How To Start Affiliate Marketing- Step by Step Guide

Brands’ online presence is crucial these days to expand the customer base. The best way to create an online presence is to run affiliate marketing programs. The US has the largest share in the affiliate marketing industry, rounding up to 39%. Moreover, 16% of eCommerce orders in the US and Canada are placed through affiliate marketing links. The best part about affiliate marketing is beneficial for brands, influencers, and bloggers. 

This blog discusses the meaning of affiliate marketing and guides you through earning revenues through affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

In technical terms, affiliate marketing is a marketing tactic for small businesses or brands that involves paying money to external websites to promote products or services. Affiliate marketing is similar to paid advertisements. You can also term it influencer marketing. Here is how you can understand it better. 

Before you buy a product or avail of a new service, do you immediately purchase it or do some background check? 

It is safe to assume that many of us search for reviews of the product or service online. We check websites, social media pages and maybe even look up reviews on platforms like YouTube, Quora, and Reddit. For example, if you are looking for a mobile phone, you will visit YouTube or search for top phones on Google. The majority of the websites you visit even have a link that will direct you to the website where you can purchase the mobile phone. When you place an order through an external website, the website owner receives a commission. This is called affiliate marketing. 

So, if you are a tech, skincare, food, or lifestyle blogger, you should step into the world of affiliate marketing. 

Step by Step Guide To Start Affiliate Marketing

Now that you understand what affiliate marketing is, you must be wondering how to earn money from affiliate marketing. You must have seen sponsored or paid posts on Facebook or Instagram by social media influencers. Brands offer free products or services to influencers in return for promoting their products. They also offer affiliate or discount codes. When we purchase products using these codes, influencers or bloggers get a commission – this is how you can also earn passive income from affiliate marketing.

Here is your step-by-step guide to begin affiliate marketing without a lot of investment.

Affiliate marketing for individuals through their website or social media pages

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn passive income. If you are a beginner and wish to start affiliate marketing, you can follow the below-given steps.

1. Find your niche

Before you begin partnering with brands, you have to find your niche. It is pertinent that you focus on a particular industry for promoting goods or services. The most common fields to start affiliate marketing are tech, skincare, lifestyle, education, travel, and food. However, it is suggested that you decide the niche according to your passion. It will help you reach out to a specific audience which increases the potential of earning through commissions. Choosing a niche will also be beneficial for shortlisting brands for affiliate programs.

2. Learn about the sector

After deciding the niche, you have to focus on learning. If you are already a professional in that particular industry, it is an added advantage. YIn-depth knowledge of a specific industry will help you gain the trust of your audience. The larger audience you have, the more earnings you will receive from affiliate marketing. You must provide your audience with honest and meaningful reviews. This is only possible when you have enough knowledge about the sector. Hence, you must stay updated with the ongoing trends. 

3. Choosing the right platform

The next step involves selecting the right platform to gain more followers or readers. For example, you can build a website for blogging. Another option is to create a page on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn for talking about products or services. You can also create a YouTube channel to post reviews. You should prepare different content and marketing strategies for each platform. A single variety of content will most likely not gather positive responses on all platforms.

4. Building your personal brand

Before you start affiliate marketing, you have to focus on building your brand. Once you have enough followers, subscribers, and readers on your social media page, YouTube channel, and website, you can start earning commissions from brands. This requires you to create content. Whether it is a website, Instagram or Facebook page, or a YouTube channel, regularly posting useful and engaging content is crucial. Make sure you post trustworthy reviews and reliable information online. Creating a personal brand will increase the chances of brands reaching out to you for promotion.

5. Signing up for affiliate marketing program

When you have a large audience, you can sign up for affiliate marketing programs with various brands. Search for the most popular brands in your chosen niche. Then, you can visit their websites or reach out to them on social media and sign up for several affiliate marketing programs.

6. Getting paid

You can earn commissions through affiliate marketing. Businesses and brands pay you for the promotion of their products or services. You can choose various payment methods. The first is pay per click. If you have a website, you can add a click button to direct the reader to the desired website. You will get paid for every click. Another method is pay per sale. You will get a commission for every purchase made by a customer using your discount code. After deciding on the method, you also need to discuss the commission percentage. A lot of brands also offer sample products or services for trial and review.

Affiliate marketing strategy for businesses

Affiliate marketing is beneficial for both big brands and small businesses. Customers usually look for reviews from trustworthy sources before making a purchase. Affiliate marketing enhances a brand’s online presence and helps companies to reach out to a larger audience. 

  • Before you start an affiliate program, you need to be aware of the commission paid by your competitors to affiliate marketers. Also, make sure to determine the target audience.
  • After this, you need to confirm the platform where you want to promote your products or services.
  • The next step is to look out for affiliate marketers that post engaging content and have a broad audience. You can directly reach out to the marketers or provide a signup option for affiliate marketing programs on the website. Remember to have specific guidelines for affiliate marketers, for example, a minimum number of followers or subscribers.
  • It is also crucial to decide the suitable payment method and commission rate to maximize your revenue.

How Can You Learn Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is beneficial for both businesses and partners. According to statistics, nearly 80% of the brands in 2021 have affiliate marketing programs, with the US boasting of the largest affiliate marketing industry. Furthermore, experts believe that the affiliate marketing industry is likely to grow by 10% in the coming years. These stats tell us how vital affiliate marketing is for business growth and expansion. However, even though it sounds simple, affiliate marketing can be a challenging task. Both businesses and influencers must be familiar with the nitty-grits of marketing and management. 

The  MBA (Global) from Deakin Business School offered by upGrad is an excellent program to learn various marketing strategies. During this program, you will get to learn the fundamentals of marketing and also learn how to build your unique brand. In addition, you will also get to work on plenty of practical assignments that will enhance your communication skills. 


Affiliate marketing is currently a dominating trend in the marketing industry. After all, it can help both brands and influencers to grow. Therefore, if you are looking to partner with brands or if you own a business looking for platforms to promote your products or services, it is best to learn the nuances of the marketing industry. The Global MBA program from Deakin Business School offered by upGrad is an excellent choice for you. 

What is affiliate marketing?

Brands partner with external websites/platforms or social media influencers to promote their products in affiliate marketing. They offer commissions to marketing partners for the advertisement of their products or services.

How can I start affiliate marketing?

To start with affiliate marketing, you first need to choose a niche and build your brand. After that, you can sign up for affiliate marketing programs of various brands by going through their website. The next step is to create engaging content and provide click baits or CTA so that the customers purchase the products promoted by you.

Can I build a career in affiliate marketing?

Yes, a lot of influencers and bloggers get good money through affiliate marketing. You can also partner with brands in a particular domain. However, before you start reaching to businesses for affiliate marketing, you must ensure that you have a personal brand with enough followers on your social media pages. For instance, if you are a blogger, your website must generate good traffic.

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