How to start affiliate marketing whether you’re a beginner, a senior, a newbie, or even a “dummy.” I even outline how you too can start affiliate marketing for FREE! This article has it all!
What is Affiliate Marketing and How to Start?
Well, first let’s define what it is, then, we’ll address how to start working from home as an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate Marketing is one form of Internet Marketing. Affiliate Marketing zeroes in on partnering, or “Affiliating,” with a company to help market it’s goods and services in exchange for a commission based on sales.
Affiliate Marketing has been around for quite some time, and it has grown into a very important form of internet, or online, marketing.
According to Wikipedia, Affiliate Marketing is a type of performance based marketing which rewards affiliates for customers who they bring in using various methods including paid ads, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) ads, e-mail marketing, and content marketing (free e-books, podcasts, white papers, infographics, etc.). I will also add – social media – as that has become another well-used method.
The Wikipedia definition also identifies the difference between Affiliate Marketing and Referral Marketing. “Affiliate Marketing “relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales, and “Referral Marketing relies on trust and personal relationships” to drive sales, but both get you paid.
The Motivating Factor
In my mind, this slight difference between the two separates those who are ethical vs. those who are solely driven by money, and this is also why I’ve written articles that question whether the writer has even bought whatever product he or she is writing about, or are they purely basing their opinion on research or other articles they’ve come across. Not that there’s anything wrong with opinions or reviews based on research alone, but, and perhaps more importantly, have they stated such in their article. In short, does the reader know whether the opinion piece is an honest and unbiased review, is it a paid review, and if it is paid, can the reader then weigh whether the payment affected their valuation and the outcome?
The Government is also weighing in. The U.S. Government, anyway, has a problem with affiliates who are receiving products or services for free in exchange for a write up and/or a “glowing endorsement.” This new development in the world of Affiliate Marketing is further blurring the lines between offering a trusted opinion – or one that was bought and paid for… Consequently, the (U.S.) Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has set some guidelines about notifications and disclosures which reflect the “Truth-in-Advertising principle.” How this will be effectively enforced remains to be seen.
Pros & Cons of Affiliate Marketing
Now that all of that is out of the way, what are the pros and cons of being an affiliate marketer?
Let’s take the Cons first:
- Affiliate Marketers must, or should, abide by FTC and Truth In Advertising Principles.
- Slow Start – It takes a while to ramp up the income stream.
That’s it – I can’t think of any other “Cons” other than to disclose, disclose, disclose, and be patient.
The Pros are numerous, and they culminate in one very important reason, for me anyway.
- You Get Paid for Your Online Marketing Efforts.
- You Write About Products or Services and Build Your Site.
- You Don’t Have to Drive Anywhere.
- No Time Lost – No Opportunity Cost.
- No Snow / Shoveling / Cleaning Off the Car / Icy Roads, etc.
- No Traffic.
- No Hot Days or Baking While Wilting and Sitting in Traffic or on a Hot Bus / Train / Trolley / Cab, etc.
- No Wear and Tear on Your Business Clothes / Shoes / Accessories.
- No Wear and Tear on Your Car.
- No (or Reduced) Vehicle Upkeep and Maintenance Costs.
- No Gas Costs.
- No Third Party Commute Charges:
- You Work From Home – Even In Your PJ’s.
- Can Balance Work/Life/Family time.
- No Children’s Daycare Costs.
- No Senior’s Day Care Costs.
- No ( or Reduced) Stress!
And the best “Pro” of all?
- All the work you do as an affiliate marketer is CUMULATIVE!
This means that you are “Building Passive Income and Wealth!” For those who are living paycheck to paycheck, and for those who think living this way is “normal,” you’re in for a surprise. Affiliate Marketing allows you to build and earn from work you’ve already done. There is no “work once, get paid once” job, and feeding into someone else’s goal of becoming wealthy by offering you this “work once, get paid once” mentality.
As you build your Affiliate Marketing stream, the income comes like clockwork. Right now, I’m getting paid for articles that I wrote a long while ago. How great is that? It comes in when I’m sleeping, showering, or eating. It comes in while I’m at the store. It comes in while I’m working in the yard, gardening, reading, watching a movie, shopping, cooking, and it comes in while I’m writing yet another article!
Living the Blue Chip Life
Affiliate marketing, to me, is kind of like purchasing a Blue Chip Stock. It may cost you a pretty penny upfront, but afterward, it keeps paying you dividends over time… Sort of like that Whole Life Policy I also talk about when talking about the Infinite Banking System.
Similarly, I put in the time to write articles, and they continue to provide me with monetary rewards over time…
So, while the drip-drip income keeps coming in, I’m off writing yet another article that will add to my income stream.
Pennies Do Add Up!
I think that in this world of instant gratification, there are many people who say they want to work at home and learn affiliate marketing, but many do grow impatient and quit too soon. In the beginning, the pennies that come in are discouraging to some. Some people may laugh, some may scoff, …and that’s unfortunate. If they had only stayed with it, their efforts would have reaped the rewards – even if they had only worked at it on a part-time basis.
It’s not “if” affiliate marketing works, it’s “when.” When pursued and the effort is made to write good content, Affiliate Marketing does work. It really is only a matter of time because not only do the pennies add up, more pennies come in from more and more articles, then multiple streams, and pretty soon, you’re into the thousands and… you can quite your day job… So, who’s laughing now? …as I’m on my way to the bank…
So, How to Start Affiliate Marketing?
Well, if you’re a beginner, it would be wise to join an educational type of forum. You can learn much faster rather than bumbling around on your own. For some of us who did, in fact, bumble around in the beginning and for many years afterwards, we did eventually learn, but many also learned that things can quickly change for the worse if you’re not up on things…
As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing has been around for quite some time. In the early days of the internet, it was pretty much a “wild, wild west” situation. There were directory sites popping up everywhere that were filled with affiliate links. Google and other major search engines learned that their search engine results were filled with junk and this junk made things harder to find if you were a valid consumer looking for information or a specific product. Consequently, Google, and the others had to evolve and make changes to their algorithms that literally affected quite a number of sites. When these changes occurred, many sites dropped off the first few page of search engine results, and many others were gone for good.
So, for those of us who were bumbling about and tried to remain ethical, many found themselves now in better positions and have begun to reap the rewards for our efforts. But, as mentioned, we now have many companies realizing that they “could” provide free products or services to affiliate marketers in exchange for positive endorsements.
So, while that is being sorted out, and the general public continues to learn and discern between paid or unpaid reviews, opinion pieces, and articles, the world of affiliate marketing hinges on changes that can be implemented “on a dime.” Changes implemented by the major search engines can and have negatively affected a site’s standing in search engine results, and those standings directly affect “the bottom line” of an affiliate marketer’s income stream.
Where to Start Affiliate Marketing?
So, if you’re serious about learning how to start an affiliate marketing career, I haven’t found any other site that offers the quality of education and sincere support that Wealthy Affiliate offers. And, although I do not consider myself a newbie beginner, I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate for a variety of reasons also cited in some of my previous articles. Here are a few:
- Ongoing Learning
- Upcoming SEO or Algorithm Changes
- General Discussion with Like-minded People
- Live Chat – 24/7/365
- Ongoing Q & A
- Ongoing Videos & Training
In short, the support from the community of members is unparalleled, and for anyone wishing to learn and how to start their Affiliate Marketing career, they would be wise to check out my review of Wealthy Affiliate.
You may also check them out for free for seven days by using this link here: Try Wealthy Affiliate For Free
I have also written a few reviews on products and services that allow you to begin earning money from Affiliate Marketing. Check out my “Categories” section on the right hand side of this page, and look for “Free Affiliate Program.” In fact, feel free to click around and read lots more about Affiliate Marketing!
Compiled Success Stories:
There are so many, but I have compiled a list of some of our successful members, and you may read about them by visiting one of my posts over at Wealthy Affiliate. Click Here to read “How To Learn Affiliate Marketing for Beginners.”
Many members talk about their how they started, what they overcame, and that by sheer determination and persistence, they reached their goal of becoming successful Affiliate Marketers.
It is my hope that this article helped you too. I hope that you take up the Free offer to check out Wealthy Affiliate, and that you learn where and how to start so that you, too, can become a successful Affiliate Marketer. But, seeing that you’ve read this far, I’ll give you a hint… Once you click the Wealthy Affiliate link, and you create your free account, click on the Green Button on the upper left hand side of your screen that says “Get Started!” It really is as simple as that!
To Your Wealth!
P.S. – Also, don’t worry right now about purchasing a domain. Wealthy Affiliate will provide you with two sub-domains to use for Free.
Vincent R. Parker
Very nice article and beautiful site! Really enjoyed reading it.
One point you hit on is having patience. And you said that pennies do add up. Absolutely they do. That’s a great thing about affiliate marketing. It IS cumulative.
But, people do not have patience. We spend our time staring at Google Analytics or waiting for comments or looking at our hops. This is wasted time. Do the work and analyze it from time to time to improve or maybe provide more links to it, but it does take time. So, instead of watching your analytics page spend time doing research, learning or writing another article!
I’ve heard so often that the reason people fail is because they quit. And that’s not just in the internet marketing world. Michael Jordan said he failed over and over again in his life, and that is why he succeeded. Don’t be afraid to fail!
Anyway, great post. Thanks a bunch and best wishes!
P.S. You reminded me. Time to put a disclaimer up! 🙂
haha.. yes, put up your disclaimers! Else Big Bro will come a calling. Re: having patience, yes, it seems we live in a world where everyone is in a hurry. This does take a little time, but it is well-worth it. In fact, it’s crazy! …I just checked my AdSense income, and I’m up $160 bucks with only a little more than 5,000 visitors a month! I have 26 referrals credited to me, and my Amazon stream just began. I am immensely grateful…
Best Wishes to you as well, and thanks for stopping by!
Agreed that it takes time to build up an affiliate marketing business (hint: start building a list as soon as you can, even if it seems like you’re just talking to yourself) but equally pay-per-click takes time to get right and that can take a lot more cash.
Keeping track of all those seemingly small affiliate commissions is a lot easier now that most programs pay directly to Paypal or bank – it used to be a real hassle here in the UK banking dollar cheques.
Yes, affiliate marketing can take anywhere from a few months on up. Some WA members tell people that it’s, on average, a year of consistent effort. As mentioned in numerous articles, success truly does depend on the individual and how much time and effort they are putting forth. This is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. It does take honest effort, but it does reward those who do make the commitment. If you have read any of my previous posts, you would know I tried a long while ago, but eventually got a “job,” which didn’t work out …And, after my injuries in 2014 and 2015, I was, pretty much, feeling like a useless blob… So, I came back to my online efforts, and I’m sooooo very happy I found Wealthy Affiliate!
Re: keeping track – yes, am having that particular problem now, as a matter of fact. Some affiliates do not pay through PayPal, and I’ve been thinking that I really need to stop and gather all my affiliate info to have in “one place.” I was thinking of setting up an Excel file… because now that the money is rolling in, I’d really like to see where I should direct more effort – what is paying me for my efforts, etc. Even though PayPal is a help, it’s really not detailed enough if you truly want to see which affiliate and which product is paying you, which link, is it a banner link, or a text link, etc. So, yes, I will really have to do that in the near future… Right now, I’m having too much fun watching my Google AdSense money roll in!
Getting back to the time it takes, however, my membership time line does not really reflect my success time line. I had originally joined WA in Feb 2015, but it really wasn’t until December, 2015, that I really began writing consistently, and with a more focused effort. I was dealing with a lot of pain, and physical therapy, etc. So, for me, I’m counting from last December, which is about four months now. I’m ecstatic – I’ve already made my WA annual membership fee back, and I’m about to get my first check from Google when it closes the end of the month! …Now that I’m almost 100% back health-wise, all I have to do is get back to the gym, and make money while I work out!
Thanks for your visit and your input! It is appreciated!
Great rundown on affiliate marketing and I especially like the pros and cons you mention. I think this post really explains everything a newbie needs to know to get started. What affiliate products do you suggest for someone starting out? I know there are quite a few. Nice post here!
Hi Dave, Thank you for your compliments!
I think that newbies, or for people are just plain skittish, should look up the Free Affiliate programs I have listed under “Categories.” There is zero outlay in terms of money, but they do have to put in some time. I have a few listed there, and people can go there to learn about affiliate marketing and set up their own businesses – for free. One is a Travel Business, there’s a T-shirt business, then there’s Wealthy Affiliate which they can also use for free until they learn enough before deciding if this is something they truly wish to do. Many members at WA started out with the two free sub-domains and built blogs about a variety of niches – from golfing, to yoga, to beach travel, cities, restaurants, recipes, weight loss, and much much more. As I often write – “The Sky’s The Limit!”
Thanks for stopping by!