This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Affiliate marketing is a great way for anyone who sells digital or printable products online to add an extra income stream.
In this post, I’ll answer some of the common questions people have around affiliate marketing, and go over some strategies to help you start your affiliate marketing journey with no audience.
What is affiliate marketing?
Essentially, you promote other people’s products and services, earning commission each time someone makes a purchase through your referral link.
Sounds good, right? But what if you’re just starting out and you don’t yet have an audience? Who’re you going to sell to?
Building an audience – for example via an email list – can take months or even years. The good news is that you can be a successful affiliate marketer even if you don’t have an email list.
Is it hard to make money as an affiliate?
You probably won’t be surprised to hear that this can vary depending on various factors, including:
Choosing the right affiliate products is crucial. Promoting products that genuinely provide value can lead to higher conversion rates.
Choosing the right niche can impact your earning potential. Niches with high demand, where people are more willing to spend money, tend to offer better affiliate opportunities, but bear in mind the level of competition in your niche can also affect your ability to stand out and generate sales.
It’s also important to focus on a niche that you’re interested in or have some knowledge of. Find a balance between profitability and personal interest.
Effective marketing strategies such as SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, and email marketing, will have an impact on your affiliate earnings.
The ability to drive traffic, engage with an audience, and convert leads into sales are really important skills to develop, if you don’t already have them.
The best place to start promoting is where your audience hangs out. Do they use Tik Tok? Pinterest? Facebook? YouTube? Once you have decided where they hang out, you can start to promote your affiliate links in these places.
Ability to build credibility
Establishing trust and credibility with your audience takes time and effort.
People are more likely to purchase products or services through your affiliate links if they perceive you as trustworthy and knowledgeable.
You can develop your credibility by consistently providing valuable content and building relationships.
Consistently creating and promoting high-quality, valuable content, and regularly engaging with the consumers of your content can help you build a stronger affiliate income over time.
Like any business, affiliate marketing requires persistence and a willingness to adapt and learn. It can take time to start reaping the financial benefits of being an affiliate marketer.
Having a flexible approach
If your strategy isn’t working, it’s important to recognise that and try a different approach.
How Can I Start Affiliate Marketing As A Beginner?
Starting affiliate marketing as a beginner can be a lucrative endeavor with the right approach.
When I first started my affiliate marketing journey I posted review videos of courses I loved on my YouTube channel. Then I started to create Pinterest pins directing people to these same courses and other products.
Want to learn more about my affiliate marketing journey? Grab my free guide for beginners.
Focus on building relationships
Affiliate marketing isn’t so much about selling as it is about building relationships.
Find ways to connect with your potential customers and build trust with them. This means engaging with them on social media, responding to comments, and even offering free value-adding resources to help them out.
By offering value first, you’ll build an engaged audience who trusts you and is more likely to act on your recommendations.
Create Valuable and Authentic Content
Let’s dig a little deeper into how you offer value to your potential customers even before they buy anything from you.
Just because you don’t yet have an audience, that doesn’t mean you can’t start creating valuable content.
The key is to create something that’s unique and of value to your niche. Once you’ve created a few pieces of content, start promoting them on social media and other platforms where your ideal audience hangs out.
What’s meant by the term ‘valuable content’? It’s simply content that engages the reader and provides solutions to their problems.
This kind of content builds confidence in you and your opinions. When people have confidence in you, they’re more likely to buy from you (or anyone else you recommend via an affiliate link).
A blog is an ideal way to share valuable content – and affiliate links. Do some research to identify the problems visitors to your blog might be facing, then write a blog post related to that, adding a relevant affiliate link. (Hint: that’s exactly what I’m doing in this blog post!)
You can start a blog for free. You can learn more about that in my free affiliate marketing for beginners guide.
Being able to genuinely recommend a product because you’ve used it will help the potential buyer make their decision, especially if they already have confidence in you and your ability to help them solve their problem, so if you have used the product you’re promoting, make sure you put that across in your content.
Join Affiliate Networks
There are lots of affiliate networks that you can join which will allow you to promote offers when you don’t have your own audience. Networks like ClickBank and ShareASale connect affiliates with various products in different niches, each with unique commission rates and terms.
Networks like these typically provide product information and promotional materials that you can use to generate sales. They’re also a great place to learn from the successes and failures of people who are a little further on in their affiliate marketing journey than you.
Use Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for affiliates, especially those who don’t have an email list. Social media allows you to leverage a targeted audience and promote your products to them.
Share your affiliate links in social media posts. Be sure to create posts that provide value – you don’t want to appear too ‘salesy’.
Influencers are individuals with a significant social media following that relies on them to inform their opinions and purchases decisions.
Collaborate with an influencer in your niche and leverage their audience to build awareness of you and what you offer.
How to do Affiliate Disclosures
When promoting affiliate links, you have to make sure you disclose that your blog post, Pinterest pin, Instagram reel, etc., that you are an affiliate for the product you are promoting.
When incorporating affiliate marketing disclosures into a blog post, transparency and compliance are key.
Begin by clearly stating your affiliation with the products or services you are promoting. This can be done at the beginning of your post, in a dedicated disclosure section, or within the body of the content where relevant.
Use plain and easily understandable language, avoiding jargon or ambiguity. Mention that you may receive a commission or compensation if readers make a purchase through your affiliate links.
Additionally, ensure that your disclosure is conspicuous and not hidden away.
It should be noticeable to readers without requiring them to scroll or click through numerous links.
Remember that honesty and trustworthiness are the cornerstones of successful affiliate marketing, so always prioritize your audience’s interests by providing honest, valuable, and unbiased information alongside your disclosures.
Complying with legal and industry guidelines, like the FTC’s Endorsement Guides in the United States, is crucial to maintaining credibility and integrity in your affiliate marketing endeavors.
How much can a beginner affiliate make?
Of course, as with any business, income can vary widely, but as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to earn a few hundred dollars per month. I make between a few hundred dollars, to a few thousand dollars, a month depending on what I am promoting.
It’s important to note, however, that one person’s results will vary from another’s, and you may even not earn anything at all when you first start out.
Success in affiliate marketing depends on factors such as niche selection, marketing strategies, audience engagement, and dedication to continuous learning and improvement.
Starting affiliate marketing with no audience might seem daunting at first, but it’s definitely possible.
By choosing a niche, creating valuable content, building relationships, finding affiliate programs within your niche, and being flexible and persistent, you can set yourself up for success.
Remember, it takes time to build an audience, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Keep creating great content and engaging with your audience, and you will eventually see success with affiliate marketing.
If you’d like a more in depth look at getting started as an affiliate marketer, you can grab my beginners’ guide to affiliate marketing here.
Want more passive income ideas? You can find more here.