What is affiliate marketing and how does it work? (Ultimate Beginners Guide 2023)

Learn how affiliate marketing works.

If you’re like I used to be, seeing all these successful individuals raking in money left, right, and center frustrates you. You sit there and question how this is really possible. Well in this article we will be going through ONE of the income streams most entrepreneurs and solopreneurs use on a daily business and how they started making money with affiliate marketing. So, what is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

A man conduction affiliate marketing on his laptop smiling

Looking through to latest posts online, I find all information in relation to affiliate marketing is outdated and vague.

Why take advice from outdated sources and non-experienced individuals? You wouldn’t… so here at “The Solopreneur Guide” we publish anything tried, tested, and in turn been successful. So you’re in the safest hands when it comes to learning affiliate marketing and becoming an affiliate marketer.

Affiliate Marketing has developed hugely over the last decade, and has become one of the best ways to make money online from home. Imagine waking up to a few hundreds or even thousands in your bank account. It is certainly possible when it comes to the affiliate marketing “side hustle”.

In this blog post, you will learn 6 crucial steps of becoming an affiliate marketer as a beginner.

  1. The basics of affiliate marketing.
  2. How does affiliate marketing work?
  3. How do I become an affiliate marketer?
  4. How much do starter affiliate marketers work?
  5. Affiliate marketing types for beginners FREE.
  6. Affiliate marketing tips for beginners.

The basics of affiliate marketing.

Through the use of affiliate marketing, your business, website, or blog can earn money by promoting the goods or services of other businesses.

When a website visitor clicks on one of your trackable links, they are directed to a landing page or other third-party website. You as the affiliate partner receive a commission based on the click, lead, or sale if they take an action.

Each partnership is different, however, we will get to that shortly.

How does affiliate marketing work?

All affiliate programs have at least 4 parts, so make sure to grab a pad and write these down:

  • The advertiser: a company or person that has a particular product or service they want to sell.
  • The affiliate (You): a website that drives traffic to the advertiser’s website to sell their product.
  • The affiliate network: the site or software that tracks the sales that your website has been responsible for.
  • The consumer: the end user. The person that sees your site and clicks the link to buy the product.

It is fairly simple to get a grasp on these 4 parts but there is an order in which these come into play, below is an image showing the process of affiliate marketing when someone clicks on your tracked link.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners What is affiliate marketing and how does it work

The most valuable item to think about is your specific link. For example, we will act as an Amazon affiliate and have done the process to sign up for the Amazon affiliate program.

Say I had a link to a product (Product A), the usual link would be “www.amazon.com/ProductA” however, now I’m an affiliate with Amazon.com my unique link would be “www.amazon.com/ProductA/usernameTSG123”.

Without this link, you will not get paid.

How do I become an affiliate marketer?

As a beginner, we would strongly recommend using an affiliate network. There is a large list, however, the ones that are well-known include Amazon Affiliates and ClickBank.

ClickBank is a network of products and services across multiple niches.
Each individual item usually consists of ;

  • Your link: your unique tracking link.
  • Terms for each advertiser: where you can and cannot add your link (very important to read)
  • Marketing material: banners and graphics you can use in your project to help you sell.

Sounds easy enough right? Well now you understand this, you need to now take everything you have learned about the product and terms, and sell it on your site. This can be done via a website, on social media (YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, etc.), and a mailing list (more on this one later).

So let’s use an example that there’s a product that helps with beard growth. (I really need one of those).

There are a few things we look for before jumping in…

  • The gravity: this shows how many people are successfully selling this product. The higher the number the better it will be.
  • The product: does the product look good and does it work? Usually reviews online are a good place to look.
  • The website: does the website look good, will it convert the traffic to press the buy button (If this is a no, there is no point in even trying as the consumer will just click off the link.
  • The return: the amount of money you will gain per sale. You are a business at the end of the day. Make it worth your while.

I have found that all the above are perfect to start trying to sell.

The art of selling a product.

To sell a product you need demand. In its simplest form, you need to find the right people to buy it.

For me, I would look at social media ads both video and image, as usual, it’s younger men that want to grow a beard.

I need to create a hook, a problem (create an issue that will feel personal so they feel emotion), and a solution (the product). So here would be mine;

For an image;

  • Hook: an image of a man’s face, half with a beard smiling, and the other without and straight-faced. Text above these with (Before / After)
  • Problem: Anyone who wants to grow a beard will be drawn as this usually comes down to emotions.
  • Solution: Text saying click here to grow a beard FAST.

For a video;

  • Hook: “If you grew this beard in a matter of months, would you believe me?”
  • Problem: “70% of men are secretly self-conscious of not being able to grow a full beard, become masculine again without any bald spots or thin areas”
  • Solution: “With this formalized beard oil, one application per day for 30 days guarantees a fuller beard or your money back”

I would then look into running ads on socials, targeting 17 – 30-year-old males that search for men’s toiletries (meaning they make an effort to take care of themselves). I’d run the ads and go from there.

Wow, I have made it sound easy! Truth is up until now it is… then it comes to testing your ad by split testing to different audiences etc. This is where it becomes very advanced, very quickly. So I will save that for another time!

This brings us nicely into the next section.

How much do starter affiliate marketers work?

Affiliate marketing is so versatile it can be worked on for minutes of the day, or hours. It really is up to you. This is why people ask if affiliate marketing is legit because people straight away spend minutes and get nothing back! This will happen, it will happen to you too!

You can help by working hard and putting in the hours. This helps by speeding up the starting process to you can start making money sooner but… Rome wasn’t built in a day.

All this aside, affiliate marketing is certainly the most popular to start as a side job or side hustle while also working your daily job. It can run in the background while you are doing tasks or having fun. So there is no right-to-wrong answer here. It all depends on the effort you would like to put in.

Affiliate marketing types for beginners FREE.

As a beginner, most of the time you won’t have the bank account to go into ads or create a website straight away so here are a few ways to start.

TicTok – It’s a free tool that puts you in front of billions of users every single day. Creating content with a hook will entice your audiences to visit your affiliate links.

YouTube – Create videos like tutorials and unboxings that you can link the products into the description. YouTube shorts would be a very strong one to start on. These can be made with youtube automation.

Facebook Groups – Create a group about a niche, invite people from other pages, create conversation about the topic, and post your links for people to use.

There are more, however, to keep things simple these are the best to start with.

Affiliate marketing tips for beginners.

  1. Don’t give up! You could be an hour away from going viral with an ad or video! Leave things for another 24-28 hours.
  2. Numbers talk. Do the research, there is a reason it’s not working, either you have missed something or you’ll learn that actually this isn’t the right product.
  3. Journal. Write each campaign down and what you do and any changes you make. You may come across a formula that works for your niche!
  4. You will be in the same position tomorrow if you don’t do it now… You may as well try.


Affiliate marketing is a great way of earning extra money at home as a side hustle. It’s certainly one of the best passive income side hustles to make money online in 2023 and will continue for a long time to come. No matter where you are in your affiliate marketing journey, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with new niches, tools, tips, and other solopreneur businesses. Happy Linking!


Who Can Be an Affiliate Marketer?

Anyone with a website and/or an engaged audience can become an affiliate marketer! All that’s required is knowledge about how to promote products effectively within your niche alongside relevant links that direct people straight to the merchant’s site.

Is There Any Cost to Being An Affiliate Marketer?

To become an affiliate marketer there’s no cost involved aside from investing time into learning and mastering effective strategies for promoting products online and working hard on growing your network of contacts so you can generate traffic back to the merchant sites you.

Are there any risks associated with being an affiliate marketer?

Yes; since affiliates rely heavily on their ability to create relationships with customers or partners via content marketing campaigns or SEO strategies that involve link-building activities which may generate spammy websites should be avoided.

How can you become a successful affiliate marketer?

To become a successful affiliate marketer you need to have good communication skills, be organized and creative when promoting your brand online, display patience while waiting for sales commissions to come through, understand different types of digital advertising strategies (such as PPC campaigns), track conversions accurately using analytics tools. Additionally, having knowledge in internet usage is necessary in order to succeed with this business model.

In this blog post we have covered;

  • affiliate marketing how to start
  • affiliate marketing for beginners
  • making money with affiliate marketing
  • starting an affiliate marketing business

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