Making money with affiliate programs- the step by step guide

So here’s how to finally get into affiliate programs and make money off of them.

Affiliate marketing in reality is simple. It only involves a few simple steps. 

Find a product you like, preferably something you are using or have heard great things about.

Recommend the said product to followers with an affiliate link. 

Followers purchase the product with your link. And you get a commission.

That’s all there is to it.

This is how the process works.

To make the most of the affiliate marketing opportunity before you, sign for as many affiliate networks you can find. Take your time and go through the steps below to discover your niche and how you may identify ideas you can use.


Find Your Niche

When you choose a niche and do keyword research around it, you will be able to create highly targeted campaigns around the said niche that let you generate money.

A niche gives you focus. Be it either affiliate marketing promotions or anything else. This helps you come up with content that back your campaigns.

The choice of a niche may not be that easy. 

It doesn’t always have to be hard. For most, it only boils down to finding something you know about and that piques your interest. Choosing a niche is easy.

When we have passion about something that typically expresses in knowledge about that as well.

If the topic is big enough you will seldom run out of ideas on what to blog aobot in those particular niches.

Is there enough to create 100 or 200 blog posts. If not, the trafic may be low. If the niche is oversaturated that’s another recipe for trouble as other affiliates may have crowded up the place, leaving no room for you.

You will have to wait a long time to develop required authority.

Finally the question you need to answer is if the niche will pay the bills. There’s no point in relying on passion because the commissions are either so few or so far apart spaced that you can’t make a living. Answer all these questions first to develop your affiliate strategy and be successful.


High conversions

Another factor to note is the conversion rate of the product that indirectly relies on the reputation of the merchant. If the creator of the product is known for putting out great products you don’t have to worry about conversion rates. Like his other products this too will be successful in getting people results. Results are what matter most.


Write an article/review that stems from experience

A product that differs from all others is one that stems from real user experience. Use the product. Document your findings and you are on your way to providing excellent user experience to the reader. This results in higher than average dwell times and conversion rates.

Promote a relevant product

You need to find and promote products that your target audience is most interested and will find to be most relevant for them.

This is a site whose core audience is people interested in WordPress, SEO and blogging. If I promote SEO tools it’s relevant to my niche audience.

How about credit cards. Or payday loans? Not so much. A relevant product engages the current audience to your site.

With affiliate programs, you can make money even when you’re asleep.

Promote products that already have a demand

A fairly new product despite it doing everything that it claims to be doing isn’t the best solution for you as an affiliate marketer. Because despite all its features and benefits nobody knows about this product. You’d be lucky to turn a sale with it.

A product in an in demand category however, is a different story altogether. If the product has demand you will be able to convert raw traffic to conversions based on the popularity of the product itself.


And if you convert a lot of people this throws open the doors to further affiliate relationships. Merchants will give you better and more exclusive offers resultantly.


For instance, Unbounce, a landing page creator, is a great tool with a high conversion rate. Let’s say for every 100 sign ups, 10 go on to become paid subscribers to the software. As such, that’s a high converting offer for you.

On the flipside, new offers and products don’t convert that well. So you’re going to do better with vetted proven products


Do content marketing

Content marketing is one of the most effective channels for you to be able to promote your products.

But the way you need to approach content marketing for affiliate promotions is a tad bit different.

To effectively attract the most high-converting traffic, you need to attract people at all different stages of awareness with targeted content.

People on the top of the funnel are only aware of their problem and researching tips and tricks. So if you’re promoting a keyword research tool, a guide on keyword research, the benefits and features should work nicely.

There are people in tier 2 of the awareness stage where they are actively looking for solutions. So a post covering topics such as “Long tail Pro review”, “Long tail pro benefits”, “SEMRush guide” and “SEMRush review” work nicely.

Finally, people are about to take decisions and search for promos and coupons. And at the time offering coupons and coupon driven articles are your best bet to drive traffic and leads.

c that you’re interested or involved in.


The biggest nudge that pushes people to purchase from you is trust. If people trust you, they hand over wads of cash over to you.

When you share an honest review of the product, that entails talking about stuff you do not like about the product. What it does is builds trust. This indirectly tells people that you’re looking out for them and have their best in your heart.

You’re not simply selling something that makes you money and isn’t ideal for them.

Sharing aspects of the product that you don’t really like has the additional effect of informing people what to do and what not to do. This helps them focus on benefits and probably downsize the drawbacks of the product.

When you’re sharing affiliate product reviews, you could make YouTube videos that help people see and understand things clearly.

Sophie who’s behind Soph Does Life reviews beauty and makeup products by trying them on and sharing her feedback.

youtube affiliate marketing example

Since she tries everything on her own skin, there’s no denying facts. She presents reality surrounding product. As a result of which she has over 1 million subscribers on YouTube. And I am sure she rakes in a lot of moolah for the efforts she puts in.

In the examples above she shares trying out Gucci Mascara, sustainable beauty products. She even shares her real-life experiences around testing tiktok makeup hacks. All of these find their way to user feeds and they love Sophie for her authentic reviews.

The workarounds she shares means people don’t have to try and test things for themselves and instead can rely on people like Sophie who make life easy for them.


Imagine yourself catering to people who do house chores. Stay at home dads and moms.


So for these chores they might need a vacuum cleaner or something that automates cleaning like robot vacuum cleaners.


There are many problems you can find in these customer review sites on robot vacuum cleaner sites.

You can address these problems in your reviews to make them an in depth guide

For example, most of the reviews talk about not being able to control vacuums with remote controls.

Also there’s another problem that robots must have a virtual wall they ought not to cross otherwise.

This helps robots service only a  predefined area.

Also in your reviews it’s essential to talk about trends and revelations that are popular. You can discover these with the help of Buzzsumo, a social share analysis tool.

Build your email list

John Chow is of the opinion that the money is in the list. Over the past several years, I found this advice to ring true.


Email marketing is the most effective affiliate marketing strategy in any niche and for any product. You need an email list to promote your product and drive sales and visits. Email marketing gets you a front seat view to marketing to your clients. Once you have them on file, you can send them exclusive promotions and mailers and get people to connect with you.

List building lets you generate hundreds of dollars over the course the subscriber remains a subscriber. An email marketing service lets you collect as many emails as possible.

To that end use landing page and collection forms to get the emails of your subscribers.

Lindsay Scholz, a visual branding expert grew her email list with the help of a quiz tool called Interact.

She posts a review of the quiz tool and along with that mentions how she was able to grow her email list with the tool. With this simple addition in her review, she made a use case of the product she’s reviewing. This makes us all excited about giving Interact a try.

Now, that’s one way to approach affiliate marketing. Mention how the tool improved your life and start from there. Two, along with taking a traditional approach to growing your email list, also use interactive platforms like quizzes to give your list building efforts a much needed vigour and bout of energy.

Do you find yourself always getting emails about what tools you use to run your business, what items to pack during a solo travel trip, or what brands you recommend for beauty products? If so, you might want to create a resources list so you don’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over.


Also, by creating this list and putting it on your website, you can create additional affiliate marketing content that will generate sales if someone decides to buy something from your affiliate link.

Create a resource page 

If you’re not living under a rock, you must definitely know Pat Flynn. He runs the popular blog Smart Passive Income. On the blog he has a resource page that acts a compilation of the different resources Pat uses. 

The resource page is a collection of tools (with affiliate links) describing all the different tools Pat employs on a day-to-day basis to run his blog. This makes his content much more engaging.

Pat was able to generate a bucket load of affiliate revenue thanks to his approach with affiliate marketing. His blog regularly runs up to $200k in revenue.

Post comparison articles

Comparison articles generally pit two products together and see how they compare. You talk about their different features, highlight pros and cons and ultimately share what makes them different.

It’s ok to share biases and things you don’t like about the tools.


Use a dedicated landing page

The top landing pages are all optimized for conversions and generally only ask the email id and not lots of details. These landing pages convert raw traffic into potential leads and subscribers.

With a landing page you can journey the visitor through several stages of the buying funnel. One good tool for you as a marketer is Converkit. It’s optimized for affiliate marketers who are often banned by other automation platforms because they tend to send promos in the make money online MMO niche. With convertkit, since it’s developed by a marketer you don’t need to fear.

Use social proof of selling

But first,

What is social proof? Social proof is what we look for in others’ behavior to guide and validate our own behavior online. Use fomo to illustrate social proof to people visiting your website and tell them why this course is popular and better than the others. People have a herd mentality and would tend to do what others are doing. So social proof that shows sales notifications is a good way to promote your brand and products.

It makes the product easy to sell to others.


Engage in generating great backlinks

I get this. Creating backlinks to an affiliate site is hard work. You need a lot of pitching and arm twisting to get people to listen to you.


When you need to get people to build backlinks to your site, there’s one thing you need above the rest. Trust. Affiliate sites look shady and trust building can veer things in your favor.

A research study was published by Elizabeth Sillence of Northumbria University. Research sent volunteers to two different sites. One with professional design and the other with clutter and non professional design.

Turns out both sites had exactly the same content. The volunteers trusted the site one more with professional design. We have our biases and sites that look good get more trust flowing.

For affiliate sites here’s what you can do to build links:

Offer to improve other people’s content

People don’t really spend a lot of time on their blog posts, especially when there’s so much other stuff to do.

You can improve on other people’s content by offering to create graphics, diagrams or charts that will supplement the info they are sharing.

A creative link building strategy is something I saw Eric from my4hrworkweek doing. He helped people with Pat’s backlinking strategy by improving upon the work that was provided by Pat’s blog post. He got a referral link and everyone who used the post also linked out. He got nice referral traffic from SPI.



These are the ways to nail affiliate marketing. Validate the idea you’re going to use.


This is the four step process to succeed with your own site

Create an affiliate site for reviewing products

Build an email list

Run webinars and promotions to educate your audience

Grow your audience


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