Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – A Step By Step Guide for 50+ Nomads

I started my affiliate marketing journey back in 2013.

I’d grown an audience who trusted me, I’d made some great connections with some awesome course creators, and I wanted to bring the two together.

Moving forward a few years affiliate marketing has been a fantastic route to make money and grow my network at the same time!

The challenge with affiliate marketing is that many people view it as an easy route into the make money online niche, but as with all business models, it takes time, commitment and unrelenting focus.

And if you think it’s just for the young kids, think again. Affiliate marketing is a perfect ‘assetless’ model as we get older and don’t want to spend the time or the money to create and sell our own products.

Let’s break down the steps so you know what it is, how to make money from it and how to get started affiliate marketing for beginners!

Table of Contents

What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?

Affiliate marketing is a digital marketing approach where individuals or companies (affiliates) promote products or services of other businesses (merchants) and earn a commission for each sale, lead, or click generated through their unique affiliate link.

Since the early days of industrial mass production, product owners have paid commission to salespeople who can make a sale for them.

It’s a win-win for the product owner. Advertising and marketing cost a lot of money, so a large salesforce that gets paid only for results makes a lot of sense.

Affiliate marketing is a natural progression from the old-time traveling salesman, updated and refined for our online interconnected world.

You will usually find several parties involved in affiliate marketing.

The Product Owner. The person or organisation who manufacture or own the sales rights of the product or service on sale. They want to make more sales without directly investing in sales or marketing.

The Affiliate Network. A middleman organisation that manages the process of finding and paying affiliates for the product owner. (Sometimes the product owner will manage their affiliate program themselves).

The Affiliate Marketer. You! Someone who creates content, builds an audience, and recommends the audience purchases the product or service—sometimes called ‘the publisher’ by affiliate networks.

The Buyer. Because without a paying customer, affiliate marketing would not be possible!

affiliate process consumer to retailer to affiliate partner. Purchase> commision> promote

The Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Let’s break down the key components and processes involved.

  1. The affiliate joins a program and receives a unique link or code.
  2. The affiliate promotes products or services using this link across various channels.
  3. A potential customer clicks on the affiliate link.
  4. If the customer makes a purchase or completes a desired action, the affiliate earns a commission.
  5. The merchant tracks these actions through cookies and affiliate software.

Key Players: Merchants, Affiliates, and Customers

1. Merchants (also called advertisers or brands):

  • Provide the products or services
  • Set up and manage affiliate programs
  •  Determine commission rates and payment terms

2. Affiliates (also called publishers or partners):

  • Promote the merchant’s products or services
  • Create content and drive traffic to merchant sites
  • Earn commissions based on performance

3. Customers:

  • The end-users who purchase products or services
  • May or may not be aware they’re using an affiliate link

Types of Affiliate Programs

1. Pay-per-sale (PPS):

  • Most common type
  • Affiliate earns a percentage of the sale amount

2. Pay-per-lead (PPL):

  • Commission paid for qualified leads (e.g., sign-ups, form submissions)
  • Often used in industries like insurance or education

3. Pay-per-click (PPC):

  • Affiliate paid for each click-through to the merchant’s site
  • Less common due to potential for fraud

4. Two-tier affiliate programs:

  • Affiliates earn commissions on their own sales and on sales made by sub-affiliates they recruit

5. Recurring commission programs:

  • Common in subscription-based services
  • Affiliate earns ongoing commissions for as long as the customer remains active

How Much Can You Earn as an Affiliate Marketer?

You can earn zero, a little, an excellent living, or more money than you ever thought possible. It’s all down to you.

Becoming an affiliate marketer has a low barrier to entry, which often means high competition. So, as a result, you’ll need to work hard. And, ultimately, you get out of affiliate marketing what you put in.

When you start, it’s not uncommon for your affiliate earnings to be small amounts that appear insufficient reward for your level of effort.

But everyone has to go through this initial start-up phase. Don’t quit early – you have to keep on working through this stage to make it successful.

One of the most successful affiliate marketers I’ve ever seen in action is a guy called Jason Fladlien.

Jason taught himself through years of trial and error how to expertly sell via webinars. He then put a support group and training together for Amazon sellers and sold the Amazing Amazon training course every time it launched with the bonus of joining his group.

I don’t know the exact numbers but he made hundreds of millions on a product he didn’t create himself.

However he’s the anomaly, most people don’t have or aren’t willing to learn his kind of sales skills.

A more relatable example is Pat Flynn who runs the Smart Passive Income website. Pat Flynn began his affiliate journey back in 2008 after losing his job in the global turndown.

At the start, to make himself accountable, he reported his monthly affiliate income. He kept up this practice for the next nine years; below is the final report he made public in December 2017.

screenshot of pat flynn income report for affiliate earnings

Over $105,000 of earnings from affiliate marketing in a single month!

Many people would be thrilled to earn $100,000 per year as an affiliate, and in fact in 2023 I generated $85,679 in revenue, from a mix of affiliate sales and sponsorship on my website (with no social media and no email list), before the hand of Google decimated my traffic.

Jo's 2023 income

If I can do it, there’s no reason you can’t do it too, no matter your age.

So let’s get started!

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – A Step by Step Guide

1. Choosing Your Affiliate Niche

Selecting a niche is the first crucial step in your affiliate marketing journey.

A niche is a specialized sub-section of a broader topic. For example, instead of “fitness,” you might choose “yoga for seniors” as your niche.

  1. Start with your interests: Think about topics you enjoy or have experience in. Your passion will fuel your content creation and help you connect with your audience. Ask yourself: What do I love talking about? What skills do I have?
  2. Check if there’s demand: Use free tools like Google Trends to see if people are interested in your potential niche. Type in some keywords related to your niche ideas. Are the trends steady or growing? This indicates a healthy interest in the topic.
  3. Look at the competition: Search for your niche ideas on Google. Are there other websites covering this topic? Some competition is good – it means there’s a market. But look for ways you can offer something unique or better.
  4. Consider the money-making potential: Search for “[your niche] + affiliate program” to see what products you could promote. Check the commission rates. Are there enough products to promote? Remember, you need to balance your interest in the topic with its potential to earn income.
  5. Narrow it down: If your niche feels too broad, try to narrow it further. Instead of “dog training,” you might choose “puppy training for apartment dwellers.” The more specific you are, the easier it is to target your audience.

Remember, choosing a niche isn’t a lifetime commitment. You can always pivot or expand later. The key is to start with something you’re genuinely interested in and that has potential for growth.

For more guidance on niche selection, checkout my guide on how to choose a niche using AI to help.

2. Identifying Profitable Products or Services

Once you’ve chosen your niche, it’s time to find products or services to promote.

Here’s how to identify offerings that could be profitable for your affiliate marketing efforts:

  1. Spot what’s trending: Check out Amazon’s Best Sellers list for your niche if you want to promote physical products, or look at affiliate marketplaces like Clickbank, Impact, or Partnerstack for recommended programs . This gives you a quick idea of what’s popular right now. Also, keep an eye on industry news or blogs to spot new products or services that are gaining traction. What’s everyone in your niche talking about?
  2. Look at what you already use: Think about the products or services you currently use or have used in your niche. Do you have a favorite tool, app, or product that you genuinely love? These can be great starting points for affiliate promotion. Check if they have an affiliate program by visiting their website and looking for an “Affiliates” or “Partners” link, often found in the footer. You can also simply search “[product name] + affiliate program” on Google. Promoting products you personally use has several advantages:
    • You can speak authentically about their benefits and features
    • You’re already familiar with the product, making content creation easier
    • Your personal experience can provide unique insights that other affiliates might miss
    • You can honestly answer questions from your audience about the product
    • Don’t limit yourself to digital products. Physical products, services, or even local businesses in your niche might have affiliate programs. For example, if your niche is home fitness, you might already use workout equipment, fitness apps, or nutritional supplements that offer affiliate partnerships. Remember, even if a product you love doesn’t have an official affiliate program, you could reach out to the company directly. Some businesses, especially smaller ones, might be open to setting up a custom affiliate arrangement with you.
  3. Look at the commission details: When you find interesting products, check how much you could earn by promoting them. Some programs offer a percentage of the sale, while others give a flat rate. Higher commissions are great, but also consider products that customers might buy repeatedly. These can provide ongoing income.
  4. Quality matters: Your reputation is on the line with every recommendation. Read product reviews from real customers. What are they saying? If possible, try the product yourself. You’ll be much more convincing if you genuinely like what you’re promoting.
  5. Mix up your price points: Don’t just focus on expensive items. While these can lead to bigger commissions per sale, they’re often harder to sell. Include some lower-priced items too. These can be easier to promote and might lead to more frequent commissions. A mix of price points can help stabilize your income.
  6. Check for affiliate programs: Not every product you like will have an affiliate program. Search for “[product name] + affiliate program” to see what’s available. Some brands run their own programs, while others use affiliate networks like Amazon Associates or ShareASale.

Remember, the best products to promote are ones you believe in. If you wouldn’t recommend it to a friend, it’s probably not a good fit for your affiliate marketing business. Your enthusiasm for great products will shine through in your content and help build trust with your audience.

Starting out, don’t worry about finding the “perfect” product. Choose a few that fit your niche and start creating content around them. You can always add more or switch products as you learn what works best for your audience.

3. Build Your Affiliate Marketing Platform and Audience

The key to a successful affiliate marketing business is your audience.

If you have no-one to promote the offers to, you can’t make any money!

So once you’ve chosen your niche, and have an idea of the kind of products/services you want to promote, you’ll need to decide which platform you want to build your audience around.

And although there are a dizzying amount of options for you to choose from, I recommend just one main traffic funnel with multiple entry points!

Email Marketing: Your Core Strategy

Email marketing is the cornerstone of all successful online business models.

Unlike social media or search engines, your email list is an asset you own and control, as opposed to being at the mercy of ever-changing algorithms.

In my example of how I generated $85k last year from my website before Google changed all the rules, if I’d had a strong email list, google’s changing algorithms wouldn’t have had such a damaging effect on my income.

I can’t stress enough the importance of your email subscriber database and urge you to start building your email list from day one.

This direct line to your audience allows you to build stronger relationships, provide consistent value, and promote not just affiliate offers more effectively, but any products or services you may want to offer.

Here’s how to get started with email marketing:

1. Choose an email service provider. There are several great options to consider:

  • Beehiiv: A newer platform that allows for paid subscriptions, perfect if you’re considering a newsletter business model.
  • ConvertKit: Very popular among bloggers and marketers, offering all the bells and whistles you might need.
  • Aweber: An oldie but a goodie, known for its reliability and ease of use.
  • Flodesk: The cheapest option on this list, great for those just starting out.

2. Create a lead magnet and weekly newsletter:

  • Develop a valuable freebie (e.g., ebook, checklist, mini-course) related to your niche to entice sign-ups.
  • Plan a regular newsletter to keep your audience engaged.
  • Place sign-up forms prominently on your website and other content platforms (which we’ll discuss next).

3. Build relationships with your subscribers:

  • Send weekly or even daily emails to stay top-of-mind.
  • Ask questions and run polls to encourage engagement.
  • Share personal stories and insights to connect on a deeper level.
  • Provide consistent value related to your niche.

4. Monitor and improve:

  • Track key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
  • Regularly clean your list by removing inactive subscribers to maintain high engagement.
  • Test different subject lines, email formats, and send times to optimize performance.

Remember, your email list is more than just a promotional tool, it’s a community of people interested in your niche. If you nurture your community with valuable content, they’ll be more receptive when you do share affiliate offers.

Also as you grow your list, you can start segmenting subscribers based on their interests or behavior, allowing you to tailor your content and offers for even better results.

But don’t worry too much about advanced techniques when you’re just starting. Instead focus on consistently providing value and building relationships.

So now you have the most important part of your audience building system in place, publishing content on social media or building a website becomes a way for you to attract people on to your email list, rather than content for contents sake.

Let’s have a quick walk through all the content marketing options to attract people to your email list

Entry Points to Your Email Funnel

1. Website or Blog:

  • Choose a domain name relevant to your niche
  • Select a reliable hosting provider (e.g., Bluehost, WPX – my recommended hosting company)
  • Use WordPress or a similar CMS for easy management
  • Create essential pages (About, Contact, Privacy Policy)
  • Develop a content strategy focused on solving audience problems – see how to start a blog here

2. Social Media:

  • Choose platforms where your target audience is active
  • Maintain consistent branding across platforms
  • Share valuable content regularly
  • Engage with your audience through comments and messages
  • Include calls to action on your content to encourage email optins

3. YouTube:

  • Create helpful videos related to your niche
  • Optimize titles, descriptions, and tags for search
  • Include calls-to-action for your email list in videos and descriptions
  • Engage with viewers through comments

4. Podcasting:

  • Share your expertise through audio content
  • Interview experts in your niche
  • Mention your email list in each episode
  • Transcribe episodes for SEO benefits if you have a website

5. Online Communities and Forums:

  • Participate in discussions on Reddit or niche-specific forums/groups on LinkedIn/Facebook
  • Provide helpful advice without overtly promoting
  • Include a link to your lead magnet in your profile or signature

6. Webinars or Live Streams:

  • Host educational sessions related to your niche
  • Demonstrate products or answer questions in real-time
  • Collect email addresses during registration

Remember, the goal of all these platforms is to provide value, build trust, and ultimately guide people to your email list. Your email list becomes your owned audience, allowing you to nurture relationships and promote affiliate offers more effectively.

Start with one or two platforms that you’re comfortable with, and expand as you grow. Focus on creating valuable content that solves your audience’s problems, and use this to attract subscribers to your email list.

Play to your strengths here. There is no point in choosing a blog as your primary platform if you dislike writing. Similarly, if you shudder at the thought of speaking on camera, then YouTube might not be for you.

You can and will use the other platforms to support your primary content choice, but as you get going, it’s best to focus on a single platform. You can become overwhelmed simultaneously trying to grow an audience on multiple platforms.

Once you get some traction on your first-choice platform, then you can target others and may be able to afford a VA, or hire freelancers, to assist you in the process.

Content Marketing Tips

When approaching content creation for affiliate marketing, it’s crucial to have a coherent strategy.

Randomly emulating popular blog posts or viral videos won’t cut it. Your content needs to serve a specific purpose: connecting with your audience, addressing their pain points, and ultimately guiding them towards a solution (via your affiliate link).

Eugene Schwartz, one of the most successful copywriters of all time, developed a model that outlines different types of consumer awareness and the content messages most suitable for each stage of the customer journey.

This model is invaluable for affiliate marketers:

  1. Unaware: The prospect doesn’t know they have a problem.
    Content strategy: Educate about the problem and its implications.
  2. Problem Aware: They know the problem but not the solution.
    Content strategy: Discuss various solutions, including your affiliate products.
  3. Solution Aware: They know solutions exist but not your specific one.
    Content strategy: Highlight the unique benefits of your affiliate product.
  4. Product Aware: They know your product but aren’t sure it’s right for them.
    Content strategy: Provide detailed information, comparisons, and testimonials.
  5. Most Aware: They’re ready to buy but need a final push.
    Content strategy: Offer incentives, limited-time deals, or bonuses.

5 levels of awareness

Image Source: Spark PPC

Schwartz’s model aligns with a fundamental principle of marketing: consumers don’t buy products; they buy solutions to problems. As David Ogilvy famously put it;

People don’t buy the drill, they buy the hole in the wall.

To effectively guide customers through this journey, you’ll need to create a variety of content types:

  1. Blog Posts: Great for SEO and in-depth information.
    Example: “10 Signs You’re Wasting Time on Ineffective Workouts”
  2. Videos: Ideal for demonstrations and building trust.
    Example: “How to Set Up Your Home Gym for Maximum Efficiency”
  3. Infographics: Perfect for sharing statistics and quick tips.
    Example: “The Science Behind HIIT: Why It Works So Well”
  4. Podcasts: Excellent for in-depth discussions and expert interviews.
    Example: “Interview with a Fitness Coach: Common Mistakes Beginners Make”
  5. Social Media Posts: Great for quick tips and engagement.
    Example: “Did you know? Just 20 minutes of HIIT can burn as many calories as an hour of steady-state cardio!”
  6. Email Newsletters: Perfect for nurturing relationships and providing ongoing value.
    Example: “Weekly Workout Tips: This Week – Mastering the Perfect Squat”

Remember, each piece of content should serve a purpose in your overall strategy. It should either:

  • Attract new audience members (top of the funnel)
  • Educate and engage your existing audience (middle of the funnel)
  • Guide ready-to-buy prospects towards your affiliate offers (bottom of the funnel)

By creating a mix of content that addresses different awareness levels and uses various formats, you’ll be able to meet your audience wherever they are in their journey. This approach not only helps solve their problems but also positions your affiliate products as the ideal solution, ultimately driving more conversions and commissions.

In today’s digital landscape, transparency is key. Internet users have become savvy at spotting product recommendations driven solely by financial gain.

More importantly, regulatory bodies worldwide have implemented rules requiring affiliates to be upfront about their relationships with merchants.

  1. Building Trust: Transparency builds credibility with your audience, leading to long-term relationships.
  2. Compliance: Following regulations protects you from legal issues and potential penalties.
  3. Industry Reputation: Ethical practices contribute to a positive perception of affiliate marketing as a whole.

1. Disclosure of Affiliate Relationships

Both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe require clear disclosure of affiliate relationships. Even if you’re outside these regions, it’s best practice to follow these guidelines.

Tips:

  • Place disclosures on the same page as affiliate links, preferably above them.
  • Use clear, unambiguous language that a reasonable consumer can understand.
  • Avoid hiding disclosures in small print or buried in other policies.

Example disclosure: “This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Creative affiliates often use humor in their disclosures, which can help build trust. For example:

2. Honest Product Recommendations

Your content should provide real value beyond just promoting products. Be genuine in your recommendations to maintain audience trust.

Tips:

  • Only promote products you’ve used or thoroughly researched.
  • Discuss both pros and cons of products honestly.
  • Prioritize your audience’s needs over potential commissions.

3. Respect for Data Privacy

With increasing focus on data protection, it’s crucial to handle user data responsibly.

Tips:

  • Implement strong data protection measures on your platforms.
  • Be transparent about how you collect and use user data.
  • Comply with relevant data protection laws like GDPR.

4. Avoiding Misleading Claims

Exaggerated or false claims about products can damage your reputation and potentially lead to legal issues.

Tips:

  • Base your recommendations on facts and personal experience.
  • Avoid making unrealistic promises about product performance.
  • Use disclaimers where necessary (e.g., “Results may vary”).

5. Ethical Competitive Practices

While competition is natural, it’s important to maintain ethical standards in how you compete.

Tips:

  • Focus on improving your own offerings rather than disparaging competitors.
  • Avoid tactics like click fraud or cookie stuffing.
  • Respect intellectual property rights in your content creation.

Remember, these legal and ethical considerations aren’t just about you avoiding trouble. They’re also so you can feel great about building a sustainable, trustworthy affiliate marketing business.

By prioritizing transparency and ethical practices, you not only comply with regulations but also grow a loyal audience that values your honest recommendations.

5. Effective Affiliate Marketing Strategies for 2024

As we move into the second half of the 2020’s, successful affiliate marketing requires a blend of proven tactics and innovative approaches. 

You’ll need to become adept at creating engaging content, building trust with your audience, and leveraging new technologies to stay ahead.

Here’s some tips to help you thrive as an affiliate marketer;

Content Creation and Marketing

Creating valuable, engaging content is the cornerstone of successful affiliate marketing. Here’s how to approach it:

1. Develop a content strategy:

  • Identify your audience’s pain points and questions
  • Plan a mix of content types (blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics)
  • Use AI to help speed up the brainstorming and creation process

2. Focus on quality and value:

  • Provide in-depth, actionable information
  • Use your personal experiences and insights to make content unique
  • Always prioritize solving your audience’s problems over promoting products

3. Repurpose content effectively:

  • Turn blog posts into videos or podcasts
  • Create social media snippets from longer content
  • Compile related posts into comprehensive guides or ebooks

4. Optimize for search engines (if starting a website):

  • Use relevant keywords naturally in your content
  • Optimize meta titles, descriptions, and header tags
  • Build quality backlinks through guest posting and creating shareable content

5. Enhance user experience:

  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly and fast-loading
  • Use clear, easy-to-navigate site structure
  • Implement engaging design elements to keep visitors on your site longer

Overcoming Common Challenges in Affiliate Marketing

Even experienced marketers face obstacles. Here’s how to tackle common challenges:

Standing Out in a Competitive Field

1. Develop a unique voice:

  • Share personal stories and experiences
  • Offer exclusive insights or data that others don’t have
  • Create a distinct brand personality that resonates with your audience

2. Focus on underserved niches:

  • Identify specific sub-niches within your broader market
  • Address pain points that competitors are overlooking
  • Become the go-to expert in a specialized area

3. Engage deeply with your audience:

  • Conduct regular surveys and polls to understand your audience’s needs
  • Create content that directly addresses your audience’s specific pain points
  • Implement feedback loops to continuously improve your offerings
  • Host live Q&A sessions or webinars to connect directly with your followers

Maintaining Authenticity and Trust

1. Only promote products you believe in:

  • Test products before recommending them
  • Be honest about pros and cons in your reviews
  • Share your personal experiences with the products

2. Be transparent about affiliate relationships:

  • Clearly disclose your affiliate partnerships
  • Explain how affiliate marketing supports your content creation
  • Educate your audience on how affiliate links work

3. Prioritize value over sales:

  • Focus on helping your audience solve problems
  • Don’t push products that aren’t relevant or helpful
  • Create plenty of non-promotional, valuable content

Adapting to Industry Changes

1. Stay informed:

  • Follow industry blogs, podcasts, and forums
  • Attend affiliate marketing conferences and webinars
  • Join affiliate marketing communities for peer insights

2. Diversify your partnerships:

  • Work with multiple affiliate networks and programs
  • Be prepared to pivot if a program changes or shuts down
  • Cultivate direct relationships with merchants for more stability

3. Be flexible with your strategies:

  • Regularly review and adjust your content and promotion methods
  • Experiment with new platforms and content formats
  • Stay open to emerging trends and technologies in affiliate marketing

Advanced Techniques to Boost Your Affiliate Income

Once you’ve mastered the basics, consider these strategies to take your affiliate marketing to the next level:

Diversify Your Affiliate Portfolio

1. Expand into related niches:

  • Identify markets complementary to your current niche
  • Gradually introduce new product categories to your audience
  • Cross-promote between niches to maximize your reach

2. Mix different types of affiliate programs:

  • Balance high-volume, low-commission offers with high-ticket items
  • Combine physical product promotions with digital product offers
  • Explore both one-time and recurring commission structures

3. Leverage seasonal trends:

  • Create a promotional calendar based on holidays and events
  • Develop themed content to capitalize on seasonal interests
  • Plan ahead to maximize impact during peak buying seasons

Create Your Own Products

1. Develop digital products:

  • Create ebooks, courses, or software that complement affiliate offerings
  • Use your products to establish authority in your niche
  • Offer exclusive bonuses with affiliate products you promote

2. Provide services:

  • Offer consulting or coaching related to your niche
  • Use affiliate products as recommended tools in your services
  • Create package deals combining your services with affiliate products

Scale Through Outsourcing and Automation

1. Expand your content creation:

  • Hire writers, designers, or video producers to increase output
  • Ensure all outsourced content aligns with your brand voice
  • Use project management tools to streamline collaboration

2. Automate where possible:

  • Schedule social media posts in advance using tools like Buffer
  • Set up email marketing automation for nurturing sequences
  • Implement chatbots for basic customer service and product recommendations

3. Leverage data analysis:

  • Use analytics tools to track performance across all channels
  • Implement A/B testing for continuous optimization
  • Explore AI-driven tools for predictive analytics and personalization

It feels like a lot, but in all honesty you only need to focus on three main things;

  1. Content – Attract an Audience – Be authentic, valuable, and either entertaining, educational or inspirational (or all three)
  2. Lead Generation – Turn Your Audience into Engaged Followers
  3. Products – Turn Followers into Customers

The key to long-term success is to continuously adapt, learn, and prioritize your audience’s needs.

6. The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners

There are several different ways to work with other businesses as an affiliate.

  • Affiliate Networks
  • Large Business Affiliate Programs
  • Programs Run by Individuals
  • Bespoke Arrangements Between You & The Product Creator

1. Affiliate Networks.

One of the easiest ways to cut your teeth in affiliate marketing is through an affiliate network. These companies manage the nuts and bolts of an affiliate program for numerous businesses, often grouped around themes.

Here are some examples.

Clickbank has been around for over 20 years and has 100s of digital products in most niches for you to promote. You can sign up to the platform for free, and there is no application process to go through. Just register an account and get started.

screenshot of clickbank affiliate marketplace website

Shareasale has also been in business for over 20 years and manages the affiliate programs for a host of big-name brands. Their application process is more strict, requiring you have an existing website for review before they grant you access.

screenshot of shareasale affiliate marketplace website

Other affiliate networks to consider include;

  • CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)
  • Awin (includes former Affiliate Window and ShareASale)
  • Rakuten Advertising (formerly LinkShare)
  • Impact
  • Avangate Affiliate Network
  • FlexOffers
  • PartnerStack
  • JVZoo
  • Tradedoubler
  • Pepperjam
  • TUNE (HasOffers)
  • Refersion
  • Partnerize
  • Digistore24
  • Skimlinks
  • Viglink (now part of Sovrn)
  • Admitad
  • Affiliate Future
  • CPA Lead
  • MaxBounty
  • ClickBooth

Remember, each of these networks has its own strengths, focus areas, and requirements. It’s important to research and choose the ones that best align with your niche and audience.

2. Large Business Affiliate Programs.

Global companies like Amazon and eBay run their own affiliate programs. It gives them more control over who they permit into the program, and the ability to quickly remove unscrupulous individuals who might harm their reputation through spamming.

The application process does not guarantee access. So you have to do some preparation work before you apply. But once a member, you can earn income with some of the world’s e-commerce giants.

screenshot of ebay partner network Main Landing Page

Large Business Affiliate Programs Include;

  • Amazon Associates
  • Fiverr Affiliates
  • Etsy Affiliate Program
  • Shopify Affiliate Program
  • eBay Partner Network
  • Walmart Affiliate Program

3. Programs Run by Individuals.

Modern technology has made it possible for individuals to easily manage their own affiliate networks, often leading to some of the most lucrative opportunities in the market.

Online courses by individual experts offer access to specialized knowledge and experience accumulated over years of dedicated work in a particular field.

For affiliate marketers, promoting these individual-led programs to a niche audience can be highly profitable. When an expert launches a new educational product, it has the potential to generate thousands of dollars in commissions within a short timeframe, making it an attractive option for savvy affiliates.

As an example Marie Forleo’s B-School is a premium training course for setting up and running an online business. It sells for $1999 and affiliates get paid a 50% fee, an incredible $999.50 per sale.

screenshot of marie forleo b-school website

Applicants for Maria Forleo’s affiliate program are screened first. As a beginner, you would have to build an audience and have some well-established content before applying for this type of affiliate opportunity.

However, you’ll come across products with affiliate programs as you delve deeper into your chosen niche. If you want to find out if a product has an affiliate program, a quick search with Google for ‘nameofproduct affiliate program’ usually finds it.

If you’re struggling to find products to promote, then why not become an affiliate for the company that aims to sell everything from A to Z – Amazon…

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With Amazon Associates

One of the easiest ways to get into affiliate marketing is via the Amazon Associates program.

As an Amazon Associate, you can earn a cut by promoting any of the three billion products available in the store. You receive a referral commission as a percentage of the sale value, depending on the product category.

Here is their current commission structure;

amazon associates Product category and fixed standard program fee rates

The rates shown above are not quite the full picture. Amazon also takes into account the volume of traffic you refer to the store and the percentage of people who then go on to make a purchase when calculating your commission.

Amazon uses a 24-hour cookie, so you only have a narrow window of time for your referred traffic to purchase to still qualify for a commission payment. The good news, however, is that the cookie applies to any purchase made in that time frame.

So if a shopper you referred to buy a toaster also buys some clothes pegs, you will earn a commission for both sales.

A Word of Caution. Amazon insists that you make three sales in the first 180 days following your account opening date. If you don’t meet this requirement, you will be removed from the program and prevented from re-applying.

Get your ducks in a row first!

Start building your platform and audience first until you get a steady flow of traffic, then register for an account.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: A Master Checklist

Here’s an Affiliate Marketing for Beginners Master Checklist that summarizes the key points:

1. Choose Your Niche:

  • Identify your interests and expertise
  • Research market demand using tools like Google Trends
  • Assess competition and potential for unique value
  • Consider profitability and available affiliate programs

2. Select Affiliate Products/Services:

  • Research trending products in your niche
  • Consider products you already use and love
  • Check commission rates and structures
  • Ensure product quality through reviews and personal testing
  • Mix different price points and commission types

3. Build Your Platform:

  • Set up an email marketing system (e.g., ConvertKit, Beehiiv)
  • Create a lead magnet to attract subscribers
  • Choose a primary content platform (e.g., blog, YouTube, podcast)
  • Set up social media profiles to support your main platform

4. Create Valuable Content:

  • Develop a content strategy addressing different awareness levels
  • Mix content types (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.)
  • Focus on solving audience problems
  • Optimize content for search engines (if applicable)
  • Regularly engage with your audience

5. Join Affiliate Programs:

  • Apply to relevant affiliate networks (e.g., Amazon Associates, ShareASale)
  • Look for individual company programs in your niche
  • Consider reaching out to product creators for direct partnerships

6. Promote Affiliate Offers:

  • Integrate affiliate links naturally into your content
  • Create product reviews and comparisons
  • Use email marketing to share offers with your list
  • Leverage seasonal trends and special events
  • Clearly disclose affiliate relationships
  • Only promote products you genuinely recommend
  • Respect data privacy laws
  • Avoid misleading claims or exaggerations
  • Follow FTC guidelines and other relevant regulations

8. Track and Analyze Performance:

  • Set up tracking for clicks, conversions, and revenue
  • Use analytics tools to understand audience behavior
  • Regularly review and optimize your strategies

9. Scale Your Affiliate Business:

  • Diversify your affiliate portfolio
  • Consider creating your own complementary products
  • Explore outsourcing and automation opportunities
  • Stay informed about industry trends and changes

10. Continuously Learn and Adapt:

  • Stay updated with affiliate marketing best practices
  • Attend webinars or conferences to expand your knowledge
  • Network with other affiliate marketers
  • Be prepared to pivot strategies as needed

Remember, success in affiliate marketing takes time and effort. Focus on providing value to your audience, and be patient as you grow your platform and income.

Final Thoughts: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Why This is a Perfect Business for the 50+ Nomad

Affiliate marketing in 2024 and beyond offers exciting opportunities, especially for those of us in our 50s and beyond who are embracing a nomadic lifestyle.

As a 50+ nomad, you’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experiences. Affiliate marketing allows you to build an audience around topics you’re passionate about without the time and effort required to create your own products.

You can share your wisdom abundantly while monetizing through other people’s offerings.

This business model is also ideal for those on the move, as all you need is a laptop and an internet connection to run your affiliate marketing business from anywhere in the world.

Your email list is your most valuable asset in this venture. Not only does it serve as a way to promote affiliate offers, but as it grows, you can explore additional income streams like sponsorships & collaborations. And if you decide to create your own products later, you’ll have a ready audience.

This flexibility, combined with low overhead costs, makes affiliate marketing an attractive option. There’s no inventory to manage, no customer service to handle, and no product development costs. This low-risk model allows you to focus on what you do best – connecting with your audience.

One of the great benefits of affiliate marketing for those in their 50s and beyond is that it’s an excellent way to stay engaged and active, continually expanding your knowledge and skills in the digital world. You’re not just building a business; you’re investing in your personal growth and staying relevant in a rapidly evolving online landscape.

Success in affiliate marketing is unlikely to happen overnight and will require dedication, consistency, and a willingness to adapt to changing trends. Focus on providing genuine value to your audience, build trust, and stay informed about industry developments.

Your unique perspective as a 50+ nomad is your greatest asset. Your life experiences, insights, and wisdom can set you apart in a crowded market.

I hope this guide has helped and maybe sparked a flame of inspiration under your online business/side hustle goals. By following the principles and techniques I’ve outlined, you’re well-equipped to start your affiliate marketing journey.

And if there’s a little imposter syndrome creeping in, remember to embrace your unique viewpoint and share it generously, that’s the secret to building an audience and growing a thriving affiliate marketing business.

What I love about this path is that it doesn’t just offer a potential income stream, but a way to stay connected, share your passions, and continue to grow and learn as you enjoy your nomadic lifestyle.

With persistence and the right approach, you can create a fulfilling and profitable venture that aligns perfectly with your lifestyle goals.

Good luck!

Jo 🙂

Get started today in my free 50+ Nomad group! Come and chat with a bunch of very lovely and very welcoming like-minded people, and share tips and strategies for boosting your income on the go, exploring new destinations, chasing dreams, and living your best life!


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What is Affiliate Marketing –FAQs

Affiliate marketing is a broad topic and is something only mastered over time with experience. However, below are answers to more of the common questions beginners have.

Is Affiliate Marketing Easy?

I would be deceiving you if I claimed that affiliate marketing is easy.

There is no doubt that affiliate marketing is a simple business model, though. Sign up for any of the thousands of affiliate opportunities, get traffic to your content, and encourage that traffic to buy through your link.

But starting an affiliate marketing business requires faith – it takes time to build up an affiliate business. Creating content and growing your audience is a long term undertaking.

It can take many months of hard work for little to no reward before you begin to earn any level of income. It’s perhaps why most wannabe affiliate marketers quit after a few weeks as they realise the scale of the task.

But many people take this leap of faith—people who are no more intelligent or capable than you. People who made a plan, executed, and stayed the course, who are now earning a top full-time income.

With affiliate marketing, you get out what you put in.

How Do Affiliates Get Paid?

Affiliates receive payments directly to their bank accounts from whoever manages the affiliate program.

If you promote several programs from one affiliate network company, then you will get a single payment for all the different programs you promote.

Payment is by direct deposit into your bank account, but some programs also offer payment by cheque, or in the case of Amazon, gift cards.

Be prepared for a wait for payments with some programs, though. Consumer rights and the potential for refunds often means a delay in your cash, as you wait out potential customer reimbursements.

It’s not unusual to receive payment for a sale you made four to six weeks later. And some affiliate programs have a minimum earnings threshold before they process your payment. These thresholds are usually generally low, however.

Each affiliate network or program run by individuals have different terms. Make sure you read the small print before you sign up for a program to check you are happy with the conditions.

Can I Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

It is completely possible to start affiliate marketing with no money. Simply create a free email account (most start free up to about 2500 subscribers), pick your platform and talk about what you love! Then, as you build your audience and traffic, add relevant affiliate offers.

How Fast Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

The answer to this question depends on you, your niche and brand and the amount of work you put in. With a strong brand, message, passionate audience and well copy written ads you could start making money immediately. However for the average affiliate marketer investing 5-15 hours a week into their business, expect minimal results for your first 3 – 6 months. The more consistent you are and the more momentum you create, the faster you’ll grow.

How To Choose A Niche For Affiliate Marketing?

Choosing a niche for your affiliate marketing business is an essential step as the amount of time and effort required before you start seeing a return can be lengthy. If you make the wrong choice, then it’s possible to become disheartened with online marketing itself and give up.

Essentially you need to consider all the aspects for a niche you intend to enter and answer several questions;

  • Are there plenty of products to promote?
  • Can this niche provide a sufficient ROI?
  • How competitive is this niche?
  • Does this niche have longevity?
  • Do I know, or can I learn enough about it, to be able to offer expert recommendations?
  • Is my interest in the niche high enough to sustain work over an extended period?

Once you tick the boxes for the above questions and more, you will instinctively know which is the niche for you.

How Do I Set Up Affiliate Marketing On Shopify?

Don’t think that if you sell physical products from a Shopify store that you can’t also make income as an affiliate. You are actually in a great position. If your store already has a niche and hopefully an audience, you simply need to add carefully chosen affiliate offers. If you’re starting from scratch, then follow the steps in this guide and send your email subscribers to the products on your store.

About the author

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊