man holding empty wallet with no money

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money

Start your affiliate income journey completely free.

Whether you realize it or not, chances are you have already bought several products or services as the result of affiliate marketing. It is an industry showing continuous growth year on year, allowing brands to partner with thousands of people willing to promote their products and services in exchange for a commission. 

Being an affiliate marketer can be a highly lucrative business, one that does not have to come with a huge price tag for those looking to get started. 

So, can you really get started with affiliate marketing even if you have no money to invest? 

We say yes!

This guide will give you a step by step approach covering everything you need to get started in affiliate marketing without needing to pull out your credit card. 

What affiliate marketing is and how it works 

Affiliate marketing is a way for businesses to increase sales with minimal effort. Offering performance-based commissions to affiliates who will happily market their ready to go products and services to earn an income of their own. 

As affiliates that means we get to select what products and services we wish to sell, with no upfront cost, no shipping of products, no dealing with customer service, no need for a returns department, no grinding to complete a service that has been paid for. We just explain what we like about a product, direct people to buy and watch the commissions roll in as they make a purchase. 

What makes affiliate marketing an excellent choice? 

If you are looking to make money online, going the affiliate marketing route would mean you do not have to spend thousands of dollars and years of your life testing and creating new products. Instead, you select from a smorgasbord of ready to go options that cover anything and everything you can think of. 

There are even affiliate programs that offer lifetime commissions for every payment a customer makes to a company after you refer them. This means that your efforts can compound over time, increasing your monthly income with every new customer you refer. 

These lifetime commissions usually come from products or services with a recurring subscription billing model. So, keep an eye out for these when choosing what to promote. Examples might be things like web hosting, meal kit delivery services, magazine subscriptions, membership sites and more. 

How to start affiliate marketing with no money 

When starting something new, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and even scared. We find it best to always break something down into small and manageable steps. Letting you concentrate on one part of the affiliate marketing journey at a time rather than looking at the finish line right from the start. 

Here is where we think you should start: 

1. Pick your niche 
2. Define your target audience 
3. Select affiliate program(s) 
4. Choose a free traffic source 
5. Content creation and trust building 
6. Interact with your audience 

1. Pick your niche 

To succeed, you want to become trusted in a certain niche. This will help you build a targeted audience who take your advice and recommendations seriously.  

While it is not really a hard rule, it does help if the niche you choose is something you have a deep interest in. This will make it easier for you to stay interested and motivated when creating content. 

The aim is to become an authority in your chosen niche, you do not want to go too broad and be competing with a whole industry, but you also do not want to niche down to something super specific and have too small of an audience to market to. Finding the balance is key. 

For example, something that is too broad might be choosing “dogs” as your niche. This could be hard to gain traction with. On the other side, going with a niche like “best leather dog collars for golden retrievers” might be just a bit too specific and leave you extremely limited on content you can create and products you can promote. 

Instead, you could find a middle ground and pick a niche like “Ethical products and services for dogs.” Allowing you to write about and promote a myriad of products and services under the one brand or persona. Collars, Leashes, Food subscription services, dog training courses, best toys for small dogs, best tough toys for strong chewers and so on. 

Broad Niche ideas that you could find a sub niche within: 

Health – nutrition, paleo, yoga, meditation, fitness, gym 
Lifestyle – clothing, fashion, travel, luxury items, jewelry 
Technology – Gadgets, Electronics, Gaming, Development 
Money – finance, investing, passive income, cryptocurrency 
Home – dogs, gardening, furniture, children, art 
Hobbies – swimming, golf, crafting, woodworking, hiking 
Design – Web design, Graphic Design, Architecture 
Other – legal, business, make money online, adult, marijuana 

2. Define your target audience 

To produce the best results, you need to know who your audience is, their age group, what their life is like and so on. This allows you to speak in a way that relates to them on a level that you cannot do when trying to talk to a broad or poorly targeted audience. 

Ask yourself, “Who is my ideal client? How much money do they make? What problem are they trying to solve that I can help with?” 

Write it down and really visualize your audience so that you know what they are most likely to want or need in their life. Whether it is something that helps them or the latest pair of shoes that they just cannot resist, it is your job to guide them into wanting to pull the trigger and purchase. 

3. Select affiliate program(s) 

Here is the fun part. Now that we have decided on our niche and know who our target audience is, we can start searching for products and services that they might be interested in. 

If you already have a product in mind, then you can go ahead and do a quick search to see if they have an affiliate program available. 

Options 1: Go to the product homepage and scroll to the bottom navigation menu. Lots of the time you will see an affiliate or referral program link listed here. 

Option 2: Head over to Google and do a search like “Product Name Affiliate Program”. 

For example: I have decided that that my audience would really love the FitBark GPS dog tracker. So, I visit Google and search for FitBark Affiliate Program. As you can see in the image below the first result was exactly what I was looking for! 

At this point you want to visit the page, sign up for the affiliate program and await their approval. 

While doing this process I suggest you find at least 2 or 3 other products you would like to promote and sign up for their affiliate programs as well. That way when you are ready to promote your second product, you should already have your affiliate links ready to go and will not have to wait any extra time for the affiliate program approval process. 

If you are yet to decide which products you want to promote, then it is time to start searching. Visit sites related to your niche and see what they are talking about or advertising. 

Alternatively, you can look at affiliate networks. These are sites that manage the affiliate programs for a bunch of assorted brands. 

There are hundreds of affiliate networks out there, but to get you started here are a few or the more popular options. The one you choose will really depend on your niche and what products they have available specific to your needs. 

Amazon Affiliates 

The one you choose will really depend on your niche and what products they have available specific to your needs. Go ahead and browse the products that are available! 

4. Choose a free traffic source 

Because this post is all about how to make a start in affiliate marketing with no money, we need to look at the available options to drive traffic for free. 

For this we want to think about where our target audience are already spending their time online. Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn are all great options that we can use for free. 

For those of you that would love to start a blog but are unable to afford a domain and hosting at this point then go ahead and look at medium. With medium you will be able to start a blog 100% free and it has the benefit of already being on a domain with authority, so your content will appear in search results much quicker than if you were just starting out on your own self hosted blog. 

Each of the social media platforms has a slightly different audience. Facebook having an extremely large audience, but is not so popular with the younger audiences these days. 

To reach a younger audience you might be better off sticking to platforms like TikTok and YouTube. 

If it is a business audience you are trying to reach, then LinkedIn might be your best bet. 

5. Content creation and trust building 

Whichever option(s) you go with, you want to create a profile, make it look nice with a relevant profile picture and other images. Then start creating useful and informative content for your target audience. 

Do not jump straight into selling mode right away. Make sure you build up your authority and earn the trust of your audience by providing something of value. This could be in the form of niche relevant guides, tips, funny videos, memes, quotes, resources etc. 

This is where you can get creative, show your personality, create connections with your audience and followers. The more effort you put into this side of things the longer people will stick around and hear what you have to say. 

6. Interact with your audience 

It is important to remember to interact with your audience. Reply to those comments, answer those questions. Use what they have to say as inspiration for what content you will create or promote next. 

Do not be afraid to ask them questions as well. Find out more about them and what they want or need in their life. 

Best affiliate marketing tactics for introverts 

As fellow introverts we have picked up quite a few ways to get around the fact that we do not want to be famous social media personalities and much prefer as little interaction with people as possible. 

1. Create faceless YouTube or TikTok videos 
Use a pen-name / pseudonym

1. Create faceless YouTube or TikTok videos 

While it works well if you are comfortable doing so, there really is no need to force yourself to get in front of a camera. 

Video is highly effective in terms of getting eyes on what you have to say. As affiliates we can create all kinds of videos that do not involve being on camera.  

Making use of existing product videos, promo videos or even just related stock footage, we can build a whole channel around our niche. 

If you are comfortable speaking into a microphone then you can talk over the top of existing videos, or you can even use text to speech software to skip that step altogether. 

Scrolling through YouTube and TikTok you will see many videos just like this. So, look around and get some clever ideas for your own creations. 

2. Use a pen-name / pseudonym 

If you are hesitant or anxious about putting your real name out there in front of the world then this might be a route you can take.

Pen-names are quite common in the blogging world for many different reasons. They are a great way to give yourself an extra layer of privacy, and also mean you can become anyone you want to be. Play around with creating a persona that you think your target audience would really click with. 

Put some thought into this so that you can build up a solid personal brand around your online persona. If you decide to run a blog you can even create multiple personas and use them as separate authors.

How can I make $100 a day with affiliate marketing? 

As an affiliate you can earn $100+ a day by following the steps outlined above. Chances are it is not going to happen within your first week (it will for some), but if you are consistent, post high-quality content via your traffic sources or blogs and are promoting the right products to your audience then there is no reason you cannot hit the goal of $100 a day or even much higher in your first year. 

As you grow, use some of your profits to scale. Whether that be outsourcing some of your content creation or starting to promote your products via paid advertising, having available funds really does help you take things to the next level. 

Now it is time for you to get to work! Take our simple step by step approach and start building your new affiliate income machine.