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Kyle Dana, Director of Marketing, Digistore24

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Kyle Dana

Director of Marketing

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How to Learn Affiliate Marketing for Free

May 13, 2022

16 Min. Read

How to learn affiliate marketing for free

Here at Digistore24, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to learn affiliate marketing for free. Throughout the article, we explore a variety of topics that will help you get started and put you on the right path to putting money in your pockets.

How to Learn Affiliate Marketing for Free

These days, doesn’t it seem like everyone you know is on a mission to find the next best side-hustle that will land them a stable, reliable, and passive income source? And let’s be honest, you’re probably searching too, right? So whether you’re taking an interest in stocks, crypto, NFTs, or affiliate marketing, you first turn to the internet and try to find free content to educate yourself on any given topic before investing money in workshops or online courses.

If your searching brought you to this article, we’re pretty confident that you’re looking for ways to learn affiliate marketing for free. Affiliate marketing is a highly competitive industry, but fortunately, it's a relatively easy space to get into when you have proper guidance and reliable tools at your disposal.

What Will You Learn About in This Free Affiliate Marketing Guide?

Learning about affiliate marketing for free

In this free affiliate marketing guide, we will cover everything you need to know about this industry, including: 

  • What affiliate marketing actually is
  • How affiliate marketing works
  • The most popular affiliate marketing niches (and which is best for YOU)
  • Which affiliate marketing channels are the best (and the best to get started promoting with)
  • AND a list of FREE affiliate marketing courses you can continue learning through.

In addition, we’re going to let you in on why networking is so important in this industry, key affiliate marketing terms you need to know NOW to talk-the-talk, and of course, tips and tricks on how to actually make money in this industry…

We know that’s a lot of information, but don’t worry, we’ll take it one step at a time and explain everything. Let’s start at the beginning…

What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing is any form of marketing where an affiliate (a specific person, company, or brand) promotes someone else’s products or services for a commission through various advertising channels. These channels can include email, paid advertising such as Facebook or Google ads, YouTube, social media pages, blogs, and more. Essentially, affiliate marketing enables you to earn money online by driving interested buyers to a company’s website or landing page.

Commission rates vary, and depend on things like whether the product is a physical or digital product. If you want to get a sense of what some of these products and services look like, check out an affiliate network, like the Digistore24 Marketplace where we have a wide range of offers you can choose from and start promoting right away.

What is an Affiliate Network?

Joining an affiliate marketing network

An affiliate network is like a middleman between a product owner and an affiliate. Rather than going straight to a vendor or company and trying to promote their product, you can run the entire process through a platform. Affiliate networks like Digistore24 allow affiliate marketers access to a multitude of physical and digital products, as well as tools to support their affiliate marketing efforts. Integrated payment processing and accounting automation are also available.

We may be biased, but going through an affiliate marketing network is the easiest way to get started. Typically, these platforms have a solid knowledge base and onboarding process that you can take advantage of to further your affiliate marketing efforts. It’s as easy as creating an account with your preferred email address, browsing the affiliate marketplace, and choosing a product from a specific category to promote. You’ll decide how to best promote that offer with an advertising channel (using some of our tips below), and before you know it, you’re on your way to making sales and getting paid juicy ccommissions.

When it comes to choosing the right niche, always gravitate towards things you’re already familiar with, or even better, passionate about! When you already have a fair amount of knowledge about something, chances are, it will be way easier to promote affiliate products from that niche. Rather than venturing into an affiliate niche that is completely new to you, and spending a ton of time researching - you should aim to promote something that is already familiar to you and your lifestyle so that your time can be spent earning money.

For example: If you are a workout enthusiast, choose the health and fitness niche and find a workout plan or supplement to promote.

Where Can Affiliates Promote Offers?

As an affiliate marketer, you have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to promoting an offer. You can advertise on different websites or blogs, social media platforms, through email marketing… you name it. All you need is your affiliate link, and you’re ready to get started! 

Let’s go through all of the marketing channels you can promote on:

1. Social Media

Affiliate marketing on social media

Let’s face it, we’re all on social media. Starting with social media marketing first makes sense because the space is already familiar. However, there’s still a lot to learn about each platform. First of all, there are two ways you can approach advertising on social media: organic or paid. 

Basically, organic advertising means you’re doing everything without paying money - you are simply creating and promoting content on your personal or business page, groups, stories, and more. And of course, sneaking in a promolink. 

Paid advertising, on the other hand, requires you to invest money in ads. To have success, you also have to learn how to maneuver each social media platforms’ advertising tools. These tools aren’t hard to master, but you do need to put in some time to learn how they work.

So, which platforms are the best for promoting affiliate offers?

  • Facebook - Facebook is a great medium for affiliate marketing. Both organic and paid advertising work well on the platform. You can choose to promote offers on your personal page, business profile, in various groups or by creating ads - but make sure you read their compliance rules beforehand.
  • Instagram - Advertising on Instagram is all about creating visually appealing content. Sharing educational content, while keeping everything “pleasing to the eye” is the fastest way to gain a following on the platform. Regular posts, reels, engaging stories and once-in-a-while live streams can go a long way. And of course, you can run ads too.
  • Pinterest - Although different, Pinterest is still a social media platform. It works more like a search engine, so make sure that when people search for a specific topic, your posts will pop up. You can create different Boards and populate them with Pins, and hyperlink the pins to lead to your sales page or landing page.

2. Blog

If you’ve been blogging for some time already and have a decent audience, promoting offers in your posts is the way to go. Just make sure the offers you choose to promote are in line with the topics you usually tackle in your articles. 

If you run a personal development blog, for example, you may consider writing a top 10 listicle of products that could help your readers better help themselves, and link to the sales pages of the offers you’re promoting. Don’t forget to also make use of affiliate banners.

In case you don’t have a blog, you may consider starting one. All you need to do is choose a niche you’d enjoy writing about - preferably something you’re already passionate about, and keep posting content consistently. Also, make sure you do a little keyword research beforehand for search engine optimization.

You can then share this content on social media, as well as email.

3. Email

Building a strong email list is key for affiliate marketing. Let’s say you’ve already made a few sales by promoting offers on social media and your blog; that means you probably now have email addresses you can work with and promote other offers to. It’s time to start doing email marketing.

You can leverage the power of email by sending your subscribers valuable content, while also squeezing in a few offers that your subscribers might find useful. Make sure to keep it balanced though, and always be relevant and informative. Also, avoid being spammy at all costs and don’t forget to keep those subject lines and headlines snappy.

4. YouTube

YouTube is another great space to send organic traffic and paid traffic to affiliate offers. You can either create video ads and target specific audiences, or create a YouTube channel, become a content creator and post entertaining or educational videos, while carefully sliding in products in your videos and promoting them.

If you’re a content creator, the key to success is to integrate products in your videos naturally, without the audience feeling that you’re forcing something onto them. And don’t forget to add affiliate links in your description, either!

5. Ads

We already established that using ads on social media and YouTube can be lucrative. But you can take your affiliate marketing a step further by promoting offers with Google Ads, native ads or solo ads.

  • Google Ads - Promote offers on the largest search engine with location-based, search-based and interest-based ads.
  • Solo Ads - Solo ads are featured in emails or newsletters in which your ad is the only promotional piece. 
  • Native Ads - Native advertising matches the content of the platform upon which it appears on, and it doesn’t come off as an ad to end-users.

Remember to also include remarketing into your ad strategy. Remarketing is essentially retargeting potential customers that have already interacted with one of your ads, but left the buyer's journey at some point. 

6. Forums

As an affiliate marketer, you can easily join online forums and start providing value to the community by answering questions and providing insight. Once you gain a little bit of credibility, you can slowly start promoting using your affiliate links.

What Are the Key Terms in Affiliate Marketing?

Learning key terms in affiliate marketing

If you don’t know anything about this industry, or digital marketing in general, getting started with affiliate marketing can be a bit overwhelming. Apart from learning about offers, promolinks, niches and different advertising strategies, you’ll also need to understand at least a few terms and abbreviations.

So, let’s go over the most common ones, in alphabetical order:

AOV - AOV reflects the average order value of a purchase. This metric is calculated by dividing the total revenue value of orders within a specified time period by the number of orders.

API - API is short for application programming interface. It basically allows apps to communicate with each other, and affiliates use it to access real-time statistics and data in order to improve their targeting and affiliate efforts. 

CPA - CPA refers to cost per action, or cost per acquisition. It’s a payment model where an affiliate gets paid a specified dollar amount when a certain action is completed by a customer - a purchase, for example.

CPM - Cost per thousand, or cost per mile, CPM is a marketing term used to indicate the price of 1,000 impressions on one web page - a sales page or landing page, for instance - or, an ad.

CPC - CPC refers to cost per click, and is a payment method where an advertiser, that can also be an affiliate marketer, is charged for each click his online ad generates.

CR - CR is the abbreviation for conversion rate. Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, for example, a purchase. If a customer clicks on your ad, goes through the buyer’s journey, orders and checks out, that can be considered a conversion.

CTR - Click-through rate, or click-through ratio, is a metric used to measure the percentage of visitors who click on a particular link, like your promolink, for example.

EPC - EPC refers to earnings per click, and is calculated based on 100 clicks. EPC is used to assess how profitable an affiliate program actually is. It’s an important metric for reporting both affiliate and merchant performance.

LP - LP is short for landing page. A landing page is a standalone web page where a customer "lands" on after clicking on your affiliate promolink. A landing page can also act as a “middle man” between your ad and an offer sales page. You can create your own landing pages using Coachannel.

ROI - ROI, or return on investment, is a measure of your profitability. It's the measurement of how your investment generated profit. Basically, ROI shows how much money you made off of your investment.

Which Are the Most Popular Niches in Affiliate Marketing?

Fortunately, when it comes to affiliate marketing, there are more than enough niches to choose from… The hard part is actually choosing the right one for you, and committing to it. We extensively covered 33 niches in one of our previous blog articles, so make sure you check that out if you’re having difficulty deciding which one to run with.

Being indecisive and having to choose a niche is just like watching Netflix: you are presented with a lot of diversity, and you spend way too much time contemplating what to choose, and when you finally do pick one, you can’t commit, and you go back to browsing. But thankfully, there’s a solution to get out of this loop.

Before choosing anything, ask yourself: “What do I personally like?”

Instead of choosing what’s popular or a profitable niche that happens to be in the top 5 of a list, go with something that you are comfortable with, or passionate about. Promoting offers surrounding topics you actually like can make the entire marketing process much more enjoyable - and also authentic. However, we know that choosing your first niche can be difficult.

Best Affiliate Marketing Niches: Shortlist

best affiliate marketing niches

If you need help deciding, check out this shortlist below. Currently, these are the most popular and profitable niches, and who knows, there might be one or two in here you actually like. Keep in mind, these are all broad niches, so we strongly recommend you read our best affiliate marketing niches article for more guidance and inspiration.

  • Health and fitness
  • Finance
  • Business & Investment
  • Hobbies 
  • Self-development
  • Relationships
  • Lifestyle and luxury
  • Home & family
  • Online technology
  • Alternative therapy

How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

Now that we’ve presented you with all this information about affiliate marketing, you might wonder… How can someone actually start making money in this industry? 

Well, we essentially walked you through each step of the beginner affiliate marketer’s journey, so if you follow the steps in this article, you, yes YOU can actually start earning money right away!

Of course, besides studying affiliate marketing, you also have to familiarize yourself with certain digital marketing tools, and get comfortable with networking. As long as you take it one step at a time, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to learn everything at once, we’re confident you’ll do great!

To recap, here is a quick rundown on how to start making money online with affiliate marketing:

  • Do your research on affiliate marketing; spend some time learning about the industry
  • Find an affiliate network, like Digistore24, and get full access to offers and industry knowledge;
  • Pick a profitable niche from the Marketplace;
  • Choose your desired channel to promote an offer on, and commit! It could be social media, email, blog, paid ads, YouTube, forums… whatever you prefer;
  • Get comfortable with data, study how your ads perform, and make sure to always tweak your advertising strategy;
  • Attend networking events to create partnerships and relationships;
  • Always be on the lookout for the best digital marketing tools;
  • Stay up-to-date with industry trends.

That’s pretty much it! It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Affiliate marketing isn’t rocket science, anyone can do it; all it takes is patience and a willingness to learn. Persistence is the key.

And the best part is, you can do all this without even having an affiliate website or a blog. You can easily make money just by using just social media, or email, for example. If you’re curious about how to make money with affiliate marketing without an affiliate website, make sure to check out this article.

Bonus: Top 5 Free Affiliate Marketing Courses

Top 5 Free affiliate marketing courses

Affiliate marketing courses are a great way to ease yourself into this industry, or take your affiliate marketing training to the next level. There are quite a few free courses available online, so if you prefer interactive learning, Digistore24 has got you covered. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 free affiliate marketing courses.

Let’s take a look:

1. Free Affiliate Marketing Course for Beginners - Udemy

This course will teach you how to get started with affiliate marketing, and why this industry can be a great fit for you. It also goes over affiliate marketing basics, explores how to set up your affiliate website, how to attract the right type of visitors, and of course, choose a profitable niche.

This free Udemy course is perfect for every beginner who wants to test the waters of affiliate marketing, as well as for those who want to jump in head-first and start making money fast. The course is broken up into 7 lectures, and lasts almost 2 and a half hours.

If you’re looking for the best affiliate marketing course, this is definitely one of them to start with!

https://www.udemy.com/course/free-affiliate-marketing-course-for-beginners

2. Affiliate Marketing - Great Learning

This is another free affiliate marketing course that you can sign up for and also earn a learning certificate. This one is super beginner-level, and touches on the basics of affiliate marketing, as well as on different affiliate marketing strategies and methods you can use in this industry. The course lasts about an hour.

https://www.mygreatlearning.com/academy/learn-for-free/courses/affiliate-marketing

3. Affiliate Marketing Course and Certification - eMarketing Institute

eMarketing Institute is also offering a free course on affiliate marketing. All you need to do is go to their website, register, and download the course. It’s an ebook with valuable information on affiliate marketing, designed for beginners. Once you read the ebook, you can also take a test within your eMarketing Institute account to test your knowledge.

https://www.emarketinginstitute.org/free-courses/affiliate-marketing-certification-course/

4. Affiliate Marketing Courses - Aversity

Aversity is a website with dozens of courses on affiliate marketing. They tackle a wide variety of topics, and most of their courses are free. Create an account and you’re all set to browse and enroll in their courses. These courses are among some of the best affiliate marketing courses you can find for free on the internet.

https://aversity.com

5. The Affiliate Method - Johannes Larsson

This is an interactive course and takes you through the basics of affiliate marketing. It is a free, 9-lesson, step-by-step course that includes practical and simple steps to have success in this industry. The course is well structured, fun, and super interactive. 

https://johanneslarsson.com/course/affiliate-marketing-course-for-beginners-7-steps-full-time-affiliate/

Also, don’t forget about YouTube. The platform is filled with videos and guides on affiliate marketing, so make sure you take advantage of the free content you can find there, too!

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive and free affiliate marketing guide, and we’d like to think that we’re putting you on the right path with all of this information. Affiliate marketing is a very interesting and dynamic industry.

Once you learn the basics, you’ll slowly start to realize how much more you can add to your affiliate marketing strategies, and just how far you can take your affiliate marketing business with the right tools and people by your side.

In order to reach success and become an affiliate marketing expert, you have to learn to be comfortable with starting small. Do your research, pick your niches carefully, choose the right platforms to promote services on, keep tweaking every affiliate marketing campaign, and most importantly, be consistent and commit to growing!

Please let us know if we can do anything to help you on your journey, and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.

Want to become a Digistore24 affiliate? Simply go here to register for free.

Kyle Dana, Director of Marketing, Digistore24

Author

Kyle Dana

Director of Marketing

Kyle has over a decade of digital marketing experience, including successfully launching & growing several e-commerce brands - using SEO, content marketing, social media, and more. Prior to becoming Director of Marketing at Digistore24, Kyle was an 8-figure affiliate marketer and email list manager.