How to Start Affiliate Marketing From Scratch

How to Start Affiliate Marketing From Scratch

I first began my affiliate marketing journey at the beginning of 2014 and in that time I’ve built websites, written blogs, created sales funnels, eBooks, online courses, as well as taken numerous courses related to topics such as email marketing, digital marketing, Facebook Ads, and many, many, more!

The point is that there is SOOOO much information out there, that it can often get confusing and overwhelming.

Have you ever felt that way?

I know I certainly have at times!

I’ve had some success along the way, but all of this information overload has often held me back and had me focusing on the wrong things.

This got me thinking…

If I had to start all over again, how would I go about it?

Well read on, and I’ll give you my 10 steps on how to start affiliate marketing from scratch!

Step 1 – Set your Goals and your “Why”

The first step is to set some goals for your new affiliate marketing business.

How about a goal of earning $10,000 a month in 2 years time?

It’s realistic and attainable.

You may think that it’s not enough?

I’ll tell you this right NOW!

Affiliate marketing is NOT a get rich quick scheme!

It’s often said that the way to make money online is to “make” it sound easy, but in reality, it’s actually hard work… and that is definitely true in my opinion, especially at the beginning.

People spend 4 or 5 years at college or university to get a job earning 60 or 70 thousand a year… that’s considered NORMAL… But for some reason, they think that they can be earning millions online in just a few months… sometimes even weeks!

It just doesn’t happen like that!

I HAVE met people that have had great success in a relatively short period of time, like a year or two… but they’ve also put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to get to that point, and it’s rare!

Over 90% of affiliate marketers don’t even make a single dollar online!

Simply, because they expect quick results and they give up!

You have to give yourself the time to succeed, and also be prepared to put in the work for it as well!

You can’t put in a mediocre effort and expect to see great results!

Now, you may have another figure in mind, but I think $10,000 a month in 2 years is a good goal to start out with.

Next, you need to figure out your “why”

You have to have a deeper meaning than money.

It could be to leave a job you hate.

To provide for your family.

To travel more.

To give back.

Maybe, it is just to get that extra few hundred a week to ease the financial strain and do something special for your family every month!

What’s your “why”?

The bigger the why the easier the how!

You also need to choose your “niche” at this point, and in this scenario, I’m going to go with the “make money online/internet marketing” niche.

It’s what I know, and who doesn’t want to make money online, right?

Step 2 – Work out a schedule

If you don’t schedule the time to work on your new business, then it doesn’t get done!

You will probably still be working your main job while building up your side-hustle, and I’m sure there will be other distractions, so you need to schedule some time to do some focused work and lock it in.

Whether its a few hours in the evening, an hour before work or all day Sunday, you have to schedule some time to “do the work”

Step 3 – Set up your personal Facebook profile funnel

One of the biggest “free” ways to grow our affiliate marketing business is to network with other online entrepreneurs and grow our personal profile with these influencers and a new group of “buyer friends”

As we begin to network with these people by adding value and helping them, we won’t have to do anything spammy, and naturally, people will begin to check out our profile.

This is why we need to have a “profile funnel” that will lead them into our Facebook group, or our website, or maybe to a free offer, so they can join our email list.

We will set all of this up in later steps, but for now, add a semi-professional photo on your profile (no cat pics) and a brief bio… maybe something like, “Aspiring entrepreneur and affiliate marketer – Live your dreams!” 

Here’s an example below of my own Facebook profile funnel.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing From Scratch

How to Start Affiliate Marketing From Scratch

Now what a lot of people struggle with, and what I personally also struggled with for years, was mixing my personal life on Facebook with my business posts.

I didn’t really feel comfortable with my friends and family seeing my business related posts – they didn’t understand and I feared being judged!

And also, by adding all of these people that I don’t really know, I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with them seeing my family photos and private business either.

Maybe you feel the same?

One way around this is to create a whole new Facebook profile from scratch and using that for business purposes only.

A lot of marketers have done this, but just be aware that it is actually against Facebook’s terms of service to do this, and could result in getting your account banned!

This has actually happened to quite a few big name marketers recently, so I wouldn’t recommend it!

But there is another way that I’ve recently discovered…

You can add your friends to different “friends lists”

So what I’ve done, is add all of my personal friends that I don’t want to see my business posts to a “close friends” list and my family also to another “family” list.

Now when I want to share a business related post that I don’t want them to see I can set the privacy to “friends except close friends”

Alternatively, if I have a personal post I can set the privacy to “close friends” or “family” if I just want my family to see it.

I would also create a new friends list such as “entrepreneur friends” or something similar, and when you start adding these influencers you can also add them to this new list.

I’ve just created a new list called “buyer friends” and my new strategy is to just add friends that are either known or potential “buyers” for your promotions going forward. (I need a whole new article for this strategy)

Now maybe, your friends and family will still question your new profile funnel and ask what you are doing, but I explain this by simply saying “I’m selling software online as a side-hustle for a bit of extra cash, it’s been going okay so far”

Step 4 – Create your social media profiles

Create a Facebook page, a Facebook group, an Instagram account and a YouTube account.

These are all free and easy to set up.

You can now also go back to your personal profile on Facebook and add a link so people can join your group and also add in all of your other new social media profiles.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing From Scratch

Step 5 – Join related Facebook groups

Search for relevant groups on affiliate marketing, online business, passive income, marketing automation software groups (such as ClickFunnels), and other niche related groups.

Just be aware, that some of these groups are just full of people spamming their link!

I would stay well away from these groups and just join the ones that are adding value.

Spamming in these groups doesn’t work anyway, so I wouldn’t waste your time!

Begin to post relevant, valuable, and completely free content in each of those groups three or four times a week.

Also, spend some of that time answering questions and interacting in these groups.

You can also start building relationships with people from these groups over Messenger chats as well.

Don’t worry if you don’t know everything to start with.

Over time, you will learn more and add more value as you go along. (and you can Google the answers)

Eventually, members of these groups will also start to recognize your name as an authority figure who they can trust.

Step 6 – Join several affiliate programs

Now, it’s time to join some affiliate programs.

My preference is to join software companies that pay recurring commissions.

This will give you the passive income that you need to set yourself free.

I also like software because people build their business with it and that keeps them invested in paying their monthly fee.

And when they pay… you get paid.

The number one product I would recommend is ClickFunnels which is a landing page and sales funnel software.

The reason I recommend them is that firstly, it’s a great product, but they also have a great community, culture, education in online marketing, as well as other great products you can promote for one-off commissions.

You can also join their affiliate program for free.

At this point, I would also start investing in your online education and take advantage of their free online training.

Also, grab two books… Expert Secrets and Dot Com Secrets.

They are hands down the best online education you will read.

I would also recommend Builderall which is very similar to ClickFunnels, but in my opinion, it’s not quite as easy to use, (probably because I’m just used to ClickFunnels) but it also has some other cool features that ClickFunnels doesn’t.

It’s also cheaper than ClickFunnels and has a two-tiered (arguably better affiliate program) but you do have to pay straight away to access their affiliate program.

I like to offer Builderall after my ClickFunnels promotions as a cheaper alternative, and people not completely sold on ClickFunnels often grab Builderall and don’t look back.

I would also choose your autoresponder at this point and join its affiliate program.

You are going to need to send emails to your subscribers as a core principle to grow your business, so you can join someone like Convertkit, Get Response, Active Campaign, or my preference Aweber.

You can try Mailchimp as a free service, but I wouldn’t recommend it as it’s not affiliate marketing friendly like Aweber.

If you decided to promote Builderall, it also has an autoresponder called Mailing Boss that is included in its monthly fee.

I would also recommend you join up as an affiliate for a tracking software, messenger bot software, and also a solo ad provider called Udimi.

Step 7 – Create a website for your blog

How to Start Affiliate Marketing From Scratch

You might hate writing, but you are going to need a base as an online presence with at least a few pages of content.

On your site, you can also set up a form to start collecting email addresses.

Later, you can create what’s called a “lead magnet” like a free cheat sheet, value video, etc. but for now just set up the form to get started.

I would recommend Wealthy Affiliate’s training to get you started here.

They will give you a free website and run you through the steps to get it set up.

I learned how to build my own website with this training and I host all of my WordPress websites on their network.

Step 8 – Sign up for other “make money online” affiliate offers

The goal of promoting our software is to build up that recurring income, but once these campaigns are finished we want to follow up with other related lower-ticket “make money online” offers.

There’s actually an insatiable appetite for these type of products, and you know what the funny thing about them is?

About 80% of people that buy these products don’t even access the member’s area?

Can you believe it??

And even less, apply what they learn in them!

I call it “shiny object syndrome”

People jump from offer to offer, “hoping” to get rich quick… but actually get nowhere!

I get it…

I’ve been there as well.

So let’s use shiny object syndrome to our advantage and sell the shiny objects.

So where do we find them?

The first place I recommend is an affiliate network called Warrior Plus.

There are thousands of these products you can be an affiliate for.

There is also JV Zoo, and Clickbank is another one.

These offers will be the bread and butter of your follow up email campaigns.

Step 9 – Build out your email sequences

The money is in the list and the fortune is in the follow-up!

The most important thing to know is that we are not just, affiliate marketers, or Internet marketers, or online marketers… at our core, we are EMAIL Marketers!

It takes on average 7-10 contacts with your customer before a sale is made, so it is essential, that we build an email list and keep following up with them.

I would build out a follow-up email series of 50-60 emails of our various offers, as well as value emails mixed in, to be sent out every day or two.

I would start with what’s known as a “soap opera” sequence, which is basically telling our backstory to our subscribers over 4-5 emails.

This helps build trust with our audience.

We then follow up with  “Seinfield” emails every day or two.

These are entertaining emails with a mix of straight out value as well as promotions to our offers.

These emails will drip out automatically to our subscribers every day or two for a couple of months.

Personally, my goal is to build out a year-long email sequence.

This will ultimately allow sales to trickle in over a whole year automatically and give you the ability to free up your time for months on end!

That’s the ultimate goal!

How does that sound to you?

I also recommend sending out a weekly value email as a broadcast that you send to your whole list at once.

And when you have a new product to promote, you can send out a series of email broadcasts over a few days as well!

Eventually, we can also build other lists on messenger bots, and also a community in our Facebook group, but building our email list should be the number one priority of our business.

Step 10 – Create ongoing content

Learn, do, teach…

Okay, so we are starting from scratch, but we have to start at the start.

The biggest regret I have and wish I had done from the start, is to document everything as I went along.

The first thing I would do is make a YouTube video and say that you’re just starting out learning about affiliate marketing, but I’ve set a goal to make $10,000 a month in two years and I’m going to document my journey and teach what I learn along the way.

Then, post it on your Facebook timeline, on your page and on Instagram.

When you learn how to create a page on your website document it.

Read a great blog post… document it!

Learn something in a book… document it!

When you take some training… apply it… then document it!

Learn, do teach!

When you learn how to build a website, write a blog, create a video, etc… document it!

When you earn your first dollar online… create a video about it!

Write a blog about it!

Post online about it!

Content, content, content!

With all of the content that you put out you are creating “digital real estate” for yourself that will go on forever!

The more work you put in the more you will be rewarded over time and you will eventually hit your goal!

Putting it all together!

So going forward, my plan would be to keep creating content.

YouTube videos, review videos of products, blog posts, and Social media posts and networking.

I would also run paid traffic such as Solo Ads, Google and Bing Ads, Facebook re-targeting and possibly YouTube Ads.

I would use a tracking tool like ClickMagick, to find the winners and cut the losers so my paid campaigns are profitable.

All of this with a goal to build up my lists.

My email list, Facebook Group, Facebook “buyer friends” list, messenger bot list, YouTube subscribers and Instagram followers.

I would get people onto my list by offering them something of value for free, such as a cheat sheet, value video, webinar, or a share funnel, and build out a sales funnel for each of them.

I would promote offers such as ClickFunnels and other software with recurring commissions.

I would offer higher-end digital products for one-off commissions.

I would also offer lower-ticket offers which will be our bread and butter from Warrior Plus and JV Zoo.

I would also promote other products as they launch from time to time.

I would create review videos for all of my offers and build out a “bonus stack” for them to add value.

I would also mix in a lot of value with my promotions.

As I keep learning, I would also start creating my own digital products such as online courses, eBooks and audio products.

Promote, but also add massive value!

Learn, do, teach!

So that’s what I’d do if I had to start again… In fact, the steps above is what I’m doing now!

So, now you know how to Start Affiliate Marketing From Scratch… what’s stopping you?

Let’s crush it!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.

To your freedom,

John W. Newman

Helping you create TIME AND FINANCIAL FREEDOM by building a PROFITABLE Business Online!

Dream It… Believe It… Then Achieve It!

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John newman

My name is John W. Newman. Property investor, Internet entrepreneur, husband and father of four beautiful daughters. Join me on my road to financial freedom! Dream It...Believe It...Then Achieve It!


  1. I really enjoyed your peek into the affiliate marketing career. You covered areas that a lot of people fail to cover and that was refreshing. I loved that you broke it down into easy to follow steps, so that I the reader could not get lost or confused. The social media and email ideas were different that what I have been seeing and gave me some fresh ideas for my own marketing campaigns. You explained in great detail how the money actually comes which is another thing often skipped when people are new to this. Overall it helped me and gave me great ideas. Some questions, If you had to choose one social media platform to start with what would you recommend? As far as content goes what is a good weekly goal to set that allows you to add content regularly, and gain trust with your readers, but not feel overwhelmed with the writing process? Overall great article and very informative and helpful, I will be checking in for more tips in the future!

    • Thanks Ashleigh, I’m glad you got a lot out of the post!

      As for your questions, I would would probably choose Facebook as the first place to start out with.

      There are billions of people on FB in every niche and it’s a great way to attract “buyer friends”

      Although, if you think you would like to do video, than YouTube is another great option, as video is the way of the future… but just starting with one, I would personally go with FB.

      As for weekly content, the old adage of the more the better, as long as it’s quality content.

      If you can start with a goal of one article a week, then go with that and see if you can up the goal as you go along!

      Cheers 🙂

  2. Nice article providing the first steps someone should follow in order to start their affiliate marketing journey. Personally I would follow the steps you mentioned in a bit of a different order but I guess this is not a standard as all these steps are necessary in the end to have a successful affiliate marketing career. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Thank you for the detailed article. For me personally is very inmportant the part that explains that is not a get rich quick scheme as many people expect tot get passive income in a week. You basically never start learning but how you said with the step just like building an email list you can get slowly there. How did you get into affiliate marketing for the first time?

    • Thanks Andrea, its very important to treat this like any other business and to grow it over time… there is no such thing as “get rich quick”

      I actually got into affiliate marketing over a very long process!

      I woke ip one day dissatisfied with my life and financial situation and decided to make my fortune in property investment.

      Suffice to say that it didn’t go exactly as planned and I began to search for ways online to increase my cashflow.

      Eventually, I stumbled across affiliate marketing and I haven’t looked back!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. I would like to say thank you for the information you packed into this article. I myself am working toward becoming a successful marketer, and I definitely can say that it is hard work. I like the part of this article talking about sales funnels, I myself am still having some troubles grasping the concept, but I will get it eventually. Great article, thanks again,

    All my best,


    • Glad you liked it Matt and found it helpful.
      The thing about sales funnels is that you can make them as simple or as complicated as you like, but the important thing is that you start to learn about them and use them in your business!
      Having a sales funnel in place is the best way to increase your profits!
      Thanks again 🙂

  5. Great post, tons of awesome information to direct those that may be thinking about starting a business in this field but don’t know where to start or what to expect. Building this business does take lots of time and plenty of work but it can be done

    • Absolutely Norman!
      This is a great business that you can have enormous success in, but you have to do the work!
      Just because it’s online, doesn’t make it any easier… It takes time and effort!
      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  6. Thanks John,
    I agree with you that the most important thing you can do at the start of your affiliate marketing career is to work out your WHY? Affiliate marketing is actually hard, hard work – especially in the beginning when you have no traffic and no followers. If you can’t figure out why you should be spending hour after hour on this “hobby” then it will never grow into a full-time income producing business. There is lots of great advice here for people getting started and people looking to get extra sales and give their career the extra boost they are searching for. Cheers

    • Thanks, Glenys!
      There’s an old saying that you need to treat your business as a business to see success!
      It’s so easy when you are building your business as a side hustle to your main job as just a hobby, but you really need to be consistent and persistent to see results!
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

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