How to Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money: A Step-by-Step Guide

Alex Quin
August 7, 2023

Affiliate marketing can be an incredibly lucrative and rewarding career path. It is a great way to make money online without having to invest any money upfront. With some hard work, dedication, and creativity, anyone can start making money through affiliate marketing. In this ultimate guide, we will discuss how to start affiliate marketing with no money. 

We will cover topics such as identifying profitable niches, building an online presence, and selecting the right products and services to promote. We'll also share some affiliate programs for beginners and expert-vetted affiliate marketing tips to help you become a successful affiliate marketer with no money.

What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?

So what is affiliate marketing, and how does it work? Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing that rewards affiliates (marketers) based on the sales or leads they generate for a business. In affiliate marketing, we have the merchant, affiliate, and customer. The merchant offers goods or services, while the affiliate drives customers to the merchant's website.

The affiliate earns when the customer purchases from the merchant's website or store, referred to as the cost-per-sale. The more customers an affiliate can refer to the merchant's website, the more money they can earn.

To earn as much as possible, affiliate marketers often use paid advertising, such as search engine optimization (SEO), email campaigns, and pay-per-click (PPC) ads, to drive relevant traffic to the merchant's website. Affiliate marketers may promote products or services on their websites, social media, and other digital channels.

They may also use an affiliate network (a platform that acts as an intermediary between merchants and affiliates) to help them meet merchants much easier. 

An affiliate network provides tools and resources for affiliates to find merchants they can partner with, track the performance of their campaigns, and get paid for their efforts. Most importantly, it provides a platform for merchants to connect with affiliates who can drive quality traffic to their websites or stores. 

Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has numerous benefits for both the affiliate and the merchant. Here are some of the main advantages of affiliate marketing to affiliates:

Passive Income

With traditional marketing and advertising, you're paid once for your work. However, with affiliate marketing, you can earn a commission for every sale made through your referral (affiliate) link. As long as your referral link generates sales, you'll continue to earn money without actively promoting the product or service. With some affiliate programs, you can earn up to 20% commission on sales.


Affiliates can choose which products or services they want to promote, allowing them to align their marketing efforts with their interests and values. Affiliates can also work from anywhere.

No Need to Create Products

Affiliate marketing offers a distinct advantage over creating your products as it doesn't require significant time and resources. You can easily promote existing products or services without investing in their development, production, or distribution. This allows you to start earning money right away.

what do you need to start affiliate marketing

What Do You Need to Start Affiliate Marketing?

Unlike some other forms of online marketing, affiliate marketing does not require a lot of money to get started. All that's needed is an internet connection and the willingness to invest time in learning how to promote products or services effectively. In the following sections, you will learn how to start affiliate marketing for free!

An Overview of the Necessary Requirements for Affiliate Marketing

Any online business can start an affiliate program. In the same way, anyone can become an affiliate marketer. However, to become a successful affiliate marketer, you must have a niche and target audience, choose products or services that align with your interests and values, establish an online presence, leverage affiliate networks and tools, and stay updated on industry trends.

A clear niche and target audience allow you to promote relevant products to the right people. And choosing products that align with your interests and values is also important to ensure authenticity. Understanding these requirements is crucial for success in affiliate marketing.

The Importance of Having a Niche and Target Audience

A niche is like a subcategory in the marketing world, and it typically describes a particular segment focused on a specific product or service. Having a niche allows you to focus your efforts and become an expert in one area, making it easier to stand out from the crowd and tailor your marketing materials to appeal to the right people.

How To Choose A Product Or Service To Promote

When it comes to choosing products or services to promote, there are three main things that you need to consider: relevance to your niche, quality of the product, and commission rate.

  • Relevance to your niche: The products or services you promote as an affiliate marketer should be relevant. This will ensure that your audience finds your promotion appealing and trustworthy.
  • Quality of the product: You want to ensure the products or services you are promoting have a good reputation and high customer satisfaction. Research reviews, ratings, and feedback for any potential affiliate programs.
  • Commission rate: The commission rate is how much you will earn for each product or service sale. Look for programs that offer competitive rates and are transparent about their payouts.

The Benefits of Having a Strong Online Presence

Affiliate marketing without followers can be hard as it relies heavily on an online presence to be successful. Also, marketers need to reach a large audience to promote their products or services. A strong online presence allows affiliates to reach more people and build credibility with them:

  • Leverage: Having an online presence allows affiliates to leverage the power of social media, SEO, and other marketing tactics to increase their reach even further.
  • Cost-Effective: Building an online presence is a cost-effective way for affiliate marketers to promote products or services instead of traditional print or broadcast media methods.
  • Measurement: A strong online presence makes it easier for affiliates to track the performance of their campaigns and get paid for their efforts.

Why Money is Not the Most Important Requirement in Affiliate Marketing

When starting affiliate marketing, having money is not necessarily a requirement. As stated earlier, affiliate marketing uses a performance-based marketing model where an affiliate promotes another company's products or services and earns a commission for each sale or action made through their unique affiliate link. While having a budget to invest in advertising and paid tools can be helpful, there are many free resources available for affiliate marketers to utilize.

Free Resources Available For Affiliate Marketers

Here are various free tools and resources available for affiliate marketers to use:

  • Social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram): We can't imagine affiliate marketing without social media. Social media platforms are great for sharing content, engaging with potential customers, and building relationships.
  • Free website builders (WordPress, Wix, Weebly): These website builders are great for creating a website quickly and easily without any coding knowledge.
  • Affiliate networks (ShareASale, CJ Affiliate): These affiliate networks provide access to multiple products and services to promote and track capabilities.

To be successful with any of these free resources, it is important to understand your target audience, create engaging and informative content, provide value to potential customers, and measure the success of campaigns.

Importance Of Building Relationships With Merchants And Other Affiliates

Building relationships with merchants and other affiliates can be more important than having money for affiliate marketing success. By establishing relationships with merchants, affiliates can gain access to the following:

  • Exclusive deals
  • Better commission rates
  • More promotional opportunities
  • Collaborations and partnerships opportunities

When networking with other affiliates, building a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties can benefit from the collaboration is also important.

The Role Of Quality Content In Affiliate Marketing Success

Creating quality content is absolutely crucial for affiliate marketing success. They establish the affiliate as an expert in their niche and increase trust and credibility with the audience. To create quality content, it's essential to research the topic thoroughly and understand the audience's needs and interests. It's also essential to disclose affiliate links and be transparent about the affiliate relationship with the audience.

how to start affiliate marketing with no money step by step

How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money Step-by-Step

Affiliate marketing can be an excellent way to make money online, and you can get started even if you have no money to invest initially. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to start affiliate marketing with no money and make money from it.

Choose a Niche

The first step in starting affiliate marketing is to choose a profitable niche. A niche is a specific topic or industry in which you will promote affiliate products. It is essential to choose a niche that is profitable and aligns with your interests and expertise.

How To Select A Profitable Niche

To select a profitable niche, you should consider the following:

  • Market size: Choose a niche with a large enough market size to sustain your affiliate business.
  • Competition: Selecting a niche with low competition can make it easier to find success.
  • Profitability: Determine if the niche is lucrative by researching the average commission rates and analyzing the sales trends.
  • Sustainability: Analyze the longevity of the niche to ensure that you'll be able to make money in it for a long time.

Popular and profitable niches you can consider as a beginner include health and wellness, beauty, technology, and personal finance.

Selecting A Niche That Aligns With Your Interests And Expertise

If you are passionate about a particular topic, consider selecting a niche that aligns with that. This will make it easier for you to create content and build relationships in that particular niche. For example, if you are interested in skincare, consider selecting a niche within the beauty industry.

Choose an Affiliate Program

After selecting your niche, the next step is to choose an affiliate program that suits your niche and audience.

Types Of Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs can be pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, or pay-per-sale. Each of these types of affiliate programs has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Pay-per-click affiliate programs: These affiliate programs pay affiliates a commission for each click or visit their referral generates.
  • Pay-per-lead affiliate programs: These types of affiliate programs pay affiliates a commission when their referrals submit their contact information or sign up for a service.
  • Pay-per-sale affiliate programs: These affiliate programs pay affiliates a commission on the sales they generate from their referrals.

Selecting The Right Affiliate Program

Selecting the right affiliate program with good commission rates, high-quality products, excellent affiliate support, and reliable payment methods is crucial. Popular affiliate programs for beginners include:

Build Your Audience

Once you have selected your niche and affiliate program, the next step is to build your audience and establish your online presence.

Building Your Online Presence

Your online presence will determine how successful you are in your affiliate marketing journey. To build your online presence, consider the following:

  • Create a website: Create a website that showcases your content and affiliate products.
  • Start blogging: Regularly create blog posts related to your niche and start an email list to drive traffic to your website.
  • Social media: Leverage social media platforms and marketing trends such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to reach more potential customers.

Growing Your Following

Follower count is one of the key metrics marketers use to gauge the success of their campaigns. Here are a few ideas to help grow your follower count early on:

  • Run giveaways and contests
  • Use hashtags
  • Post regularly and consistently
  • Guest blogging
  • Influencer marketing

Promote Affiliate Products

After building your audience, the next step is to promote affiliate products and generate commissions.

Promotional Strategies

If you were wondering how to start affiliate marketing with no audience, you can use promotional strategies such as product reviews, comparison articles, tutorials, email marketing, and social media promotions. Promotional strategies should be tailored to your niche and audience to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Driving Sales

In addition to creating promotional content that resonates with your audience, use best practices for driving sales, such as the following:

  • Call-to-action buttons
  • Product recommendations
  • Discount codes
  • Scarcity tactics

These best practices will help you boost your conversion rate and maximize your revenue.

Monitor And Adjust

In this section, you will learn how to monitor and adjust your affiliate marketing campaigns in order to maximize revenue.

Importance Of Monitoring Affiliate Marketing Results

Monitoring and adjusting the effectiveness of your promotional effort in affiliate marketing involves tracking and analyzing the performance of your campaigns. You can track and analyze your performance metrics using tools and methods such as Google Analytics, affiliate tracking software, and performance reports. You should also look out for metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and sales to understand the effectiveness of your campaigns.

How To Track And Analyze Affiliate Marketing Metrics

Once you have established your affiliate program, it is important to track and analyze the performance of your campaigns. Here are 5 steps to track and analyze affiliate marketing metrics.

  • Set goals & objectives: Setting clear goals and objectives will help you focus on the metrics that matter most and will also help you to track your progress.
  • Analyze user behavior: This involves tracking metrics such as page views, time spent on site, bounce rate, etc. Data from analyzing user behavior helps you understand how your audience interacts with your content and optimize your campaigns accordingly.
  • Track conversions: Tracking conversions involves tracking the number of people that click on your affiliate links and make purchases. Tracking this data will help you measure your campaigns' success and identify improvement areas.
  • Monitor performance metrics: Monitoring performance metrics such as click-through rates, cost per lead, and conversion rate will help you understand the effectiveness of your campaigns and optimize them accordingly.
  • Analyze ROI: This involves calculating the amount of money you make from each sale versus the amount you spend on your campaigns. This data will help you understand the profitability of your campaigns and make decisions to optimize them for better performance.

Tips For Making Adjustments To Improve Results

Making adjustments to improve your results in affiliate marketing involves experimenting with different approaches and strategies. Here are some tips for making adjustments:

  • Test different landing pages: Test different landing pages to see which ones have the highest conversion rates.
  • Experiment with different incentives and discounts: Try providing your audience with incentives such as discounts, free shipping, etc., to encourage them to purchase.
  • Create more targeted content: Create more targeted content that resonates with your audience and helps them make an informed decision. You could also employ persuasive copywriting techniques and personalization to make your content more effective.

Anyone can start affiliate marketing with no money by following the guidelines above. While it may take time and effort to see results, affiliate marketing can be a lucrative and fulfilling way to earn passive income and achieve financial freedom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Really Make Money With Affiliate Marketing If You Start Affiliate Marketing For Free?

Yes, you can make money with affiliate marketing if you start for free. It may take a lot of hard work, but it is possible to make money with affiliate marketing without investing any money.

What Is The Lowest Income From Affiliate Marketing?

Various niches and levels of expertise can give different outcomes, so there is no set answer for the lowest income from affiliate marketing. But a good base to start with could be earning a few hundred dollars per month.

How To Be An Affiliate Marketer With No Experience?

It is possible to be an affiliate marketer with no experience. The best way to learn the ropes is to follow affiliate marketing mentors and their methods. You can also start by researching the different strategies available and then experimenting with them.


Affiliate marketing is one of the top ways to earn passive income from the comfort of your home in 2023. With the rise of e-commerce and the increasing popularity of online shopping, there has never been a better time to start an affiliate marketing business. In this guide, we have covered how to get started with affiliate marketing and how to become an affiliate marketer.

All you need to do now is create content that promotes the products and services you believe in and let the affiliate program take care of the rest. You can start by working with merchants that offer affiliate marketing programs for beginners and grow from there.

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