If you’ve ever thought about making money through affiliate marketing, you may have been discouraged by the apparent lack of start-up capital. After all, how can you make money if you don’t have any money to start with?
Most people think that affiliate marketing is a complex and expensive venture. But the truth is, it can be started on a shoestring budget without any prior experience.
The key is to find affiliate programs that do not require an upfront investment. While some of these programs may not offer the highest commissions, they can be an awesome way to dip your toes in the affiliate marketing world with an online business.
On top of this, there are several ways to promote your affiliate links without spending any money. For example, you can use various social media platforms or start a blog to drive traffic to your links.
With a little effort and creative thinking, you can start making money through affiliate marketing even if you don’t have any money to start with.
Ready? Let’s fly!
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can compensate me (at no cost to you – but will buy me a cup of coffee) if you purchase a paid plan. These are products I’ve personally used and stand behind. For more information, you can read our affiliate disclosure here.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing in which a business rewards affiliates (that’s you) for each visitor or customer brought by your marketing efforts.
It’s a popular way to earn money online and can be a great way to build up your passive income.
Generally, an affiliate will link to a merchant’s website from its own site. When a visitor clicks the affiliate’s link and buys the merchant’s products or services, the affiliate earns a commission.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines affiliate marketing as “the process of earning a commission for referring customers to other companies,” and it is pretty much just that.
Extra Reading: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners (Ultimate Guide)
Why is Affiliate Marketing a Good Business Model?
The affiliate marketing business model has a lot of advantages that make it a good choice for many businesses. For one, it’s a relatively low-risk way to enter a new market or test a new product.
By partnering with an affiliate network or company, businesses can get their products in front of a large audience without committing to significant advertising spending.
And because affiliate partnerships are typically performance-based, meaning affiliates are only paid when they drive results, and it aligns incentives between the two parties. It helps ensure that quality leads are generated.
Additionally, affiliate marketing can be scaled relatively easily since there’s no need to invest in inventory or other physical assets (my favorite thing about affiliate marketing).
And, because it’s a digital channel, reach is increased exponentially.
Not only can you reach more people, but you can also target your audience more effectively.
Is Affiliate Marketing Profitable?
Affiliate marketing can be financially rewarding if done correctly. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make good money from affiliate marketing.
First and foremost, you need to find a niche you’re interested in and know something about. This will make the whole process much more manageable.
Second of all, choose affiliate programs that offer good commissions. There are plenty of affiliate programs out there, so do your research before signing up for one.
Third, build up an excellent social media following. The more people who know about and trust you, the more likely they will buy the products you recommend.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money
Below are some of the different channels you can make money with affiliate marketing.
1. Start a Blog.
Starting a blog is (in my opinion) one of the best ways to start affiliate marketing with no money. Creating quality content in the form of blog posts that provides value to your readers means you can draw an audience of potential customers.
With an online presence, you can drive traffic to your site through SEO best practices and earn a commission on each sale.
While building a successful blog takes time and effort, it is possible to start affiliate marketing with no money (almost) by following these simple steps.
Create valuable content and drive free traffic from the search engine straight to your website. Answering questions through a blog post is a very lucrative way to slip your affiliate link into the content when recommending products.
Next, research companies that will allow you to join an affiliate program with a new site.
It’s not uncommon to see bloggers make upwards of $10,000 in affiliate sales each month. Just remember that it won’t happen overnight.
2. Start a YouTube Channel.
YouTube provides an excellent platform for affiliate marketing though it can be challenging to stand out amongst the millions of other channels.
A successful affiliate marketer on YouTube must have engaging content, reach a large audience, and have an audience that is willing to click on links and make purchases.
There are a few steps that every potential YouTube affiliate should take to increase their chances of success.
First, research popular niches and target keywords with low competition but still being searched for by potential customers. Then, create YouTube videos around those keywords and optimize them for SEO.
Finally, push your videos through social media and other channels (such as your blog) to reach the largest audience possible.
3. Affiliate Marketing on Instagram.
With over a billion monthly users, your products or services have a vast potential audience. And best of all, you can start promoting on Instagram without spending a dime. Here’s how:
Find affiliates: Take some time to research and find the ones that offer products or services that would appeal to your target audience.
Create great content: To make sure people click on your affiliate links, you must create thrilling and engaging content. Post photos and videos that showcase the products or services you’re promoting, and be sure to use relevant hashtags so people can easily search for your content.
Build an engaged following – The more people who see and interact with your content, the more likely they are to click on your affiliate links. So it’s important to build up a following of engaged users who regularly see and interact with your content.
The best way to do this is by posting content regularly and responding to comments and questions from your followers.
Just remember to center your focus on creating great content that will appeal to your target audience, and you will be on your way to success.
4. Start a TikTok Account for Affiliate Marketing.
When it comes to social media platforms, there is none hotter right now than TikTok. If you’re unfamiliar, TikTok is a short-form video app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos.
And with a billion active monthly users, it presents a massive opportunity for affiliate marketers.
When creating content for TikTok, keep your videos brief and to the point. Also, be sure to include calls to action in your videos and use relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience.
Don’t forget to include links to your affiliate products in your bio.
5. Affiliate Marketing on Facebook.
As the largest social media platform on this list, Facebook is easy to set up and use. It’s perfect for those just getting started in this type of business.
Here’s a quick overview of how to get started with affiliate marketing on Facebook.
First, build a Facebook page for your business. This will be your primary way of promoting your affiliate products and services. Include a call-to-action in your page description, encouraging people to click through to your website.
Next, join relevant affiliate programs and add their links to your page. You’ll earn a commission whenever someone not only clicks on one of these links, but also makes a purchase.
Finally, start promoting your page by sharing it with your friends and followers. You can also run ads on Facebook targeting potential customers in your area.
Yes, this will cost a little bit of money, but the results are quicker, and if you’ve got a killer product that your audience wants, then you’re sure to make a decent ROI (return on investment).
6. Affiliate Marketing With No Money on Pinterest.
Pinterest can be a strong marketing tool for affiliate marketers. By sharing pins that contain affiliate links, you can earn commission on sales made through your links.
To get started, sign up for a Pinterest account (free) and create boards that showcase your affiliate products. Include keyword-rich descriptions and attractive images to draw potential customers to your pins.
Once you have created your boards, start sharing your pins regularly. You can also join relevant online communities and share your pins with other users.
7. Affiliate Marketing on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn can be extremely powerful for affiliate marketers. If you have an extensive network on LinkedIn, you can reach out to all of your connections at once with content that you think would be valuable to them.
You can also target specific groups on LinkedIn with your content. Targeting allows you to focus your content on individuals who are more likely to be interested in what you’re selling.
LinkedIn also provides an easy way to track your results. You can see how many people have viewed or shared your content, and you can even see who’s clicked on links within your post.
If you’re looking to start affiliate marketing using LinkedIn, follow these simple steps:
1. Create a profile that represents your brand. Include information about who you are and what you do in your profile. You should also have a link to your website in your profile so people can find it easily.
2. Start publishing high-quality content. As with any other platform, the key to success on LinkedIn is posting and sharing high-quality content relevant to your audience. For example, if you sell products for businesses, you could write articles about tips for increasing productivity or time management hacks for busy professionals.
3. Share your content widely. To reach as many people as possible on LinkedIn, share your articles in relevant groups and post them on your company page (if you have one). You can also share your articles directly with individuals in your network by sending them a message.
4. Monitor your results. LinkedIn provides some great data analytics tools that can help you track the success of your affiliate marketing efforts. Check back regularly to see how many people view and share your content. This will give you an idea of what’s working well and what needs improvement.
Adjust your strategy appropriately so you can continue growing your business using LinkedIn.
8. Write Affiliate Review Articles on Medium.
If you’re looking to start an affiliate marketing business, writing reviews on Medium can be a great way to get started.
By sharing your honest insights about the products or services you’re promoting, you can build trust with your audience and attract readers interested in learning more about what you have to say.
Be sure to include both the pros and cons of each product and explain why you recommend (or don’t recommend) each one.
In addition, including affiliate links to the products or services you’re promoting in your reviews can help to generate leads and sales.
9. Use Email Marketing.
If you have an email list, this is one of the easiest ways to make money online. And if you don’t have one then why not?
The ROI from an email list is crazy at 36:1. You get $36 back for every $1 you invest. This beats any social media platform, including YouTube. To start an affiliate marketing business with email, you need to provide a way for people to opt into your list.
An excellent way to do this is by offering a lead magnet on a landing page in exchange for their email address. This is a serious way to start affiliate marketing without any money.
Take a look at Convertkit. You get your first 1,000 subscribers for free.
1. Finding a niche with decent-sized traffic and solid affiliate programs.
The niche you choose for your affiliate marketing website is one of the most critical aspects. It needs to be something that will allow you to pivot over time so it can grow into an established brand with authority, which can eventually replace your full-time job!
So don’t rush through picking out just any topic. The best niche is something you already have leverage in. Think about your current job. How can you create content by delivering value to people you already know?
Are you knowledgeable about a particular hobby? Do you hang out with like-minded people inside groups and see potential by helping them with a product or service?
For great sites to promote affiliate products take a look at, ShareASale, Commission Junction, and Impact.
Pro Tip: While there’s nothing wrong with joining the Amazon Affiliate Program to promote products, be aware that their commissions are very low compared to other businesses that allow people to join their program.
2. Choose one marketing channel to start with.
When you’re creating content for too many traffic channels at once, it can be difficult to keep up with everything. It is one of the biggest mistakes I see beginners making (and have made myself). They have accounts on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, all while managing their blog—it’s just way too much work!
I understand that having an account here or there might seem insignificant. Still, if you want successful results with any marketing campaign, then it’s vital to prioritize what needs attention first—quality over quantity.
Pro Tip: I recommend starting a blog first and then complementing that with a YouTube channel.
3. Create engaging content and provide value.
To stand out in this saturated market, you need one thing, great content. Your videos and blog posts should be so good that people will be eager to share them with friends and family.
It is whatever platform works best for you. As long as what you are creating is top-notch, then success will come naturally because there’s nothing better than a fantastic story told powerfully by talented individuals who care greatly about delivering quality entertainment.
Pro Tip: Do not fall into the trap of having the best equipment or spending hours on a great-looking website. As long as it’s good enough to deliver a great message and functional, move on.
4. Promote it.
Promote your content without spending money by engaging in conversation with others, building relationships within a niche and similar niches to you, commenting on other people’s videos, or writing blog posts about it.
Many social media platforms have data analytics that tell you how well your posts are doing and enable you to track ad campaign progress and engagement.
Pro Tip: The key isn’t spending hours every day online but looking at it as just one piece in a much larger strategy that will help you reach more people with quality information and products they’ll love.
Affiliate Marketing FAQs
Can I Start Affiliate Marketing For Free?
Yes! You can start affiliate marketing for free by creating a blog and signing up for one of the many affiliate networks.
Affiliate networks are online marketplaces that allow businesses to connect with affiliates (i.e., people like you who want to promote merchant products and services).
When someone clicks on an affiliate link on your blog or website and makes a purchase, you earn a commission on that sale.
There are many great affiliate networks, but some of the most popular ones include Commission Junction, Rakuten Marketing, and ClickBank.
It’s worth checking out each of these networks to see which ones would be the best fit for your niche.
How Can I Make $100 a Day With Affiliate Marketing?
You can do a few things to make $100 a day with affiliate marketing. One is to promote high-ticket items that pay commissions of $100 or more per sale.
Another is to focus on high-traffic areas of the web where there are a lot of potential customers looking for information about the types of products you’re promoting.
You can also place ads on your website or blog and use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to send traffic to your affiliate offers.
And finally, always provide valuable content that helps solve the problems of your target audience, and remember to recommend only the best products and services you stand behind.
How do I Start Affiliate Marketing as a Beginner?
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend someone else’s products or services in exchange for a commission on sales. It can be a great way to make extra income, and there are many different ways to get started.
Here are a few tips:
1. Choose the right affiliate program. There are a lot of different programs out there, so it’s essential to find one that fits your interests and expertise.
2. Find a mentor. It can be helpful to have someone who can guide you through the process and help you avoid common mistakes.
3. Create valuable content. People are more likely to buy products when they trust the source, so ensure your content is high quality and helpful.
How Much Do Beginner Affiliate Marketers Make?
It really depends on the person. Some can make a lot of money, while others don’t make any money at all.
Beginner affiliate marketers often make between $0 and $500 per month. This varies depending on how much effort the affiliate marketer puts in, what products they promote, and how good their marketing skills are.
There is no guarantee of making money as an affiliate marketer, but with a bit of hard work and perseverance, most people can eventually see some success.
By choosing high-quality products to promote and learning the basics of effective marketing, beginner affiliate marketers can quickly start seeing results.
Affiliate marketing is excellent for those who want to make money, but it’s not without its challenges. To get past it, you must be committed to this for the long haul.
One of the biggest obstacles is driving traffic to your site or profile in the first place. How can you make any money from it if no one knows about it?
By developing a simple rinse-and-repeat process of creating great content, providing value, and then promoting it, you will be on your way to build a successful affiliate marketing business.
It’s time to be the pilot of your life and not just the passenger.
Chris Bournelis is a blogger, search engine optimization, and content marketing specialist. He has been working in the online business since 2015. Join him here at ChrisBournelis.com for the best SaaS reviews and tips to get the most out of your online business.