How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

By Carrie Wilder | Last Updated: May 14, 2024 

Learning how to make money with affiliate marketers for beginners might seem overwhelming, but the mechanics are simple.

This may be controversial, but I’m going to say it. Anyone can learn how to make money with affiliate marketing. ANYONE. 

Affiliate marketing might sound complicated and intimidating, but once you understand a few key marketing strategies, it’s all the same. 

All digital marketing is the same thing, just with different products. Today we’re going to go over how you can actually make money with affiliate marketing as a beginner… even without a website. Let’s dive in: 

What is Affiliate Marketing? How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing is a way to make money online by recommending products to consumers. 

As an affiliate marketer, you register with different retailers and companies as an affiliate, and get a specially coded link. Then, you can recommend products sold by the company with your affiliate link. 

When a potential customer clicks your link, a cookie is applied to their browser. Some cookies last only for 24 hours, and some can last as long as a year. What the cookie does is tell the retailer that you are the one who referred this customer. 

Then, if the customer makes a purchase after clicking your link within the cookie period, you get a commission. 

This costs nothing for the customer, and they won’t even know it’s happening. 

In fact, 81% of brands that sell online rely on affiliates. Affiliate marketing is one of the largest sources of online income.

Image Source: Benguonline

Huge brands like Walmart, REI, Amazon, and more all use affiliates to help drive sales.

Affiliate marketing commissions can range anywhere from 1% up to as much as 70% or more. 

You’ll see higher commissions offered on digital products like ebooks, online courses, softwares, and digital downloads. This is because digital products only have to be made once, and there are no shipping fees or physical order fulfillment involved. 

Mega-brand Amazon offers some of the lowest commissions in the industry, around 1-3%. Even with it’s low commission rates, it’s one of the most popular affiliate programs on the internet today. 

Starting a Profitable Affiliate Marketing Business When You Don't Know Where to Begin

I have been earning money with affiliate marketing for a few years, but it's never been as profitable as I wanted it to be.

I recently found a guy named Dave Sharpe, an entrepreneur who has started several multi-million dollar businesses. He has a high-ticket affiliate marketing training out right now that's better than any other training I've ever seen, and it's only $7.

It's a guided 15 day challenge where you even get your own business coach assigned to you that helps you create your own business plan that actually works.

I learned more in this $7 training than I have in every other affiliate marketing course that I've spent hundreds on in the past. This is a great place for people who simply don't know where to start!

If you want to learn more, check out this free video.

Is Affiliate Marketing Legit? 

Yes, affiliate marketing is totally legit. The reason businesses pay commissions to affiliate marketers is simple: the affiliates are sending them new customers. 

When the company makes a sale, they have no problem sending the affiliate a commission as a ‘thank you'. 

Digital product brands that are able to offer larger commission rates (upwards of 70%) are able to do so because once they acquire a customer, they are able to make upsells on the back-end. 

Affiliate marketing is one of the largest sources of income online. It’s a global industry that’s worth over $12 billion dollars!

Learn more with this article: Is affiliate marketing legit? The honest truth and FAQ

What Companies Have Affiliate Programs? 

Almost every company you can think of has an affiliate program. Google the name of the company or product + “affiliate program” or “referral program”. 

This is true for physical products, digital products, subscriptions, and more. 

There are also networks that operate affiliate programs for hundreds of companies. You can sign up for the network and get access to tons of affiliate products. 

Some of these include Clickbank, Share-a-Sale, Awin, and CommissionJunction

How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing 

There are many ways that you can do affiliate marketing. One of the most common ways to get started with affiliate marketing is through a blog. One of the main ways bloggers monetize their websites is through affiliate marketing. 

Blogging lends well to affiliate marketing – no matter what niche the blog is in. 

Potential customers use blogs to read about product reviews, product comparisons, product tutorials, and so much more. As a blogger, you can create these pieces of content and then rely on SEO to bring you traffic or run ads. 

Step 1: Start a blog (if you haven’t already)

Blogs are pretty easy to set up if you don't already have them. Popular blogging platforms include WordPress (what I use, Squarespace, and Wix.

Learn how to start a blog on WordPress here.

Step 2: Sign up to Affiliate Programs

There are thousands of affiliate programs out there – start with promoting something you're knowledgable about and love.

Step 3: Write Posts for Your Affiliate Products

Once you have your website set up, start writing articles for the affiliate products you've chosen. You can write several different kinds of articles about one product. Here are some ideas:

5 Best Types of Blog Posts To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Product Reviews

Product reviews are pretty self explanatory. It’s an entire article dedicated to a review of the product in question. This article should be a complete and honest review – not a falsely positive review in the hopes of making sales. 

People value authenticity. 

Product Comparisons

Product comparison articles are great because the people who are searching for them are almost ready to buy – but they want to know which product is best for them. This is even more awesome if you are an affiliate for both products. 

For example, if someone is searching for the best email marketing provider, they might want to know the differences between Convertkit or Mailchimp. 

Both of these softwares have awesome affiliate programs. And by providing an accurate review of each service, you’re helping the potential customer make the right decision for them, and hopefully earning yourself a commission. 

Product Tutorials

These types of articles are great for people who have already purchased the product, but they will still attract people who haven’t yet bought. 

When you’re in the research phase before buying a product, you might want to know how it works first. 

Product tutorials show you exactly that. Be sure to include your affiliate link with a call to action to buy or sign up throughout the article. If you have a special discount code, use that too. 


How-tos are articles that you’d write for the beginning of the customer’s journey. They know they have a problem and they want to solve it, but they don’t know how. 

For example – using the email marketing reference again – someone might be looking for “how to start building an email list”. 

In your how-to article, you could explain how to start building an email list WITH Convertkit. 

You would then go on to explain how to do it, the benefits of using Convertkit, and mention any discounts or free trials for signing up through your link. 


Listicles are great because you can include multiple affiliate product links in one article. A listicle for email marketing providers could be “The Top 10 Email Autoresponders for 2021”. Then, you’d provide each service with your link, a little snippet about each (or, a link to your product review) and that’s that!

How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing Without a Blog or Website

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of building a blog or website – no worries! You can still do affiliate marketing. 

You don’t have to have a full blog or full website, but in order to be successful you should be using a landing page and an email autoresponder. 

A landing page is a simple one-page website that you can create in minutes using a service like Leadpages. 

If you’re using an email autoresponder like Convertkit, you don’t need an additional service for a landing page. Convertkit has the ability to create landing pages built-in. 

The purpose of a landing page is to capture email addresses. Then, once you have the emails, you can send a series of emails to the subscriber. Here is an example of a landing page I made in Convertkit:

The email series should be 5-7 days long or longer. The purpose of this email series is to first give free value to the subscriber. Along the way, you will be educating the subscriber about the topic at hand, and eventually about the product you’re an affiliate for. Towards the end of the email series, you will make offers for them to purchase the product. Then you close down the offer. 

The reason it is structured like this is because the majority of the time, people do not purchase right away. 

By sending a series of emails educating them, you are showing them that you are 1: trustworthy and 2: you know what you’re talking about. This is called warming up cold traffic. 

Once a prospect is warmed up, they are exponentially more likely to purchase from you.

So, how do you convince someone to give you their email address? 

This is accomplished with a lead magnet. A lead magnet, also known as an opt-in, is a small but valuable digital consumable related to the product. This lead magnet should be something that you KNOW your customers want. 

It can be an ebook, a PDF download, a mini-course, a video training, a free template… there are so many possibilities. The best lead magnet is one that doesn’t take you long to create and is something people will happily hand over their email address for. 

Here are the steps for how to make money with affiliate marketing without a website: 

1. Sign Up for an Affiliate Program

Digital products and services work best for this type of affiliate marketing. Choose a product, software, or service in a niche that you are familiar with. 

Bonus: Softwares that have a monthly subscription are some of the best affiliate programs out there. This is because you get monthly recurring commissions from each sale that you make. 

2. Create a Lead Magnet

Create your lead magnet – your irresistible free offer to get email addresses. For example: if you are in the email marketing niche and you’ve decided to set up a funnel for Convertkit, your lead magnet should be related to email marketing. It could be “Free Email Marketing Templates” or “Case Study: How XYZ mad $XYZ with Email Marketing” or “Email Marketing Checklist” – the possibilities are really limitless here. 

3. Sign up For Email Autoresponder 

Sign up for your email autoresponder. I recommend using Convertkit for many reasons. Convertkit is super intuitive and easy to use. There are plenty of tutorials for using it online if you get stuck. And, Convertkit has the option to make a landing page – so there is no need for another software. 

4. Write Email Sequence 

Now comes the fun part. It’s time to write your email sequence. The first email sent to your subscribers should deliver the freebie and introduce yourself. Here’s an example of an email marketing sequence: 

Day 0: (right after signup) Deliver Freebie and Short Introduction

Day 1: Provide value – in the form of teaching, telling stories, providing more free resources about the topic, etc

Day 2: Provide value

Day 3: Mention product as a solution to their problems but don’t hard sell. Include links to product

Day 4: Build excitement about the product and encourage them to buy

Day 5: Offer discount codes or free trials if you have them. Let them know they only have 2 days left to get in on your offer.

Day 6: Answer FAQ about product

Day 7: Close down offer. 

5. Create Landing Page

Now that you have your email sequence ready to go, it’s time to build a simple landing page to promote your freebie offer. 

Your landing page should only have a brief description of your freebie and a spot for an email address. Anything else will distract from the main goal of the page.
Your main goal on your landing page is to collect emails, nothing else. Connect your landing page with your email sequence. 

6. Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page

Now that you have everything all set up and ready to go, it’s time to drive traffic. 

You can drive traffic in many ways, but to get quicker results I recommend paid advertising. 

Facebook Ads are a good place to start. You may need to spend a little time learning how to set up Facebook Ads – but it’s not hard!

7. Test, Tweak, Repeat

In a perfect world, this would work right away. You’d see abundant sales instantly. But this is real life, and there is no such thing as getting rich overnight. 

If people aren’t signing up for your free offer, you either have the wrong free offer or the wrong kind of traffic. 

If people are signing up but not purchasing the product, then you may need to change up your email sequence messaging. 

Affiliate marketing is all about testing and tweaking to find out what works best. 

The average conversion rate of a landing page is between 2-5% – meaning only 2 to 5 percent of people who visit the page will actually sign up. 

Of that 2-5%, average conversion rates for purchasing are even lower – 1-2%. 

If you’re averaging higher on either of those numbers, you’re doing awesome. 

Best Affiliate Marketing Book: The Insider's Guide to Affiliate Marketing

This book was written by multi-million dollar entrepreneur, Dave Sharpe. 

In my opinion, this is the best affiliate marketing book I’ve ever read. And it’s only $1.99 and comes with a free audio version to listen while you’re driving!

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, here’s what you’ll find in this book:

  • How to find the best products to promote
  • How to find a hot niche with proven buyers
  • Where to get high-quality traffic
  • How to create a high-quality affiliate landing page

And a ton more. 

Testing and Tweaking Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy

Once you have your affiliate marketing strategy set up, it’s time to drive traffic to it and see how it performs. 

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t make sales instantly. That is normal. 

The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you are recommending products that are already guaranteed to sell. 

Unlike creating your own product and testing and tweaking it on your own, these companies know their product sells.
They know their customers and they know exactly how to get them to buy. 

You are just the bridge between the customer and the product. 

This guide is a beginner’s guide to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing. 

If this is something that truly interests you, spend more time researching. You can find plenty of free resources from blogs and YouTube channels. 

Learn How to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing: Next Steps

Depending on the type of affiliate marketing you want to do, your next steps should include a lot of research. 

If you already have a blog and want to start creating affiliate articles, go for it! But, you won’t make sales without traffic, so be sure to understand how to get traffic to your articles. SEO is a good place to start but it takes a long time, paid ads and organic Pinterest marketing are great, too. 

If you don’t have a blog or website and want to create an affiliate marketing email funnel, I definitely recommend doing more research. The information I’ve provided here is enough to give you an idea – but you should definitely learn more before jumping in. 

If you have any questions about the information in this article or about affiliate marketing in general, leave them in the comments below! 

Also let me know if you’d like me to go more in-depth about any of these tactics – I have personally done them all myself and would love to offer more detailed instruction about anything mentioned here.

Carrie Wilder

Carrie has a passion for location independence and nomadic lifestyles. After traveling full-time in an RV and living the van life, she created Making Money and Traveling to help others make the switch to a remote lifestyle. Learn more about Carrie on the About page or connect on social media below.