Get Started With Affiliate Marketing – Beginners Guide 2017

Why should you read my affiliate marketing guide? I am not making five figures online!

Being blogging for 4 years, I have hustled to make a decent income online by reading and implementing the strategies and even coming out with new methods that are not shared on the web.

I started Universal Blogging Tips after 2 failed blogs and only this blog appreciated my hard work.

Today, I cover my educational and personal expenses from my blogging revenue and save the rest to invest in stocks and mutual funds. 

There is no hard and fast rule that you should follow everyone to become successful in blogging.

Most people quit because they are not passionate about the topic on which they’re blogging about.

Some of my friends started blogs because they see me making money online but they were NOT passionate about it. Then what’s the use of doing it?

If anyone is thinking about JUST money, then it’s better to work 9-5.


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If I can make over $1000 working just few hours a week, then why can’t you.

Choose the niche you love and see the sales flowing in! 🙂

Some of my affiliate earning screenshots

affiliate marketing earning screenshots

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is form of marketing in which you promote other companies products and once someone buys from your link, you get a commission.

Note: If you don't have a blog yet, you should check out this step-by-step guide to start a blog

But how would company know that you have referred a customer?

It is through your tracking link or affiliate link.

When you join an affiliate program, you will be given a special link with your tracking id at the end which would be used to track your conversions.

For example here’s an affiliate link of MyThemeShop:

?ref=nikhil869 is my username at the end which lets the company track conversions made by me.

Let’s understand the Affiliate Marketing model in the most simple way through the following flow chart.

Basic Affiliate Marketing Terms

Now, before getting started with the main part of this guide, let’s get to know about some basic Affiliate Marketing terms.

Though, I have shared it on my blog and even through emails but still it’s necessary for those who are not familiar with them.

EPC: Earning per click is calculated by taking your clicks divided by commission earned.

It is a metric used to indicate the average earnings generated as a result of your 100 clicks on your Affiliate links.

The formula for EPC is Affiliate Earnings/Number of clicks x 100

●   Click-through rates: CTR defines your targeted audience.

It is calculated by using this formula : (Number of sales / Unique Clicks) x 100.

Affiliate marketplace: There are many marketplaces like ShareASale, Peerfly, Commission Junction, JvZoo, ClickBank that works as central database for affiliate programs in different niche.

Affiliate software: Software's used by companies to create an affiliate program for their product. Ex: iDevAffiliate

Affiliate link: Special tracking link offered by your affiliate program to track the progress of your affiliate promotion.

Affiliate ID: This is Similar to Affiliate link, but, in this case, many affiliate programs offer a unique ID, which you can add to any page of the product site with “XYZ” affiliate ID.

Payment mode Offered: Different affiliate programs offer different methods of payment. For ex: Cheque, Wire transfer, PayPal and many more.

Tier 2 affiliate marketing: This is a great way of making money from an affiliate program.

In this type of marketing, you recommend others to join affiliate programs, and you will get a commission out of it, when your sub-affiliate make sales.

This is one of the best ways to generate passive income.

Check out  this post on my blog, which I have written to attract Affiliates for MyThemeShop and it's generating passive income for me!

How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing?

Build a website, join affiliate programs, put a banner on your website and wait for sales flowing in.

Simple, isn’t it? ...


It’s not that simple.

Affiliate Marketing is all about solving problems of your targeted audience and if you fail in that, you fail in affiliate marketing.

People spend their hard earned money if they wish to have a solution for their problems.

Why should they spend their hard-earned money on your product, even if you guarantee a solution to their problems?

It depends on how much they trust you! How much you will make from Affiliate Marketing, depends on how you market that product.

3 Mantras Of Affiliate Marketing Success

Ah... One of the most important step in Affiliate Marketing.

Before choosing a product, learn more about your audience. As told earlier, don’t start a blog on a very vast niche such as weight loss.

Weight loss for whom?...

Umm.. I don’t know..

Start a micro niche blog and be specific with it.

Weight loss for busy moms... This is perfect.

Umm.. Still you can dig deeper

Weight loss for busy moms who work from home

Now, you are specific about your audience. The next step is to develop a buyer persona:

A buyer persona tells you what your consumers are thinking and doing as they weigh their options to the problems that your company resolves.

Here’s what all is included in the buyer’s persona:

1. Day in their life

You have to spend a little time on research on how they spend their day and what all information they search on the web.

2. Demographics

Get to know about their age, income, education and location of your audience.

This will actually get to know about the actual worth of your customer. This will tell whether you should go for paid ads or not rather than moaning later that you wasted your money on Ads.

Promoting $1000 products to students doesn’t make any sense. Isn’t? ...

So, there is a need to create a buyer’s persona.

Buyers persona includes Objectives, Experiences, Goals etc. but to get started with affiliate marketing, I won’t take it too technical.

Just focus on the two and it will look like as follows :

I am …


Age:                25-55

Income:        $250K

Education: Bachelor of music, PU Location: United States

Challenges: Turning the pages while practicing, playing with cold hands, small fingers.

Now, you know how to learn about the problems of your audience. You know how to create a buyer persona.

This makes it a lot of easier for you to find a suitable product to promote.

Let’s suppose you started a blog on weight loss and promoted a weight loss product. Your conversion rates would be SUPER DUPER LOW.

As then you won’t be able to create a perfect buyer persona and it would be completely messed up.

But... now if you started a blog on Weight Loss For Busy Moms Who Like To Work From Home… From this you can create a perfect buyer persona.

How to learn about the challenges that your audience is facing?

One of the best way is that I shared above with the template.

But if you are REALLY Lazy about not going with emails right now, just head over to forums and question answer websites and believe me, it is one of the best ways to choose the topics and learn about the problems that your targeted audience is facing.

I use Quora. It is the best. Besides that you can also go with the following:

1. Yahoo Answers
2. Blurt It
3. Anybody Out There
4. Wiki Answers
5. Fun Advice
6. Ask Me Help Desk
7. Answer Bank

How To Sell Your Affiliate Products - How To Make A Strong Pitch?

Now, you are ready to sell... And I know … YOU CAN SELL!

Here I am going to mention some strategies to make a strong pitch.

Focus On Capturing Emails And Building High Converting Funnels

Imagine you as a visitor on a website which is directly redirected to a sales page from social media or any paid ads and convinced to make a purchase. Will you buy?... Think...

You will be reluctant to make a purchase until you know who is selling it. Isn’t it?

Now, imagine you as a visitor redirected to any informative content which you were looking since a long time to solve your problem in anyway.

The CONTENT WAS AMAZING. Now, the page flaunts an optin giving you a free checklist or any case study, won’t you subscribe? …


Even I do every time.

Now, at this moment you have found a great blogger to follow. Once you successfully optin it redirects to the product that solves your problem.

Now, you are most likely to make a purchase… Am I right? ….

Let me give you an example:

Recently, I was looking for some profitable niches to start affiliate marketing and I landed to this informational piece of content.

The above piece of content is really informative. The boxes that you see in the content redirects the visitors to the optin pages like shown below and once the user optins, it redirects them to the sales pages.

make money with affiliate marketing

Once you successfully optin, it would redirect you to the sales page.

This is how to create a sales funnel.. Now, the next step is how to MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SALES FUNNEL…

Want to make more money selling products?

Before starting a blog, keep your end goal in mind. Suppose your end goal is to sell a product worth $997. Now, if you directly convince your visitors to buy such an expensive product, they are most likely NOT to buy… Right?

But now if you create a proper funnel like the following, they would be willing to buy your product if you REALLY deliver them value through this product.

Blog / Website / Opt in Page >> $7 front end product/ebook >> $19.99 upsell product >> $49 upsell product >> $997 product.

Now, let’s assume they didn’t bought the product that you recommended them in the sales funnel. Still you have their emails, right?

Give them value through emails and pitch them the product over and again. I will cover some email marketing methods below that I learned.

How To Write A Perfect Review Post

I have a friend who has many review posts but doesn’t make a penny from them.


Because the review posts are not able to convince readers to buy that product.

Before writing a review post, know about the objective of writing it. The ultimate goal is to convince the readers to take an action or make a purchase, right?

Now, the next step is to keep yourself as a targeted consumer or according to the buyer persona that you created above and now think, can this product REALLY solve your problem?

Is this product worth the money?

Once, you get to know about it and chosen a product which solves your targeted customers problem, then you are ready to go!

When I generally write product reviews, I follow the AIDA principle of marketing.

Writing reviews like a bot gives rise to hit and trial method. I am a human being, so why should I behave like a bot?

Now, let’s see how I use AIDA model to write product review.

A ---)) Attention

I ----)) Interest

D ---)) Desire

A ---)) Action

AIDA principle helps in boosting your conversions by creating a funnel which REALLY CONVERTS.


Your first motive is to grab their attention by sharing the great intro of the product and making them exciting about how they could use the particular product in their businesses.

To grab their attention, you should clearly know whom are you targeting. This information you will get from the buyer persona that you created above.

Secondly, you need to know about their problems which can get by shooting them an email or checking out the forums.

Now, suppose you are promoting Washing Machines, check out the forums and question answer websites for the exact ‘Keywords they are searching for and including those keywords in your title tags will grab your visitors eyeballs and boost your Click-throughs too.


Now, it’s time to dig deeper with the problems. You have grabbed their attention through an enticing headline and super good intro.

Now, you need to go in depth with their problems and tell how the product you are promoting will solve it very well. In this case, you need to deliver them a really informative piece of content that they don’t find anywhere else.


Okay, now they get to know about how the product can help them but do you think, if you were in the place of the consumers, have you bought the product at this stage?...

Ummm... I doubt...

You might be reluctant to make a purchase at this stage, so they are!

Do you know what?... PEOPLE NEED RESULTS!

Show them how using that product made you $$$$$ or how it has helped you in any other way or give them a brief case study how others have got results using that product.

If you have screenshots, show them.

This will create a desire in them to make a purchase otherwise why

would they spend their hard earned money?...


Now, most of the hard-work is done but still there is a most important thing to be done which to make the user sign up/make a purchase or take any other action.

This is done by delivering a short and strong Call to action. Like flaunting a big button which allows them to take action.

That’s how AIDA principle works.

How To Do Promotion Of Your Affiliate Blog Posts?

1. Question and answer websites

I look for people on the question answer websites such as Quora and Yahoo Answers matching the buyer’s persona and have a look at the problems they are facing.

Then, I leave a quite interesting answer to their problem mentioning my post link at the end.

This has two benefits:

My answer doesn’t looks like a spam and it makes people to click on my link. 

2. Share On Communities

Communities are great source of traffic for my blogs and it can be for you too.

To make the best out of the following communities that I am going to share below, make sure you just don’t spam them or get ready for get banned.

Start by sharing some useful stuff, make people realize that you’re a human.

After sharing some informative tutorials and guides or just helping few people, promote your post.

Here are some communities that act as a good source of traffic for my blogs:

1. Bizsugar

2. Klinkk

3. DoSplash

4. Growthhackers

5. Inbound

6. Reddit

7. BlogEngage


9. Triberr

10. Google + Communities

11. Pinterest

12. LinkedIn


14. Slideshare

3. Make personal recommendations

Give out a free service and ask them to make a purchase from your affiliate links.

Suppose, you are a Bluehost affiliate.

Ask your readers to make a purchase from Bluehost from your link and you will setup a blog for them for free and I hope its commission would easily cover your cost.

Some Tools That I Personally Use In My Affiliate Marketing Business

I am not forcing you to buy these products. If you can afford, it will be great and will DEFINITELY help your business.

Otherwise, don’t put a financial burden on yourself at this stage.

Once, you start earning, focus on savings and investment rather than spending on useless things.

The below mentioned tools are REALLY some great investments to be made and they had helped in boosting my revenue in my Affiliate Marketing business.

1.  SEMrush

SEMrush is tool which is used for competition analysis.

Analyzing competition is one of the most important tasks need to be done in this business.

SEMrush flaunts all the keywords that my competitor is ranking for and their difficulty levels. It also flaunts the keywords which are being targeted for paid traffic.

Besides that, it is great tool for Adsense users too. It helps in finding high CPC keywords which can generate a good revenue from Adsense as well as Affiliate Marketing.

Themes That I Recommend :

 Thrive Themes 




#1: What skills are required to start an affiliate marketing business?

There are no such skills required indeed!

What you need to be just honest and have a good knowledge about the product that you’re promoting.

Besides that you need to have some marketing skills which will help you in building a brand and promoting your products more effectively.

The above mentioned basic techniques will help you in getting started with affiliate marketing and once you get familiar with them, you will develop your own skills and new methods that nobody is using.

Believe me, it’s true!

2. Which Affiliate Program Is The Best To Start With?

Don’t think of the commissions. Think of the niche you’re passionate about.

Once you get that niche, start working on it following the techniques mentioned above and the money would start flowing in hopefully.

3. Is Affiliate Marketing A Safe Career To Build?

I think, it’s not!

It’s NOT, unless you don’t have a brand name. If you have a built up a brand name and built a good list, then you need not worry!

If you are only relying on SEO in affiliate marketing, then you might face trouble in future! 🙂

Hope you liked this Affiliate Marketing Guide for beginners. Feel free to share it over your social network! 🙂 

Nikhil Ganotra (Nick)

Nikhil Ganotra is the owner and editor of Universal Blogging Tips. He is a passionate blogger from India. He loves to read and write about content marketing and SEO related topics. You can catch him on Twitter or use this contact form.