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How to Start Affiliate Marketing For Free

11 min read

Affiliate marketing is a very attractive option to a lot of people. There are good reasons for this. If you establish a prominent online presence in a niche community, affiliate marketing is a good way to monetize it. With affiliate marketing, influencers, content creators, and bloggers receive money for promoting products on their platforms. These affiliate marketers receive payments based on commission stemming from the number of purchases made through their unique affiliate links.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to add supplemental income. The majority of affiliate marketers do not make enough money off affiliate marketing alone to sustain themselves. However, many successful affiliate marketers are able to make around $20,000 annually. Combined with other revenue streams, that is certainly a significant amount for most people.

So the question is, can you start affiliate marketing with no money? If you have limited funds, it is still possible to break into affiliate marketing and start earning. Granted, this will take some time and hard work to establish your presence. But it is doable, and many have done it before. Here is a helpful guide on how to start affiliate marketing with no money.

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How to Get Start in Affiliate Marketing With No Money

Find Your Niche

The first step of becoming an affiliate marketer is deciding how you will grow a following. Affiliate marketers rely on having an engaged online audience. Payments are based on the amount of clicks, views, or purchases stem from your designated affiliate links. If nobody is following you, there will be no one to click on your links.

Your niche should be something which you are already engaged with and knowledgeable about. Maybe it is a hobby or lifestyle which you are passionate about, like running, gardening, or board games. Find other online communities and micro-influencers within your niche. Try to identify what unique voice or perspective you can bring, and what platforms you can use to reach a wide audience.

Be Active In Your Online Community

Once you have your niche, it’s time to get involved. Find active communities devoted to your niche, activity, or hobby. Try to find active message boards, servers, and social media groups with a high number of actively involved participants. You don’t need to start creating content right away, though you can if you would like. You might instead start by simply joining the conversation. You can try sharing affiliate links right away, but this strategy is less successful if you aren’t an established presence.

However, the more active, engaging, and friendly you are, the more people will listen to you. If you produce high quality content that keeps members of the community engaged and interested, you will gain a larger platform. Then you can have more success sharing affiliate links with your community.

Choose The Right Affiliate Marketing Program and Products

One more crucial step is choosing an affiliate marketing program (and products) that are good for you. Not all affiliate marketing programs are the same, though it’s possible to find success with most of them. Choosing quality products that you (and your community ) believe in is usually the most important thing.

One of the dangers of affiliate marketing is that audiences can find your promotions inauthentic. This can happen if you are promoting products which you don’t believe in or have any attachment to. This is called “unattached affiliate marketing.” However, if you choose products which are relevant to you and your audience, and which you believe in, there is a lower risk of running into this problem.

Offer real praise, and explain why the product is useful to you. This will enable your audience to see the value it can bring to their lives as well. As a result, they will be more likely to purchase that product for themselves.

About Affiliate Marketing Programs

Affiliate marketers make money by signing up for affiliate marketing programs. These programs are typically free to join. After all, you are the one providing a service to the companies. As an affiliate marketer, you are promoting their products or services, and generating sales for them. They do not want to charge people to provide this service for them.

With that said, it is still very important to pick an affiliate marketing program that suits you. There is no universal formula to choosing the best affiliate marketing program. It ultimately comes down to what your goals are, and finding products that you believe in. However, there are some important distinguishing factors to consider when comparing affiliate marketing programs.


Affiliate marketing programs have varying commission rates for their affiliate marketers. Every program pays affiliates based on the number of sales, views, or subscriptions their links generate. However, exact figures are not consistent. For example, Amazon Affiliates has several notable advantages over other affiliate programs. However, one common criticism is that Amazon Affiliates has a lower commission rate than most, ranging from 4 to 10%.

Product Variety

Having a wide range of products to choose from is also very important. Most successful affiliate marketers don’t simply promote one or two items or services. They promote a range of quality products which they believe in. Even when you are starting out, it pays to cast a wide net in order to find the products that are most appealing to you and your audience.

Returning to Amazon Affiliates, this is one of that program’s biggest strengths. Amazon is a massive online retailer, meaning affiliates can find just about any product they can think of on the website.

Amazon is not the only affiliate program with a good inventory, of course. Some other reputable affiliate marketing programs include ClickBank, CJ Affiliate, and Rakuten Advertising.


You should also consider how user-friendly and accessible each program is, both for you and consumers. Amazon Affiliates is highly accessible because most users are already highly familiar with Amazon’s interface. Another highly accessible affiliate program is Instagram Affiliate. Instagram’s built-in affiliate marketing program is a new feature that is designed to be extremely easy to use.

The easier an affiliate program is to use, the easier it is for you to find and promote products. In turn, a more accessible interface removes any friction which could prevent your audience from making purchases.

Affiliate Marketing Platforms

One last thing to consider is which platform(s) you will use to promote your affiliate products. Many affiliate marketers use several social media channels to sell products. Each has its own pros and cons.


Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms, so it has the strength of coming with a huge audience. It is also fairly good at providing linking opportunities for affiliate marketers.

However, Facebook does not appeal to everyone for a couple of reasons. First, its organic search functions are fairly limited, which can make it difficult for users to find your content. Second, Facebook is not as popular with younger audiences as other platforms.


YouTube is a great platform for capturing a wide audience, creating unique content, and converting sales. However, the challenges of using YouTube for affiliate marketing are that it’s highly competitive and difficult to break into.

If you use YouTube, you will likely need to purchase some basic video production equipment and teach yourself some editing skills. This can be more time consuming and costly if you are trying to start affiliate marketing without money.


Twitter is another highly popular social media platform with a huge built-in audience. Its text format also makes it extremely easy to promote and share affiliate marketing content. However, Twitter’s strict character limit can be very restricting and limits the earning potential.


TikTok is considered the best platform for reaching young audiences. It is easy to use and is designed to make it easy to create compelling and engaging content. However, TikTok is also highly competitive, and it can be difficult to share affiliate links on the platform.


Instagram is one of the best platforms for social media content. Video and image content is often highly effective when used for promotional purposes. Instagram also has an extremely large user base spanning multiple generations and demographics. Additionally, Instagram has its own built-in affiliate marketing program.

The drawbacks of Instagram affiliate marketing are that it’s highly competitive, and it can be difficult to grow a following organically.

Learn more: How to Make Money With Instagram Affiliate Marketing


Blogging is another highly popular and effective tool for affiliate marketing. If you’re trying to figure out how to start affiliate marketing for free, this may be the option for you. Starting a blog does not require a major financial commitment. And growing your following is simply dependent on you writing compelling content that is useful and relevant to your community.

Want to learn more about how to make money with a blog? Read Ecwid’s guide on How to Make a Living Blogging, or how to combine blogging and ecommerce.


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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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