Affliliate Marketing 101 – The Best Way To Start Making Money Online

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If you’ve read any of my content before you’re probably heard me say that I feel Affiliate Marketing is the best way to start making money online. There is a very good reason for this.

When most people make the decision to try to make money online they get all hyped up by the possibilities, but then reality hits them.

“Where do I start?”

I know because I felt the same way. I was dazzled by all these people making money on the interwebs seemingly out of nowhere but wasn’t quite sure how they did it.

Here are a just a few of the thousands of different you can make money online:

  • Selling a physical product – Your own gadget, book, or maybe a product through dropshipping
  • Selling Digital Products – An ebook, templates, images, audios, video files, etc.
  • Selling Courses – Turn your knowledge into a course to teach others
  • SAS – Software As a Service
  • Selling Services – Sell your offline coaching, consulting or other services online for a wider reach of new customers

That’s just a few different options you can choose. But what if you don’t have a product or service of your own? Maybe you don’t have the time, equipment or inclination to make a course?

Then affiliate marketing is probably right for you. So what is affiliate marketing anyway?

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a way for you to recommend products/services and when someone makes a purchase through your link, you will get a commission.

Companies are always looking to get more customers so they don’t mind giving away a bit of their profit share to people willing bring extra to them.

It’s a pretty sweet deal. Here are some of the benefits of affiliate marketing:

  • You don’t need to create a product
  • You don’t have to worry about manufacturing or labor costs
  • You don’t have to worry about warehousing
  • You don’t have to worry about shipping
  • You don’t have to worry about returns
  • You don’t have to deal with the headaches of customer service

All you have to do is find a product you can promote as an affiliate, get your special link, and promote it, and watch the sales come in.

If you’ve ever read a baby blog with links to strollers they recommend, or seen a YouTube video where they say “Check out the links in the description for the equipment I use” I bet you 99% of the time those are affiliate links.

How Much Can You Make As An Affiliate?

You’re probably wondering how much you can make promoting other peoples products. Well that all comes down to what the company assigns for their payout structure.

Generally speaking, if you are promoting a physical product the payout won’t be as much as a digital product. This is because after research, design, manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping there isn’t as much margin left over to split among affiliates.

Digital products and services on the other hand usually have much higher margins. You just have to pay for any costs to create it and hosting it online. Once it’s on servers in the ever-growing cloud it doesn’t matter if you sell one or a million, the cost is the same and they can never run out of stock.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally that is how it goes.

Now that you have a general understanding of how it works, let’s get started.

Choosing A Niche

While you could basically go about promoting anything in any industry, it’s probably best if you choose one specific niche to start.

Do a bit of brainstorming:

  • What are your favorite hobbies?
  • What do you have knowledge about, maybe something related to your work?
  • Have you gone through some experiences that you could help others with, like weight loss, a pregnancy, got out of debt, or overcome an illness?

That last part is key: What can you help others with?

While you could go about spamming links everywhere you will not get far.

If you provide helpful information and build trust, people are much more likely to click your links. We’ll get more into how to promote later.

For now think about what you know about and how you can help others with that knowledge. Ideally it should be something you can talk about at length in multiple sub-topics.

Once you have a good idea go to the next step.

Choosing Products And Services As An Affiliate

Now that you’ve chosen a niche start brainstorming about some of the products and services you can promote.

Are you an outdoorsy type? You can promote hiking equipment like hiking shoes, backpacks, canteens, and such.

Are you a photographer? You can promote cameras, lenses, tripods, camera bags, and some of the services you use.

Me? I like digital marketing. So I promote things like web hosting, email marketing services, website and funnel builders, courses I find helpful (like the Affiliate Bootcamp Summit by Russell Brunson), and so on.

Once you have a list of products you want to promote you have to find out if there is an affiliate program for it.

Try Googling the product with “affiliate program” or “partner program”. You will more than likely find the results you’re looking for.

Physical Products

One of the biggest affiliate programs out there for physical goods is the 800 pound gorilla of eCommerce called Amazon. Maybe you’ve heard of them? 😛

Amazon is often a great choice because they already have millions of credit cards on file, they offer fast and free shipping with Prime, and it’s the largest, most trusted ecommerce platform on the planet.

Their payment structure varies anywhere from 2%-15% depending on the product sold, but Amazon has one very cool benefit: the customer doesn’t even have to buy the product you’re promoting for you to make a commission!

Let’s say you are promoting a book and someone clicks your link. A special browser cookie will track that person for 24 hours. As long as they buy anything on Amazon within those 24 hours, you get a commission on their entire order.

They could buy diapers, a pair of jeans, and a new TV, you still get paid!

Getting started with Amazon’s affiliate program is fairly easy. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see a link that says “Become and Affiliate”.

Their affiliate program is called Amazon Associates. Fill out some information and soon you’ll be ready to go.

Once you’re setup, you’ll be presented with the SiteStrip at the top of the screen.

Amazon Affiliate Link

Find a product you want to promote and you can get your special affiliate link to it. Use this link anywhere you want to promote that product.

Since Amazon sells pretty much everything under the sun you will probably find something to promote.

But Amazon isn’t your only option. There are several other marketplaces such as ShareASale. You can also often sign up as an affiliate directly with the manufacturer, or some other affiliate network. Spend a little time and find the affiliate program right for you.

Digital Products

Digital products and services are a wonderful thing. The customer receives access to their purchase immediately. No waiting for the mailman to arrive.

Commission structure on digital products can vary wildly. They usually starts at 15% on the low end, and in some rare cases you can make 100% of the sale price! But generally you should expect anywhere from 30%-75% commission on digital products.

If it is a monthly service the benefit becomes recurring income month-after-month as long as the customer stays subscribed.

One of the largest affiliate networks for digital products is Clickbank. While they do have a smattering of physical products available, they have an ocean of digital products you can promote.

Anything from weightloss and dog training, to gardening and wood working, and anything inbetween. Think of Clickbank as the Amazon of digital products. You are bound to find something there related to your niche.

Their commission structure is very healthy. Products will payout anywhere between 50%-75% of the sale.

You can browse their marketplace without an account, but you can only start promoting products after you’ve signed up. It’s a quick and painless process.

You can browse the marketplace by category and sort it in various ways such as popularity and Gravity. Gravity is Clickbanks way of showing how many affiliate are making sales with certain products. The higher the gravity score, the more sales people have recently made. How this differs from Popularity only the magical Clickbank elves could tell you.

Each product tells you the commission percentage, initial sale, recurring commission (if applicable), and average commission people making. This all depends on the funnel the have setup for the initial product as well as product bumps, upsells and downlsells through the purchase process.

You can view the sales page, and often the product creator will have a page full of affiliate resources such as sales page/email copy, banners and other graphics, and even videos you can use to help promote the product.

Once you’ve found a product you like, hit the big “PROMOTE” button next to it.

You will be given your special Hoplink (affiliate link) to promote the product where you see fit.

Of course I also have to mention the wonderful Clickfunnels affiliate program. I’ve already done an indepth post about it here so I won’t rehash everything, but it is easily one of the best affiliate programs out there, with monthly recurring payments, and several upsells for high profit margins!

Of course there are several digital marketplaces such as JVZoo. And you can also usually sign up as an affiliate directly with the company that makes said product or service.

Now that you’ve found some products to promote, it’s time to actually promote them!

How To Promote Affiliate Products

In today’s day and age there are many different ways you can promote products as an affiliate. We have social media platforms abound, and it’s easier than ever to reach millions of people.

It all depends on what you’re comfortable doing. There are many free and paid ways to go about it. I’d recommend starting with one channel and then expand from there once you’ve made some sales.

Here are some promotion strategies you might want to try.


Yes the good old blog is still around. Heck, you’re reading one right now! If you prefer to type then blogging is the perfect platform for you.

While it can cost a little bit of money and be a little technical to set up, it’s much easier than you’d expect. In fact I have great post on “How To Create A Money Making Blog: A Complete Guide” right here!

The great thing about blogging is when you do it right you will have content that can rank on Google and other search engines and your content can last for years.

While it can initially take a little time for your posts to rank you can speed things up with a few tweaks and other promotion strategies.

Write quality posts about your topic that provide value to the reader and sprinkle in your affiliate links appropriately throughout. If you strive to become an authority in your niche you can generate traffic and a lot of sales.


It’s not just for cute cat videos anymore 🙂 If you’re comfortable on camera you can talk about your topic and promote products in the description.

YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine right after Google. Being owned by Google certainly helps.

Marley Baird has a great YouTube promotion strategy that I wrote about here. She goes into great detail about how to get your videos rank. I highly recommend checking it out.

Facebook And Instagram

People spend an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes PER DAY on social media. Facebook has 2.41 BILLION active monthly users, and 1 billion people on Instagram, these are the two biggest platforms.

If you can build an active community on either of these channels you can generate a healthy profit if you do it right.

Again, providing value is the way to go. Get people engaged and they will click your links.

Email Marketing

Email should be part of any marketing strategy. With an average ROI of 4300% email is something you shouldn’t ignore!

When you get people to subscribe to your email list, you can build up the all important Know, Like and Trust factor. When you have that trust, you can promote products in your emails and people will click your links and buy those products.

I have a completely FREE course on email marketing called Email Jumpstart. You can learn the ins and outs of email marketing and be on your way to making some great money.

Paid Advertising

If you have some money to spend you might want to consider paying for ads to promote your products.

You usually can’t put your affiliate link directly into the ad itself. You will want to pre-frame the customer by sending them to a landing page first.

I recommend creating an opt-in page with Clickfunnels where you can explain the benefits of the product and collect emails, then on the thank you page send them to your affiliate link.

You an then dive into creating Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Bing Ads, or ads through other platforms and direct them to your opt-in page.

You have to be careful because you want to make sure you can make more money back then you’re spending! It may take some trial and error, but when you get the right offer in front of the right audience you can start making money fast!

These are just some of the ways you can promote products as an affiliate. There are plenty more, too many to even list, but this should give you some great ideas to get started.


There you have it. You now should have everything you need to get started making money online through affiliate marketing. With a super low barrier to entry, anyone can start easily.

There are thousands of people making full time living just from affiliate commissions. Many in the 6 and even 7 figures! At the very least it could add a nice bit of cash to your add to your savings every month.

So get started today and start making money!

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