Do you want to start making money online? You may think you need to learn to code or find investment capital to launch an ecommerce business. However, affiliate marketing can be an affordable or even free alternative for turning a profit online.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to start making money online. Since you essentially sell someone else’s products, the bar for entry is very low. You don’t need to worry about producing, storing, or shipping the product; just marketing it!
This article will explain affiliate marketing, why it’s a great way to start making money online, and how you can get started today. Let’s take a look!
An Overview of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a complex term for a simple idea. An affiliate marketer is someone who “sells” a product that is not their own.
In other words, an affiliate promotes a product and receives a commission when someone buys through their link:
For example, an outdoors blogger can recommend a tent using an affiliate link from Amazon. Anyone who clicks on the URL and purchases the tent will earn the blogger a commission for the sale:
Being an affiliate is like being a salesperson. Your job is to help a company get more sales. In return, you get a cut of the revenue. Affiliate marketing is a mutually beneficial setup that rewards you for successfully promoting a company.
The Costs of Affiliate Marketing
Becoming an affiliate marketer is a great way to get started in ecommerce because it doesn’t require a financial investment. Since you’re selling on behalf of a third-party company, your entire job is generating leads and conversions.
Furthermore, affiliate marketing can be very lucrative. Total affiliate spending is predicted to hit $8.2 billion in the US alone. If you earn just a slice of that pie, you can generate a sustainable income from your marketing.
Having your own website can be a big help for affiliate marketing. A site can give you more credibility and provide a content hub where you can use affiliate links.
With WordPress, you can create an effective affiliate site for virtually free. The Content Management System (CMS) is completely free, so you’ll just need to pay for a domain name and hosting.
Fortunately, affordable hosting providers such as Bluehost can help you launch a WordPress website without investing a fortune:
Bluehost plans start at just $2.95 a month, including a free domain for the first year and access to an SSL certificate. Plus, you can scale up to a higher plan as your website grows.
Alternatively, you can get started as an affiliate for free by focusing on social media marketing. We’ll cover this strategy later in the post!
How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing (For Free)
We’ve just discussed why you might consider working as an affiliate marketer. Read on to learn how you can get started in this lucrative industry!
Step 1: Find Products to Market
You’ll first need to decide which products you want to market. In fact, how you market your affiliate products may influence what you sell.
For example, promoting products on your website is different from advertising them on social media:
Affiliates often focus on a category where they have influence or expertise. In the example above, if you already have a voice in the parenting community, you can focus on related products (such as prenatal vitamins) and more effectively market them.
You’ll also need to find an affiliate program that works for you. However, not every company offers referral commissions. If you think you would be great at marketing a business’s products, you could always reach out and ask!
Amazon is an excellent place to start since its affiliate program has a vast selection of products and easy entry requirements. The downside is that you will have more competition, and the commission rates are relatively low for many categories:
Focusing on a category you are knowledgeable about can help you drive conversions by providing helpful information to your readers. It will also be easier and more enjoyable to sell something you’re interested in or passionate about.
Step 2: Consider Cloaking Your Links
You’ll use unique leads that track your conversions and attribute commissions to your sales when you promote products. However, some malicious parties might hijack these links. Malware can replace your URLs with their affiliate codes to trick programs like Amazon into believing another source generated the link.
Therefore, we recommend cloaking your links. This process makes your URLs shorter, more attractive, and harder to tamper with:
Fortunately, our ThirstyAffiliates plugin is an easy-to-use link cloaking solution. Simply add and save your affiliate URLs. Then you can insert these cloaked links directly into WordPress pages and posts!
Step 3: Market Your Products
It’s now time to develop your strategy for marketing your affiliate products. Popular avenues are social media, email marketing, and your own website.
However, you don’t have to choose just one! All of these strategies work well together.
Social media is a great way to get started. You probably already have Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok accounts. Creating an affiliate account or business page is relatively quick and easy.
Then all you have to do is start promoting products using affiliate links! For example, on Facebook, you can advertise on your page or post URLs in groups (as long as those groups allow it):
Email marketing is another easy method, especially if you have a blog to collect and direct your leads. You can send affiliate links out within emails. Still, your engagement will probably be low if you don’t have a reputation or professional website to help you gain authority with your audience.
Finally, as we discussed before, consider making a website and letting your audience come to you. You can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to drive traffic to your site and create content that revolves around your affiliate products.
In a sense, this setup is almost like having your own ecommerce storefront. The only difference is you are “selling” someone else’s products!
Easy affiliate marketing is a profitable industry that isn’t too hard to get into. Plus, you can get started for free or with minimal startup costs.
To recap, you can get started as an affiliate marketer for free by following these steps:
- Find affiliate products to sell.
- Use our ThirstyAffiliates plugin to cloak your links.
- Market your products on social media, email, or your own low-cost website.
Do you have any questions about starting affiliate marketing for free? Let us know in the comments section below!