Affiliate Marketing Ideas – How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate Marketing Ideas - How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

Is This One of My Stupid Affiliate Marketing Ideas?

2022 was a terrible year financially for a huge number of people and 2023 doesn’t look like it’s going to be any better.

Inflation, running at about 10% here in January 2023, is eating into people’s incomes and if you have spare money in bank savings, that money is losing 10% of its buying power every year.

Banks never pay interest on savings that comes close to the level of inflation, whatever year it is.

So, more than ever, people, perhaps even you, are looking for a way to supplement their incomes just to cover the bills and put food on the table.

Others are looking for a way to simply replace their 9-5 job by generating an income online.

It’s all about freedom – both financial freedom and time freedom – and living life on your terms, not someone else’s.

If you’ve read this blog, especially my bio, you’ll know that I’ve been making a full-time living online since 2004.

Yes, it is doable, but it’s not as easy as it’s sometimes made out to be and it does require work.

Given the state of the world at the moment, I thought I’d try a new experiment – me starting out as an affiliate marketing beginner again.

What Is Online Affiliate Marketing?

How Affiliate Marketing Works

The quick answer is that you’re a salesperson working on commission.

You sell other people’s products to customers online and collect a percentage of the sale.

To do that, you need to join at least one affiliate marketing program.

These are usually free to join but there are some where you have to pay a fee to become an affiliate or you have to buy a product or service before you’re allowed to become an affiliate and promote it.

Now, the big problem with affiliate marketing is finding the right audiences to put your affiliate offers in front of.

And to do that in an ethical, non-spammy way.

So, What Are The Best Affiliate Marketing Programs?

Best Affiliate Programs

There are no specific programs I can point to as being the best affiliate marketing programs because everyone’s experience and level of success is different for every program.

One person might have huge success marketing a certain affiliate program while another has little or no success with that same program.

But the two best types of affiliate marketing program to promote are:

  • Programs that pay recurring commissions – these programs charge their customers a recurring monthly or annual fee and each time the customer pays, you get a cut of their subscription fee. If you’re good at referring people, this is a great way to build an online income reasonably quickly.
  • 2-Tier programs – most affiliate marketing programs are 1-tier; i.e. when you sign up, you become a direct affiliate. But some programs also allow you to recruit other affiliates for that program. And if they refer people, you’ll get a small percentage of their sale. So, if you don’t like selling, you could just recruit other affiliates and let them do the work. The commissions you earn run from 5% to 30%, depending on the program.

Should You Sell Physical or Digital Goods?

Digital vs Physical Goods

The answer, hands down, is Digital Goods.

They are delivered instantly to a customer and there’s no shipping and handling fees to worry about.

And, if the customer does look for a refund, the affiliate program owner will handle all of that though you will see a deduction in your commissions.

Non-recurring digital products typically have commission rates in the 25%-50% range though some rates can go as high as 85%.

Commissions for physical goods such as stuff sold on Amazon or Ebay, typically ranges from 2%-10% but on the Clickbank affiliate network, you can find some physical goods (mostly in the Health niche) that do offer more than 50% commissions.

Being An Affiliate Marketing Beginner…Again!

Want To Be An Affiliate Instead?

With this experiment, I want to see how easy or difficult it is to build an affiliate marketing business in 2023.

I won’t use any of my existing business assets to kick start this idea as that would give me an unfair advantage.

While I do have a lot of knowledge about marketing, I’m going to use methods and strategies that I have not tried before.

So that takes me into the land of making videos especially, something I’m really not comfortable with.

How To Do Affiliate Marketing For Free

How To Start Affiliate Marketing [Wide)

I’ll also be starting out with free resources so there is no up-front cost.

The idea is that as money starts to come in, I’ll reinvest that into tools to build the business; that may be buying new tools or upgrading from free accounts to paid accounts with certain services.

The 4 best broad niches to get into where people are willing to spend money are:

  • Wealth (make money online, affiliate marketing, list building & email marketing)
  • Health (general wellness, dealing with diseases, diet, fitness and exercise)
  • Relationships (dating mostly, how to keep your partner, how to get someone to notice you, etc.)
  • Self-Help (pretty much anything that helps people solve a problem)

The best affiliate networks to start with that are free to join:

Many companies run their own affiliate programs in-house and are not listed on any of the affiliate networks.

You can find these by looking for “thing” affiliate program (keep the quotes and replace thing with the term you want to find an affiliate program for).

For example: “astronomy software” affiliate program

Creating and posting videos to promote my affiliate offers is also free.

So that’s how to do affiliate marketing for free.

But, let’s face it, nothing is ever really free.

The cost here is not financial but it is time.

If you want to try this yourself, then you will have to dedicate time to this and be consistent in your efforts.

Otherwise, you won’t succeed long-term.

This post isn’t designed to teach you how to become an affiliate marketing beginner – there are plenty of courses out there that fulfill that need and you’ll  find many of them referenced throughout this site.

A Note On Marketing Through TikTok

TikTok Logo

I created a test account on TikTik a couple of weeks ago and posted 6 or 7 videos there, all in vertical/portrait format.

However, TikTok closed my account…without notifying me.

Despite TikTok saying they will tell account holders that videos have received strikes (3 strikes and you’re out) for violating their community guidelines and that video strikes or account bans can be appealed, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I did appeal my account ban and heard nothing back, positive or negative.

The account wasn’t a great loss and the only rules I can find that I may have broken (since I have to figure this out for myself) are:

  1. My videos were too short – most were 15 seconds long or shorter
  2. My videos were not considered “original” enough – I used free video creation tools that embed the company watermark in videos and that’s something TikTok’s algorithm seems to dislike. But I did add lots of text to make them unique.
  3. My videos were considered to be spam – since my videos only advertised different products or services.

The same videos, uploaded to YouTube Shorts and Instagram and Facebook Reels did not receive any strikes and are still online.

So it looks like you need to be careful when putting up videos on TikTok that are designed to move traffic off the platform to your offers.

If you’re already well established on TikTok and you get an account ban, that could be very detrimental to your business.

My Preference Is Making YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts

Since YouTube is much more forgiving and has a bigger user base than TikTok (at least currently), I’ll concentrate on making videos for it.

There are another couple of reasons I’m going to put YouTube Shorts front-and-centre of my video marketing:

  1. My video shorts will be published on the same channel as my long-form rectangular videos are (or will be), so the shorts videos can push traffic to the rest of my channel
  2. While YouTube does not currently pay out for ads they place before or in YouTube Shorts videos, they will start paying content makers from February 1st. That’s likely to pull a lot of video makers from the other platforms or force those other platforms to pay video makers as well. But YouTube already has payment systems in place whereas the other platforms do not.

My Affiliate Marketing Plan

Affiliate Marketing Plan

Okay, so here’s what I have in mind…

I want to build a list of email subscribers so that I can email them additional offers over time.

This means I don’t have to pay for any advertising when I promote offers.

Building a list should be at the core of any online business whether you sell your own products or you’re an affiliate marketer.

How many times have you received emails from Amazon alerting you to something you were interested in on their site and you ultimately bought it?

That’s email marketing in action and it works.

For this experiment, I’ll be building a list from scratch on a platform I’ve never used before – Systeme.

In a previous post I looked at Systeme and I even offer a big bonus package for it , but for this experiment, I’m setting up a brand new free plan with them.

This free plan allows me to collect up to 2,000 subscribers, build 3 sales funnels and one list which is more than enough for me to get started.

I’ll start by building a sales funnel for Systeme itself as that seems like a good place to start.

The Systeme affiliate program ticks both boxes above in that it pays 50% Lifetime commissions on direct referrals as well as 5% commissions from any affiliates you also recruit.

Then I’ll start creating some short-style videos using the free versions of the Veed and InVideo video creation tools.

These are the portrait/vertical style videos that get posted to TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Facebook and Instagram Reels.

The great thing with these tools is that I can create videos where I don’t have to appear on camera or speak with my own voice.

A Small Financial Kickstart

60K in 4 Weeks: Email Marketing Made Easy course To be honest, I’m not starting this experiment completely for free (time investment aside).

I did buy Systeme’s $60K in 4 Weeks: Email Marketing Made Easy course (it was only $7) so I can test out their particular email marketing training and strategy.

It’s a tiny investment but it gives me a framework around which to run this experiment.

Documenting My Journey

Documenting My Journey

I plan to publish regular updates on the success or failure of this experiment, including what tools I use and how much time I put in.

I may even create videos talking about what I’m doing, why and how things play out.

I’ll certainly put any such videos in my private Facebook group where you can ask me questions.

I may publish them on YouTube as well…I’ll just have to see how things go and how much spare time I have available.

It’s going to be an interesting journey.

Other Posts In This Series

All the best,

Gary Nugent

Check out my Instagram posts and reels here:

P.S.: Don't forget, if you want to create an internet income of your own, here's one of my recommended ways to do that:



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  1. Gary,

    I have to admit, your article is making me want to keep reading more just to follow you on your journey. I’d imagine that even people that have been in affiliate marketing are always interested in watching someone start over from scratch to see your journey going about it in a different way.

    Of course, we’re always learning and always growing and if you’re not, than you’re probably not very successful at AM.

    I have to ask – why start again? See how to go about it differently this time? How fast you can build a list again? I’m so curious to see how you do on this journey – hopefully you’re successful again.

    I’ll keep up with your site for sure. 🙂


    • Hi Katrina,

      Why start out again? Well, I’m not actually starting out again in the sense that I have income coming in from my existing online business and most of my attention will still be focused on this.

      That leaves me a couple of hours each day to run this experiment of starting affiliate marketing from scratch as a complete beginner. Having a couple of spare hours a day is probably only what most people have what with jobs, kids and life in general.

      I think successful marketers can become blind to what it’s like in the trenches when you’re starting out. Yes, they’ve all been there, as they like to remind you, but they were there years ago when the affiliate marketing landscape was different.

      So that got me thinking about what it would be like to start from the absolute beginning, knowing virtually nothing about affiliate marketing, the tools you need to use and so on.

      Obviously, I do have years of experience under my belt so I do understand the fundamentals of what’s needed to build an online business and why. That’s something that a newbie would not know and I can only point people to resources that give them that information (a lot of it is available on this site).

      Yeah, I want to see how I’d go about things differently this time. When I started out, online list building wasn’t really a thing and didn’t make an appearance in the way it’s understood today until the late 2000s. Offline list building has been a thing for decades – that was what direct marketing through the mail was all about.

      But back in those early days, services and tools didn’t interconnect very easily the way they do today. And list building was difficult from a setup point of view. So I ignored it literally for years and I didn’t take the time to really understand the power that it gives you as an affiliate.

      With my new experiment, list building and email marketing are front and centre and everything else will hang off and feed that.

      I’m curious to see how I fare on this journey myself. Setting up for list building is easy; it’s finding the right kind of people and getting them to sign up to a list that’s hard. Some will only sign up for the free stuff you offer for their email address. Some will be active readers of your emails but will never take action to buy products. The subscribers you really want are the ones who love your content, have money to spend, are willing to spend it and are keen to buy products you recommend.

      So building trust with your subscribers is very important. It’s not about sending them endless offers until they get bored with that and unsubscribe. It’s about building a relationship with your subscribers so that they come to know you as a person and they learn to trust your opinions and recommendations. And it’s about providing continuing value for your subscribers over time as a way of thanking them for signing up with you.

      So I’m certainly approaching this experiment with a much different mindset than I had when I first started out all those years ago.

      All the best,

  2. Hi Gary, I just saw the link for day 2 of this and thought I would start reading from the beginning. I like your suggestions for video marketing and will be interested to see how you get on with this. I think TikTok maybe could be used a bit later on when you have the capital to reinvest in a paid plan with Invideo ~ try this code for 30% off (it’s not mine) but may be useful for you – SMT30.

    Also Systeme I will be checking out I got a huge list of emails that I don’t know what to do with maybe this could be exactly what I am looking for.

    • Hi Alex, thanks for the InVideo code. I’m still in the middle of backing up and migrating my 30 or so WordPress blogs and other types of sites from my current web host, so a Day 3 post is still a couple of days away.

      I need to move my sites quickly as my hosting renewal date is in a few days and I want to cancel my old account before that. Naturally, I’ve hit a few snags along the way, but that’s always what happens, isn’t it?

      I’m looking at moving my sales funnels on Clickfunnels over to Systeme but I’ll open a separate Systeme account for that as those are active business assets and I don’t want them to influence the “starting from scratch” project.

      All the best,

  3. Hate your pop ups, completely turned me off. Wanted to read but they kept getting in the way. So sorry, not interested

    • Sorry about that, Stephen. I was running a popup test at the time you hit my site. I’ve since removed the main one though the small one at the top of the site remains. However, it doesn’t cover content the way the bigger popup did.

      I hope at some stage you do come back to check this answer! smiley face

      All the best,

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