How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money: Complete Guide 2023
Are you looking to learn how to start affiliate marketing with no money? You’ve arrived at the right spot. In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the affiliate marketing world and teach you how to build a successful business without spending a dime.
What is Affiliate Marketing
An affiliate marketing business partners with other companies to advertise their products or services and earn a commission when someone makes a purchase. As an affiliate marketer, you are a middleman between the customer and the product. Affiliate marketing is an attractive way to work for yourself and make money online. It requires little upfront investment, and you can live anywhere.
Affiliate marketing has become increasingly popular as businesses recognize its ability to drive revenue and expand brand recognition. Affiliate marketing helps retailers to occupy multiple top positions on search engine results pages (SERPs) and reach a wider audience.
Skills Required to Run an Affiliate Marketing Business
Affiliate marketers require a strong skill stack to run a successful affiliate business.
- Content Creation – The foundation of any successful affiliate marketing strategy is high-quality content that engages your audience and provides value. You need strong writing skills to create informative articles, product reviews, or other content related to your niche.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – To drive targeted traffic to your website or blog without spending money on advertising, you must master search engine optimization techniques. SEO helps improve your site’s visibility on sites like Google by optimizing its structure and content according to its algorithms’ preferences (Moz Beginner’s Guide To SEO).
- Keyword Research & Analysis – Finding profitable keywords with purchase intent is crucial in driving targeted traffic to promote affiliate products (Ahrefs Keyword Research Guide). Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can help identify potential keywords based on search volume, competition level, and relevance within your chosen niche.
- Social Media Marketing – Using creative and consistent content to leverage each platform’s features. Social media marketing can expand your reach and drive more visitors to your site.
- Networking & Relationship Building – An affiliate marketer needs strong networking skills to build relationships with other industry professionals, such as bloggers or influencers.
- Data Analysis & Reporting – An essential skill for affiliate marketers is analyzing data from various sources (such as Google Analytics) and making informed decisions based on this information.
To start an affiliate marketing business without money, one must master various skills such as content creation, SEO, keyword research and analysis, social media marketing, networking and relationship building, and data analysis. These skills will help drive targeted traffic and promote affiliate products.
An affiliate program is an intermediary between a merchant and an affiliate marketer. They provide tracking tools that allow both parties to monitor clicks, conversions, and commissions earned. Some top affiliate networks include ShareASale, CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction), and ClickBank.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money
The following steps will have you well on your way to becoming an affiliate marketer.
1 – Choose Your Platform
The first step is to choose a platform for your affiliate business. You can create a website or blog, use YouTube, or utilize a social media platform like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Choose your platform based on your personal preferences and what type of content you enjoy creating (because you will make a lot of it).
Whichever platform you choose, you will need traffic that engages with your content and clicks on affiliate links. Your content must be highly specific, targeted to viewers who want to purchase, and engaging. Each platform has its own merits, but I recommend blogging.
Why A Blog
Blogs have certain advantages over other platforms:
- You can update or revise content once posted
- Content is evergreen (every article is an asset, unlike social media)
- An affiliate link can be placed directly in the content (unlike Youtube and Instagram)
- Permission vs. Interrupt marketing – Customers find you
Now that I’ve convinced you to start a blog, it’s time to consider what you want your blog to be about.
2 – Choose Your Niche
Choosing the suitable niche for you is about finding the intersection between your passion, knowledge/expertise, and market demand. You may be an expert at stacking dice with a cup, but finding enough people who want to pay for products and services is unlikely. There are products you could sell, cups, dice, and courses on how to stack dice, but how many people will be willing to pay you for products and your expertise?
When choosing your niche, it’s helpful to consider your potential customer. The ideal market has a large customer base with the financial means to purchase your affiliate products and the desire to do so. Consumer demand can generally be split into three categories – health, wealth, and happiness.
Don’t search for perfection; choose a niche, take action, and adjust as you go.
“Successful bloggers aren’t born; they take action, learn from their mistakes & their way to the top! #bloggingskills”
3 – Choose Your Affiliate Products/Keywords
Choosing affiliate products to feature is actually about keyword research. By targeting keywords with purchase intent, you can ensure your content will attract potential customers ready to buy.
Search Intent is the underlying motivation behind a search term. Knowing the intent of each keyword, you target will help you create content that converts. For our purposes, there are only two types of search intent:
- Informational – People looking for information (How To posts)
- Purchase Intent – (Best of, Review, and Comparison posts)
Successful affiliate marketers write information and purchase intent articles using keywords and topic clusters that have a high chance of successfully ranking on the first page of Google.
To help you find the best affiliate products for your niche, we recommend using tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush. These platforms provide valuable insights into search volume, competition level, and more – helping you decide which affiliate products have the highest earning potential.
Steps to Choose Profitable Products:
- Analyze Your Niche: Start by examining your chosen niche closely. Look for gaps in the market or specific needs not being met by existing affiliate products or services.
- Evaluate Keyword Opportunities: Use Ahrefs or SEMrush to evaluate each product’s keyword opportunities based on search volume, competition level, cost per click (CPC), etc., so you can prioritize those with higher chances of success.
4 – Write Exceptional Content
The key to longevity in affiliate marketing is high-quality content. Your content should be engaging, informative, and easily digestible. It should also have an element of storytelling; your readers should be able to relate to your story. Content must be written so Google can easily understand and recognize it. Consider SEO best practices when writing content for your affiliate blog.
On-Page SEO Optimization
Using relevant primary and secondary keywords to optimize each page is essential. Tools like SurferSEO and Frase.io can help you identify keywords and phrases with the highest search volume. Content must have optimized title tags, meta descriptions, header tags (H1-H6), URL structure, image alt text, and internal linking structures.
Beyond on-page optimization efforts lie off-page strategies, which involve acquiring backlinks from other websites pointing toward yours. While there are blackhat techniques to get backlinks, I DO NOT RECOMMEND them. The goal is a long-term sustainable business. Here are three ways you can get backlinks:
- Guest Posting: Reach out to other blogs or websites within your niche offering high-quality articles in exchange for a backlink embedded within the post.
- Social Media Platforms: Share content on a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Influencer Outreach: Connect with influencers who have an audience interested in what you offer; collaborate with them on content creation or ask for a shoutout linking back to your site.
- Email Marketing: If you have built an email list, a newsletter featuring links to new content on your site will drive traffic directly from interested subscribers who may not otherwise see updates.
- Online Communities: Reddit, Quora, and other forums can be great places to increase awareness and engagement with your articles.
5 – Affiliate Links – Time to Monetize
Now that you have ranking content, it’s time to add your first affiliate link.
*Note: If you do not have an article in the top 20 for a purchase intent keyword on Google. Stop and go back to step 3. Only spend your time on links if you have targeted traffic to your site!
Finding the Right Fit
To choose the most suitable affiliate program for your business, consider factors such as:
- Relevance – does the program promote affiliate products or services in your niche?
- Commission structure – whether a percentage of affiliate sales, a flat fee per sale, or recurring commissions.
- Credibility – How likely is the affiliate program to keep paying you?
- Ease of use – how user-friendly their platform is for both publishers (you) and customers.
- Payout frequency – how often they pay out commissions (monthly, bi-monthly).
Popular Affiliate Networks to Consider
Here are some popular affiliate networks that cater to various niches:
- Amazon Associates Program: As one of the largest online retailers globally, Amazon offers an extensive range of products across multiple categories. Their associate’s program provides competitive commission rates depending on product categories.
- ShareASale: ShareASale is a popular affiliate program that hosts over 3,900 merchants across various niches. They provide a convenient platform and have reliable tracking/reporting tools.
- Commission Junction (CJ): CJ is another well-known affiliate network with many advertisers. Their interface lets you track your performance easily and manage multiple campaigns simultaneously.
- Impact: Impact is a network focusing on influencer marketing and monetization. It’s an ideal match for bloggers and social media influencers looking to monetize their reach.
In addition to these networks, many companies run in-house affiliate programs. Search the product, service, or company on Google with the term “Affiliate Program” or “Partner Program.”
Apply and Get Started
Once you have identified a suitable affiliate program for your business, apply by filling out their application forms and providing the necessary information about yourself and your website or blog. Before earning commissions, you will need to provide payment details. I use Wise or Paypal for most of my affiliate programs.
How can I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?
A new affiliate marketer should focus on content creation and SEO. Identify purchase intent keywords, create quality keyword-focused affiliate marketing content, optimize it for search engines, and build links to your articles from other authority websites in the same niche.
What are some popular affiliate networks?
Popular affiliate networks include Amazon Associates Program, ShareASale, Commission Junction (CJ), and Impact.
What is the easiest way to make money with affiliate marketing?
The easiest way to make money with affiliate marketing is by creating affiliate marketing content around purchase intent keywords and optimizing them for search engines.
Does it cost money to start affiliate marketing?
No, but as with anything, there is a trade-off. You can either spend money or time to get what you want. Before seeing the results of your affiliate marketing efforts, you’ll need to invest time learning, creating content, building links, and optimizing your website for search engines.
How to start affiliate marketing with no money is not as hard as successful affiliate marketing; however, it is much more difficult. Popularity means competition and more work required to see the benefits of your affiliate marketing efforts. Capturing affiliate sales requires much knowledge, dedication, and hard work.
However, with effort and commitment, you can make money in affiliate marketing without spending any money. Follow the steps outlined here to get started and increase your chances of achieving success. Good luck!