Begin Affiliate Marketing Without Investment: Path to Financial Freedom

How to start affiliate marketing with no money
How to start affiliate marketing with no money

When I started affiliate marketing back in 2002 I was FLAT BROKE. In fact, I was $40,000 in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. I could only afford to do affiliate marketing at night in my spare time after work.  Since then, my efforts have generated millions of dollars in commissions.

As you probably know, affiliate marketing is one of the most rewarding ways to make money online.

And the good news is you don´t need money to start.

While it does make things easier to have money to pay for traffic, software, and other resources, there are ways to generate and convert leads for your offers without spending anything.

In this guide, I’ll focus on practical strategies and proven techniques to help you generate income from affiliate marketing with little or no financial investment in a reasonable amount of time.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money?

By leveraging free traffic sources like search engines and social media and creating content that attracts, engages, and converts a specific audience to your offers.

This process allows you to start without money and tends to generate the most profits over the long term. I’ll explain a step by step process to follow. 

How can you succeed faster?

The truth is, there are no shortcuts. If you want to get rich quickly, this blog post is not for you. You might be more interested in the 30 Day Google Challenge. 

However, you can speed things up and succeed in a relatively short period by focusing on two things: learning the right strategies and then putting a lot of CONSISTENT work into them.

Many people fall into the trap of not learning the fundamentals and not planning their strategy carefully. Because of that, they waste a lot of time and effort down the road.

Let me be honest; to make money, you must consistently create content or else buy traffic.

Since you want to know how to do this without money, you need to become a creator. Whether you create a blog, a youtube channel, a podcast, or even a TikTok following, your job will be generating free traffic. 

To generate free traffic, you´ll have to put in many hours to make things work, but believe me, it will be worth it if you do it right!

In this post, I’ll describe many free and paid tools that can save you time and help you optimize your strategy, leading to faster results.  

Finally, no matter how well you prepare, there´s always a learning curve. Therefore, to succeed faster, you must be willing to fail faster and learn from your mistakes.

How to build an affiliate marketing business with little or no financial investment (step-by-step)

How to start affiliate marketing with no money Part 1: The groundwork

By the way I posted a complete video as well to help with this entire project…

Pick a niche

Picking a niche allows you to narrow your efforts and become relevant to a particular audience.

Creating a lot of content on a particular topic makes it easier to attract and engage people and be seen as a subject matter expert. This translates into more leads, conversions, and retention.

Start by assessing your interests and skills to brainstorm potential niches you could work with. Working with something you’re already familiar with and passionate about will make staying motivated and creating engaging content easier.

Then, check the demand. How big are those niches? Are their markets growing? Avoid picking niches that are too specific or broad.

Semrush is a great tool you can try for free that lets you do all of this research quickly. Set up a Free SEMRUSH account

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

Next, browse affiliate networks and sites of popular brands in that niche. You want to make sure affiliate offers are available for you to pitch to your audience eventually. 

Finally, don´t forget to check the competition levels – Semrush can help by showing the keyword difficulty. While all niches are competitive at some level, some are overly saturated. Pick a niche with gaps that you can fill.

Define your target audience.

Knowing your target audience is one of the most important things in marketing.

If you don´t know who you should be targeting and how your offers can help them, you won´t be able to communicate in a way that engages and builds trust with them.

To do it, start by downloading this free customer avatar worksheet, where you´ll define your audience´s:

  • Demographics
  • Personal Background
  • Traits & Attributes
  • Goals & Pain points
  • Objections & Buying behavior
  • Where/How they´re consuming info
How to start affiliate marketing with no money

It´s crucial to fill it in right. You´ll use this worksheet when planning your content strategy later on.

As you’ll see, it’s a bit extensive. One way to answer it faster and more accurately is by using Jasper, or ChatGPT. You can ask questions about your target audience, and it’ll respond based on actual data from the web.

Here´s an example asking about the ideal audience for a back pain product:

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

This can save you a ton of time and help you learn things about your audience that you might not come up with by yourself.

Join an affiliate network

You can work directly with brands or through affiliate networks in affiliate marketing.

If you’re starting, I highly recommend working with a network first, as it’ll be easier to find offers and all their relevant information.

Some popular networks include ClickBank, CJ Affiliate, and Amazon Associates.

There´s also MaxBounty, which has a very large selection of CPA offers.

To join a network, you must complete an application and go through an admission process that usually takes two to five days.

They´ll typically ask you about:

  • Your experience with affiliate marketing
  • The types of products you want to promote
  • Your marketing channels
  • The traffic sources you plan to use
How to start affiliate marketing with no money

Always be transparent when answering their questions. For instance, when they ask about your marketing channels, it’s fine to say you’ve just started your blog.

There’s a lot of fraud in affiliate marketing. And because of that, networks work hard to ensure you’re a real person bringing legit traffic.

Other important advice includes not using a VPN or private network and be sure to use an email address linked to your site rather than Gmail or Outlook. If you don’t have a website, then be sure to have at least your social media accounts set up and make them appear professional.

All those things will put you ahead and increase your odds of getting approved.

Learn how to choose affiliate offers.

Affiliate networks typically provide the most important data about their CPA affiliate offers, such as the payout and average conversion rates.

Here´s an example from ClickBank:

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

In addition, you can always contact the affiliate managers and ask for more information.

Some of the most important things to consider when choosing your offers include:

  • The allowed traffic types: For instance, if you´re generating traffic from search engines, make sure that search traffic is allowed.
  • Relevance: Choose offers relevant to your target audience and align with the content you create.
  • Quality and Reputation: Partner only with reputable affiliate programs that offer high-quality products or services. Conduct throughout research on the merchant, their track record, and customer reviews. That´ll boost your credibility with your audience.
  • Commission Structure: Consider both the percentage commission and the average order value. Also, pay attention to other aspects, such as the cookie´s lifetime and earnings per click.
  • Conversion Rate: Consider factors such as the average conversion rates, market demand, competition, and customer feedback to determine how hard it´ll be to convert leads for that offer.
  • Affiliate Support and Resources: Check if the affiliate program provides valuable resources and support for affiliates. Look for programs that offer marketing materials, product data feeds, and dedicated affiliate managers who can assist you with any questions or concerns.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money Part 2: Your content strategy

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

Choose your platforms

The first step to creating your content strategy is defining which platforms you´ll be using. That might include a blog, YouTube channel, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or other social media profiles.

This is the time to review your avatar worksheet and learn where your audience spends time.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

You must also figure out which formats will probably work best for your niche and that you’re most comfortable working with. For instance, if you don’t like showing up on camera, YouTube or TikTok might not be the best way to go unless you create a faceless channel.

And while it can be great to combine different platforms, focusing on one at first will make it easier to create more content and establish a strong presence. You can then repurpose your content on other platforms. 

Plan your content

Once you’ve picked your platforms, you should know the content formats you’ll use. However, many platforms provide multiple formats. This is the time to reflect on that.

Don´t overthink it. Once you start creating content, you can try different formats and see which ones work best with your audience.

Next, you want to come up with topics. Start by looking at the most popular frameworks for affiliates, such as:

  • Product reviews
  • Comparison guides
  • How-to guides/tutorials
  • Listicles
  • Q&A sessions
  • Case studies

This is another thing where Jasper or ChatGPT can be extremely helpful at. If you ask for topic ideas in your niche, it´ll give you suggestions based on what your target customers usually look for.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

When thinking about topics, always focus on delivering value first. It´s okay if some pieces aren´t really suitable for promoting your offers, as they´ll still help you attract and engage followers.

Create a sequential list of topics to make you stand out as an authority on a particular niche or topic. Put them into a spreadsheet for future reference.

Another great tip is collaborating with other content creators, and industry thought leaders. This will allow you to create really high-quality content while leveraging their audiences.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money Part 3: Lead generation

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

Now before we start creating content and generating traffic from that content, it is extremely beneficial to send that traffic to your own “lead magnet”. This allows you to build an email list. This can be done for free, and I explained how to set up this lead magnet in the following video. 

Start Creating Content

Next, you want to create & optimize your content for higher ranking and link your content to either your lead magnet, landing pages or directly to affiliate offers. This is all explained in our affiliate marketing course. 

Whether we´re talking about building a website for affiliate marketing, YouTube, or social media, it mostly comes down to matching your content with what users are searching for and improving the user experience.

Each traffic source has its own criteria to decide what ranks higher. Make sure to learn how your chosen platforms work.

For instance, if you´re blogging, take some time to learn SEO. And if you´re using social media, find out what´ll make you rank higher on your networks.

You can also use free trials with tools to discover trends in your audience and what´s working best for your competitors. Some examples include SemrushVidIQ, and TubeBuddy.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

While most of these tools come at a price after the trial is up, they´re much cheaper than paid traffic and will take your strategy to a whole new level.

Consistently Create Content 

Consistency in content marketing and personal branding, whether on social media or a blog, is critical to long-term success. The constant delivery of high-quality content is rewarded on most platforms, increasing your visibility and reach. Best of all it builds trust and credibility with your audience. Your audience comes to expect and look forward to your posts, articles, or other forms of content, knowing that they’ll get value from what you share.

Consistency also positively impacts SEO, as search engines prioritize active websites with fresh content, resulting in higher rankings and improved visibility.

Repurpose Your Content

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

Repurposing content refers to transforming existing content into various formats or tweaking it for different platforms or audiences. For example, I started repurposing some Youtube videos into blog posts since some prefer reading to watching a video. It’s an incredibly valuable strategy, especially for busy affiliate marketers, as it allows us to leverage our content, reach a broader audience, and get more traffic.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money Part 4: Convert your leads

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

If you´ve studied your audience, created content that resonates with them, and provided valuable advice, converting them shouldn’t be a tough nut to crack.

Most of the time, a simple CTA can get the job done.

You can also take things a step further by developing a marketing funnel. We have an entire course on email marketing and funnels at Powerhouse Affiliate.

You should create an automated email follow-up to nurture your leads and eventually convert them into customers and/or long-time readers/subscribers. 

This is where I would suggest you create a newsletter. It enables you to increase exposure to your audience and promote other affiliate offers to them. A long and qualified email list could ultimately become an affiliate’s most valuable asset.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money Part 5: Optimize & Scale

How to start affiliate marketing with no money

The marketing landscape is constantly changing. You never know what´s going to work best with your audience. And what worked yesterday may not yield the same results tomorrow.

That´s why you must always test different types of content, offers, and copy to find better ways of attracting, engaging, and converting affiliate offers into commissions.

Every successful affiliate is testing and optimizing. And if you want to keep up, you gotta do it too.

And the faster you do it, the quicker you´ll improve your outcomes and generate a higher income from affiliate marketing. Once you know what works, it’s time to scale. 

When scaling content marketing, there are a few things that can help. 

  1. Automate: Eventually, once you start earning money, you will want to invest in technology to automate repetitive tasks. Tools like social media schedulers, email marketing automation software, and content management systems can save you time.
  2. Create templates: Develop templates for different types of content. This will speed up content creation and ensure consistency in style and tone.
  3. Outsource Content Creation: If your budget allows, consider outsourcing content creation to freelancers from places like Upwork or Fiverr. This way, you can focus on strategy and other aspects of your business.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, this guide has proven that you don’t need money to become a successful affiliate marketer and has given you a general idea of the process.

In summary, here are the steps: 

  • You need to pick a niche
  • Choose the type of content and platform you want to use to connect to your target audience. (Blog, Youtube channel, IG, TikTok etc)
  • Choose the content you want to deliver to your audience and create a list of topics you will create.
  • Find affiliate offers you can promote within your content
  • Create a funnel or lead capture page, or landing page, or direct link.
  • Create content consistently on one platform at first
  • Repurpose your content into other platforms to reach your audience
  • Optimize & Scale

To dive deeper into each step and strategy I gave you, check all the free and amazing resources available here at Powerhouse Affiliate and on my Youtube Channel. You should also join the Powerhouse Affiliate community, where you can learn from more experienced affiliates who´ve been where you are. Please leave a comment if you enjoyed this post. 

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