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How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing – A Beginner’s Guide

Find out how Skimlinks, a Taboola company, can help you develop an affiliate marketing strategy. Learn more here.

The affiliate marketing industry is booming. According to a report by the Performance Marketing Institute, affiliate marketing delivers a 12:1 return on ad spend. In fact, over 80% of publishers and advertisers use this form of marketing to increase profits and engagement.

This infographic from Hosting Tribunal breaks down more useful affiliate marketing stats:

Ready to benefit from affiliate marketing for your brand? We offer the ultimate beginner’s guide to starting a successful affiliate marketing business in just four steps:

  1. Choose your niche
  2. Find an affiliate program to join
  3. Create great content
  4. Drive traffic to your membership site

To start an affiliate marketing program, check out this short video outlining the basics of affiliate marketing:

Now, read on for an in-depth look at how affiliate marketing works and how you can use it to increase your revenue.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process by which advertisers entrust partners (or affiliates) to promote their products and drive referrals on their behalf. For example, a publisher might write a blog post that includes a link to the advertiser’s website. Publishers make money every time a reader clicks a link or buys from that referrer.

Taboola’s list of sponsored content

Click here to learn how affiliate marketers can succeed with Taboola.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing involves four parties:

  • Advertisers: the person or company that sells the product
  • Publisher: An individual or company promoting a product on behalf of an advertiser
  • platform: Connect advertiser and publisher services to optimize ad delivery and revenue
  • consumer: person buying the product

New York Times‘ For example, the Wirecutter website offers reviews of tools and gadgets and includes the following disclaimer in its articles: “We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase through a link on our website,” as follows:

Comments on Examples of Tools and Gadgets Affiliate

To better understand how affiliate marketing works, check out this helpful infographic from Bengu:

How Affiliate Marketing Works

How Much Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?

Making money with affiliate marketing involves launching targeted, scalable campaigns to drive sales and success on high-quality publisher sites.

Back in 2016, Business Insider reported that affiliate marketing accounted for 16% of e-commerce sales. That number has only grown since then, as Forrester forecasts affiliate marketing to grow at a 10% compound annual growth rate through 2020.

Consider this business example of affiliate marketing. Western Digital wants to promote their 6 TB cloud storage device, but they don’t have a huge internet presence. They hired affiliate partner BuzzFeed Reviews to include the product in one article, “Best External Hard Drives.” Western Digital has now leveraged BuzzFeed’s audience of over 650 million readers to increase awareness, engagement and revenue.

Western Digital buzzfeed affiliate marketing example

For more guidance, check out Neil Patel’s video on how advertisers can make money with affiliate marketing:

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Start building your own affiliate marketing program with this step-by-step guide.

1. Choose your niche

It is important to carve out a profitable niche for your affiliate marketing campaign. This niche should be small enough that you can directly target interested customers, but large enough to ensure that your affiliate advertising has an impact. Your niche should also intersect with the audience of your affiliate partners so you can earn revenue from the partnership.

For example, let’s say your company is in the real estate industry. Drill down further into specific niches, such as single-family home buyers, investment property owners, or short-term renters.

Consider this example from the financial industry. USAA Credit Cards runs an affiliate program for companies looking to capitalize on their financial product niche for active or retired military personnel. According to AuthorityHacker, their commission rate is $25 per lead and their average revenue per click is $60.72.

Choose an example of a military-affiliated group

The dating industry even offers a range of affiliate programs and sites to reach clients in different fields. For example, the CougarLife program targets older women looking for younger men. Meanwhile, SilverSingles promises “a fresh take on 50+ dates”. Each affiliate program also has its own commission rate, so you can choose the one that best fits your budget while making sure to reach the right target audience.

2. Find an affiliate program to join

Affiliate networks can help new affiliate marketers connect with the right partner companies and reach new audiences through effective affiliate links. Look for high-voicing affiliate programs with competitive conversion rates, reliable payment processes, and custom linking capabilities.

In fact, we’ll get you started. The best affiliate programs for beginners include:

  • Amazon Association
  • click bank
  • Commission settlement
  • eBay Partner Network

3. Create great content

In the technology and logistics of affiliate marketing, it’s a simple but easy to overlook point. No matter how great your affiliate partner’s blog or audience is, you still need high-quality content to support your ads and offers.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a landing page or microsite for your affiliate link on a platform like WordPress. This way, once new customers click on your link or ad, they’ll be taken directly to an informative and easy-to-navigate website where they can engage with your brand and drive conversions.

Consider the Joshu + Vela Small Duffle Bag affiliate link in Gear Patrol’s article “10 Weekend Bags for Your Next Vacation.”

Joshu + Affiliates

Call-to-action buttons direct readers to relevant product pages for a breakdown of features and high-resolution photos so they can learn more and decide to buy.

Joshu + Affiliate cta

4. Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Site

The right affiliate marketing platform will do the work for you, so you can start driving traffic to your affiliate marketing site.

Thanks to Taboola Advertising’s exclusive deals with premium digital properties around the world, we help advertisers expand their reach to 1.4 billion audiences. When readers are ready to discover something new, we also help them reach the right people at the right time with in-feed content recommendations.

Taboola Affiliate Marketing

Use whatever creative assets you want to share your latest promotions with and maximize your affiliate advertising at every stage of the customer journey.

Affiliate Marketing Tips for Beginners

Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be scary. It might take some time to get started, and you might hit some speed bumps along the way, but the added income will be worth it. You can use these tips to get started for beginners:

run the test

Before launching an affiliate marketing campaign, make sure your ad grabs the attention of your target audience.

As Linda Anderson wrote for Stanford University: “This is very important, especially for beginners in the field of affiliate marketing. Test-run your ad on a small test group before releasing it to the public. Consider their opinion , and resolve all issues before the public sees it.”

Try Amazon’s Product Advertising API

If you’re interested in learning more about Amazon’s affiliate products, you can try out their advertising API and target a more specific audience. To see the available locales, visit the Anatomy of a REST Request website and find the Product Ads API Endpoints section.

Affiliate Products of Amazon

As explained in NYIT’s Affiliate Marketing Guide Step-by-Step Guide, “Please note that you can only make requests to endpoints to which you are registered. For example, if you are registered as an affiliate on a US website, you will only be able to Make a request to”

take the right mindset

Consistency can be difficult when trying out any new strategy. You might get bogged down in the details, or get frustrated with any obstacles that stand in your way. That’s why it’s important to have the right mindset and focus on the prizes: increase revenue and bring success to your business.

As Agostino Marengo wrote in his thesis on affiliate marketing:

“You have to set your goals and time to achieve them. Once you have your goals, you work hard all the time…find your true passion, think about what you need, and build your Mindset, start your new job as a great affiliate marketer!”

Click here to learn how affiliate marketers can succeed with Taboola.

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