Looking to start affiliate marketing, but don’t have any money to invest in a business?
Don’t worry – in this article, I am going to tell you about the 3 fastest ways to start affiliate marketing with no money.
I’ll also share 3 of the most effective platforms that affiliates are using to crush it right now online.
Let’s get to it!
Can You Really Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular online business models today. It has become so big that more than 80% of businesses now have an affiliate program.
You do not need to have a lot of money behind you to start affiliate marketing. In fact, there are several ways to do affiliate marketing without having a penny.
That being said, you can build an affiliate business much more quickly if you have money to invest in paid ads and a few software tools. But if you don’t have the money to go the paid ad route, then you need to be aware that there is a trade-off for using free (a.k.a organic) traffic.
That trade-off is time. You’re gonna move a little more slowly without any money behind you, but you can absolutely build a good business starting with empty pockets!
In this article, I’m going to share with you what I believe are 3 of the fastest ways to build an affiliate business with organic traffic and no money spent on fancy tools.
How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money
There are a number of ways you can start making money through affiliate marketing without investing money upfront.
I’m now going to take you through the process of getting started step by step from scratch, and then choosing one of the 3 fastest platforms to build an audience with organic traffic.
However, if you want to learn about even more methods, then you can read my article on other effective ways to start affiliate marketing with no money.
Step 1: Choose Your Niche as an Affiliate Marketer
Choosing your niche is an important first step for successful affiliate marketing. You need to be able to hone into a specify audience, create content that will resonate with them, and offer products that they will want to buy.
Often, people who are new to affiliate marketing make the mistake of choosing a very broad niche like finance, weight loss, or relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, these are great niches, but they are huge topics with many big players dominating those industries.
So, what’s the solution?
Start with a broad category like one mentioned above, and then look for opportunities to “sub-niche” down.
For example, weight loss is a great niche for affiliate marketing, but a less competitive space in the weight loss industry would be ‘weight loss for women’. Ok, that’s still too broad, but we’re now down by one level.
Can we go any deeper?
How about ‘weight loss for new moms?’ Yep, that’s now 2 levels deep, and much more specific than just ‘weight loss’.
You could also take this a step further and cross both the weight loss and the fitness niche by targeting ‘new moms who want to strengthen and tone the abdomen while burning belly fat’.
You get the idea.
Choosing the right niche for affiliate marketing is important, so I recommend you read this article on how to choose your niche.
Just make sure you’re niching down to define your target market, and you’re choosing a niche where people are spending money.
If you still need more ideas, then you can read my article here for sub-niche ideas. I add to this list regularly, and so far there’s 81 to choose from!
Step 2: Choose Good Affiliate Programs
Choosing the right products to promote is crucial to your success, especially when starting affiliate marketing with no money.
Look to find 3-5 good products that your audience will need.
Some affiliate programs will pay per sale, others pay per lead, and some pay per click. Each one has its pros and cons, but it’s a good idea to have a healthy mix of each as part of your monetization strategy.
In particular, I recommend you choose to promote affiliate products from a combination of the following categories:
- High ticket product – This pays you at the very least $100 per sale, but preferably more. There are products out there that pay you as much as $1,000+ per sale. Look to see if there are any good high-ticket offers in your niche.
- Recurring product – Usually, you’ll find this in a membership course or software product where the customer pays monthly or yearly to use it. The company then pays you for each month or year they stay a customer.
- Pay-per-lead offer – The company pays you per lead (ie email address or phone number, etc), instead of per sale. Pay per lead offers don’t pay as much, but you will find that your conversions are higher, so it’s a nice addition to your overall income.
Personally, I’d avoid promoting anything that’s gonna pay you less than $20 per sale, unless it’s a product that converts well and complements your core offering of products.
Where to Start
If you’re a beginner, I recommend you join an affiliate network like ClickBank, ShareASale, or CommissionJunction.
Personally, my first choice for affiliate marketing beginners is ClickBank. It’s where I started, and I now still promote several great offers on this network 9 years later.
ClickBank is easy and free to join. Once you start earning commissions, they pay you out weekly (two weeks in arrears), with a minimal payout threshold of just $10. This is great if you’re just getting started because many other networks will only pay you out once per month on $50 or more!
Another reason why I recommend ClickBank for beginners is because they have a lot of good products that will often pay you as much as 50 – 75% per sale. Compare this to the average 1-6% per sale promoting Amazon products and you can see why a lot of affiliates choose to work with ClickBank compared to Amazon.
When choosing products to promote, it’s also critical to be able to tell how well the product is selling. The last thing you want to do is spend months trying to promote a product that is not selling.
ClickBank also makes it easy to see which products are best sellers via their gravity metric.
Promote Affiliate Products From Several Different Merchants
The safest way to make money online as an affiliate marketer is by promoting products from many different merchants and product owners, rather than promoting one product from one seller.
This is because if that seller pulls their affiliate program, or changes the terms on you, you won’t lose all your hard-earned income overnight.
It’s also better for your business long-term. If you’re promoting 5 or more products from 5 different merchants, you’ll have a diverse portfolio.
When you’re just getting started with affiliate marketing, start with 1-2 solid products, and then look to increase your offering from there.
Step 3: Use an Affiliate Bridge Page Funnel
One of the most effective ways to run an affiliate marketing business is to use a bridge page funnel with an email autoresponder.
By using a bridge funnel, you can collect leads, build an email list, and then continue to market to your audience for months or years to come.
This is what the big players do.
Basically, the landing page on your funnel will offer some kind of free gift (known as a lead magnet) in exchange for the visitor’s email address.
Once the visitor submits their email address, they are automatically redirected to the bridge page where the affiliate marketer then pitches a product. Regardless if the person buys the product on the bridge page or not, the affiliate now has their email address.
This is key because you can now use the email address to market to them via automated emails for months or even years to come.
By now, you’re probably thinking it costs money to set up a bridge funnel with an autoresponder, right?
If I was writing this article 2 years ago, then I would agree, and therefore, I’d not recommend this for affiliate marketing with no money. The alternate strategy would be to only use platforms where you can insert an affiliate link directly.
While you can do that and make some money on the front end (after all, it is certainly easier), you’ll be leaving a LOT of money on the table!
Thanks to GrooveFunnels, even an affiliate marketer with zero cash can get started the right way by using a bridge funnel and build a list.
I won’t go on about them too much in this article, but Groove offers a completely free account with a number of useful features that will allow you to use a bridge funnel and collect email leads up to 500 subscribers.
Once you’ve reached 500 subs you should be earning more than enough money to reinvest back into your business and take things to the next level.
Then, watch this video for a tutorial on how to set up your bridge funnel.
Once you have your bridge funnel set up and you’re ready to collect emails, you just need to choose one of the 3 platforms below and start creating content. In your content, you will direct people to visit your bridge funnel landing page.
Drive Traffic To Your Bridge Funnel & Collect Leads With Free Traffic
Now you have the core of your new business set up, all that’s left for you to do is to choose one of the free platforms below, and start generating organic traffic through publishing content your audience will love to consume.
Bear in mind, working with free traffic will take you more time to reach your goals, but it is absolutely possible.
In my opinion, the following 3 platforms will work best for you if you’re starting affiliate marketing with no money.
Platform #1: Affiliate Marketing on YouTube
YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users, so it’s a great platform to use for affiliate marketing.
People visit YouTube for a number of reasons, from searching for help and information on a particular problem, to pure entertainment purposes.
Since YouTube has such a diverse user base, it’s a great platform to promote pretty much any niche.
By using YouTube, you can create helpful and informative content on various topics on your niche. If your content is helpful, then you’ll soon start to build an audience who subscribe to your channel.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your content without compromising the quality of the videos.
YouTube’s terms of service allow you to place an affiliate link in the description of your video, but you’ll need to use a link shortener like bit.ly in order to do so. However, you’ll make more money as an affiliate marketer if instead, you place the URL to the landing page of your affiliate bridge funnel in the description.
There are a number of different types of content you can create for YouTube. Here are some great ideas for affiliate marketing purposes:
- How-to videos
- Step-by-step guide videos
- Product review videos
- X product vs Y product videos
- Best X (product) for Y (purpose) videos
Creating an informative and helpful videos like ‘how to’s’ and ‘step-by-step guides’ will often help you get more subscribers to your channel. On the other hand, product review videos will usually make you more money.
That’s not to say you can’t monetize ‘how to’ and ‘guide’ videos, you absolutely can. But for a solid affiliate marketing strategy, you should to create both types of content.
If you’re starting affiliate marketing with no money, then you will, of course, be keen to make money. So starting with a few product review videos first off will help you get some traction.
When you publish your videos you can also add up to five “end card” links in each video. These cards will appear at the end of your video and link to either another one of your videos, or your landing page. This is a great way to help keep people watching more of your videos and consuming your content.
YouTube works well to convert affiliate offers because the videos bring a level of trust, especially if the video shows your face. So, before you start promoting affiliate products on YouTube, make sure you have researched the products in advance so you know what you’re talking about.
It’s important to make YouTube videos with good lighting and sound quality. If you have no money to get started, then you can use Loom to record your videos for free. However, as soon as you start making some money, then I highly recommend you invest in your video production.
Most good video software out there is expensive and difficult to use, and video editing can be tricky. However, one exception to that rule is StoryXPress. It’s a great video recording and editing platform that’s easy to use, and pricing starts as low as $10 per month.
When you’re creating your videos, don’t be afraid to be controversial, it’s great for getting more views. However, if you want to make money with affiliate marketing and build a loyal following, you should be honest about your experiences with products.
You should also mention that you’re an affiliate marketer for the products you recommend in your video. Don’t be too salesy. It’s best to be informative and show your audience what you love.
Remember that YouTube is a search engine, so be sure to optimize your videos by placing your keywords in your video title and in the description area of your video.
Platform #2: Affiliate Marketing on Pinterest
Pinterest is another great platform to use if you’re doing affiliate marketing with no money behind you to invest.
Pinterest is one of the most popular social platforms in the world, with 478 million monthly users as of 2021. However, if you’re going to use Pinterest for affiliate marketing, then bear in mind that on average, 6 out of every 10 users are female.
So, if you’re in a niche that has high appeal for women, then you can potentially make a lot of money on Pinterest as an affiliate.
By posting interesting images known as Pins on the Pinterest platform, people can search the Pinterest network and discover your pins. You can include an affiliate link with your Pins and send people directly to an affiliate offer. However, I recommend using the URL of your bridge funnel with your Pins instead of a naked affiliate link. This way you can also build your email list while making affiliate sales.
Like Google and YouTube, Pinterest is also a search engine. This means that you can use keywords with your Pins to increase visibility. When someone searches the Pinterest database, you will have a greater chance of your Pins being discovered if you have included your keywords in the title and description of your Pins.
The other reason why this is so great is that your Pins can potentially rank for keywords for months or even years, similar to how a blog post can rank in the Google search results. Over time, as you publish more Pins, you will have more assets pointing free, organic traffic to your bridge funnel.
Compare this to the length of time social posts get visibility on other platforms like Facebook (avg. 6 hrs) and Twitter (avg. 15 mins) – you can quickly see why Pinterest has huge potential for affiliate marketing.
For a step-by-step guide on how to use Pinterest, see this ClickBank article on Pinterest affiliate marketing.
Platform #3: Affiliate Marketing on TikTok
When using TikTok to start affiliate marketing with no money, it’s important to be aware of the demographics of the platform.
The latest stats on TikTok demographics as of January 2022 curated by Brian Dean at Backlinko state that around 25% of active US TikTok accounts are owned by people between the ages of 10-19.
Hmm, that doesn’t sound great if I’m looking to make money on TikTok?!
But wait, if you’re thinking that TikTok is just for kids, then you’d be wrong.
Brian goes on to state that 22.9% of US TikTok’ers are aged between 20-29, 21.7% are between 30-39, and as much as 20.3% of users are between 40-49.
Phew! Still with me?
I hope so, because there are lots of affiliates who are absolutely crushing it right now using TikTok to promote all kinds of products, from business and marketing services to cosmetics, kitchenware, laptops, projectors, and even security systems for houses!
That being said, before jumping in to this platform, it’s important to make sure that your products and affiliate offers appeal to the demographic.
Since the average TikTok video lasts between 15 and 60 seconds, it’s not too hard to create content for this platform.
Once a person watches your TikTok video, if they like what you’re about, then they’ll visit your profile. You can also direct them to visit your profile in your video.
The trick here is to dress up your profile to let people know what you’re about. You can include a website link in your profile (your bridge funnel landing page), and label it with a clear call to action to entice the visitor to click your link.
If you’re going to use this channel, then expect to post a new video at least once per day. Note that the top affiliates on TikTok are posting around 4 videos per day on average.
The more content you have on TikTok, the more followers you will be able to build up. The TikTok platform doesn’t allow you to post text or images. If you want to interact with your followers, you can add links to your other social profiles and interact with them there.
If you’re creative, then you can also create your own trend and use it to promote your affiliate offer. If your video is already viral, create your own by creating an entertaining duet to the video. This can earn you a lot of money if you do it right. This method can be used on other platforms, including YouTube and Instagram.
The appeal of TikTok for marketers is the rate at which the platform has grown over the years, and the potential for videos to go viral so there’s lots of potential here.
Besides entertainment and music videos, TikTok also offers videos on topics like home DIY, pets, marketing, make money online, finance, and fitness, to name but a few.
Final Thoughts: How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business With No Money
Hopefully, by now, you have clarity on how to begin affiliate marketing with no money.
You don’t need to spend money to get started building your affiliate marketing business, but it will take you more time.
Once you get some momentum, if you want to keep growing your business, then you’ll likely need to invest some money into a few useful resources like software tools and content as you grow. But it’ll be a lot easier to do it when you’re already making money from affiliate marketing!