.


So here is what you can do.

Try offering your readers something for free.

If they buy something using your referral links, provide them with something, like a free e-book, free service or something like that.

This will entice readers to go for your referral.

I have not analyzed the data, but one of the top affiliate experts in India, Siddharth Sharma, says that this increases the chance of purchases by up to 3 times. He adds,

This will add to your income and boost your website’s traffic as the buyers will visit your site again and again. For some products, this may be a gray area, but if you are promoting SEMrush and HostGator like products where the commissions are very high, you can surely give your readers something to cherish.

- Siddharth Sharma, Founder - OnlyLoudest

Show discounts

Affiliate marketing is different for different people. It is full of endless tricks you can use to increase sales.

One such trick is to find and place offers with the highest discounts.

People love discounts.

If a product is priced originally at $999 but is selling at $199, then that will sell better if a product that was originally priced at $399 and now being sold at $199.

The percentage discount matters.

So, if you are trying to promote an affiliate product, try to show the highest discount possible — no matter what the original price is.

Sell Cheaper Items

One more trick is to sell cheaper products. Earphones will sell easier than mobile phones.

Cheaper products have higher conversion and the lowest chances of product order cancelations. With more sales, you can earn higher.

This is somehow the core concept of Amazon Affiliate Marketing. I sold over 1100 under $9 items last Black Friday.

As you are just a blogger and not a celebrity — people can only take your words for $9 to $90 and not for $900.

Even if you are a pro-pro-blogger, you’re not IGN or CNET(even these sites fail to sell high-priced products) if you think highly of yourself.

Promote with Context

I suggest adding product reviews and personal opinions in articles related to affiliate products. More information will help your readers decide whether or not to buy the specific products. If you are really willing to sell a product in high quantity, shower it with all the praises you have.

Here is an example of a successful affiliate post with context that made me over 2000 dollars this holiday season.

Review Products to Sell Better

I have written an article on how to write better product reviews. You can refer to this article to learn how to write reviews for your affiliate products.

Better writers sell better products using their reviews.

If you don’t have that writing power, try hiring a content marketing or affiliate marketing agency.

Here is the WP Rocket Review that has made more than a dozen sales since I wrote this.

Difficulty Levels

Many are asking, is all this a difficult process?

Once again, affiliate marketing is extremely simple in concept, theory, and even execution.

It has not been designed to be overly difficult.

That is why it remains so greatly popular. However, the only way you are going to be successful is if you perform a daily effort to make your website as best as it can be and drive traffic to the site.

If you try to take shortcuts or do not put the needed effort into the process, you will not make any money with it. It is as simple as that.

Becoming a Successful Affiliate

The most legitimate paths to success entail signing on with reliable, established affiliate marketing programs while also perennially educating yourself about the industry (my blog is a great resource).

Never fall behind or become lax.

Doing so will undermine your success potential more than anything else.

The world of affiliate marketing presents the opportunity for great rewards.

Those that hope to amass great fortunes have the potential to do so. The key here is to put in the right effort and commitment. As the old saying goes, you get out of this what you put into it.

Minimum Investments Required

  • If you wish to promote affiliate products through a static website or blog – the cost for a domain name registration and hosting charges comes to approximately $70 ($10 for the domain + approximately $60 for hosting space ).
  • If you wish to promote your affiliate marketing products with email campaign promotion, you only need to spend the email marketing service cost. Here is the guide to Email Marketing for beginners.
  • If you promote products through Social networking sites, you already know that social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook cost nothing but take lots of your time. This is still worth your time.
  • Forum posting costs nothing but some forums require you to pay a membership fee before posting affiliate promotion threads.
  • If you want to do big in affiliate marketing and are eyeing on PPC marketing for your affiliate products, then surely you need to spend a good amount to get started. People blow up a part of their hard-earned investment in learning it, so it’s not advisable to go for PPC until you learn the art of doing it.

Make use of Courses

If you are willing to take your affiliate marketing skills to a new level, here are some courses that I recommend:

  1. Email & Affiliate Marketing Mastermind
  2. Affiliate Marketing Course (Free) – 7 Steps To Become An Affiliate (
  3. Beginner Affiliate Marketing To Start In 1 Day | Udemy
  4. Affiliate Marketing Foundations (
  5. The Authority Site System (
  6. Pathway to Passive  | Affilorama

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need to create products to enter into the affiliate marketing business?

No, you don’t need to, all you have to do is to register yourself with some merchants, service providers or affiliate networks and choose the product of your interest or which you think is potential for promoting, using various tools and methods which have been explained in this post.

Do I need to invest some money to get started in affiliate marketing?

I will not say that affiliate marketing costs nothing as everything has an opportunity cost, but for jumping into affiliate marketing you don’t need to sell your house, don’t even need a website or blog for that matter.

That's all for now. Check out my other guides.