When most people think of affiliate marketing, they instantly believe it will cost hundreds or thousands to get started. Or they think it's a really expensive way of trying to earn a passive income online, but that's not 100% true.
You will find many marketers trying to sell other opportunities, such as DropShipping or Amazon FBA who claim you can use other peoples money to begin, and that starting an online affiliate marketing business will always put you out of pocket to begin with.
Today we are going to look at a few ways to get started for free, as well as helping you find free tools and apps to make your life easier. Some of these can be seen as short term solutions (before you move onto paid versions to scale), though a few have been shown to
This article will show you how to get started with affiliate marketing for free, without the fluff or crap you may find elsewhere.
“Can I Start Affiliate Marketing For Free”?
So this is always going to be the first question that someone asks themselves, even as they start to read this article. As I mentioned earlier, it seems that the adverts, emails and constant social media posts really do make it sound like affiliate marketing should cost you thousands.
Hopefully as you read through this article you will find that there really are ways to get started for free. When it comes to 'what should you promote' or 'what affiliate programs can you join for free', pretty much most of the big networks allow you to join without paying anything.
For example, sites such as ClickBank and Warrior+ both allow you to sign up and get started, though some of the vendors and programs do require at least a certain number of sales before they allow you to promote. Which can be a pain. This usually means you have to find vendors who will allow you to promote, focus on them and then build up your sales before moving onto more.
Start Your Own Affiliate Website (Option 1)
Affiliate marketing does not need to cost a lot of money to get started, and that's one of the reason so many people get into it. Blogging can be a relatively now cost form when it comes to traffic sources.
It utilises search engines and Search Engine Optimisation (how to rank article in Google etc) to bring in free traffic everyday.
Now, blogging gets a lot of bad rap because it can take a while to get going, people see it as difficult or strenuous, but when compared to other forms, it can be low cost, or free.
So one of the biggest costs for a new bloggers, is the hosting and that's one of the main things that put people off. Even with a decent, cheap hosting provider like BlueHost, it can still cost people $90 or so for 3 years, which can be more than people have when they get started.
A new addition to this updated article, is using the All-In-One Marketing Platform, Systeme.io to host your blog or website. As part of their free plan you can attach 1 custom domain (Yes, you will need to pay a few $'s to get a domain name) and 1 blog.
As part of their offering, they even provide templates that you can use to provide a consistent look and feel to your new website.
The page builder itself is easy enough to use, and it utilises a drag and drop style tool, a bit like Thrive Architect, but of course, free.
Unfortunately you don't get to add your own plugins, and nothing helps you focus on the SEO side of things. You can still rank with your Systeme Blog, but you may find it difficult to understand how well your on-page SEO is.
If you want to learn how to start your own blog, and understanding how to create article, check out this 5-Day Challenge.
How To Get Free Hosting & Blogging Training (Option 2)
Another option, would be to sign up to WealthyAffiliate. It's free to join, and they even offer you training on getting started.
As part of Wealthy Affiliates free membership, they allow for 2 free website slots, though they have recently changed what they offer, so you do need to use their subdomain.
This means that while you are starting out, your website will be on a siterubix.com domain. So it might be YourAwesomeWebsite.Siterubix.com rather than your own domain (I.e AvidMarketer.com).
Additional free Blogging & SEO training
The best part, is that this site also offers affiliate marketing training, on top of the 2 free website hosting slots. So you get a double amount of awesome, for free.
Now, you can upgrade to their premium membership, but if you only need the hosting, then there is no need! Of course, I would say that BlogFocused is better, but I may be biased on that particular point.
Free Website Builder
As WealthyAffiliate utilises WordPress, you can just use the standard WordPress website builder.
Now it is a little limited and it will never be as good as something like Thrive Architect or even Elementor. Personally I never got on with Elementor and found their plugin a little clunky, but you can get it for free (limited version).
As part of the WA program, they give you access too a program called SiteRubix, this essentially allows you to create the WordPress site, with a theme and some plugins installed already.
This means you can get started with your affiliate marketing dream without having to worry about setting this whole thing up from scratch.
How To Start Crafting Articles & Earning Commissions
If you don't want to start your own website, and instead prefer to simply write articles on other sites, then there are a number of places that can be leveraged to start earning commissions fairly quickly.
But, be warned, you do need to be sensible.
Medium is an article website, designed to allow people to write content, share it in their own spaces and to talk about certain topics. Which means you can write your articles and keep them on Medium. Each article is authored to you, so people can follow you and the content you create.
The articles do allow for links to be added, which can be affiliate links, though Medium does seem to get quite shirty with links, so I would recommend using a shorter such as Bit.ly to 'disguise' the links, if you are going to add any.
I would also be very sparing with the links you do add, and ensure that the content and articles that you create are in-depth and decent!
Personally, I find that it's easier to create affiliate marketing websites, than it is to try and keep Medium happy.
Creating YouTube Videos
Now, this doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a new laptop, or webcam (though you can pick up a pretty decent webcam for under $35). You can create videos using OBS Screen Capture and any old laptop or computer.
Creating how to guides, talking about products or services, or making a video about just about anything will get the ball rolling, it doesn't have to be crazy.
If you decide to get into the online courses niche or something like that, you can usually ask course owners for review access, or limited access to get an idea about the course.
Once you have created a number of videos and earned a few commissions, you can look at upgrading your equipment, or buying the products you review.
Using Social Media To Generate Commissions
For many social media is just a place to chat to friends, or scroll forever, but it can be a goldmine in ideas and ways to make money.
Seriously, the algorithm on TiKTok is crazy these days, and you have huge opportunities to go 'viral' and get your videos seen by thousands, or eve hundreds of thousands.
Put out fun, informative content from your phone, and you could start generating leads as quickly as the same day, it can be crazy. I am trying to keep this article focused on free stuff, but the TiKTok guide from Legendary Marketer is decent and costs $1.
It requires consistent uploading, fresh ideas and standing out from the crowd, but it can be worth it!
An option that I leveraged a lot over the last 18+ months, I decided to go down the 'helpful' route on Facebook and use my 'clout' from being that guy to build a mini following.
It can be a difficult one to crack, as a lot of people are trying to do organic marketing these days, but few seem to be able to pull it off. They use automated comment bots, or throw out generic, boring content that people could not care less about.
But if you actually take the time to help people, provide feedback or give help in groups, you can take that and build your own authority from that.
Take a look at the shout out above from one of ClickFunnels most prestigious affiliates, even taking the time to comment about the BlogFocused training (even though he has his own training!).
Getting boosts like that can really help with your own standing in the community.
Instagram & Pinterest.
I would say a still fairly unknown method, are the image image based social media platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest. Certain niches work extremely well especially fitness or food.
If you are looking how to start affiliate marketing with no money step by step on social media, then check this article out.
Take a few days to find, or create images (see below for ideas) that relate to your chose niche. Then create a new account that focuses the content on that niche.
Within your bio you can add an affiliate link, meaning if anyone goes to follow you or wants to learn more about the account that they have started to enjoy they can see a link to a potential 'cool thing'.
As with any kind of social media, it can take a while to build up and get picked up by algorithms, but don't let that stop you.
Free Tools To Help You Get Started
Free Keyword Research Tools
Depending on the route you have taken, you may need the ability to research keywords for your content. There are a few free keyword research tools, though most of them suck to be fair.
The obvious one is Google keyword planner which allows you too start understanding different keywords and the different longtails that may come out of simple keywords.
The one thing it doesn't do, is analyse other sites, which I personally feel is massively needed if you want to succeed with running a blog, as it allows you to understand what other blogs are successfully ranking for, and allows you to make plans to rank as well!
The other keyword tool is Keywords Everywhere - It's a free plugin that works alongside your standard Google searches and is great as an alternative to google keyword planners. The good thing about it is that it also provides related keywords and other options that people search for.
You can see from the image that there are roughly 201k searches each month for Google Keyword Planner, and there are also 12k searches a month for 'keyword research tools' - Guess what my next post will be about!
If you are willing to spend a little per month, then you can pick up tools such as KeySearch. It allows you to analyse competitors, track your keyword rankings and also research potential short tail or long tail keywords. It does mean that you are spending around $15 - $20 a month for the privilege, so it might be one to look at after you start making some cash!
Free Email Provider
No matter the route, being able to capture an email or at least send people follow up emails related to products is useful. Luckily, there are now a number of options.
Aweber now offers you the ability to capture up to 500 leads as part of their free tier.
GetResponse have also created a free plan, that again allows you to store and email up to 500 leads.
Both of these even come with landing page builders (more on that in a second), so if you are running free traffic via social media, and just need a way to capture a lead, this is a perfect solution.
Free Funnel or Landing Page Builder
A tool that can be amazingly useful for those doing Social Media, YouTube or even the blogging side of things, is a funnel or landing page builder.
As previously mentioned, both GetResponse and Aweber have in house landing page builders, so you can use them right out of the gate if you want to keep everything together.
Alternatively, you can look at all-in-one tools, or platforms that offer Landing Page Builder + Email capabilities.
There are 2 that stick out these days, though I would say only 1 is going to be worth singing up for these days. In the original article we spoke about GrooveFunnels, as at the time they where making waves... but they had dropped off the face of the planet and it's a buggy mess.
As such, I would honestly go for Systeme.io, you can read the full Systeme.io review here on what they offer. Including the blog that we mentioned at the start of this article, they also have capture page, funnel building and email capabilities.
With plenty of templates and ideas for you to choose from. Every lead captured goes into their own CRM, which means you can email them directly from Systemeio without needing to use any other tools.
Handy when it comes to starting affiliate marketing for free.
Free Images & Graphic Apps
You will be surprised how often you will need images or graphics to fill your website.
One of the best places to get stock photos is PixaBay. Hands down one of the best sites, you can get a lot of them for free, but you can also donate money to creators if you feel they deserve it (I encourage it!)
If you are looking for icons to fill your blog, then one of the most popular sites to visit is IconFinder, they offer hundreds of free icons, as well as paid ones.
Finally, if you are the arty type, or you are a dab hand with doing a few graphics, then I recommend checking Canva. They allow you to create social media logos, headers, ebook covers, coupons and so much more.
I use Canva on a daily basis to help create Instagram images for both my feed and my stories as I can quickly upload images with a pre-done watermark that look professional and clean. When people share my stories with friends it's easily to see that it has come from one of my accounts.
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing For Free - Conclusion
And that's it, a number of different ways to get started with affiliate marketing for free. So many people believe it's not possible, or that it will take too long, but at the end of the day, that's just a broken, shit mindset.
I would rather it took me 2 months of grinding to make a commission without needing to spend anything, than spending $$$$'s trying to make a commission, especially if I am not sure what I am doing.
If you have other ways of getting started, drop them below.
I started this blog around 2017, after realising that I wanted to let people know about all the different ways someone could make money online. From DropShipping, Affiliate Marketing, Network Marketing and more.
This blog has now grown to review and explain a variety of different tools and platforms, in the bid to help you.
This blog contains affiliate links, and I will get a commission for purchases made through these links. It doesn’t change anything for you and will on occasion save you money! Enjoy, James.