Every single day, droves of people get on the internet hoping to make money online. They have a plethora of reasons for wanting to do so – ranging from wanting to quit their day job to having a little extra money to play, with to having more money for the finer things in life.
One common thread that binds many of them together is that they’re often starting out on a tight budget. And that is probably why they want to get into affiliate marketing in the first place – to boost their income.
However, they’re often told that they’ll need to purchase their own domain, pay for hosting, fork out more cash for autoresponder fees, buy content, and so on. It’s almost as if they need money to make money.
While motivational gurus may spout statements such as, “It’s not about your resources, but your resourcefulness…”, the truth of the matter is that you can’t multiply by zero.
You’ll need money to pay for different fixed and recurring costs in your business. That’s a given.
If that means getting a second job to earn extra to pay for your business, you may have to do it – and that is resourcefulness, because ultimately you will still need cold, hard cash.
However, if you’re financially strapped and can’t possibly get a second job because your first one is almost working you into an early grave, there are a couple of ways you can make affiliate marketing work, for free.
You’ll Need A Free Website
There are several platforms that will allow you to have a free website. The catch here is that you’ll have no control over the advertising that appears on your site. Another risk is that you’ll need to conform to the rules of the platform, however unsavory they may seem.
If they feel like you’ve flouted their rules, they can boot you out unceremoniously, without even the decency of giving you any notice. Countless beginning marketers have lost their businesses overnight by “building their houses on rented land”.
So, starting out, your goal is to build a free website and once you’re generating sales, to immediately buy your own domain and hosting so that you’re in control of your business.
When that happens, you can buy a dot-com domain for a little as $7.99, or even less, if you watch for sales or coupons – plus a yearly renewal fee of approximately the same amount. Decent hosting can be found for around $4-5 a month for a starter package. So it won’t take much in the way of sales for you to be able to “get out on your own”.
In the meantime, here are 2 free platforms you can use:
*Medium doesn’t allow you to build your own site, but it allows you to post articles on their platform. And that will work for now. Medium gets a lot of traffic and has potential when it comes to ranking for low hanging keywords that you may wish to target. From there, it’s just a matter of publishing more targeted articles and getting affiliate sales.
You’ll Need Affiliate Links
It’s free to join affiliate programs on well-known affiliate sites like ClickBank, Amazon Associates, CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, Rakuten Marketing and so on. Sign up, find some programs you’d like to promote, and get your links.
Forget programs that require you to pay to play – where they ask you for a sign up fee, or you need to have a monthly paid subscription to their software/service/etc., before they will bestow upon you the dubious honor of being able to promote their products.
There are tons of excellent affiliate products that you can promote for free without having to pay or jump through hoops.
You’ll Need Traffic
Since money is tight, paid ads are definitely not an option here. The next best way to generate traffic to your pages will be to siphon it from high traffic social media sites and platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
It’s important to know that free traffic takes time. You’ll not generate massive traffic overnight. You’ll need to create content consistently and almost daily to get reach and traction. As an example, I posted to a site 3 times a day, and then reposted those posts on the site’s Facebook page, nearly everyday, for about 3 months. By then, I was getting 300 visits a day to the site.
If your content is valuable and top-notch, you’ll build a following and have people clicking on your affiliate links or article links. So, go ahead and create your free accounts on the different social media platforms and…
- Start making videos with your mobile phone and post them on YouTube
- Set up a Facebook group and/or a fan page and start posting content
- Write articles on your niche and post them on Medium
- Start tweeting your articles/videos/etc.
- Post images that link back to your site or articles on Pinterest
- Use the free version of Canva.com to come up with attractive creatives (images, banners, etc.) you can use.
Once again, it’s important to remember that social media sites are not your web properties, so you’re never totally safe with them. The goal is to always generate sales until you have enough money to build your own website and list. These are YOUR assets.
A Free Autoresponder
Aweber, one of THE biggest email services, has recently begun offering a free starter account. It has some limitations – it’s not ad-free, and you are limited to only one list of no more than 500 emails, but it is enough to get you started. Once you are making a few dollars, you can easily upgrade to a paid account and lose the limitations.
Putting It All Together
Now that you’ve got the basics in place, you’ll want to start writing and posting useful articles on Medium (you’ll embed your affiliate links in the posts). Just remember to disclose that you are posting affiliate links and DO NOT overdo it. Moderation is key here.
As long as your content is good, you’ll have curious readers clicking on your links and reaching the sales page of the product you’re promoting… which is your main objective.
Point your YouTube videos, Facebook posts, tweets, Pinterest pins, etc. to your Medium article(s) so that you can pre-sell the reader by providing more information and value. Once you build trust with your audience, your chances of getting the sale will be much higher.
Your Medium account with all your content will act as a hub-site for your affiliate marketing business. The free traffic methods you employ will siphon traffic from different platforms and point them all to your hub site’s content, and you will be able to start a mailing list… just like how all roads lead to Rome.
Then it’s just a matter of time for the traffic to convert into sales (if your content is valuable and persuasive).
Keep on keeping on until you start seeing sales trickle in. Give yourself 6 to 12 months to see your efforts yield fruit. This is a slow process, but a rewarding one.
Once you see the commissions coming in, invest in your business by getting your own domain, hosting and a paid autoresponder. Being able to build your own mailing list will help to elevate your marketing to the next level and skyrocket your commissions.
This is the best way to bootstrap your way from scratch to affiliate marketing success.
“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson