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Step by step guide to affiliate marketing for beginners: Affiliate Marketing Tips & Strategies

by | Updated on: Aug 25, 2023 | Digital Marketing Guides, Digital Marketing 101 | 10 comments

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Building a highly profitable business without creating any product or service – Sounds like impossible? That’s exactly what affiliate marketing business is – generating revenue without having your own products or services. 

In this ultimate affiliate marketing guide for beginners, you will learn how to start an affiliate marketing business step by step from scratch. 

I mentioned complete affiliate marketing processes with some easy-to-action steps so that even a novice can follow the steps and get started his or her own affiliate marketing business. 

What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work? 

Affiliate marketing - how does it work?
Step by step guide to affiliate marketing for beginners: Affiliate Marketing Tips & Strategies 1

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based online marketing strategy where an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another company’s products or services. The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, promotes that product, and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make

Affiliate marketing is nothing but promoting other people’s or company’s products or services across your networks. You will make a certain percentage of commission while someone clicks on your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase. 

The best part of affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to handle any after order services like delivery, exchange, etc. 

To get started in affiliate marketing business, you just need to get approvals from your preferred affiliate programs. Once you get approved, you will get a unique affiliate link so that transactions that happened through your link can be tracked and counted in your account. 

In general, an affiliate link has an expiry time and you can get paid if any purchase is made before its expiry. 

Key Players in Affiliate Marketing

There are three main players in affiliate marketing:

  1. Merchants: Also known as the seller, brand, retailer, or vendor. They create the product1.
  2. Affiliates: Also called publishers or partners. They promote the products and earn a commission on any sales made through their referral.
  3. Customers: The consumers who buy the products.


  1. An affiliate joins an affiliate program.
  2. The affiliate gets a unique link, which has a tracking ID. This link is used to track all traffic and sales the affiliate sends to the merchant’s website.
  3. If someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

  1. Pay per Sale: In this type, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies.
  2. Pay per Lead: A more complex system, pay per lead affiliate programs compensates the affiliate based on the conversion of leads.
  3. Pay per Click: This program focuses on incentivizing the affiliate to redirect consumers from their marketing platform to the merchant’s website.

Strategies for Successful Affiliate Marketing

  1. Select Your Niche: Choose a specific niche that you’re passionate about and ensure there’s a profitable market in it.
  2. Choose the Right Products: Promote products that are relevant to your niche and useful to your target audience.
  3. Build Trust with Your Audience: Provide valuable content to your audience and promote products you have tried and tested.
  4. Use Different Traffic Sources: Don’t rely on just one traffic source. Use SEO, social media, email marketing, content marketing, etc., to drive traffic to your affiliate links.
  5. Track Your Results: Use analytics to understand what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Affiliate marketing can be a highly profitable online business model if done right. It requires patience, effort, and a clear strategy.

Affiliate Marketing Guide PDF eBook

Is Affiliate Marketing a Good Career Choice? 

If you are a newbie in the digital marketing industry and confused about an affiliate marketing career, you probably want to ask some questions like – is affiliate marketing a good career? How much money can affiliate marketers make? bla bla bla ….. right? 

Okay – so let me clear up all your confusions. Affiliate marketing is one the most lucrative career options nowadays across the world. There is simply no limit to earning opportunities. 

You can promote multiple products or services from different vendors at a time and the opportunities are limitless. You just need to have an effective sales funnel to nurture your prospective customers efficiently. 

Some top-level affiliate marketers make millions of dollars a year. Remember, it takes a lot of hard work and time to reach these levels. But with proper knowledge, strategy and dedication you too can make a high-income career in affiliate marketing. 

Related Reading: Affiliate Marketing Course

How Can I Become an Affiliate Marketer? 

You can become an affiliate marketer by following these simple and easy steps. But always keep in mind that affiliate marketing is an entrepreneurial journey and you have to develop a business mindset to succeed in this field. 

Total Time: 180 days

Choose Your Niche

At first, you will need to choose your topic or niche. Choose your niche according to your passion and expertise. It will help you to enjoy your work without being tired for a long span of time. It also helps you to continue your affiliate journey even in difficult situations instead of giving up halfway. 

Before finalizing your niche, you should do a thorough market research on whether your niche has a demand in the market or not. If you see that your niche has enough market demand and you can make money working on it, then you can finalize your niche. 

Naturally, your selected niche will have high competition among the millions of contents available on the internet. In this case, you can break down your niche into micro-niches. Focusing on micro-niches can help you build a specific target audience and possibly help you rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). 

The more you focus on micro-niches, the better. If you are a newbie, don’t worry, you will get a lot of helpful resources on the internet and you will be learning by doing actual things in your affiliate marketing way. 

Select Platforms

Now you need online platforms where you can build your audience and sell them your affiliate products or services. 
Your online platform can be anything like a website, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You can select a single online platform or you can use multiple platforms as well. 
You have to consider several points while choosing an online platform for your affiliate business – 
Choose a platform where your potential customers  hang out depending on your niche. 
Can you handle the platform properly with your expertise and experience? Can you build a good audience on this platform? 

Recheck the platform if it is easy to drive traffic for your affiliate business on this platform. 
Whatever platform you choose for your affiliate marketing, make sure you will put a disclosure note that your content contains affiliate links and you will get some commission without charging any extra cost to customers. Government authorities of some countries may require this transparency for your affiliate incomes. 

Learn how to start a blog

Choose Affiliate Programs 

There are 2 different options you can join affiliate programs – 

Affiliate network marketplaces 
Personal affiliate programs 

An affiliate network marketplace allows multiple merchants to set up their affiliate programs. Affiliate marketers can join the affiliate marketplace and sell a wide range of products and services from different types of merchants.  
You can promote and sell thousands of products and services by joining a single affiliate network marketplace. It’s a great option for affiliate markers. 

Some top popular affiliate network marketplaces are – 
JV Zoo 
Amazon Associates 
CJ Affiliate 

On the other hand, a personal affiliate program is offered by the merchant or the business itself. You can promote and sell only this merchant’s products and services. 

You will need to join each of the different personal affiliate programs to promote products or services offered by different merchants.   

To get started, I would recommend you to join a big affiliate network marketplace so that you can get a big chance to promote multiple products and get an overall idea about how affiliate programs work. 

I strongly recommend you make your platform such as the website completely ready with some contents before applying for affiliate approvals. Most of the affiliate programs usually take a look at your website before approving you as an affiliate marketer. 

Create Unique Contents

As Bill Gates said “Content is King”, creating unique and quality content is the most important part of your whole affiliate marketing process. You should create contents that solve problems and people love to consume. 

Try to put affiliate links in a natural flow and don’t make it spammy. Focus more on helping your audience instead of always promoting something. 

Attract Traffic 

Now you are in the final stage of your affiliate marketing processes. Driving traffic and converting visitors into sales is the ultimate goal of any internet marketing including affiliate marketing.

You can opt for multiple strategies to drive traffic into your affiliate platform. You have basically 2 types of options – 

Paid options – you can opt for several paid strategies to drive traffic via paid ads (Google Ads, Facebook Ads), sponsorship, collaboration with influencers, etc. 
Free options – you can also opt for several free strategies to attract traffic like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), give away, share a friend, etc. 

If you wanna grow your affiliate business faster, only then you should go for paid options otherwise free options work well. 

Build an Email Asset

Retaining an old customer is always cheaper than acquiring a new one. It saves a lot of money, time as well as energy. Don’t just sell through affiliate marketing, build an email list of your prospective customers so that you can reach them often. 

Your email list is a valuable digital asset for your marketing. Nurture your list with useful and helpful contents to get more engagements. 

Link Placements 

Awesome contents are indispensable for affiliate marketers. But you have to understand the tips and tricks of how to increase your conversion rate. Your visitors won’t take any action until you appeal to them with several consumer psychological hacks. 

Whenever you put affiliate links, make sure your links never look spammy. Some best practices for link placements include anchor text, call-outs, popups, and so on. 


To become a successful affiliate marketer, you need to take care of these points below –

  1. Choose what you do best (writing, talking, photography, filming…)
  2. Decide which niche you can target with that
  3. Research where you can affiliate / affiliate programs available that can benefit from traffic you refer
  4. Build your online property to attract traffic (website, blog, youtube channel)
  5. Produce innovative & valuable content for your target audience
  6. Build you audience gradually
  7. Smartly promote affiliate offers (Make Niche Blog or Drop-shipping site, Coupon Sites, Affiliate ecommerce sites, Comparison sites, Send emailers, WhatsApp links, Make landing pages & run ads etc )
  8. Research more for innovative content
  9. Keep repeating the process
  10. Trial & error method until you find the most profitable niche.

For example, to become affiliate of Amazon, join their program. Now if you write well take any niche product from their catalog which you can promote through your writing. Create your own blogging site. Produce innovative, informative content. Smartly refer those amazon products to you audience through your style of writing. You will earn referral commission from Amazon as per their policy guidelines.

Related reading: Best ways to make money online & Top 5 ways to monetize your blog

Affiliate Marketing Increases Your Sales

Affiliate marketing is gaining popularity over other forms of offline and online marketing strategies. One of the reasons for its widespread popularity is that affiliate marketing is mutually beneficial to the affiliate marketer and the merchant. In fact, making money on the Internet was never easier. This powerful tool holds a lot of potential to compliment or even replace some of the traditional marketing channels. In the past few years, affiliate marketing has been one of the highest revenue earning channels in the world of marketing. And the trend is likely to grow in the coming years.

This marketing medium has already reversed the traditional model of outward-bound marketing into an inward-bound model. Interested customers are now been enticed to purchase. Internet has provided a large scope to the merchants by providing a large number of potential affiliates to help spread their sales message. Additional advantages of affiliate marketing include:

Increasing brand visibility:

One of the advantages of affiliate marketing includes the improvement of your brand visibility. Your affiliates are likely to optimize your targeted/ product relevant keywords to secure higher search engine ranking. The ads displayed on their site will also mention your business along with the keywords. This will help you to gain online exposure, which in turn, will increase your brand visibility. Since you can add as many affiliate members as you wish, there is a great opportunity to promote your brand.

Acquiring more number of customers:

Affiliate marketing allows you to reach more number of customers, that too, without spending much.  In this form of marketing, you pay only after making a sale through the affiliate member. You don’t pay unless the referred visitor becomes a customer in affiliate marketing, unlike the PPC advertisements where you need to pay for every click. Thus, no budget is being wasted. Better yet, you only pay a small part of the profit to your affiliate member.

More number of traffic:

As mentioned, all your affiliate members are likely to optimize your keywords to secure higher search ranking. As a result, you will have several listing pointing to your business website. This will ensure a lot of targeted traffic and clicks. Thus, affiliate marketing is a great way to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Fixed cost:

In affiliate marketing, you are the one deciding the amount you want to give the affiliate members once the sales are made. And the cost is fixed for all your affiliate members. Better yet, there is no adjusting commission cost. However, some merchants do pay various commission levels depending on the number of sales.

In conclusion, affiliate marketing is a win-win situation that can create a powerful channel for online income generation for both affiliate marketers and merchants. Now all you need is a well-designed and well-executed affiliate-marketing model to leverage upon the web’s new culture.

Related reading: Top 22 types of blogs that make money

How Affiliate Marketing Works – Infographic

Source: PepperJam

Affiliate Marketing Infographic

Highest paying affiliate programs

  1. HubSpot
  2. AWeber
  3. Sendinblue
  4. ConvertKit
  5. Leadpages
  6. GetResponse
  7. SEMRush
  8. Fiverr
  9. Pabbly
  10. Unbounce
  11. Contant Contact
  12. Typeform
  13. Kajabi
  14. Coursera
  15. Teachable
  16. BigCommerce
  17. Shopify
  18. 3dcart
  19. Volusion
  20. WP Engine
  21. Kinsta
  22. Flywheel
  23. Bluehost
  24. Hostgator
  25. GreenGeeks
  26. Wix
  27. Amazon
  28. eBay
  29. Target
  30. Hammacher Schlemmer
  31. Spocket
  32. Murad
  33. Yves Rocher
  34. Scentbird
  35. BH Cosmetics
  36. Boatbookings
  37. TripAdvisor
  38. Cheapflights
  39. Momondo
  40. Sandals Resorts
  41. Capitalist Exploits
  42. Kabbage
  43. Sage Financials
  44. Invoice Ninja

Best affiliate programs in India

Sector-wise most profitable & best affiliate programs in India

Most Profitable Affiliate Programs for Web Hosting

  • Hostinger
  • Blue Host
  • Hostgator
  • Cloudways
  • GreenGeeks
  • GoDaddy
  • BigRock
  • WP Engine
  • LiquidWeb

Best eCommerce Affiliate Programs

  • Amazon India
  • Flipkart
  • SnapDeal
  • eBay
  • Shopify
  • Shopclues

Best Website Affiliate Programs

  • Wix
  • Hubspot
  • Squarespace
  • Bigcommerce
  • Clickmeter
  • Weebly
  • ReferralCandy

VPN Affiliate programs

  • NordVPN
  • IPVanish
  • Surf Shark
  • Express VPN
  • Strong VPN

Marketing platforms Affiliate Programs

  • Aweber
  • SendinBlue
  • ConvertKit
  • LeadPages
  • GetResponse
  • SEMRush
  • Pabbly
  • Unbounce
  • Constant Contact
  • Typeform
  • Kajabi
  • Coursera
  • Teachable
  • Kinsta
  • Flywheel
  • Momondo

Bitcoin affiliate programs

  • Binance
  • Coinbase
  • Ledgerwallet
  • LocalBitcoins.com

Gaming affiliate programs

  • Twitch
  • Leprestore
  • Razer
  • CDKeys

Freelancing Affiliate Programs

  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • People per hour

Career affiliate programs

  • Indeed
  • Monster India
  • Career Builder
  • CareerKey
  • Resume Robin

Matrimonial affiliate programs

  • Bharat Matrimony
  • Shaadi
  • AngelMatrimony

Beauty, Make-up & Cosmetics affiliate programs

  • The Body Shop
  • SheaButter
  • Beauty Source
  • Nykaa

Fashion & Lifestyle Affiliate Programs

  • TataCLiQ.com
  • Myntra
  • Club Factory
  • ABOF.com
  • AJIO.com
  • KOOVS.com
  • Global Desi
  • Lime Road
  • First cry
  • NNNow.com

Travel Affiliate Programs

  • Yatra
  • TripAdvisor
  • Make My Trip
  • Expedia India
  • Oyo
  • Travel Guru
  • Goibibo
  • RedBus
  • CheapFlights

Health & Fitness Affiliate Programs

  • Medlife
  • India Herbs
  • StayFit
  • FitBit
  • PharmEasy
  • NetMeds

Education Affiliate Programs

Examples of successful Affiliate websites

  1. Nerdwallet
  2. money saving expert
  3. The Wirecutter
  4. Dating advice
  5. PC Part Picker
  6. 50em.com
  7. This Is Why I’m Broke
  8. Making Sense of cents
  9. the points guy
  10. just a girl and her blog
  11. compare accounting
  12. Website Setup
  13. Headphones Addict
  14. Skyscanner
  15. Safewise
  16. Lucie’s List
  17. Snapsort
  18. Dog Food Advisor
  19. Fatherly.com
  20. Shut Up And Sit Down
  21. Who is hosting this

Source: Authority Hacker

Final Words: 

Affiliate marketing isn’t any quick earn scheme, it’s a long journey. You will need to have consistency and patience to succeed in affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a type of digital marketing and if you wanna succeed in your affiliate marketing career faster, you will need to have an in-depth knowledge of various digital marketing strategies. Our digital marketing course covers every skill you will need to be a successful affiliate marketer. Check out some of our students’ reviews and their achievements. 

Related readings:

Author:- Debajyoti Banerjee is the Founder, Director & CEO of Seven Boats - A leading digital marketing agency & digital marketing training institute in India since 2011. He is a TEDx Speaker, Google & LinkedIn Certified Digital Marketer & Trainer, Brand Strategist, Consultant & Entrepreneur. B. Tech in computer engineering & post graduate diploma in Marketing, Debajyoti has 18+ years of domain experience and successful track records in digital marketing services & digital marketing training with 500+ clients & 100K+ students in 165+ countries. He has been invited & felicitated by 25+ Top B Schools & universities including London Business School, AICTE ATAL FDP, UGC-HRDC, IIM Shillong, IIM ROHTAK, IIT KGP, IIT Guwahati, Calcutta University, Ranchi University, St. Xavier’s, Brainware, Techno India, JIS Group, Jaypee Group, Shikshayatan Foundation, IIEST Shibpur, Bhavan’s, ICFAI Business School, GITAM Deemed University, Swami Vivekananda Group of Institutions & many more. He has been awarded with more than 20 national awards and he has received notable media coverage. Learn more



  1. E.Laye Lubbs

    It truly does! That’s why companies prefer to integrate it their operations now. It benefits a lot of people as well.

    • Debajyoti Banerjee

      Yes. Amazon is the biggest example. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Joquim

    Nice breakdown of what & where to start affiliate marketing. I’m inclined to start service affiliate marketing as I’m starting to play around with my marketing tools myself.

    One question though. When you have an affiliate with a product, do they actually send you the product? How will I be able to review it if I don’t actually have anything to review or show that I actually own? Or will I need to purchase the item to review it?

    • Debajyoti Banerjee

      Thank you. When you are a newbie in product review affiliate marketing with no stats, you’ll have to buy the products or take it from some friends/relatives (if they have) temporarily for reviewing. Be honest with your reviews to keep your reputation and credibility good.
      Once you start seeing good results with your efforts, ask product owners to send the products at free of cost.
      Show them your previous successful promotions and the business generated for those affiliate products.

  3. neetu singh

    Nice writeup to guide someone new to the world of affiliate marketing. I also have a blog of my own and was planning to start affiliate marketing and was looking for an excellent guide to get me started. Glad I found this one. I Will indeed implement your strategies and let you know how it went.

  4. sachin


    Hope you are doing good.

    I would like to know if you can run a ppc campaign for our website . We are a UAE based gaming company targeting Indian market.
    We would first like to run the campaign for a week with a minimum budget and based on the analysis, we will modify accordingly.

    Please mail your proposal

    Looking forward to working with you.

  5. Revglue

    Affiliate marketing is a type of advertisement that companies use to try to cut down on excess in their marketing expenditure. It can be annoying for a company to pay thousands of dollars on clicks or views only to gain a few buyers.

  6. Shamsher Khan

    Thanks for sharing information & suggestions about affiliate marketing.

  7. Soham Dasgupta

    Very interesting blog,will make sure to implement these tips..


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