Guide to affiliate marketing

Nov 3, 2023
17 minutes to read


Embarking on an affiliate marketing venture has the potential to be highly profitable when approached correctly. However, the initial steps can often appear daunting to those eager to dive in. The process of initiating your affiliate marketing strategy is less complicated than it may seem. This article aims to demystify the process and guide you through the essential steps to engage in affiliate marketing successfully.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a collaborative profit-sharing model where an online merchant compensates external promoters, known as affiliates, for directing sales their way. An affiliate acts as a traffic conduit to the merchant’s website and earns a commission whenever their referral leads to a sale, sign-up, or subscription. This process is also known as Cost Per Action (CPA) Marketing.

The ecosystem of affiliate marketing comprises three principal entities:

  1. Affiliate marketers who invest in traffic acquisition, channel it towards the merchant’s site, and receive a payout when this traffic converts into tangible transactions, such as purchases or sign-ups.
  2. Content creators who integrate affiliate links within their digital content, capitalizing on organic (and occasionally paid) traffic to generate sales through these links and earn commissions.
  3. The merchants or brands themselves, which engage affiliates to amplify their product or service outreach.

This discussion will concentrate on the strategies and nuances pertinent to the first two categories of affiliate marketers.

What does affiliate marketing entail?

Affiliate marketing involves a straightforward exchange: the affiliate marketer makes a profit by endorsing the advertiser’s goods. The process starts with the affiliate selecting a product they appreciate and then advertising it to an appropriate audience. They receive a commission each time a member of their audience purchases the promoted product.

To attract an audience, the affiliate marketer may purchase traffic from advertising networks or maintain a website or blog where they can recommend products to their readers.

What does it take to become an affiliate marketer?

To embark on a career in affiliate marketing, there are essentially two paths you can take:

  • Develop a website or blog within your niche to cultivate an audience.
  • Invest in traffic through pay-per-click (PPC) or display advertising networks.
  1. Developing a Website

Launching a website or blog centered on a niche that ignites your enthusiasm is vital. Your passion becomes your anchor during the initial phase when web traffic is scant and growth seems slow. Commitment and patience are crucial, as building a substantial readership demands time and consistent effort.

Fortunately, creating a website or blog is more user-friendly than ever before. There are various platforms available, such as, Wix, and Squarespace, which simplify the website construction process.

  1. Investing in Traffic

The alternative strategy is to purchase traffic, aiming to attract views, clicks, or direct conversions to the advertiser’s products. The objective here is simple: earn more in affiliate commissions than what you spend on traffic acquisition.

The success of this approach hinges on selecting reputable sources of traffic. Potential avenues include social media platforms, advertising networks like Google Ads, and niche ad networks that specialize in specific markets such as iGaming, Sports, or Dating. Ad networks like Adsterra serve as a gateway to thousands of legitimate publishers across various sectors, including but not limited to Apps, Movies, Software, and Entertainment. You can bid for ad placements that align with your affiliate offerings, potentially converting some of the traffic into sales.

Adsterra, for instance, provides access to a network of 28,000 direct publishers. You have the flexibility to purchase traffic utilizing diverse ad formats such as Popunders, Social Bar, or In-Page Push, and you can choose to pay per action, per click, or per thousand views.

You can start by investing in traffic with PG Dating Pro.

  1. Selecting Products for Promotion

Once you’ve decided on how you’ll attract traffic, the next step is to find products that resonate with your niche and knowledge base. For instance, if you have expertise in electronics, you might find it more intuitive to market gadgets and tech products. If you’re into social media trends and networking, you might be well-suited to promote the next big app in social engagement.

It’s worth noting that platforms like the Adsterra CPA Network offer an array of high-converting and exclusive promotional offers to choose from, catering to a diverse range of interests and niches.

How much does it cost to start affiliate marketing?

The initial investment required for affiliate marketing varies based on the method you choose to employ. If you opt to purchase traffic, the cost will fluctuate depending on the competitiveness within your chosen niche. High-competition areas, such as financial services, demand a higher advertising spend compared to less saturated markets like gaming.

For those just starting out, it’s advisable to focus on offers with lower payouts from your affiliate network. These typically have less competition, thus reducing advertising costs. Given that beginners are prone to mistakes, it’s prudent to minimize financial risks by starting small. While high-payout offers might seem attractive, they often require more sophisticated strategies, which might be beyond a novice’s skill set.

On the other hand, if your strategy is to create a website, the financial barrier to entry is relatively low. Domain registration can cost under $20 per year, and you can find dependable web hosting services starting at about $5 per month. The significant investment when building a website is your time and effort: you’ll need to dedicate resources to producing consistent, high-quality content and employing search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to generate organic traffic.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money?

Beginning your affiliate marketing journey without financial investment is certainly possible. Here’s how you can start:

Leverage Free Blogging Platforms: Utilize free services like Blogger or to set up a website at no cost. Focus on creating content that is optimized for search engines (SEO) to build organic traffic over time.

Tap Into Your Personal Network: Initially, you can promote products to your personal network of friends, family, and acquaintances. While this approach isn’t scalable in the long term, it can serve as a starting point to generate initial sales and gain some experience.

Keep in mind that these methods have their limitations. A free domain may not project the most professional image, potentially impacting your credibility. As you progress, you’ll likely need to invest in your own domain and hosting to scale your efforts and maintain a more professional presence online.

How to start affiliate marketing?

Embarking on affiliate marketing can be an exciting venture. Here’s a streamlined guide to help you get started, which we’ve divided into two common approaches: the classic model using your own website or blog and the CPA/paid traffic model.

The Classic Affiliate Marketing Model:

1. Choose Your Niche: Select a niche that aligns with your interests and expertise. Aim for a specialized niche to minimize competition and increase your chances of success. It’s also important to assess market demand and the competitive landscape. For niche ideas and competition analysis, check out resources like our compilation of profitable affiliate marketing niches.

2. Build Your Website: Establish a platform by setting up a website. Domain costs can range from $10 to $100 yearly, while hosting can be secured for $1 to $20 a month. Many hosts now include an SSL certificate for security at no extra charge. You can either use a website builder or enlist the services of a web developer and designer.

3. Sign Up for Affiliate Programs: Find an affiliate program that offers products relevant to your niche. Pay attention to the terms such as commission rates and payment schedules. Choose products or services you believe in.

4. Generate Quality Content: Create engaging, valuable content that answers your audience’s questions and solves their problems. High-quality content can rank well on search engines, attract shares on social media, and bring in organic traffic.

5. Attract Traffic to Your Site: Employ SEO best practices in your content, engage with audiences on social media, contribute to online forums, or guest post on other websites to draw traffic to your site.

6. Monitor Your Affiliate Performance: Use the analytics tools provided by your affiliate program to track which content and affiliate links are performing the best, then optimize accordingly.

7. Optimize for Conversions: Experiment with different strategies, such as changing visuals, adding calls-to-action, or using pop-ups, to enhance conversions. A/B testing can be invaluable in determining the most effective tactics for your audience.

By following these steps, you can establish a solid foundation in the classic model of affiliate marketing. Remember, success often requires patience and continuous learning and optimization.

CPA Marketing Model:

1. Select Your Offer Type: Determine the offer structure that suits your goals. Opt for a commission-based model for high-ticket items that can earn substantial income per sale. Alternatively, choose a flat fee per action for products that rely on a high volume of sales for profitability.

2. Enroll in a CPA Network: Join a CPA affiliate network like Adsterra, which offers a variety of high-converting opportunities, including those with commissions starting at 10% and bi-weekly payments. Beginners might find it easier to start with straightforward offers such as VPNs or sweepstakes before moving into more complex categories like finance or gaming.

3. Develop or Utilize a Provided Lander: Craft a compelling landing page for the product or service you’re promoting. Employ engaging visuals and clear messaging to encourage action. If available, you may also use a landing page supplied by the advertiser to direct your traffic.

4. Source Your Traffic: Identify effective traffic sources to lead potential customers to your landing page. This could involve placing ads on relevant websites through display ad networks, leveraging targeted social media advertising, or using search engine advertising to capture users actively searching for related keywords.

5. Implement Conversion Tracking: Set up tracking to measure the success of your campaigns. Use the analytics tools provided by your CPA network and the insights available from your landing page’s hosting platform to gather detailed information about your visitors’ behaviors and demographics.

6. Refine Your Campaign: Regularly review your conversion data and marketing metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your campaign. Be prepared to iterate on your approach by testing new images, copy, videos, and other content to enhance your landing page’s performance and increase conversion rates.

By following these steps and continuously optimizing your approach based on performance data, you can successfully navigate the world of CPA marketing and strive for a successful and profitable campaign.

Types of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing can be segmented into three distinct approaches:

1. Unattached Affiliate Marketing: This form of marketing is akin to a hands-off strategy where the affiliate has no direct connection to the product or service they promote. They simply utilize pay-per-click (PPC) strategies to direct traffic to their affiliate links from various sources without any personal endorsement or content related to the niche.

2. Related Affiliate Marketing: In this type, affiliates have a more authoritative role in their niche, typically through a blog, website, or social media presence. However, they advertise products that they don’t use personally. Their authority and content related to the niche drive traffic to their affiliate links, leveraging their platform’s reach without a personal testimonial.

3. Involved Affiliate Marketing: This approach is deeply rooted in personal experience and trust. Affiliates promote products they are passionate about and personally endorse. The affiliate’s connection to the product is transparent, offering recommendations based on their own experiences. This method requires building a strong, credible presence and can lead to high engagement and conversion rates due to the trust factor.

Each of these types offers different levels of engagement and requires various strategies, but they all have the potential to be effective if implemented correctly in line with your personal brand and audience expectations.

Types of affiliate marketing payouts

The remuneration structure in affiliate marketing can vary significantly, offering different incentive models based on performance and sales. The main payout types are:

  1. Flat Rate or Standard Commission: Under this system, affiliates earn a predetermined amount for each sale, lead, or click they generate, regardless of the product price or sale volume.
  2. Performance-based or VIP Commissions: These commissions are tailored to reward high-performing affiliates. As an affiliate’s sales volume increases, they may be eligible for higher commission rates, negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Tiered Commissions: This payout structure offers increasing commission rates at set sales milestones. For instance, an affiliate might earn a certain percentage for initial sales up to a specified amount, with the percentage increasing as sales surpass that threshold.
  4. Bonuses: To stimulate initial engagement or reward exceptional performance, some programs offer additional financial incentives. These can be one-time bonuses for reaching certain sales targets, or for the first sale, as a welcome and motivational gesture.

Each of these payout models is designed to incentivize affiliates differently, aligning their earning potential with their performance and the value they bring to the merchants they represent.

Types of affiliate offers

Affiliate marketing spans a broad range of industries and product types, each with its unique appeal and commission structure. Let’s explore a variety of common affiliate offers:

  1. E-commerce Products: Promote physical goods from online retailers and earn a commission for each sale facilitated through your referral.
  2. Gaming Offers: Encourage downloads and in-game purchases for computer and mobile games, receiving a fee for each installation or purchase made via your affiliate link.
  3. Software and SaaS: Promote software or subscription services and earn either a one-time commission or a recurring fee each time a subscription is renewed through your referral.
  4. Financial Services: Market credit cards, loans, insurance policies, or investment platforms, earning a fixed bonus for each lead or successful application.
  5. Sweepstakes Entries: Promote entries into sweepstakes and contests, receiving a commission based on the number of entries or a percentage of the prize value generated through your leads.

Each type of offer has its nuances and strategies for success, often requiring different marketing approaches to effectively reach potential customers and generate conversions.

Why should you begin affiliate marketing?

Embarking on affiliate marketing offers a lucrative opportunity with relatively low barriers to entry. It’s an attractive venture for several reasons. Initially, you can capitalize on organic traffic strategies, scaling up to paid traffic as you gain more expertise and confidence. This progression allows for starting small and adjusting your strategies according to the results you achieve.

Investing time in affiliate marketing education through various courses can also prepare you for common pitfalls, enabling you to navigate the affiliate landscape more efficiently and avoid easily avoidable errors.

What are the best opportunities to get started with affiliate marketing?

To kickstart your journey in affiliate marketing, consider signing up with the Adsterra CPA Network, which is renowned for its lucrative offers and regular payment schedules. It’s particularly beginner-friendly, presenting straightforward categories such as VPN services and Sweepstakes to cut your teeth on. As you grow more comfortable and skilled, you can venture into more sophisticated sectors like Finance and Utilities.

One of the standout features for novices is the round-the-clock customer support provided by Adsterra, ensuring that you have expert assistance available whenever you encounter challenges or have questions about your affiliate marketing endeavors.

How to promote your affiliate offers

To successfully market your affiliate products, consider creating compelling content such as blog posts or newsletters that subtly incorporate your affiliate links. Cultivating a devoted audience who trusts your recommendations is crucial. For instance, if you run a successful beauty blog, suggesting particular skincare products with embedded affiliate links can be effective.

Alternatively, you could opt for purchasing targeted traffic through an advertising network like Adsterra. This strategy is straightforward and can quickly attract a dedicated following for your affiliate offers. While it involves an upfront investment, with strategic planning and optimization, the returns from your ad spend can significantly outweigh the costs, leading to profitable campaigns.

Mistakes affiliate marketers should avoid

You must avoid certain affiliate marketing mistakes, especially as a beginner in this sector. They include

  1. Promoting low-quality products that’ll give you a bad reputation in the long run.
  1. Not tracking your conversions and making frequent updates to your campaigns when needed.
  1. Targeting keywords with excessive competition. It’ll take more money, time, and effort to succeed if you do that.
  1. Ignoring search engine optimization tactics for your content.
  1. Setting unrealistic goals at the early stages of your campaigns.
  1. Not using high-quality graphics in your landing pages and websites.

Starting Affiliate Marketing — Common Questions Answered

Without an Audience, How Do I Begin Affiliate Marketing? Starting from scratch? Utilize paid advertisements to cultivate your audience. Purchase display ads through networks, honing in on your desired demographic. Social media platforms also offer paid advertisement options to help you build a following, as do paid search ads on engines like Google and Bing.

Can I Do Affiliate Marketing Without a Website? Yes, leveraging social media profiles, participating in online forums, or embedding affiliate links in YouTube videos can be effective strategies for promoting products without owning a website.

What’s Involved in Creating an Affiliate Marketing Website? To establish a standout website, acquire a unique domain name at a competitive rate and secure reliable hosting services. From there, either select a pre-made template or design your site from the ground up if you possess the necessary web development skills.

How Do I Start with High-Ticket Affiliate Marketing? High-ticket affiliate marketing demands affiliation with networks offering lucrative deals. Once you’re accepted into such a network, you can commence promoting high-value offers. However, consider beginning with offers that have a lower payout but easier conversion processes to build your capabilities.

What’s the Process for Making Affiliate Marketing Links? Your chosen CPA network will supply you with specific affiliate links for each product, which include tracking capabilities to record clicks and purchases. This tracking ensures transparent commission claims for the sales you generate.

What Defines an Affiliate Marketing Program? This is a contractual arrangement where you agree to promote a company’s offerings in return for a commission per sale. Interested affiliates can apply, and once accepted, both parties are contractually committed.

What is a CPA Network? A CPA or affiliate network is the facilitator that bridges the gap between affiliates and advertisers. It provides the platform for offer listings, mediates transactions, and resolves disputes, typically taking a fee for its mediation services.

Is Affiliate Marketing Beginner-Friendly? Absolutely, beginners can excel in affiliate marketing with the right mindset and a willingness to rapidly learn. Start with simpler offers and scale up to more complex, higher-paying ones as your expertise grows.

What Income Can New Affiliate Marketers Expect? Earnings vary widely based on factors like niche selection and chosen offers. A well-strategized beginner could earn from hundreds to thousands of dollars but remember that success requires dedication and time.

Are There Other Ways to Monetize Traffic Besides Affiliate Marketing? Certainly, monetization can also be achieved through display ads on your site, selling sponsored content, or offering digital products like e-books or online courses.

In Conclusion

This comprehensive exploration has equipped you with the essentials for embarking on an affiliate marketing venture. From understanding the concept and its various models to recognizing its advantages, we’ve laid out a roadmap for your journey as an affiliate marketer. By adhering to our advice, you’re poised for a smoother path in this domain.

Paramount in your affiliate marketing success is the selection of a reputable CPA network that can provide an array of lucrative offers. Fortuitously, Adsterra CPA Network stands out as an exemplary choice in this field. You’re invited to register and potentially receive approval within mere hours, setting the stage for a promising start.


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