I have been doing affiliate marketing for a few years and figuring out how to start with affiliate marketing can be hard.
To get started in affiliate marketing you will need to learn what are the different types of affiliate marketing strategies that you can start. Not all are going to mesh well with your personality.
These are the first steps you should take when starting affiliate marketing:
- 1. Decide on your affiliate marketing type and strategy
- 2. Get the knowledge on that affiliate marketing strategy
- 3. Get the tools that you need to be an affiliate marketer
- 4. Start implementing what you have learned
- 5. Learn from your mistakes and test new strategies
- 6. Practice until you have the skills
- 7. Scale up your affiliate marketing business
Discovering the best vertical and strategy that you can implement will increase your success percentage.
Before getting started with affiliate marketing you may also want to educate yourself with the risk of being an affiliate marketer. This article can help you from making a mistake of losing money as a new affiliate marketer.
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Further down we will review all that you need to know when getting started with affiliate marketing. These are the topics we will review (click the link to skip down):
- Is affiliate marketing hard to start?
- What type of affiliate marketing should I start with?
- How to decide what is the right affiliate marketing vertical to start in?
- How much money do I need to start affiliate marketing?
- How to learn affiliate marketing?
- Most important affiliate marketing tools when starting
- What is a marketing funnel?
- A FREE marketing course
- How to make a lot of money online?
Is affiliate marketing hard to start?
Affiliate marketing is not hard to start but it is extremely hard to stay focused long enough to be successful. Affiliate marketing is not hard to start but is hard to master and generate enough money to make it worth it. If you do take the time to master affiliate marketing you will make a lot of money with it.
Everyone who starts in the affiliate marketing industry saying that they will be ultra-focused and they all say that they are going to put in the work to be rich. Unfortunately, two days later they are back on the sofa playing video games and or watching Netflix.
Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme and you will have to learn marketing before you start to see a profit.
Contrary to what YouTube gurus say you are not going to make money by spamming the internet with your affiliate links. This does not work anymore and real marketing skills are needed to be successful.
If you have no money and want to start affiliate marketing I would advise you to get a job and save up some cash to invest in affiliate marketing. I am not saying that it is impossible to do it without any money but it will take a lot more work on your part to do it.
My advice is that before you start with affiliate marketing you need to have some money for the essentials. It is crazy talk when someone says that they have no marketing skills and they have no money but they want to start making money with affiliate marketing.
Before making money with affiliate marketing you may have to learn some of the following skills:
- Ad copy
- Ad creative creation
- Short-form advertorials
- Long-form advertorial
- Landing page creation
- Video editing
- Picture editing
- Social media ad campaign creation
- PPC ad creation
- How to create a website (no coding necessary)
- Search engine optimization
- Local SEO
- Native ads
- Push ads
As you see there are many skills that you may have to learn before becoming an affiliate marketer.
Going back to the question: Is it easy to get started with affiliate marketing? Yes, anyone can get approved to be an affiliate for a product and they can spam the internet with that link. This person technically can call themselves an affiliate marketer but are they making any money do this? Probably not.
The real question should be, is it hard to make money with affiliate marketing? Yes, it’s true because you have to have marketing skills and you have to learn different strategies in different verticals.
You may not have to learn everything on that list but you will have to get pretty good with at least a few.
Just because you can write killer copy in your ad campaign means that you will convert the lead. Everything works together and you can have a massive drop off in conversions if one step is not optimized.
My advice is to consume all the content that you possibly can and learn everything that you can and then implement. Do not spend months consuming, get knowledge, and start implementing. As you are implementing, continue to learn.
The worst thing you want to do is get intimidated and not start. Get started and evolve as you go.
Before getting started you should learn about the different types of affiliate marketing that there is out there. With each, you have different strategies and different skills are going to be needed for each.
This all is important because you do not want to start in affiliate marketing and realize that you hate it. Let us look at the different types of affiliate marketing.
What type of affiliate marketing should I start with?
When starting affiliate marketing you may wonder what type of vertical and or strategy you want to start in. The most common ones are:
- Lead Gen
Within this list of affiliate marketing verticals, you also have different strategies that you can use for each one. Source
The way affiliate marketing works is that you have all these different types of verticals. Then within each vertical, you may have different offer types.
My advice is to start in a vertical that you are already familiar with. This is important because you are going to be learning a lot of new skills and if you also have to learn about a vertical this may be too much to do at once.
The different vertical offers for example can be that one type of offer pays out when the lead fills out their email address on a website or it can be when the lead downloads software. Keep this in mind.
Besides the different verticals and offer types, you will have different marketing strategies.
Once you decide on a vertical you will have to get accepted as an affiliate for affiliate networks that have offers that are in that vertical.
For example, if you want to start in the video gaming vertical you will have to find affiliate networks that have video gaming offers.
Let us talk more about each of these verticals and the affiliate networks that are within that vertical. The point of this article is to give you the information you need when starting as an affiliate marketer. This valuable information will help you from choosing the wrong vertical.
Nothing worse than wasting time and money into learning something to later discover that you hate it and that you will never be happy doing it. Kinda like college!
The affiliate marketing gambling vertical pays extremely well. The competition is pretty high because the money that you can make within the gambling vertical is no joke.
If you want to keep your strategies white hat (following the rules) I would not start with the gambling vertical. Because the money is lucrative in this vertical the top affiliates hang out in this vertical and when starting you will be going against experienced affiliate marketers.
Many of these affiliates are using black hat (against the rules) strategies and it will take forever to be able to put a dent into their revenue if you are only doing white hat strategies.
I do not want to get into what black hat strategies are but they are advanced in nature and white hate needs to be learned first.
With a gambling offer, I would use push ads or native ads to drive traffic to my sales funnel. Unfortunately, Google and Facebook do not allow gambling offers. With the best traffic sources being a no go, the gambling vertical will be difficult for newbies.
Again if a friend asked me for advice about the gambling vertical I would tell them to start with Push ads and then move to native as a traffic source.
These are the gambling affiliate networks I found, source.
- Intertops Poker
- FortuneJack Affiliates
- Ignition Casino
- Bovada.lv Poker
- Slotland Affiliates
- Gambling Wages
- Oshi Affiliates
The affiliate marketing dating vertical is another really good one. The payouts are lower but that is because the conversion rate is higher. It is a lot easier to convince a guy to click a picture of a half-naked girl and lead him through a sales funnel to get him to fill in his email information.
A picture like this one will have a decent click through rate but the more revealing the higher the CTR is going to be. But if it is too revealing it will not be approved. Test many different creatives until you find the best one.
Dating also works for women but you will have much more successful marketing to men. Dating is another vertical that Social media does not like and Google may reject your ads.
I would stick to push ads and native ads for any dating offer.
Typically the offer is for the lead to input their email before you get a payout. Other offers require you to get the lead to submit their credit card information before you get a conversion. The payout for a credit card submits a lot higher.
Dating offers I run typically pay me anywhere from $1-$3 for an email submit but for a credit card submit the payout is $10-$15 per conversion.
As you can see it is a much higher payout but it is harder to get that conversion.
Here is a list of a few affiliate networks that have dating offers:
*CJ has many affiliate offers for different dating websites
Besides dating offers there are adult content offers. This is for XXX websites.
The above picture by far has been my highest CTR creative for dating offers.
The affiliate marketing nutra vertical is for anything related to the health and fitness industry. Very high conversion rates and payouts are great.
I feel that you are better off paying for the better GOE locations to target nutra offers in. Other countries are not as overweight as the United States and I feel that the return on investment is better if you pay for the expensive American traffic.
The above picture by far has been my highest CTR creative for nutra offers.
You can target both males and females with nutra offers but most of your conversions will come from females. I like to target big cities because it seems like the conversions are better in more populated areas. More people equals more conversions or it can mean that people in the cities are more health-conscious.
You can offer workout videos, pills, shakes, diet plans, recipes, immune boost products. Etc.
There are so many different products that you can offer within the nutra vertical that this can be a great place to start.
You can run ads on any platform but keep in mind that Facebook is super strict and any ad that goes against their ad policy can get your account banned. No before and after photos and your ad copy has to be conservative.
These are my personal favorite nutra affiliate networks:
The eCommerce vertical has been growing so much in recent time and I like it for anyone starting in affiliate marketing. I do recommend that the product that you want to promote be purchased.
Having a physical product is a great idea for several reasons. You will be able to write better ad copy because you can write about the benefits from a first-hand perspective. Also, being able to create ad creatives with the unique pictures that you take of the product will help with conversions.
A good tactic to implement when taking pictures of the item is to take a couple of pictures of someone holding the item. If the item can be in use while the picture is taken, that would be even better.
The above eCommerce product is an example of what you can promote.
The person should be smiling and this tactic typically translates into a nice click-through rate for the ad.
Another tip is to take a picture of the item in the dark and only use the flash from your cell phone camera to show the item. This gives the picture a different look to it and the click-through rate should increase.
Remember to test, test, test, this will give your ad campaigns the best click-through rates and this will lower your CPM, in the end, this all increases ROAS.
CPM= Cost per million (mile)
ROAS= Return on ad spend
This is a list of eCommerce affiliate networks:
The finance affiliate marketing vertical is great because the payouts are good and typically the people who you need to target have money. People with money are worth more as a lead. So even if you can not get the lead to convert you still can make money from driving this traffic to a website that you own and placing ad widgets on your website.
You can hire a third party company like mediavine.com to do this or you can do it yourself. In either case, you can make a high CPM for anything in the finance vertical.
For example, if you are promoting a stock trading software. The payout is $200 for every lead that converts with a credit card payment. You create a website with finance content and you drive traffic to it organically and with PPC ads.
You get 50k visitors a month with your strategy. The ad for your affiliate link for that stock market software is getting 1,500 clicks a month, which is 3% CTR.
Out of the 1,500 leads 5% convert, this comes out to 75 conversions. At $200 for each conversion, you will be making $15,000 a month for the offer.
But you still can get paid for all those leads that came to your website and did not convert. Because your website is in the finance vertical you can expect to get $25-$30 CPM for ads on your website.
That is an extra $1,250 for just placing ad widgets on your website. This is so other affiliates or companies can run ads on your website. Because your website is in the finance vertical and the content is about finance your audience is worth more than a website that has an audience of kids.
You can run ads on any platform but you have to be careful with your ad copy. No promises or guarantees of getting rich if they buy something. This will get your campaign shut down fast.
In the finance vertical you have several different kinds of offers. You can promote offers for:
- Credit cards
- Credit card debt
- Stock market tools
- Credit fix
- Stock market trading
- Cash advance
These are the most popular and finance offers and a lot of money can be made in this vertical.
List of the best affiliate networks that have finance offers:
- Bank rate credit cards
- National credit card debt relief
- Accredited debt relief
- Bank affiliates
- Commission soup
- Liberty Mutual
Look through these networks and choose the types of offers that interest you and apply to the network.
The video gaming affiliate marketing vertical have low payouts and has high competition. I do still create ad campaigns in the video game vertical but I never make much.
I do it because I love video games and I am an old school gamer and I understand the culture. The copy I create relates to the audience so my click-through rates are high.
I can write an ad title that says “Click here if you are tired of grinding rep”? An ad title like this tells them that the person who wrote it knows their pain and I probably have a solution and I will get the click.
This is why knowing the vertical and or product is important because you can relate to the lead and this will get the click.
Despite the video gaming vertical not having high payouts and having competition, I would still say to try it out if you like and know about video games because you can beat the affiliate who does not know anything about video games.
These are the best affiliate network programs that I discovered:
- Leprestore Gaming Affiliate Program
- Razer Affiliate Program
- Alienware Gaming Affiliate Program
- Zygor Guides Gaming Affiliate Program
- Nvidia Affiliate Program
- Final Mouse Affiliate Program
- Modded Zone Gaming Affiliate Program
- Bose Affiliate Program
- Into The AM Affiliate Program
- Microsoft Gaming Affiliate Program
- Logitech Affiliate Program
- WarGaming.net Affiliate Program
I personally have not ran any affiliate campaigns for astrology but I know of other people who make good money in this vertical.
You should start in an industry that you are familiar with. This will help you creat good converting ad copy.
When you are first starting you probably will not have the budget to hire writers or copy writers so being familiar in the industry will give you an advantage.
If you know about astrology and understand the culture then this might be the vertical for you. People who run ads in the astrology affiliate marketing niche tell me that the loyalists within the field are passionate and are not difficult to convert.
I looked up the best affiliate program networks and this is the list I discovered:
- Hollywood Psychics
- Psychic Source
- The AstroTwins
- Astrology Source
- California Astrology Association
- Magi Helena
I absolutely love being an affiliate marketer for lead gen offers.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. I know many people hate lead gen but I have owned physical businesses and I know how difficult it is to grow a brick and mortar business.
Helping a mom and pop type business brings me joy and dealing with people is what I enjoy doing.
There are lead gen offers that you do not have to deal with anyone but I rather work directly with the business owner.
Affiliate offers in the lead gen vertical that pay you just for driving the lead can be offered for solar panels, this is a popular affiliate offer.
You drive traffic to the business and you get paid for each lead.
Here is a list of affiliate networks that have lead gen type offers:
The traveling vertical in affiliate marketing continues to grow in popularity because people love to travel.
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, this vertical did take a huge hit but now is on the rebound.
Creating a blog or ad campaigns for traveling related offers is fun. The ads will be of cool touristy places. Gorgeous scenery and learning about what cool places there are all around the world is fascinating to me.
I really enjoy the traveling affiliate niche and if you enjoy traveling you will too.
Here is a list of the most popular traveling affiliate networks that I know of:
- Trip Advisor
- Travel Payouts
How to decide what is the right affiliate marketing vertical to start in?
You may be feeling overwhelmed after looking at that long list of different affiliate marketing verticals and the different networks to apply to.
When choosing your first affiliate marketing vertical I recommend doing a self-examination of yourself. Ask yourself if there is anything that you have researched recently. Another good question to ask is “what are my hobbies”?
The things that you like to do for fun is where you want to start your affiliate marketing business. I can research hours upon hours of marketing informative type of content and not be bored. I can also play video games for hours. I also like construction and real estate.
I enjoy learning about this topic and I knew this before I started affiliate marketing. I fixed up and flipped houses years ago and it is something I enjoyed doing. I did this until I lost everything in the crash but I loved it.
Because I know myself I will typically keep to the verticals that I like. This is because you will have to consume tons of content on the topic and if you are not interested in the topic you will have a hard time learning about the topic.
Keep this chart in mind when choosing a vertical. If you are going to be paying for traffic from the start you may want to look at the cost for ads because some verticals may not be available to use for that particular vertical.
Typically Google keywords are going to be more than these prices.
Choose a topic and start learning about the topic. As I mentioned before if you already know about the topic you will not have to spend as much time learning about the topic because you are already familiar with the topic.
Then apply to all the networks that have offers that are in your vertical. Look through all the offers that the networks have and pick a handful that you like. Start with one campaign for one offer and test it out.
This is how you start with affiliate marketing. Do not expect to make a profit when starting in affiliate marketing. Making money in affiliate marketing will take time so be patient.
How much money do I need to start affiliate marketing?
When starting as an affiliate marketer you will not need a lot of money. The amount of money needed to start in affiliate marketing depends on your vertical and your marketing strategy. The easiest and cheapest way to start in affiliate marketing will be to create a blog and generate organic free traffic. This will be an investment of $100.
Creating a blog on your website is inexpensive but this will take time. This is definitely not going to be fast but without money your options are limited.
A blog on a website for an affiliate marketer just starting is a good strategy because you probably don’t have a big budget and when you pay for ads you need to know what you are doing or else you will lose all of the campaigns budgets.
Build a website in the niche you want. Create content in a blog to drive traffic to your website for free. Once you have website traffic you can start making money with the affiliate links that are on your website and you can also place ad widgets on your website to make money.
You can see from the above infographic that is is not expensive to start an online business with a website. If done correctly you can make a lot of money from this website.
For example, if you chose the finance niche. You would create a website in this niche, let us call it finances101.com.
In this website, you would create blog posts that are directly related to finances. Do not make posts that are about your finances but create helpful content that searchers are searching for.
A blog post about how to save up money or get out of debt or how to invest would be great. You can be specific, you can title a post “How to day trade on a small budget” and write valuable complete and helpful content for the searches on Google to find.
If done correctly your blog post will start to rank and in Google search results and your website will get traffic for free. Always add a call to action somewhere on the blog post. Try to always have a button or something that the viewer can click on to find a product or another piece of content.
If you provide value to them a good percent of them will convert.
For example, this blog post titled “How to day trade on a small budget” can outline lower costing stocks and you can talk about a stock market strategy where you only trade these smaller stocks in the morning.
Go into detail about this strategy and how you have made money doing this strategy. This information is valuable and the viewer will be happy that you are sharing this information with them.
Place a call to action on the blog post that is for an affiliate offer for a stock marketing training course or a stock market software that they can use to help them make smarter trades. You also can have an affiliate offer for a stock market trading company. You get paid for the lead or when they deposit funds into their account.
The viewer is already interested in finances because they searched for “how to day trade on a small budget” so you know what frame of mind that they are in.
Placing a button that takes them to a course or a stock market piece of software may not be that difficult because they already are interested in the subject.
You are giving them helpful information about the tools that they can use to solve their problem and you get paid for doing this. It is a win-win.
Because you are driving traffic to your website you will be able to get paid for ads that are on your website. you own a piece of the internet and it has traffic so you can rent out space on your website or you can create you own ads.
Most people do not want to deal with managing ads and the widgets so they hire a third party to do this for them.
At first, you may not get much of an RPM but the goal should be to get about $15 RPM. Your first year will be harder because your website is new.
Keep in mind that if you write 200 blog posts by the end of the first year you will not get traffic for the last half of those posts. This is because it takes months for your posts to get crawled by Google so they can be ranked.
|Monthly Niche Website AD Revenue||50 Post||100 Post||200 Post|
|End of Year 1||$187.00||$375.00||$750.00|
|End of Year 2||$375.00||$750.00||$1,500|
To achieve these numbers you will have to create a lot of content and you will have to do it right. Knowing how to write the content in a way that Google likes will be an essential part of being successful with this strategy.
If you have a budget and want to dive right into paid advertising I will advise you to start small. There is a learning curve and throwing money at ad campaigns will just be like burning money away.
Social media advertising is hard to work with because of their strict rules and guidelines. They will ban your account for the smallest infraction and not reopen your account.
This is why I leave social media ads for more advanced marketers. I know that many affiliate gurus are telling you to jump into Facebook marketing but I feel that until you have a good understanding of the industry and your vertical you are better off starting with push ads or native ads.
The rules are a lot more relaxed and you can work on your skills with these types of traffic sources without worrying about account bans.
You can find traffic for native ads on Voluum
A new tab will open taking you to Voluum DSP native traffic source
Voluum is also a tracking software for your affiliate campaigns. The prices you see on the link are for the tracker. Voluum DSP is free, Just have to invest in the traffic. If you use the DSP the tracker is also free for those campaigns.
You can find traffic for Push on ZeroPark.com
Are you ready to make money online…
How to learn affiliate marketing?
Learning affiliate marketing without anyone telling you what to do will have a big learning curve. There is a lot to learn and the only way to learn is by making mistakes.
In my experience learning how to create and grow your business will mean that you have to make mistakes and these mistakes cost money. This is different from paying for college, when you go to college you pay for someone to stand in front of a classroom to talk to you and teach you.
In business, you go out there and figure things on your own. When you make a mistake that costs money you learn to never make that mistake again. It still ends up costing you money but in a different way.
To maximize your success when starting in affiliate marketing you will need a mentor to teach you the secrets.
Having someone tell you about the mistakes that cost them money and them telling you what they have learned and what is the best strategy to make money will be a huge help for you.
I knew a lot about marketing when I started, well so I thought. When I first started in affiliate marketing I did not have a mentor at first. After I got my first mentor I had to go back and redo all my work because I was doing it wrong.
If I had not discovered this mistake I would have wasted all that time.
When getting a mentor you have to be careful about who you chose because many fake gurus preach that they know it all when they are rookies themselves.
Get someone who has been in the industry for a long time and is currently practicing what they are preaching. This is important because things change fast in affiliate marketing and what worked 2 years ago may not work anymore.
Another thing to look out for is what exactly is in the course that the mentor teaches. I remember I almost paid for a mentor to teach me what I thought was affiliate marketing and when I looked closer it was on closing deals.
At the time I wanted to lead affiliate marketing and closing deals was not what I wanted to learn. So be mindful of what strategy the course teaches.
Here is a list of my favorite courses:
For Native & Push ads & Facebook ads:
A new tab will open taking you to Dijs university webinar
Dij University hands down is the best course for native and push ads. The Facebook ads course is also solid but I have not taken another Facebook course so I can not compare it to anything.
In this course, they walk you through choosing affiliate offers and creating ad creatives and ad copy. Landing pages are practically given to you.
Colin put this course together and it is the best! I took a course for native ads by another very famous native ads media buyer and Colin’s course is better and more affordable.
For blogging I recommend:
Income School P24
For website blog creation I recommend Income School P24. They teach all the things that you will need to know about creating a blog that can generate money from free Google organic traffic.
A new tab will open taking you to income school’s webinar
If you want to learn unique ways to get free traffic from the internet I recommend John Crestani. He gets a lot of heat for being over the top and for not having paid traffic strategies in his course but he knows how to game the system and generate traffic.
His course is expensive but if you think that his methodology is what you want to implement for your business to grow then it is well worth it. Keep in mind that he teaches secrets on how to generate traffic without paying for traffic, no paid ads here, or blogging.
A new tab will open taking you to his website
A new tab will open taking you to my affiliate marketing recommended products list.
Most important affiliate marketing tools when starting
When starting in affiliate marketing you will need to have a website to make things easier. Many of the affiliate networks will not approve of your application unless you have a website. With a website, you can create a niche website to help you get free organic traffic. This is very important when starting in affiliate marketing.
The best and easiest way to get a website is to get Bluehost to host your website for you. The good thing about them is that when you sign up for Bluehost they will automatically download WordPress for you and you will not have to do anything else.
The investment is minimal and the service you get is stellar. This is a must have for sure!
A new page will open taking you to Bluehost discount page
Once Bluehost is done downloading WordPress for you, you will be able to log into Bluehost and launch your website on WordPress. Another benefit of using Bluehost is that they give you your first domain name for free.
Get your website name and launch it and you are ready to get started.
When you are logged in to your website you can choose from a number of free themes or you can pay for one. I recommend paying for one because more of the free ones are not good.
But for me, I use Acabado as my theme and then I use Elementor to design pages. If you do this you can choose any free theme and use Elementor to edit the pages. When you edit a page on your website with Elelmentor it overwrites the theme’s version of that page so if the theme is not good it does not matter because you will be using Elementor to design the page.
A new page will open taking you to their discount page
If you are running push or native ads you have to get a spy tool and the most affordable one is Anstrex. With this tool, you can look at other affiliate marketer’s sales funnel. See everything from their ad tidal and copy and creatives to the lander and then to the offer page.
Swipe it all or use it for inspiration in your campaign.
A new tab will open taking you to Antrex’s discount page
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