Affiliate Marketing for Dummies – Step By Step Guide

This affiliate marketing for dummies post is your biggest guide to growing an affiliate marketing online business. Say no to MLM and pyramid schemes and master this instead.

Have you heard about affiliate marketing and wonder whether it’s a viable online business option? It’s quite possible that you’ve heard amazing stories about people who promote products created by others and start making a lot of money in affiliate commissions.

Let’s guide you through the process so you can get yourself set up as a successful affiliate marketer but firstly I suggest you join this affiliate marketing training for FREE.

1. What is affiliate marketing?

This form of marketing is simply a way to connect buyers with great products. One of the most difficult things to do online is to bring a product idea to market.

This is because it takes time and money to discover whether the problem the product solves is actually the true problem the target market needs solving.

You don’t need to go through any of this market testing as an affiliate marketer. There’s no need to invest months or years building a product, setting up focus groups, testing sales pages or split testing sales funnels.

All you need to do is select a niche that you love. Then, you pick a product that excites you. Next, you start learning how to generate traffic to that product’s sales page. You collect commissions when the people you sent to the sales page decide to purchase the product. There are many ways to drive traffic to a sales page and its sales funnel.

You might start a website and write interesting articles and product reviews. You might start a Facebook ad campaign straight into the sales funnel. You might start a YouTube channel and make videos around the product offering.

The key thing to understand at this point is that someone else already invested the time and money to figure out how to create a winning sales page and sales funnel. They hand you this money-making funnel and you just need to become good at marketing it.

There are many people out there struggling to create products from scratch without understanding the incredible expense in time and money that the process requires.

Why not skip the hardest part of the process and simply connect interested buyers with a sales funnel that already is proven to convert into sales? You can do exactly that by becoming an affiliate marketer.

2. How do I become an affiliate marketer?

The first step is to select a niche. You might already know the area you’re most passionate about and can’t wait to start making money in it.

It’s also possible that you don’t yet know where to start. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What subjects am I most excited about?
  • Is there money to be made with this topic?
  • Is there a topic that I can see myself writing 25, 50 or more blog posts about?
  • Is there enough demand for products in this area?
  • Are there plenty of affiliate products available in my selected niche?

It’s important to choose a niche where people are already spending money on products. It’s far more likely that you’ll find rabid buyers when selling a product teaching how to lose weight as opposed to trying to sell a product teaching people how to understand Bible verses.

People that are overweight are almost desperate to fix the problem and will pay for that information. Learning more about the Bible is nice, but not likely to elicit someone to pull out their credit card for it. 

Start researching available affiliate programs and products in your niche. Find one that you feel passionate about promoting.

Build a website in that niche.

Start blogging and writing articles. Produce excellent content. For example, you might write a blog post with tips for how to get out of debt if you’re selling an online course about becoming debt free.

People will love your tips and want more information. You’ll link over to the course’s sales page with the affiliate link the course’s owner provided you.

You’ll then receive a commission when your site visitors make their purchase.

3. Is affiliate marketing a pyramid scheme?

There isn’t any pyramid with affiliate marketing. It’s best to simply think of it as referral marketing. Have you ever seen those commercials where DirecTV says they’ll pay you a commission to refer a friend? That’s pretty close to affiliate marketing.

How about when a real estate agent earns a commission to sell you a house? The agent has simply connected you with the seller and earned a commission.

That’s pretty much what affiliate marketing is all about.

As an affiliate marketer, you’re simply connecting people who want to buy certain products with those products. The owner of those products is providing you a commission (a percentage of the sale) for the work you did to create that referral or introduction.

A pyramid scheme differs because a recruiting element is added to the process. In this case, you would recruit others to market a product and make money off their efforts.

4. The Difference Between MLM And Affiliate Marketing?

MLM (multi-level marketing), which is also called network marketing, is probably what you were thinking about when a pyramid scheme came to mind.

MLM requires that you go out and recruit people into the organisation. Your goal isn’t to sell a valuable product to others. Instead, it’s to recruit others in and hope they go out and sell the product.

If they do, they get a commission and you get a commission, too. Affiliate marketing is entirely different. There isn’t a recruiting option. It’s simply marketing products for sale.

Ask yourself this: Would you have any question about the validity of creating an online course that teaches something valuable and selling it through Facebook ads or from your website?

Your answer is most likely “no”.

Well, it’s almost the exact same thing with affiliate marketing. The only difference is that you didn’t create the online course. Someone else did.

You found it and you love the content in it. You know it’s valuable and will help anyone that buys it, goes through it and puts the information to use.

Network marketing is all about getting other people to sell over-priced products for you so you can make money doing nothing.

Affiliate marketing is the exact opposite. The affiliate model means you work just as hard as any business owner to generate customers for a valid product.

Another good analogy is recommending a movie to a friend. Wouldn’t you love to get paid a small commission by the producers for all the movies you’ve referred over the years?

Affiliate marketing is your chance to get paid to refer great products to others!

5. the most profitable niches for affiliate marketing?

There are many profitable affiliate marketing niches. Most will fall into what some people call “the big 3”: health, wealth and relationships.

Anything that fits into those three categories has a chance to be profitable because every human being wants to have great relationships, make more money and be healthy. 

  • Beauty: This is a great niche to be in because women (and many men, too) love learning about new beauty products that will make them more beautiful. There are many top-notch beauty companies that offer affiliate programs. 
  • Outdoor Survival: Examples of affiliate programs in this niche include Emergency Essentials, Forge Survival Supply and DayOneGear.
  • Fitness: Affiliate program examples include Natalie Jill Fitness and Ace Fitness.
  • Trading: Affiliate program examples include Capitalist Exploits and IQ Option.
  • Personal development: Affiliate program examples include Hay House, Self Development and Brian Tracy.

Check out my post about best affiliate marketing for beginners.

6. Can you really make money with affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing can help you become very successful. However, you need to look at it like starting any business. This means you need to be committed to it and you need to work at it.

It’s going to take effort and time to build. It is worth it, though, in the end. It truly is a “clean” business. This means that you don’t need to worry about delivering the product or dealing with customer service issues.

All you do is connect the buyer to the company and the company selling the product takes over in terms of delivery and customer issues. You just focus on writing new content, creating new interesting videos or running more ads.

Let’s look at a couple examples of successful affiliate marketers so you can visualize the possibilities.

Pat Flynn: Pat started his business back in 2008 and has turned it into a millionaire affiliate marketing business. You can read about his income statements here. He simply got himself started and look what he did with it. Now, it’s your turn!

Jeremy Schoemaker: It's estimated that Jeremy earned between $2 million and $4 million within five years via affiliate marketing. He accomplished this by running a website called

John Chow: John's estimated affiliate marketing monthly income is $50,000. He's another example of someone who has turned this type of marketing into millionaire status.

The thing to understand is that these three people were once at square one with affiliate marketing. They decided to get started and look what happened. Why not you, too?

7. Can you become a millionaire from affiliate marketing?

We just shared three millionaire affiliate marketers above. It’s very possible to become a millionaire with this marketing model. Again, the key is dedicating yourself to learning and implementing strategies that work.

Let’s look at a few more examples of millionaire affiliate marketing success stories. This is important because it’s easier to envision this type of success for you if you can see that others have done it, too.

Money Supermarket: Not only did the owner of this website turn into a millionaire, but he eventually sold this affiliate website and it turned him into a billionaire. His name is Simon Nixon.

The Wire Cutter: This affiliate marketing website generates hundreds of millions of dollars per year. They generate these sales by reviewing products. Does this give you any ideas for how you, too, might make affiliate income in your niche of choice?

Trip Advisor: This affiliate marketing site generates millions of dollars in revenue by partnering with some of the largest travel companies out there.

8. What is the best affiliate marketing program for beginners?

One of the best things you can do as a beginning affiliate marketer is to partner with a large, reputable company as you start your journey.

This gives you the opportunity to learn while promoting something you have a lot of faith in. As you get more seasoned, you can start branching out into other lesser-known programs that might offer even higher commissions.

Here are some of the best programs to use as a beginner affiliate marketer:

Amazon Associates Affiliate Program: Why not start with a site where you can find products in any niche imaginable?

Rakuten Affiliate Program: This affiliate program offers many reputable companies who would love to have your help in selling their products. Examples include American Express and Ray-ban.

Clickbank: Clickbank has been around for many years and offers a wide variety of affiliate programs in all the best niches. Go to their site and check out the Market Place.

eBay Affiliate Program: Similar to Amazon, you won't have any trouble finding products no matter the niche you've chosen to work in.

You've learned what affiliate marketing is and that it has the potential to help you earn your dream income. Your next step is to get started. Start learning. Implement what you learn. Celebrate your wins along the way and commit to keep growing every year. You can do this!

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