Before we get started, there are terms you should become comfortable using: publisher, advertiser, and affiliate.
Publishers create content online. Publishers are also referred to as content creators. Creators are influencers, bloggers, YouTubers, podcasters, etc…anyone publishing content online.
Advertisers are people or businesses with products or services and they pay publishers for their promotional efforts. Advertisers are also sometimes referred to as merchants.
Once you sign up for an affiliate program, you are referred to as an affiliate.
If you’re here, it’s because you’re publisher with a growing audience and you’re interested in affiliate marketing because it is a win-win-win situation:
Win #1 – You are paid by advertisers selling products or services that you think your audience would be interested in purchasing.
Win #2 – You help advertisers grow their businesses.
Win #3 – Your relevant, educational content helps your audience find new products or services.
Step 1 to start affiliate marketing with no money: Create content consistently.
(Skip to step 2 if you’re already creating content.)
If you’re not already creating content, then start by picking a platform or two (and no more). Pick platforms you use now, ones that you like where you’re already engaging with others.
Decide on a schedule for publishing content. Consistent is better than what “best practices” dictate — if you can post high-quality content once each week, that’s better than poor-quality content daily.
Next, practice creating relevant content consistently in the style that’s appropriate for each platform. By starting on platforms you’re familiar with and already engaging with others on, this part should be easier.
Note: Don’t start a YouTube channel today and then forget about it for months. Actually, don’t start anything new today and then forget about it or ignore it for months. Strive to make progress most days.
Step 2 to start affiliate marketing with no money: Build an audience.
(Skip to step 3 if you already have a growing audience.)
Think about creating and publishing content like a TV show or a televised sporting event like Monday Night Football — you don’t need to ask when it’s on the schedule because you already know.
As a result of your persistence, readers/listeners/viewers/followers will come to know what they can expect from you, and when.
Consistent content creation will result in a growing audience. With that audience, you could:
- start building an email list to keep your most loyal followers up to date;
- suggest they follow you on other channels, i.e. YouTube subscribers –> Instagram followers;
- sell your own products or services;
- promote products or services from other businesses (and get PAID to do it); or,
- some combination of the above.
If you have been or can commit to creating content and building an audience, you’ll find it’s actually rather easy to start in an affiliate marketing because you’re already doing the hard work.
Step 3 to start affiliate marketing with no money: Find one advertiser.
You do not pay anything to get started in affiliate marketing, so you don’t need money. All you need to do is find one advertiser to get started.
Take a look back at all the content you’ve created thus far. Have you already mentioned any products or services you’re a fan of? Maybe you’ve mentioned a product or service repeatedly because love it? Great!
Whatever that one product or service is, find the company’s website. Go to the bottom of the website. Looking for a link that says “affiliate program” or “partnership program.” Simply follow the link and fill out whatever form that company wants you to fill out. If you don’t see a link with details about their affiliate program, use the contact form to ask if they have an affiliate marketing program.
After you’ve made contact and been approved for an affiliate program, the company will provide you with your own unique tracking link that you can use on the platforms where you create content so that you can be paid for referrals or sales you helped make as a result of your promotional efforts.
Note: Read the terms and conditions before and after signing up for an affiliate program to see what the limitations are for promotion. If you’re ever in doubt about what you’re doing, send an email to the affiliate program manager before you start promotion.
We are fans of affiliate marketing because it tends to be an easy way for publishers to start making money, once you get a hang of the lingo and the process. Also, it helps to have a system for managing your affiliate marketing efforts — check out our FREE course >>
We are not fans of having a lot of website traffic/followers/video views/podcast downloads and not a lot of revenue. If that’s you and you don’t have the bandwidth to take full advantage of affiliate marketing, we can help. Fill out this form and we’ll get back to you ASAP: