The No-Cost Path: How to Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

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

The only free way to start affiliate marketing is to get an affiliate link and share it with people you know. But this isn’t a viable option if you want a long-term source of income—  it doesn’t provide scalability or reliability unless you keep networking.

In this post, we’ll explore the possibilities and give you a step-by-step guide on how to start affiliate marketing with no money.

Key Highlights

  • Affiliate marketing is a flexible and low-cost way to earn passive income.
  • Finding your niche and building an audience is crucial for success in affiliate marketing.
  • Creating quality content and promoting affiliate products is essential for driving traffic and generating sales.
  • Finding the right affiliate programs and tracking your progress is vital for maximizing your earnings.
  • With persistence and hard work, you can build a successful affiliate marketing business without any initial investment.

What Are The Steps To Begin Affiliate Marketing Without Spending Money?

1. Establish Yourself Within a Niche

The first step is to establish your niche. If you’re going to be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to find something that interests you and that you’re passionate about.

That way, creating quality content and promoting products or services related to that topic will be easy.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best niche for affiliate marketing:

  • Consider Your Passion and Interests

When selecting an affiliate marketing niche, it’s important to start with yourself and think about what you’re passionate about or interested in. What topics do you love talking about? What do you already know a lot about?

For instance, if you already know much about travel, that might be an ideal niche for you. The travel industry offers plenty of opportunities for creating creative content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, and webinars.

You can also focus on a particular area within the industry, like luxury travel or budget-friendly destinations.

  • Research Popular Topics (What’s Trending)

Once you’ve identified an area that interests you, it’s time to find out what topics are trending in your chosen field.

You can use tools like Google Trends or BuzzSumo to find out which topics are popular among readers in your chosen niche. Also, take note of which topics have been covered extensively by other affiliates.

This will help you make an informed decision when selecting a unique angle for your business.

  • Identify Competitors

Before diving into any new venture, it is always wise to research who else is competing in the same space.

Research famous affiliates in your niche of choice and check their websites and social media platforms. Take stock of their content strategy and any potential shortcomings they may have overlooked.

This will help you start your business with a competitive edge in mind. Understanding your competition will also help you position yourself in the market to stand out from the rest and attract more customers. You’ll also get an idea of how saturated a market is and if there is still room for newbies like you.

  • Find out the commission rates

Finally, you’ll also need to take note of commission rates offered by different companies in that niche.

How much commission will they pay for every purchase? Is it worth investing time in promoting their products or services?

Different programs offer different commission rates depending on factors like product type or customer loyalty. In most affiliate programs, commission rates are based on a percentage of the sale (e.g., 10%), but sometimes, they pay a flat rate.

Understanding the commission rates will save you from wasting time and effort on something that doesn’t generate much income.

Once you’ve established your niche, research which companies offer affiliate partnerships for that particular topic. You can quickly know this from their websites or social media pages.

2. Choose the Right Affiliate Program

After choosing the right niche and product, choose the best affiliate program for your needs. There are several affiliate programs in the market, so you need to do your research beforehand.

Some of the most popular ones include Amazon Associates, ShareASale, Commission Junction, ClickBank, and Shopify Affiliate Program.

Here are the steps you can take when choosing an affiliate program:

  • Analyze popular programs

One way to find out which programs are worth considering is to look at what other successful marketers are using. As mentioned, there are several affiliate programs online that you can work under.

Reach out to fellow entrepreneurs and affiliate marketers in your niche and see what programs they’re using and why they like them. This will give you an idea of which programs work best for your niche of choice.

  • Read Affiliate Reviews

When researching affiliate programs, it’s also important to read reviews from other affiliates who have used them. Many sites provide reviews written by affiliates about different affiliate programs.

Reviews will give you an idea of how well the company treats its affiliates and how reliable their payment methods are. They can also give you a heads-up about any potential issues you may experience when working with a particular program.

  • Understand the Terms and Conditions

Before signing up for an affiliate program, it’s important to understand all its terms and conditions. These are usually present on the affiliate program’s website.

Make sure you read through all the details carefully to avoid surprises or inconveniences down the line. Pay attention to things like commission rates, payment methods, cookie duration, etc.

Different programs may have different rules and regulations, so don’t just read one and assume they apply to all the others.

  • Analyze the Payment Methods

When selecting an affiliate program, it’s also important to pay close attention to their payment methods (how and when payments are made).

Find out the payment processing methods they use and whether they will be convenient for you. Some of the most common payment processing methods include:

  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Google Pay
  • Credit Card
  • Direct bank deposit

Some of these payment methods may not be available in some countries, which may prevent you from accessing your money once you get paid.

Also, find out how frequently they pay their affiliate. Some programs offer weekly payments, while others only pay out once per month or quarterly. Make sure the timeframe is convenient for you.

  • Look Beyond Commission Rates

Finally, don’t be fooled by high commission rates alone. There are other factors you’ll need to consider when selecting an affiliate program.

For instance, you’ll need to look at the customer support, product quality, and availability of marketing materials (banners/landing pages/etc.). These factors will determine how well you can execute your affiliate marketing business and earn more money from it.

As a beginner, choose a program with reasonable commission rates, clear terms and conditions, and reliable customer service. The program you choose should also provide enough support for affiliates to help them promote their products or services effectively.

3. Decide One or Two Main Traffic Sources

Once you have chosen the right affiliate program for your needs, your next step is to define how you want people to know about your business.

Here, you choose two main methods you’ll use to drive traffic toward your business.

Fortunately, there are many ways to drive traffic without spending money. Some of them include the following:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to get free traffic to your website. Optimizing your website for SEO will make it appear high on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

When people search for keywords related to your product or service, your website will be among the first ones they see. This will drive more traffic and potential customers to your site.

SEO involves optimizing both on-page elements like titles, headings, and meta descriptions and off-page elements like backlinks from other sites.

  • Social Media

Social media can also help drive massive free traffic to your website. If you have an account on popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you can reach a large audience with targeted content that promotes your affiliate products.

Make sure you post regularly and interact with your followers to maximize engagement with potential customers.

  • Content Marketing

Content marketing is another excellent way to drive free traffic to your website. This involves creating valuable content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, and infographics that provide helpful information to your audience.

Creating content that resonates with and adds value to your audience will draw more visitors to your website and increase conversions. Content marketing has proven to be more effective than traditional advertising methods.

  • Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are also a great way to generate free traffic if you already have an email list.

This involves sending out emails with information about new products or services or special offers. You can also send emails informing customers of special discounts, coupons, or bonuses on your products.

An effective practice is using email segmentation techniques to target specific customers interested in specific products and services.

  • Blogger Outreach

Finally, blogger outreach is a popular way of driving free traffic and sales to your affiliate products and services. It involves reaching out to influential bloggers who write about topics related to your product or service.

You ask them if they would be willing to write about your product on their blogs or social media channels. This will allow you to access a larger audience interested in buying your products.

Focusing on these platforms may take months or years to yield results. Instead, pick one or two primary traffic sources and excel at them.

My favorite traffic channels are Social media (YouTube) and SEO (Google) since they can provide consistent organic traffic.

4. Create Content That Builds Trust With Your Target Audience

Final: How to Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money - Host Advice

One of the most important aspects of successful affiliate marketing is creating quality content to drive sales for your products or services.

Quality content doesn’t necessarily have to cost money. There is plenty of content you can create for free such as blogs, videos, podcasts, and infographics.

To make the most of affiliate marketing, your content should engage and entice visitors to click on the affiliate links.

Here are some tips on how to do that.

  • Know Your Target Audience

The key to successful content creation lies in understanding your target audience and what they want. Before creating content, understand your target audience in terms of demographics such as age and gender.

Once you know who your audience is, you can tailor your content to suit their needs and preferences. You can start writing about topics that interest them and provide valuable information to keep them coming back.

  • Focus On Quality

When people visit a website, they expect quality content that’s well-written, informative, and entertaining.

You don’t have to be a professional writer to create high-quality content. Just make sure you use correct grammar and provide interesting facts or stories related to the products you’re promoting.

Also, make your content visually appealing by using images and videos. Quality content helps to build credibility and attract more traffic to your site.

  • Make It Shareable

If you want people to keep coming back for more of your content, you need to ensure it’s shareable.

The best way to do this is by ensuring the content is interesting and entertaining enough that people will want to share it. Also, include share buttons to enable people to share the content on social media or repost it on their own websites or blogs.

Remember to include plenty of images or videos, as these tend to get shared more than plain text posts.

  • Include Reviews

People love reviews— especially the ones written by other customers who have used the products they’re looking for.

When creating content, consider adding customer reviews to give potential buyers the extra push they need to make a buying decision. This will bring you more sales, which means more commission for you.

You can find reviews online from sites like Yelp or Trustpilot. Alternatively, you can ask customers for feedback via social platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

  • Include Calls-to-Action

Finally, don’t forget to include calls to action (CTA) throughout your content — whether it’s asking readers to click on a link or sign up for an email list.

CTAs encouraged readers to take some action at the end of each piece of content. They can be highly effective in converting your readers into customers.

5. Promote The Content

Once you have created high-quality content, it’s time to get it out in front of prospective customers. Consider leveraging any free tools at your disposal to promote your content.

Social media is one of the best tools for free content promotion. Once you publish content on your website, heavily share it on your Facebook profiles, pages, and relevant groups.

Also, share on relevant Twitter handles and use hashtags that can make your content appear in more search results. Other social platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest also allow users to share their posts quickly and easily without spending anything.

Another social platform that’s increasingly becoming popular for affiliate marketing is TikTok.

TikTok is a potential free traffic source that only a few marketers, about 14%, currently utilize. You can create a TikTok account and post content to attract followers who may be interested in your affiliate products and services.

Other additional avenues you can use for content promotion without spending money include:

  • Attending online forums related to your niche
  • Networking with like-minded professionals
  • Commenting on other people’s content across social platforms
  • Cold email outreach- sending cold emails to people who have not yet expressed interest in your products.

6. Engage With Your Audience

Finally, once you’ve taken care of all the above steps, it’s time for the last piece of the puzzle —engaging with your audience.

To succeed at affiliate marketing, you must actively engage with potential customers across all platforms. Engaging means answering questions they may have about your products or services, replying to their comments, and asking for their feedback.

You should also provide helpful advice when needed to help your customers feel connected and appreciated.

Continuous engagement shows customers that you value their input. This helps to build trust between you and your customers, which can ultimately lead to increased sales. This way, you won’t have to spend any money on advertising.

Why Become An Affiliate Marketer Today?

Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your blog or website. It’s an increasingly popular business model for those who want to make money online without investing much time and money.

According to Glassdoor, affiliate marketers in the United Kingdom earn an average annual income of approximately £35,000.

Aside from passive income, affiliate marketing offers many benefits that make it an attractive option. Here are some benefits of becoming an affiliate marketer:

1. Extremely Easy to Start

Becoming an affiliate marketer is incredibly easy. All you need is a website or blog, and you can start promoting products from any company.

The best part is that you don’t need to have your own product or service to sell. You simply promote someone else’s and earn a commission for it.

2. Little to No Investment

Another exciting part about becoming an affiliate marketer is that there is minimal overhead cost associated with starting your business. Unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you don’t have to purchase inventory, create products, or pay for advertising to start selling.

You only need to invest time and effort into building your website and driving traffic. Fortunately, most of the necessary tools are usually provided by the affiliate network you work under. If you decide to purchase a premium website, you will only have to pay to set up your website.

3. Takes Care of a Current Need

With the increasing popularity of e-commerce, more and more people are turning towards online shopping. This means more potential customers for affiliate marketers who promote products online.

Therefore, there will always be a demand for affiliates who can promote products effectively and drive sales for merchants.

4. Low Barriers to Entry

Unlike other businesses, there are few barriers to becoming an affiliate marketer. This makes it an open trade to anyone, regardless of their experience or expertise in the field.

For instance, you don’t need to register your business with the government or sign expensive legal contracts to get started. There are also no costs associated with setting up an account.

All you need is a computer, an internet connection, and a platform to promote affiliate products. Affiliate marketing is ideal for newbies who want to make extra income without investing so many resources.

5. Potential to Earn Passive Income

One of the biggest advantages of becoming an affiliate marketer is earning passive income. As long as you publish content and drive traffic to your website, you’ll keep earning money when people buy through your affiliate links.

Alternatively, you can set up an email list or utilize other forms of digital marketing, like social media platforms. Once you set up a system that drives traffic and brings customers to your site, you can continuously earn money even while you’re asleep!

6. Growing an Audience

Affiliate marketing also helps you grow a loyal audience around your products and interests.

As an affiliate marketer, you’ll need to grow an audience to drive sales and earn commissions.

The best way to grow an audience is through content creation. You can also engage your audience through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Growing an audience will ensure more people are aware of your brand and products, leading to increased conversions. It can also lead to further opportunities for monetization and career advancement.


Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online without spending any money. You don’t even need to stock up any inventory to get started. All you need is a great niche, a website or blog, and some creativity to start promoting products and services to your audience.

Following the steps outlined above, you can start your own affiliate marketing business and earn an income. With enough dedication and hard work, you can soon become a top affiliate marketer in your niche!

Next Steps: What Now?

Now that you know how to start affiliate marketing without money, here are some practical steps to take from this article:

Further Reading – Useful Resources

Here are some useful resources you can read to learn more about affiliate marketing:

  1. Affiliate marketing Without a Website
  2. What Is An Affiliate Link And How to Create It
  4. Types of Affiliate Marketing
  5. The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?

The main benefit of affiliate marketing is recurring passive income. It’s also a simple business that needs little to no startup cost or risk. Plus, there’s no need for inventory or customer service since the company handles all sales. Also, it’s a high-demand venture due to the increasing popularity of eCommerce.

How Do I Become a Top Affiliate Marketer?

The key to becoming a top affiliate marketer is to build loyal relationships with your customers. Also, provide high-quality content to your audience and always stay up-to-date on industry trends. This will help you know what products and services people are looking for and which ones earn more commission.

What is the Easiest Way to Start Affiliate Marketing?

The easiest way to start affiliate marketing is by signing up with an established program like Amazon Associates or Clickbank. These programs offer easy-to-use tools for tracking clicks, commissions, and sales. After registering, all you need to do is add affiliate links to your content and start promoting them.

How Much Can an Affiliate Marketer Make?

It depends on how much effort you put into it. Some affiliates make thousands of dollars per month, while others only make a few hundred. The amount of money you can make also depends on the type of products you promote and how well-targeted your promotions are.

Does It Cost Money to Start Affiliate Marketing?

No. There is no cost associated with starting an affiliate marketing business—all it takes is time and effort. However, if you want access to advanced features like link cloaking or tracking software, there may be some associated costs. You may also incur costs like web hosting if you want to build an affiliate marketing website.

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