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How To Start Affiliate Marketing For Free: 4 Steps To Succeed

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Is it possible to start affiliate marketing for free? If you are trying to start an affiliate marketing business but don’t have any money to invest in it, you might be wondering what are your chances of getting somewhere or actually succeeding.

Affiliate Marketing is one of the cheapest businesses you can start since you don’t need to invest in inventory, pay for shipping, create a new product, nor hire customer service agents.

That being said, you do need some basic tools like a funnel builder and email autoresponder but there are some tips and tricks that you can implement in order to get around these and avoid the costs.

It might not be the best way to begin and will require you to invest more if your time invest but in this article, I will explain exactly how you can start affiliate marketing for free and don’t let it stop you from creating a successful business.

What are the costs associated with Affiliate Marketing?

While Affiliate Marketing doesn’t have as many overhead costs, it is still a business and as such, requires some investment.

So, before you understand how you can get started for free, let’s take a quick look at how affiliate marketing works and what are the costs that it usually requires.

As an affiliate marketer, your main “job” is to direct people to the products you. are promoting and, hopefully, increase the chances of them buying the product so both the merchant and you can make more money.

To achieve this, there are two main factors that come into play: your traffic source and your sales funnel

how to start affiliate marketing for free

Traffic Source:

Your traffic source is the method that you will use to reach potential clients and direct them to your affiliate offers. It can be of two different types: organic and paid.

  • The organic methods refer to creating valuable content in order to build an audience of potential clients and can be done in platform like social media, blogs, Youtube, forums, etc.
  • On the other hand, paid traffic is the one that is generated throguh paid means when a user clicks on an ad placed on a search engine, social media platforms, or media networks.

As you can imagine, paid traffic requires more money but the organic methods also have some costs involved. I’ll show you later what can you do to avoid them.

Your sales funnel:

Your sales funnel is a series of steps that you will use to promote your affiliate offer and convert your audience into buyers.

It can be as simple or elaborated as you want but, in its basic form it is comprised of an opt-in page to capture people’s emails, a bridge page to pre-sell the affiliate offer and an email campaign to convert more subscribers into customers.

Unless you know how to code, you will need a funnel builder and email autoresponder in order to create these easily. You’d also need a domain which is the name or address you will use for your funnel.

Normally, you could expect to spend between $90 and $300 a month on these tools. This might not seem like much for a successful affiliate marketer already making six figures a year but if you are wanting to start it, these costs can stack up and create an extra layer of pressure and frustration every month it takes you to get results.

Education

While there is a lot of free affiliate marketing training on blogs and Youtube, the truth is that content on the internet is scattered, and sometimes it is not easy for beginners to put the pieces together and know what step to follow next.

Since getting the proper training is one of the key factors that will determine your results as an affiliate marketer, beginners usually invest in a course or coaching program to increase their chances of success.

This can mean anything from $50 to $2000+ depending on the course and how much support you are looking for.

But if you are looking to get started with no money, In this guide I will show you what are some of the free and cheapest alternatives you can use to get some proper training and results.

Note: These are some of the main costs associated with getting started as an affiliate marketer but you can check out this article later if you want to know in detail how much exactly it costs to start a profitable Affiliate Marketing business

Start Affiliate Marketing for Free

Now that you are familiar with the usual costs of starting Affiliate Marketing, let’s see how you can get started with no money!

1. Choose the right affiliate programs

Getting started for free means that you won’t have your own domain or website which will limit the affiliate programs that you can get accepted into.

Most affiliate programs will want to know how are you planning to promote them and what platform you will be using.

Even if you are using methods like social media and Youtube, having your own domain is required by some affiliate programs and gives you access to more opportunities.

But don’t worry, I still suggest applying to all the affiliate programs you are interested in because some of them will accept a social media profile URL instead of your own domain so it is best to give it a try.

I am just telling you so you are don’t get surprised when applying and know in advance to keep your options open and be flexible with the offers you want to promote.

Alternatively, if you are very certain about the affiliate programs you want to promote and want to make sure you’ll get accepted, you can consider getting your own domain for around $20.

You can also get it for free when signing up for hosting for $2.95/month and that way you’d be getting all you need to have your own website for less than 3 dollars a month.

2. Choose your promotional method / traffic source

Once you have selected your affiliate offers, it’s time to choose what platform or traffic source you will use to promote them.

As I mentioned before, traffic sources can be of two different types: organic and paid.

Naturally, since we are learning how to start affiliate marketing for free, paid methods are off the tables.

But you still have plenty of alternatives for free organic traffic. Here are some of the best ones I recommend considering:

TikTok:

Contrary to what you might think, TikTok is not just an app for kids and trendy dances. With more than 30 million active users in the U.S. alone, it has become the fastest-growing social media network of all time, which also makes it one of the biggest opportunities for brands and marketers.

Nowadays more brands and influencers have already hoped on the Tiktok train increasing the competition but the app is still in its early stage. This means that it is easier to grow an audience and get thousands of views when compared with more established platforms.

Using Tiktok to start affiliate marketing for free

  • Create a Tiktok account focused on the niche you want to promote and make sure all your content is related to that topic and to your affiliate offers so Tiktok can help you find your audience.
  • Create videos that provide value to your potential audience whether that is by educating or entertaininging them. Shorter videos 7-15 seconds long tend to work the best so creating content and trying different thing is really easy.
  • Use as many hashtags as you can in your description so the algorithm knows to whom it should show your content.
  • Tiktok is very trend-focused so spend some time consuming videos on your feed (for you page) to understand what is trending and create your own version.
  • Tiktok lets you have on clickbale link in your bio so if you are promoting several products at one you can use something like Beacons to create a simple page with all your links.
  • Always add a message or “call to action” in your videos inviting people to check the link in your bio.
  • You can create content as a personal brand or use methods like stock videos, user generated content, animations, etc.
  • Below are two examples of TikTok accounts that are getting great results promoting affiliate products.

Instagram

Instagram might have lost some of its coolness after copying Snapchat stories feature and adding reels to compete with Tiktok. However, if history teaches us something is that Instagram always wins and that means that the app is here to stay.

And not only that but since Instagram is trying to keep up with Tiktok they are pushing the reels feature pretty intensely which gives new creators and marketers the opportunity to reach a big audience and grow a following quicker than before.

Using Instagram to start affiliate marketing for free

  • Create an Instagram account for your affiliate niche. You can choose between creator or business account since both offer the option to add a link to your profile and gives you access to analytics.
  • Instagram has different formats that you can use including images, videos, igtv, etc. but the best way to take advantage of Instagram at the moment is to go heavy with reels since they will help you reach more people and grow your account faster.
  • Similarly to Tiktok, you can create content as a personal brand or use stock footage, animations, whiteboard or user generated content.
  • Once you reach 10,000 followers Instagram gives you the option to add a link to your stories so tha’s a great way to drive extra traffic to your affiliate offers.
This is an example of an Instagram account that is promoting an affiliate offer for a keto diet using images and stock videos.

Youtube

Youtube works as a search engine (like Google), which means that you can get in front of people who are already actively looking for an answer or solution.

This makes Youtube a great platform to start your Affiliate marketing journey since the buying intent is higher than in social media, where people are mostly scrolling to be entertained.

Additionally, Youtube videos continue to get views for years after being published so they can help you build a passive source of traffic and income. They also can be monetized with ads so you will get an extra source of revenue.

Using Youtube to start affiliate marketing for free

  • One of the most important factors to actually make money with Youtube and affiliate marketing is targetting keywords (phrases) with a high buying intent like reviews, comparisons, and unboxings. People searching for this type of videos are already interested in buying a product and are just looking for a final push.
  • Use Seach Engine Optimization (SEO) so can rank your videos on search results, get more views, and hence, more affiliate commissions. Makes sure to check out this artcile later for a step-by-step guide on how to use succeed using Youtube for Affiliate Makreitng
  • Do not worry about fancy equipment. While It might seem like all Youtubers have professional cameras and software, you can actually get started for free using only your cellphone and a free editor like Canva.
  • Add your affiliate links in the description of your video and make sure to mention it and invite viewers to visit them.

Facebook

The rise in popularity of new social media platforms might make it seem like Facebook has been left behind but the truth is that it remains the biggest social network with 2.85 billion monthly active users.

While the organic reach of Facebook Pages is pretty much dead, there are still other free ways to use Facebook for Affiliate Marketing like using your personal profile and Facebook groups.

Using Facebook to start affiliate marketing for free

  • For this method, you are going to use for personal profile as your platform to drive people to your affiliate offers.
  • To do this, you’ll take advantage of the natural curiosity that people feel when interacting with someone new on Facebook, which often leads to them checking out the other person’s profile.
  • You’ll need to optimize your profile to invite people to check your affiliate offers by changing your cover picture, featured picture, your bio, and your posts.
  • Once you have done this, the next step is joining Facebook Groups related to your niche and provide value in the comments. The idea is to spark curiosity so people visit your profile and from there, your affiliate offers.
  • In this case, your Facebook profile is working as a personal billboard and all the elements should invite people to check your links or funnel (more on this next).
Example of Facebook profile optimized for Affiliate Marketing

Pinterest

Pinterest is often an overlooked platform but it is actually a great way to promote affiliate offers for free.

It is technically a search engine like Google and Youtube which means that you can appear on search results even if you don’t have many followers at first and get consistent traffic long-term.

Additionally, it has an important social component to it since people are able to share your pins, help you get more views and they can even go viral bringing you huge amounts of traffic.

Pinterest demographics also make it great for affiliate marketers since half of Pinterest users earn $50K or greater per year, and 10 percent make greater than $125K (1) giving them a higher purchase power than other audiences.

Using Pinterst to start affiliate marketing for free

  • Create a Pinteret Business profile dedicated to your affiliate niche. Since Pinterest works as a search engine it is really important that you optimize your profile, boards and pins with the right keyword so your content can appear on search results.
  • Pinterest allows for affiliate links so you can technically use your affiliate link as the destination URL for your pins. However, affiliate links can sometimes be flagged as spam so it is best to use a landing page instead.
  • Pinterest is all about frequency so in order to get significant traffic you want to post at least once- twice a day. The caveat is that you should not post the same URL too frequently or your accpunt can get flagges, For this reason is best to promote different offers and use different landing pages so you can alternate the URLs.
  • Stay patient and consistent, it can take 3-4 months to start getting significant visit but once you do, it can become a great source of organic traffic.

3. Build your sales funnels for free

As I mentioned before, your sales funnel is a series of steps that have the purposes of capturing your audience emails, pre-sell them on the affiliate offer and follow up with them via email to increase the chances of them buying the product.

If money were not a problem, you could expect to spend between $90 and $300 a month on a reputable funnel builder and email autoresponder.

While the paid alternatives are naturally better and offer more features, today I will show you how you can do it without money by using some of the following free tools:

  • Groove Funnels: Groove is a new CRM platform that offers a free plan that gives you access to some of its most basic features like a funnel builder. The caveat is that it doesn’t include access to capture email leads or send email campaigns so I would not recommend it as your first choice.
  • ConvertKit: This is an email autoresponder that offers a free plan for up to 500 contacts. While you can not create complete sales funnel with it, you can create simple landing pages and start making money until you can affort a paid software.
  • Systeme.io: This CRM platform is probably the best you can get for free. It offers a free plan that includes both funnel builder and email autoresponder for up tp 1,000 contacts and when you pass that number you should already be making money and be able to pay for an upgrade.

Note: The caveat is with using these free alternatives is that they are not the best in the market and if you want to switch to a better one once can afford it, you’ll have to create your sales funnel again from scratch.


4. Get the education you need to start affiliate marketing for free

One key aspect of succeeding as an affiliate is getting the right education and, most times, that comes with a price.

While there is a lot of free information out there, most of it is incomplete and scattered since free content often has the goal of attracting potential buyers for courses or coaching.

So, how can you learn the skills and methods you need to succeed for free?

You’ll simply need to put more time into it to be able to connect the pieces and be your own guide. Here is how you can get started:

  • Following the advice in this article, choose your affiliate offers and platform. Each platform has its own strategies so, for example, it won’t be useful to learn about blogging when you want to use Tiktok to promote your offers.
  • Once you have choosen your platform start from the beginning and google “how to promote affiliate offers using _________”. Spend some time watching videos and reading article to get an overall idea of what people are doing and what startegies are working for them.
  • Check out what other affiliates and content creators are doing in your niche, what offers they are promoting and what is working well for them. Check out their content and ther sales funnels for referece.

    Conside that anyone creating content online is also promoting affiliate offers but besides from the blogging and making-money-online niche, creators of other niches are not openly talking about it so you just need to check out what they are doing.
  • Search for tutorials on how to build your sales funnel and email campaign. Most content that you will find is often focuses on paid tools since creators are also promoting those sofwtares as affiliates but you can still apply the same principles to the free tools that you are using. Here is a complete guide on how to build an affiliate marketing funnel that you can start with.
  • Watch webinars. Most of them will try to offer you paid courses at the end but you cans till get a lot of free valubale information from them. This one from 8-figure earner, Spencer Mecham has tons of free value if you want to check it out.
  • Join Facebook groups so you can ask questions and get advice from experience affiliate marketers for free. A lot of them are full of spam but these ones are some of my favorite where you can actually learn and help others as well: Automation Nation and Affiliate Profits.

Alternatively, if you are want to give yourself more chances to succeed and save you time and mistakes, this 15-day challenge is giving beginners great results and it costs only $7.

Start Affiliate Marketing for Free FAQ

How much does it cost to start affiliate marketing?

It depends, starting a blog or social media profile has a completely different cost than starting with paid ads. If we take the ad cost out of the equation, you can spend around $90-$200 a month for basic tools like funnel builder and email autoresponder.

Check out this article to find out exactly how much you can expect to invest to start affiliate marketing.

Can I learn affiliate marketing for free?

The short answer is yes, there are lots of free content online that you can learn from. Will it be the easiest and most effective way to do it? Probably not. Will you need to learn as you go and make your own mistakes? Probably yes. But if you are willing to put in the time and work required to teach yourself, you can achieve it.

You can start with my complete guide on How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing here.

Alternatively, if you have $7 to spare you can start with this step-by-step training for beginners.


Final Thoughts

Affiliate Marketing is one of the cheapest businesses you can start if you have no money. However, all businesses require some sort of investment so if you want to start Affiliate Marketing for free you are going to need to put more time and work into it.

Devote yourself to learning from the huge amount of free resources available online and grow an audience from scratch with valuable content. Once you are making a steady income, make sure to invest in tools and education that can help you scale your business to the next level.

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