Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Step By Step Guide

Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Step-by-step guide on how to start affiliate marketing for beginners including Amazon affiliate program

Are you looking to start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

This step by step guide of affiliate marketing for beginners will help you.

I will address some of the questions beginners ask about affiliate marketing like:

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work for beginners?

How do I become an affiliate marketer?

What is the best affiliate marketing program for beginners?

How do I drive traffic and get people to click on my affiliate links and buy from me?

Can I make money from affiliate marketing?

So this review will cover the following:

Affiliate marketing is also  also often called referral marketing.

It is where you promote other companies’ products and get paid a commission when someone buys through your affiliate link.

Many companies use affiliate marketing as part of their strategy to reach untapped audiences.

Affiliate marketing spending is growing.

It is predicted by Statista, to grow from $5.4 billion in 2017 to $8.2 billion by 2022 in the United States alone.

You may want to tap into this huge market.

Affiliate Marketing Spending in USA from 2010 to 2022 from Statista.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

On acceptance to an affiliate program, the merchant provides you with a unique affiliate link.

This enables sales to be tracked back to you.

In addition, the affiliate link is tagged with a file called a cookie.

This is stored on the computer browser when someone clicks on your affiliate link.

The cookie ensures that even if a purchase is not made straightaway, the sale will still be attributed to you if made later.

Some programs have a “sticky cookie” which allows the cookie to apply to all your devices.

For example, if the initial click was on a desktop computer but you later purchased from your ipad, the sale will still be linked to you.

Each program has a different lifespan for their affiliate cookies, ranging from about 24 hours for Amazon for example, to months after the initial click was made.

With the Amazon cookie, if a customer clicks your link on a particular product, but then orders anything else within the 24 hour cookie lifespan, you will earn commissions on those items.

How Much Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

The average income from affiliate marketing varies.

According to Job-2-Joy, the majority of affiliate marketers, at 48.36%, make less than $20,000 a year.

At the top end, only 3.2% of them earn over $150,000 per year.

Ink Well Editorial reports that of the 35% of affiliates who earn more than $20,000 per year, 12% make over $75,000 in affiliate income.

Some of the top earners from affiliate marketing include Pat Flynn, John Chow, Rae Hoffman, Mark Ling, Kristy Mccubbin, and Shawn Collins.

Jason Stone, the Millionaire Mentor Instagram star, generated $7 million in retail sales through affiliate marketing between June 2016 and June 2017.

My Personal Journey With Affiliate Marketing

I started this blog in November 2017 as a personal finance blog following the publication of my book, The Smart & Common Sense Investor.

To promote the book, I created a ClickFunnels account and bought Russell Brunson’s book funnel.

I started looking into the ClickFunnels affiliate program in March 2018 as a way to build passive income.

I took the free Affiliate BootCamp training but my initial results were not inspiring.

The game-changer came when I bought the Affiliate Secrets 2.0 course in September 2018.

By April 2019, I had qualified for the ClickFunnels Dream Car Award.

I have made over six figures in commissions from ClickFunnels and receive regular income from multiple affiliate programs.

My results are not typical. Read my disclaimer below.

Those two courses are no longer available and anyone looking to start today should take the Legendary Marketer training, which I also went through.

My $150K Affiliate Income Milestone with ClickFunnels affiliate program
$100K Affiliate Income Milestone with ClickFunnels affiliate program

8 Steps To Start Affiliate Marketing

These are the steps to start affiliate marketing for the beginner.

Step #1: Choose Affiliate Marketing Niche

Many new affiliates struggle with choosing a niche..

Do you have an interest or passion?

It could be a unique knowledge or talent you possess.

These could be the best place to start your search.

The top three niches are health, wealth and relationships.

Focus on a profitable category, where there is high and evergreen demand.

Golf is often used as an example. 

Then drill down to a sub-niche to reduce the level of competition.

For example instead of sports shoes in general, you can promote golf shoes.

AuthorityHacker, gives this list of the most profitable niches for affiliate marketing:

  • Hobby Niches – Photography, Travel, Sports betting, Event Tickets, Casino
  • Money Niches – Debt Settlement, Bitcoin, Investing, Credit card, Mortgage
  • Health and Fitness Niches – Weight Loss, Fitness, Yoga, Organic, Nutrition, Vegan
  • Lifestyle Niches – Luxury, Cruises, Travel, Online dating, Airlines, Fashion, Jewelry
  • Home & Family Niches – Home security, Coffee, Baby products, Dogs, Gardening
  • Tech Niches– Web hosting, WordPress, VPN, SaaS, Gaming, Software
  • Alternative Niches – CBD, Marijuana, Essential oils, Herbal, Personal development

AM Navigator analysed 550 affiliate programs.

Fashion was the niche with the highest number of affiliate programs – about 18.7%.

The sports and outdoors category came in second with 14.6%,.

This was followed by health and wellness and beauty at 11.1%, and travel at 8.6%.

Step #2: Select Affiliate Programs To Join

Having selected a niche, you need to find affilate programs to join.

A quick search on Google will throw up some programs.

Type in your niche and add “affiliate programs”.

You will find a selection of affiliate programs in that niche.

For example I promote mainly business software.

Searching for “business software affiliate programs”, returned the results shown below.

I would recommend you only promote products you also use or are very familiar with.

Result of Google search for long tail keywords "Best Business Software Affiliate Programs"

There are four types of affiliate programs you can choose from.

A. Non-Recurring Affiliate Programs

These are affiliate programs where you receive a one-off payment when a sale is made through your affiliate link.

A typical example is the Amazon affiliate program.

Depending on the product category, Amazon affiliates receive from 1 -10% fixed commission.

Many new affiliates start with the Amazon Associates affiliate program.

It is easy to join and there are multiple products in almost every niche to promote.

The drawback is that you only get a single payment when you make a sale.

Also the commissions are very low and so you need high volume traffic and sales to make an appreciable income.

Amazon Affiliate Program known as Amazon Associates Program pays non-recurring affiliate commissions of 1-10% depending on which product you sell through your affiliate link

B. Recurring Affiliate Programs

I prefer affiliate programs that pay recurring commissions.

These are affiliate programs that pay monthly recurring commissions when someone purchases a product or service.

They are some of the best affiliate marketing programs for beginners.

Typically, these are products with a subscription pricing model like Software as a Service (SaaS).

If the customer is paying the vendor monthly, you will receive monthly commissions for as long as the subscription is active.

These residual recurring commissions will help you build lifetime passive income.

My favorite affiliate programs for recurring income include GoHighLevel, the CRM platform, ClickFunnels, the funnel-building software, and email marketing software like ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Aweber.

Many of these pay up to 30–40% monthly recurring commission.

ClickFunnels has three pricing plans: $147, $197, and $497 per month, respectively.

Top-level affiliates receive a 40% monthly recurring commission.

This translates to $58.80, $78.80, and $198.80 monthly affiliate commissions, respectively.

GoHighLevel pays a 40% commission on its $97, $297, and $497 per month pricing plans.

New ClickFunnels Affiliate Program has a tiered structure starting from 20% recurring commission for new affiliates to 40% when you have over 40 subscribers.

C. High Ticket Affiliate Programs

High-ticket affiliate marketing is a growing segment of affiliate marketing.

These are the highest-paying affiliate programs, with commissions that can run into thousands of dollars.

For example, Amazing Selling Machine is one of the best courses for anyone looking to set up an e-commerce business on Amazon.

The current version of the course, ASM13, sells for $4,997.

Affiliates receive a 40% commission for each sale ($1,998).

Spencer Mecham’s affiliate marketing course, Affiliate Secrets 3.0, currently costs $1497 and pays 50% affiliate commission ($748.50).

I also promote Funnel Builder Secrets.

This is a ClickFunnels special pricing deal.

Funnel Builder Secrets has two plans that cost $1,997 and $9,997.

40% affiliate commission translates to $798.80 and $3998.80, respectively for each sale.

For the beginner, you will be competing against some experienced marketers with deep pockets for these high-ticket programs.

It’s probably best to start with the smaller programs.

D. Affiliate Programs With Multiple Products

Affiliate programs with multiple products could be a great way for beginners to start.

This is particularly so if there is a free or cheap front-end product you can promote.

If the company has a solid back-end sales funnel and email marketing process in place, it will do the heavy lifting for you.

They will promote and market other products to your referrals.

Legendary Marketer

Legendary Marketer is a comprehensive training program for online marketers made up of several low, middle and high ticket products.

It is my favourite affiliate program.

Most people enter the program through the two low ticket front end products.

These are the $7.00 15-Day Online Business Builder Challenge and the $1.99 eBook, The Insider’s Guide To Affiliate Marketing.

Recently a training on how to generate free unlimited traffic from Tiktok (15 Second Free Leads) has been added as a low ticket front-end product costing $1.00.

Another low ticket entry product is the Copywriters Playbook costing $1.00.

You can earn high ticket commissions of up to $2,850 when people buy some of the high tier training and courses.


Another example of a company with multiple affiliate products is Clickfunnels, the funnel building software company.

The easiest way to promote the software is through Russell Brunson’s books DotCom Secrets, Expert Secrets and Traffic Secrets.

The books are free. Buyers only paying for shipping.

The affiliate commission for each book sold through your link is only $1.

However, each book is sold through a funnel where other ClickFunnels products are offered as upsells.

You will receive commissions if someone buys any of these.

For example DotCom Secrets book is free and costs $9.95 for postage in United States.

The total cart value of all the products in the funnel is $737.95.

Affiliates can potentially earn up to $264.40 per book sale depending on how many of the upsells the customer buys.

The company will also use emails to market other products to them.

This includes the ClickFunnels software and will potentially boost your income even further.

The affiliate cookie will track any sales and commissions to you.

Step #3: Select Affiliate Marketing Platform

You need a platform to promote your affiliate products.

As a beginner, it is best to start on one platform.

YouTube videos and blogging used to be the main choices for creating affiliate content.

The emergence of social media has added a third arm.

Remember to declare your affiliate links in all your content.

This is a Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) mandatory requirement.

YouTube For Affiliate Marketing

YouTube is the second-largest search engine with over 122 million daily users.

There are 2.7 billion monthly active users worldwide.

Over 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube daily.

70% of viewers have purchased after seeing a brand on YouTube.

Affiliate marketing on YouTube can, therefore, be profitable.

You can produce content for your affiliate products with reviews, tutorials, and product comparisons.

Your affiliate link can be in the description or as a separate link that people can click on.

Optimize your videos to rank highly in search engines.

Tools like TubeBuddy will help and can be installed as a free Chrome extension.

Spencer Mecham, of Buildapreneur, is a top affiliate.

He was the first affiliate to make over $ 1 million in ClickFunnels commissions.

YouTube has been his main platform for affiliate marketing.

Buildapreneur YouTube is Spencer Mecham's Affiliate Marketing brand on YouTube also with free courses, social media channels and Affiliate Secrets 2.0 course

Blogging For Affiliate Marketing

It is very cheap and easy to start a blog these days.

Using a fee paying host like BlueHost and WP Engine, gives you flexibility and freedom you will not get with a free site.

Also you can be creative with your content and add your affiliate link to product reviews and tutorials.

To help you rank in search engines as a new blogger, you need to integrate long tail keywords in your blog posts.

Investing in search engine optimization (SEO)tools like Long Tail Pro and SEMrush will certainly give you an edge.

Also invest in a responsive WordPress Premium Theme like GeneratePress, StudioPress and Astra.

Social Media For Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing on social media is based on creating short-form videos.

These will be videos on various aspects of your affiliate product.

On TikTok and Instagram, you can add a link to your affiliate funnel in your profile.

Visual representation is very powerful.

TikTok in particular has a strong virality element.

A video can go viral and draw in thousands of subscribers overnight.

Social media is the fastest way to grow an audience, build an email list, and make your first affiliate sale.

Blogging and YouTube, particularly blogging,  generally take much longer to achieve significant traction.

TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users as of September 2021 and is the fastest-growing social media platform.

Sales Funnels can be used by businesses for lead generation and sales and to create a squeeze or landing page, a sales page, order page and thank you page.

Sales Funnels For Affiliate Marketing

You run traffic directly to your affiliate links.

However, many successful affiliates use sales funnels for affiliate marketing.

This is particularly useful if you plan to run ads.

Facebook does not allow direct linking to your affiliate product.

With a sales funnel you create a landing page where you offer a free or discounted product that is related to your affiliate offer.

This is called a lead magnet.

It is given in exchange for the contact details of a subscriber, usually an email address.

Your lead is then taken to a second page called a “bridge”,  “preframe” or sales page.

This is where you describe and create a story around your offer.

You can also add bonuses to increase the value and appeal of buying through your affiliate link.

Leads are then taken to the affiliate company when they click on your affiliate link.

With a sales funnel, you can do affiliate marketing without a website or blog.

For the majority of those who don’t purchase your product right away, you will keep up with them through an automated sequence of emails.

For Funnels, I use and recommend Systeme, a free integrated all-in-one marketing software.

Create PDF documents designed with Adobe Acrobat.

These can be converted into ebooks and other appealing lead magnets with Canva and Designrr.

Stunning mockups are also great for getting more eyeballs to your lead magnets.

Two products I use are Cover Action Pro and Smart Mockups.

You can outsource all your design to graphic designers on Fiverr.

Below is an example of a simple landing page with a lead magnet as a free offer.

Affiliate Marketing For Beginners. Example of landing page with lead magnet to build affiliate sales funnel with a bridge or preframe page

Step #4: Build An Email List

A common mistake affiliate marketing beginners make is to not build an email list.

Your ad account could be banned by Facebook and Google (yes this is common).

An email list is your asset – the traffic you own.

Many people that don’t initially take up your affiliate offer will do so if you target them with a thoughtful email sequence.

The saying that the profit is in the list is true.

So start building your email list right from the start.

This is where using a sales funnel is effective.

You achieve this by integrating your landing page with an email marketing service.

MailChimp does not allow affiliate marketing in their Terms and Conditions and will ban your account if you do so.

Consider affiliate friendly services like Aweber, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign and GetResponse.

With ActiveCampaign you can build the most powerful automations. It is the one I use and recommend.

Both AWeber and ConvertKit have free plans which are a cost-effective way for new affiliates to start.

For example the AWeber free plan allows you to add up to 500 subscribers before you have to pay anything.

You can also send 3000 emails a month with the free plan.

AWeber Free email marketing and automation service. You get free landing pages, sign up forms, free phone, live chat, email support and migration services.

Step #5: Drive Traffic To Your Affiliate Site

How do you drive traffic to your affiliate content?

How do you attract your dream customers?.

Traffic can either be free organic or paid.

Free Organic Traffic

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is where you optimize your content to rank high in search engines like Google, YouTube and Pinterest. 

This is done by finding out what people are searching for about your product.

You then create content around them using target keywords.

SEO is a complex topic but there are some basic guidelines to follow including using long tail keywords as previously discussed.

SEMrush is an SEO software that will aid your keyword search and optimize your posts for search engines.

Remember that Pinterest is a search engine and a great platform to get your content on.

Pinterest Profile for Chinedu Chiana, Entrepreneur. Online and Affiliate Marketing Expert
Social Media

Social media is a great way to get free traffic to your blog or YouTube channel.

Share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

You can do live presentations on Facebook.

BeLive is a software that will help you set up live streaming on Facebook.

I use the Social Warfare WordPress plugin to share my blog posts on social media.

Create pins using Canva and add them to relevant Pinterest Boards.

Pinterest is one of the easier ways to generate traffic to a new blog.

Warfare Plugins

Not many people are aware that Quora is a huge search engine.

Quora is a platform where people ask and answer questions on various topics.

Many of the content rank very highly on Google.

For example I searched for this long tailed keyword:

“ClickFunnels for affiliate marketing”.

Ranking on the first page on Google was the question below on Quora, “Is ClIckFunnels a good website for affiliate marketing?”.

There were 18 answers on Quora to this question.

You need to answer questions comprehensively, avoiding being spammy.

Also you can link back to your blog or YouTube content if it helps answer the question.

Direct linking to your affiliate link is not allowed.

Quora is a search engine beginners can use for affiliate marketing by asking and answering questions relevant to their affiliate products

Paid Traffic

This is traffic you pay for usually through Pay Per Click (PPC) ads.

Most ads are on Facebook and Google and less on Microsoft Bing.

You can also pay for your Facebook ads to show on Instagram.

Search traffic on Google is particularly powerful because you are targeting people looking for products or services like yours.

They are therefore ready to buy.

Solo ads, through platforms like Udimi, is where you pay individuals with large email lists to run ads on your behalf.

Paid ads are very expensive and would not be recommended if you are an affiliate marketing beginner.

It is best to be generating income through organic means and building your list before venturing into paid traffic.

Remember also that when you stop paying, your traffic ceases.

Organic traffic may take longer to build but will sustain your affiliate marketing business long term.

Russell Brunson’s Traffic Secrets book, teaches the concepts behind finding your ideal customers and the strategies to drive them to your affiliate funnel or website.

Step #6: Get Affiliate Marketing Training

Starting affiliate marketing is easy for a beginner.

However making money out of it is not easy.

Like every business venture, not everyone is successful.

Nor able to make reasonable income from it.

One key reason for failure is the lack of a solid foundation and proper training.

Be prepared to learn and to invest in yourself to succeed.

You may be able to start affiliate marketing with no money.

In general, a modest investment in the tools of the trade is necessary.

Here are some courses and training you will find useful.

1. 15-Day Online Business Builder Challenge

The 15-day Online Business Builder Challenge is a Legendary Marketer program that prepares individuals to start a business and begin earning money online in 15 days.

The 15-day Online Business Builder Challenge is a Legendary Marketer program.

It is an action-oriented experience that prepares individuals to start a business and begin earning money online in 15 days.

There are daily video training and purposeful assignments.

You also work with a Business Plan Advisor who will personally assist you in developing a business plan and putting it into action.

This training only costs $7.00.

2. Take The One Funnel Away Challenge Training

The Clickfunnels One Funnel Away Challenge Kit has all the bonuses for the training including the book, a workbook and MP3 recordings of the first Challenge.

The One Funnel Away Challenge is a 30-day virtual online training.

It is an all-round comprehensive business and marketing training.

You will learn how to set up your business, build your first sales funnel and make sales within 30 days.

In addition, you will also get the 30 Days.Com Book as a bonus with the boxed version of the course.

It is a 500 + page book where 30 successful entrepreneurs share their daily step-by-step strategies to setting up a successful online business in 30 days.

The One Funnel Away Challenge costs $100.

I have taken it three times so far and recommend it highly.

3. Affiliate Secrets 3.0 Course

Affiliate secrets 3.0 is a robust affiliate marketing course by Spencer Mecham that teaches you how to promote other people's products and services using diverse marketing strategies, tools, and techniques to make passive income on automation. Traffic Secrets 3.0 has a separate Traffic Edition.

Spencer Mecham’s Affiliate Secrets 3.0 through his Buildapreneur brand in my opinion is the definite course if you are new to affiliate marketing.

It will also help marketers looking to scale their business.

It is a video training consisting of 8 modules.

The Traffic module is so massive it has been hived off into a separate section.

It is a comprehensive course on affiliate marketing which many successful affiliates have taken.

As I mentioned above, this course was certainly a game changer in my affiliate marketing journey.

It is not cheap – currently costing $897 – but certainly worth investing in if you can afford it.

Step #7: Read Marketing Books

Free Affiliate Marketing Ebook

8 Simple Steps To Affiliate Marketing Wealth is an eBook by Chinedu Chiana that provides a step by step blueprint, with resources and tools to launch and grow a profitable affiliate marketing business

The “8 Simple Steps To Affiliate Marketing Wealth” is my free affiliate marketing ebook.

It is a step-by-step guide to building an affiliate marketing business.

Get your free copy here.

The Insider's Guide To Affiliate Marketing

The Insider's Guide To Affiliate Marketing is an ebook from David Sharpe of Legendary Marketer that gives you all the secrets and strategies to build a successful online business in affiliate marketing.

This is an ebook by David Sharpe, the CEO of Legendary Marketer.

It is made up of 12 chapters and over 90 pages .

The Insider’s Guide To Affiliate Marketing gives you all the secrets and strategies to build  a successful online business promoting other people’s products.

Costing only $1.99, it is packed with so much valuable content to get you started with affiliate marketing.

Get your copy of the Insider’s Guide To Affiliate Marketing here.

Russell Brunson's Secrets Trilogy Books

Secrets Trilogy Books Box Set by Russell Brunson has hard bound Expert Secrets, DotCom Secrets & Traffic Secrets & bonus Unlock The Secrets

Russell Brunson is now a New York Times Bestselling Author.

His 3 marketing books will help you build a successful affiliate marketing business.

DotCom Secrets will teach you how to use sales funnels and use value ladders to boost your offer.

Expert Secrets shows how to use your talents and ability to build a tribe of raving fans willing to buy from you.

The last book in the Secrets Trilogy, Traffic Secrets teaches the strategies to find your dream customers.

Step #8: Join Affiliate Marketing Groups

When you set your goals in affiliate marketing, find those who have attained the success you are looking for.

Finding a mentor will help shorten your learning curve and achieve your goals much quicker.

One way to do this is to join private affiliate marketing Facebook groups.

Not only do you learn from the group owner, you also interact with other affiliates at various stages in their journey.

You learn, build and grow together.

You can join my Affiliate Marketing Entrepreneurs Facebook Group here.

Final Thoughts

Affiliate marketing can be a rewarding business.

However it is not a get rich quick scheme with overnight riches.

You need hard work, integrity and willingness to acquire and improve your skills.

Following the steps above will certainly help get you going.

Send me any questions you may have in the comments below.

Recommended Business Tools

8 Steps To Start Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Step-by-step guide on how to start affiliate marketing for beginners including Amazon affiliate program
Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Step-by-step guide on how to start affiliate marketing for beginners including Amazon affiliate program

Affiliate Disclaimer: I hope you got value from this Affiliate Marketing For Beginners Guide. Please take note that some of the links inside this article may be affiliate links. That means that if you buy through one of our links, we may get an affiliate commission for it. If you do click on one of our links, we really appreciate it! Any money we make keeps this site running smoothly and allows us to keep producing these high-quality reviews.

These results are not typical. Your results will vary and depend on many factors. including but not limited to your background, effort, education, business model, experience and work ethic. All business entails risk as well as massive and consistent effort and action.

Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Step By Step Guide

Chinedu Chiana

Chinedu Chiana is an Investor, Online Entrepreneur, Business & Financial Coach and Author of 'The Smart & Common Sense Investor'. He helps educate business owners and entrepreneurs on the skills and strategies to create, build and grow profitable online businesses. He reviews business software and digital marketing educational courses covering funnels, social media & email marketing, productivity, business automation and marketing advice.