Affiliate marketing has long been known as a lucrative business model, but many believe that it requires hefty initial investments.
However, that’s far from the truth. In fact, with just a laptop and a stable internet connection, you can start earning without breaking the bank.
As you scale up, of course, you may need additional resources but fear not. In this article, you’ll find ways on how to start affiliate marketing with little to no money at all.
Ready? Let’s dive right in and learn how to start affiliate marketing with no money.
- How does affiliate marketing work?
- How to Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?
- How to Become an affiliate with Cloudways
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work and Its Benefits?
– A summary of how the affiliate program works
Affiliate marketing is a pretty straightforward business model. In essence, it involves earning a commission by promoting a vendor’s or business’s products or services.
It’s a 3-step process – Signup – Distribute – Get Paid.
There are three key players involved in this model:
- The merchant who launches the affiliate program, creating a mechanism for interested parties to sign up.
- The affiliate, who signs up for the program and promotes the link to their visitors. They earn a commission each time a customer makes a purchase using their link.
- The customer, who accesses the link, makes a purchase, and earns the affiliate a commission.
Nothing complicated, right? And it offers some great benefits as well. We have mentioned some of them below:
Low Barrier to Entry
Starting out in affiliate marketing requires very little investment, and while some resources can certainly help speed up your journey, they are by no means mandatory.
In fact, many companies allow individuals to sign up for their affiliate programs at no cost. Additionally, there’s a wealth of free learning material available on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Reddit that can help you get started.
To sweeten the deal even further, some merchants offer signup bonuses to affiliates, which means that you can start earning money from the get-go.
Low-risk Business Model
There are no major risks involved in entering into affiliate marketing. Since your investment is almost nonexistent, you can pack up and leave anytime, if it doesn’t work.
Many traditional businesses have to remain operating even at losses because their cost of exiting the market is way more than bearing losses. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with affiliate marketing.
High Potential Profits
The affiliate marketing industry was valued at around $8.2 billion in 2022 in the USA alone. And the numbers are only anticipated to grow.
Here are some other relevant stats:
- The industry can stand at $13 billion at the end of 2023
- More than 80% of marketers utilize the affiliate marketing medium to enhance brand recognition.
- 16% of all orders placed over the internet in the USA are done through affiliate marketing channels.
All these stats clearly show that there’s a huge earning potential via affiliate marketing.
No Global Restrictions
Affiliate marketing is location-independent, allowing the promotion of products from companies worldwide, making it appealing with high-commission options available globally.
Successful affiliate marketers are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. Notable names such as Patt Flynn, Finch Sells, and Jhon Chow have made it big in the industry.
All of this should be motivating enough to encourage you to start affiliate marketing. And if you’re interested in starting with no money, keep reading to find out how.
Cloudways Offers up to $125 per Sale to Affiliates!
Earn from anywhere you like. Our affiliate program is one of the top paying in the market. Plus, we offer timely payments, dedicated support for affiliates, and flexible work models.
How to Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?
Starting affiliate marketing doesn’t necessarily require any investment. However, it may take longer to see results without any initial spending.
True to my word, I’ll share with you the ways to start for free. But will also tell you the ways which will require some spending. Nothing more than lunch money, though, promise!
Let’s see the steps to starting your affiliate marketing journey.
Find a Niche and an Affiliate Program
Almost every industry has affiliate programs, so the first step is to find a niche that interests you. This will likely reduce your efforts and reap your results fast.
Many beginners make the mistake of trying and selling different products at once. That’s not a viable solution. Think for yourself, would you purchase a dog product recommended by a site that deals in cryptocurrencies?
It’s always best to start in one niche and build your audience’s trust of your audience. Examples of some niches to check out:
- Hobbies: People love spending on their hobbies. Research a little about what people like and find affiliate programs of the relevant businesses. Some examples of hobbies include photography, playing music, sports, travel, etc.
- Finance: This is another niche that has great opportunities for beginner affiliate marketers. With the advent of cryptocurrencies and exchanges, it has become even more lucrative. Many crypto exchanges and financial platforms pay heavy commissions to bring people onto their platforms.
- Lifestyle: Products that can enhance lifestyles sell like hotcakes. Don’t you see TikTok or YT shorts these days with confident youngsters promoting bags, jewelry, shoes, or even a luxurious lifestyle? They are usually affiliates who’ll encourage you to buy using their links.
- Tech Products: There are practically countless tech products that you can sell as an affiliate and make money. Some examples include – web hosting, CRM software, page builders, etc.
- Health and Fitness: Help people get fitter and make money out of it. You can help gyms sell online memberships or help equipment companies sell more. Also, you can even sell accessories like fitness clothes, yoga mats, etc.
These are just a few of the many niches available to scout. Once you finalize the niche, start finding an affiliate program. Your ideal affiliate program should pay good commissions, be in demand, and pay on time.
Avoid falling for “get rich quick” schemes and do your research. When choosing a program, consider a company’s reputation, product demand, and customer satisfaction.
Also, don’t choose a program that offers high commissions but has no buyers. Watch out for scammers offering flashy schemes, and never pay to become an affiliate.
Decide Your Channels to Attract Traffic
Once you lock your niche and program, it’s time to get to selling. That starts with choosing your traffic channels.
It all gets down to understanding different platforms and their algorithms then evaluating which suits your affiliate marketing model the best. You can get started with several social media platforms and discussion forums.
It’d be a huge plus if you already have some relevant following on some platform for the product you want to sell. For example, if you are already running a successful photography or hobby account on Instagram or YT, it’d make sense to choose a program in that niche.
And if you’re an absolute new entrant, you can choose any of the channels and start building an audience. Let’s explore some options and their viability.
An amazing platform, with over 1 billion monthly users where most new trends pop up.
The best part, you can start making video content using your phone and promote your affiliate products. The only downside is that the links on the video aren’t clickable. However, you can set up a business account for free and have the link in your bio.
Facebook is the biggest social media platform today with over 2.96 billion active users. You can hunt for relevant Facebook groups and pages where your product will sell like a hot cake.
Also, many group and page owners willingly share your affiliate links for a small sales commission.
YouTube is a massive video search engine where you can start your affiliate marketing journey. Video content is gaining popularity fast and has people glued to the screens for hours, especially with short-form video content.
Selling on YouTube isn’t easy, but you can get there by producing top-quality engaging content and utilizing YT SEO. If your channel grows, you’ll also get paid by YouTube, which will be another source of revenue for you.
Instagram is a visual-focused platform and a great one to start affiliate marketing. With the help of top-tiered picture and video content, you can promote affiliate products.
It’s actually a great platform to start that you can use as creatively as you like. And its different features, like reels, stories, and posts, help you to create sales funnels for your audiences. You can even reach a wider audience by buying followers for Threads, it offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations.
With Instagram, you may have a hard time initially. But publishing top-tiered content and collaborating with other growing accounts can start giving you success soon.
LinkedIn is far more evolved from a simple job-hunting platform.
People now use it to build their personal brands and market products. Plus, this platform mostly has professionals with purchasing power who are likely to buy your product if it meets their demands.
LinkedIn’s organic reach is also amazing and helps new entrants to grow quickly. However, since most people there are professionals, you’ll be restricted to market only certain types of products.
Twitter is another free platform that you can use to attract traffic and eventually sell your products.
It focuses more on user engagement and helps grow your audience easily. A trick to growing there is to make valuable contributions in the comment sections of the big accounts in your niche.
A little caution with Twitter, though – with the recent takeover by Elon Musk, the platform is undergoing many changes and is already providing an edge to its paying users.
So, you may also need to become a blue tick user if you wish to utilize the platform’s full potential for your affiliate marketing efforts.
Pinterest is visually oriented, and you can start here for free and make great money. This platform is majorly popular for lifestyle items. So if your niche aligns with the platform, you’ll have a higher chance of winning there.
As a beginner, you’d want to ace every channel at once. That’s not a sustainable strategy. The best move would be to start with one or two at max. As you witness success, you can use other channels to support your existing and top-performing channels.
Target the Right Keywords
All the platforms and discussion forums are search engines as well.
People search for certain keywords and get appropriate results in response on these platforms. It’s your job to fill your affiliate descriptions with the right keywords to ensure your posts reach your target audience. Without KWs, your posts will likely be undiscoverable.
You can also use some paid tools, but since this tutorial is to start affiliate marketing without any money, let’s look at some free ways, starting with keyword research.
Use the search bar on your desired platform to begin your keyword research. By inputting a query, you can view related keywords that may apply to your product or service. Shortlist the relevant keywords.
For example, take a look at Twitter. It suggests related keywords and profiles when you enter a query. You can visit these profiles to see how they’re performing and get inspiration for your strategy.
Next, analyze your top competitors in the niche. Look at their successful posts and gain insights from them. Take note of the tags they use and incorporate them into your marketing strategy. Analyze everything from their post titles to their descriptions and tags.
Additionally, you can use the “hype in the town” feature on ChatGPT to research keywords. For instance, if you’re looking to sell hair dryers on TikTok, provide the prompt to ChatGPT and review the list of suggested keywords it generates.
You can also make customized prompts based on your platform and product to get decent results to be incorporated into your content strategy for better results.
Create Solid and Trustable Content
Affiliate marketing isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme. Your goal should be to provide value to your audience and gain their trust so that they are motivated to purchase from you. If you’re merely promoting your product without establishing trust with the audience, your chances of success are slim.
That’s where your content strategy comes into play. Your ideal approach will depend on your platform, so research user behavior and examine the content posted by top performers in your niche. Then, start creating your own content.
Effective content incorporates storytelling, value, entertainment, and unique perspectives. Half-hearted content takes time to attract an audience, so strive to create content that surpasses existing offerings.
If you don’t have a unique viewpoint, find new ways to engage your audience, such as making content funnier and more informative or utilizing graphics and music to enhance impact.
Keep the following pointers in mind to create engaging content:
- Address your audience’s pain points.
- Understand your targeted persona and create content that aligns with their preferences.
- Analyze your competitors and aim to one-up their work.
- Ensure cross-platform harmony by using multiple channels to support your main promotion channel.
- Be patient; it takes time for people and algorithms to notice your work.
- Use catchy headlines and titles to grab attention.
Promote the Work and Grow Your Audience
Once you’ve worked so hard on producing the content, it’s time to take it to the relevant audience. As mentioned earlier, focus on one or two platforms when starting out. You can use the other platforms as crutches to grow them.
Also, many affiliate marketers want a big hit as soon as they start. So less views or clicks on their work can be demotivating. That’s a wrong approach.
Promote your content on as many platforms as possible to experience the snowball effect and grow your content over time. However, consistency is key.
Many beginners struggle with inconsistent posting, alternating between days of high motivation and demotivation days. To succeed, stay composed on both types of days, post quality content, and promote it regularly. This is the recipe for growing your audience.
Try these tactics to accelerate initially:
- Collaborate with growing influencers in your niche.
- Ask friends and family to view and share your content.
- Share your work on all your social media accounts.
- Promote your content on relevant discussion forums like Reddit and Quora.
- Create a series of content on the same topic to encourage viewers to watch all parts.
Engage With Your Audience
It’s crucial to always respond to your audience’s feedback, especially when starting out. Social media platforms prioritize active accounts. Haven’t you seen yourself? You come across a post on Facebook or Twitter because your friend or a follower made a comment there or liked it.
Engagement with the audience has two benefits: it increases their appreciation of you and shows the algorithm that people want and interact with your content. This activity boosts your visibility and attracts new audiences who are interested in the content you create.
Furthermore, responding to your audience’s feedback helps you understand their preferences, enabling you to produce tailored content and avoid unnecessary experimentation.
Scale It Up
Once you build a decent following, it’s time to go into affiliate marketing with full force.
Here are a few ways you can scale up your affiliate marketing efforts and increase your revenues:
- Invest in tools like Volumm, CJ, and AnyTrack to save time and produce targeted content.
- Hire professionals, such as videographers for YouTube and copywriters for Instagram and Twitter.
- Start a blog to tap into a larger audience size and make more sales. You can even use WordPress, which is free, and get hosting and a domain for $20-$30.
Investing funds into these strategies can further improve your success, especially if you’ve already built a decent following and are making some money.
How to Become an Affiliate With Cloudways
Becoming a Cloudways Affiliate is super easy. In fact, it can be a great product to start with.
They offer excellent commission rates and help you start in minutes. With the Cloudways Affiliate Program, you can earn up to $125 per sale. The amount gets higher for affiliates who can bring more than 80 customers.
And you have the freedom to operate at your own pace and will. They offer two models – Slab and Hybrid. One offers fixed earnings, while the other is more of a floating model.
Want to become a Cloudways affiliate? Follow the steps below:
- Visit the Cloudways web hosting affiliate program page.
- Explore the options and pricing models.
- Once you are ready, click on the “Become Affiliate Now” button as shown below:
- You’ll then proceed to the signup page. Put in the necessary information, and you are set.
We also offer help to our affiliates so that they experience faster growth. With tons of guidance and dedicated affiliate support, there’s no chance you’ll lose direction.
Conclusive Thoughts – Beginning Affiliate Marketing with No Money
So, starting affiliate marketing with no money in 2023 is a feasible option for those willing to invest time and effort. While investing money can help boost your results, it is not a prerequisite to getting started.
You can begin building a successful affiliate marketing business by finding a niche and program that aligns with your interests and putting in consistent work. Remember to be patient and persistent, and always keep learning and adapting as you go.
With these tips and a positive mindset, you can succeed as an affiliate marketer without any money. Best of luck on your journey!
Q. Can you really start affiliate marketing with no money?
Q. Why is affiliate marketing a good business model?
Q. Who should opt for an affiliate program?
Q. Is it free to join an affiliate program?
Q. How can I Make $100 a day through affiliate marketing?
I'm a digital content producer at Cloudways. I'm also a hodophile- always ready to explore new places and cultures. Other than that, I play guitar and love to indulge myself in deep, meaningful conversations. Always looking for opportunities to learn new things.