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Affiliate Marketing For Dummies (Your Questions Finally Answered!)

In this post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing in order to get started. I will explain the best platforms, the pros and cons, how to find products that make money, and give you some real examples of how this works.

It’s exactly how I have managed to build an additional income stream online and pay for some awesome family experiences.

I’m going to break down everything you need to know about affiliate marketing. and I’m going to simplify it, no jargon, no tech talk, just plain English so that anyone can understand how it works, and what’s needed to be successful.

By the end of this Affiliate Marketing for Dummies Guide, you will know enough to get started and go out there and start earning some money of your own through affiliate marketing.

If you prefer to watch the video instead of reading the post then check it out here:

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

So If you’re looking for ways to make some additional money then you may have already heard of affiliate marketing. A business model that is huge for any online content creators such as bloggers and YouTubers, but also works great on just about any free social media platform.

It’s a referral strategy where you promote other people’s products and services, and if someone buys through your special affiliate link then you get a commission.

Money in your pocket and you didn’t have to do any:

  • Product design
  • Manufacturing
  • Shipping
  • Customer service
  • Handle any returns or awkward customers.

All you did was recommend something and the product owner can worry about all that other crap! It’s really simple!

There are huge websites supplementing their income with the affiliate marketing model and also everyday folk like you and me. It’s a 12 billion dollar industry.

Here is how it works.

First you need to create your building blocks for your online business, this usually consists of choosing a niche and a platform, and i will go into these in a moment.

Then we look for a product or service that has an affiliate program we can promote, and there are no shortage of opportunities here as 81% of brands have an affiliate program, we then apply to be an affiliate, and they will give us some special weblinks, if we send that link to someone and they click on it and then buy the product, we earn a commission.

One step closer to that new pair of extra fluffy slippers.

fluffy slippers

It’s really simple, and here’s an example.

So amazon is the beast of e-commerce, they sell almost anything.

You apply to join their affiliate program, and if they accept you then they will give you an extra feature when you login, this little toolbar lets you go to any amazon page and then generate your unique link.

amazon associates for dummies

So let’s say you run a Facebook group which is all about healthy eating and nutrition, you’ve just read an awesome book about avocado recipes, you find that product on amazon, copy the link for that product and then paste it into your group – telling the community why they should buy it.

If someone clicks on it and buys then you get a commission, you just made money from avocados – life is good.

And it’s the same process for any other platform. The good thing about Amazon is that they are a selling machine if you send people to them, there’s a good chance they will buy.

How To Choose A Niche For Affiliate Marketing?

A niche is simply the subject that you wish to talk or write about – most people will say follow your passions with your niche because your going to create a lot of content and don’t want to get bored, and I get that, but remember, as you learn something new you can also develop a passion too.

So if your only interest is knitting and sewing, don’t assume that’s what you have to create content about.

If you need some suggestions then often the most profitable niches are often in:

  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Relationships, but think about how you can narrow those down a little.

Find a little subcategory that’s less competitive, that could be “Making money as a freelance writer” or “Fitness advice for busy entrepreneurs”.

Remember you can always narrow down as you go so don’t let this decision stop you in your tracks.

What Are The Best Platforms For Affiliate Marketing?

If you enjoy connecting with people start a group.

If you like to live in your head and write, then start a blog.

If you like to talk then create a youtube channel.

The good news is that other than blogs, most platforms are free. Yes, you may want to add certain software in order to improve conversions and build a long term business, but just to get started you often just need a smartphone.

My top advice here, in this affiliate marketing for dummies guide, is whatever platform you choose, focus just on that for now, don’t go opening social media accounts everywhere and spread your efforts too thin. If you want to be a blogger then just do that. When you have 50 blog posts published then add a platform that compliments it such as Pinterest.

My personal favourites are blogs and youtube, which are the best platforms for long term organic growth, people will find my content on these in time to come, as they show in google search results.

If you want something more short term, that you can build faster and get sales faster, then a Facebook group is an excellent option, but remember that a group is not going to appear in any google search results.

There are other options too though, you can:

  • Write on medium
  • Answer questions on quora
  • Take photos on Instagram
  • Short snappy videos on TikTok
  • Or even use LinkedIn if you are promoting the right products.

Wherever there is an audience there will be a way to make money using affiliate marketing, so think about what you like to do?

Do You Have Any Examples Of Affiliate Marketing?

Doesn’t matter if you are a Big fish or teeny tiny fish in the pond, you can earn money with affiliate marketing.

Some of the biggest examples are websites like nerdwallet who offer advice with financial products, or moneysavingexpert who are huge consumer rights and advice site in the UK, or PC partpicker who profit every time you click on a computer component and buy it.

These sites make millions.

nerdwallet affiliate example

But don’t worry, even if you are just starting up there is still opportunity for you, and I know plenty of bloggers and YouTubers who make money through affiliate marketing, some earn a nice side income and some make enough to quit their day job.

Look at my friend Ilir who geeks out about digital marketing on his blog and gets to do this for a living or another buddy of mine Steve who creates awesome content on YouTube.

steve it makes sense

In the highlighted video he talks about some software for YouTubers, if you watch that video and think wow that’s exactly what I need and you click his link and buy that product, my mate Steve will get a commission, and so he should as he’s an awesome guy!

I hope that shows you how anyone can get started and it’s easier than you think, but keep watching as I’m going to tell you how much money you can make with affiliate marketing.

How Do I Find Products To Promote With Affiliate Marketing?

Not many people realise the scale of the affiliate industry.

Huge brands like Walmart, amazon, ebay, adidas all the way down to solo entrepreneurs that are releasing their very first digital products. (Yes, you too could set up your own affiliate program really easily if you wanted).

The reason why this has become a go-to strategy is because it’s an excellent way to use influencers and content creators to promote their products without the brand having to do any marketing effort at all.

There are affiliate networks and marketplaces you can join that manage affiliate programs for people – such as awin, shareasale, clickbank and maxbounty.

But here is the really simple way I find products to promote.

It’s as easy as looking at the tools, products, software and training that my ideal audience would need. If you are immersed in the communities of your niche then you will know these already.

I then sign up and use them myself so I can really understand the pros and cons and can identify what problems they solve.

Once I’ve identified something I just search on google for an affiliate program and then apply, some are easy to get accepted and others may have qualifying criteria.

As an example, the highest paying program I’m part of ($1500 commissions) is actually an affiliate coaching program from my own mentor, he won’t let anyone promote it unless they are a student themselves as he only wants genuine testimonials and people who have experienced the program.

Whereas Amazon is much easier to apply and once you are in they give you 6 months to make a few qualifying sales.

What Are The Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing?

If I listed every single benefit then this affiliate marketing for dummies guide would likely never end, so let’s focus on the key ones.

Benefit #1 Passive Income

Have you ever heard the phrase passive income, or those bold claims that you can make money whilst you sleep?

I know, sounds like utter horse crap doesn’t it, but actually, it’s true.

You see with a lot of platforms, we create content once and hit publish, and then it’s done.

We just leave it out there to do its thing.

Look at my youtube stats, you see these videos, these are the ones that were watched yesterday, yet I created them months ago. So they make passive income as each person who watches could potentially click on a link and earn a commission.

jon davis youtube stats

Some platforms are better than others for passive income, for example a blog is a thousand times better than Instagram which generally doesn’t continue to promote your old posts. Its throwaway content that will rarely be seen again.

Benefit #2 Huge Earnings Potential

Another and more obvious benefit of affiliate marketing is the potential to earn life-changing money.

Now I told you before about amazon, and whilst they are one of the most popular programs to start with, they pay pretty low commissions, whereas there are other products that can earn you $500, $1000 or even $1500 for just one sale.

Getting 20 people to sign up to some software that pays $500 commissions, means an extra 10 thousand dollars to you, it would take thousands of sales at low price commissions to reach that number.

And if you want to know more about these products then once you’ve finished reading make sure you click on the free training that goes in-depth with exactly how you do this.

Benefit #3 Anyone Can Do This

Lastly, this is a strategy that anyone can use, and you can start for free if you have no budget.

You don’t have to design, manufacture, ship, or do any of the hard stuff that products creators do. You just create content to promote it.

So there are really no excuses, if you’re reading this and wanting a way to make money from home, working around your busy life, then stop giving yourself excuses and just do it. Everything you need is out there.

write a blog and make passive income

What Are The Downsides Of Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing does get a bad rep at times, and I will tell you why and how you can keep your own reputation intact.

Whilst I always recommend promoting quality products that you love and stand by, there is also a lot of absolute crap out there. And some people will promote anything that makes them money, regardless of the quality.

Look, I honestly believe there are people that would sell their grandma if it paid them 200 dollars.

So the easy answer to this is don’t be that person.

Promote products you would happily buy yourself and recommend to your family and friends. People will see this and learn to like and trust you, and as you build your audience and influence there’s much more chance of people clicking that buy button over and over again.

watering the money tree with legit passive income ideas

How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?

What I am about to tell you is the same for any business model, whether that’s dropshipping, merch design, MLM and it’s that some people will make serious money and some people will make nothing, and here’s why.

It’s not the strategy that’s flawed, or broken, it’s just that some people will always quit when they can’t see instant rewards.

We are conditioned through education and our careers, to get up each morning and exchange our time for money.

From 9 till 5 each day we work for someone else, building their dreams, and in exchange we get an agreed salary.

This is active income.

Affiliate marketing doesn’t work this way.

passive income man in suit

You could create 50 videos and get no immediate reward, so you also have to enjoy what you’re doing, and relish the challenge of learning new skills.

Whilst you do this your videos and blog posts may start getting some traction and people visiting them, clicking your links and earning you 1 commission, then 2, then 5 and so on. Passive income over a longer-term.

Too many people quit when they are inches away from success.

Big authority blog sites like the wirecutter who create product reviews, can make serious money, I mean millions. In fact, they were so successful that New York times paid 30 million dollars to buy the website in 2016.

NYTimes buy wirecutter


But that’s a big example, for anyone else getting started you have to look at a few factors:

  1. Are your audience willing and able buyers? are they passionate about the subject you create content about?
  2. Are there good products and services in that niche or market that solve peoples pain points and also have affiliate programs?
  3. How much commission do those products make? Let’s face it, promoting software that pays $500 will help you achieve your dreams faster than an amazon product that pays 40 cents for a commission
  4. How committed are you, are you in for the long haul and willing to do what others won’t to get what others don’t?

money in the hand

Is Affiliate Marketing Easy?

I’m a big believer in just being open and honest. I know at times that isn’t clever marketing, I should sell you the dream, but if I’ve any chance of you coming back to read any more of my posts then you need to hear the truth.

So is affiliate marketing easy?

Well yes, the concept is very simple. You recommend products and earn a commission. It couldn’t be more simple.

The technical side is fairly easy too, you can set up youtube or social media accounts for free (you probably have several already).

A blog needs a little more work but nothing you can’t manage I promise. The advanced stuff like sales funnels and email marketing is where it gets trickier but you don’t need to worry about that if you’re just a beginner.

Where it gets difficult is more around you.

It’s the mental aspects and the mindset needed to constantly improve your skills and create content consistently.

affiliate marketing for dummies rewards Look no offence, but most people are lazy, they watch videos like this over and over again but they never pull the trigger and get started. I know this because I was the same.

If that’s you, then here’s how you overcome that.

First I want you to identify your reason why, ask yourself why you want to make money from affiliate marketing, draw a picture, or write it down, go back to this every single day.

For me it’s easy, I want to show my family the world and my salary alone won’t do that.

Secondly, just start.

Unsubscribe from all of the other influencers and turn off any distractions on your phone, now pick a platform, think about who you can help with your content, and begin.


Seriously though, my youtube channel started because I told everyone I would create 100 videos in 100 days.

I don’t recommend that volume, but do something similar, maybe 2 videos a week, but challenge yourself and feel the pressure to achieve this and once you have that momentum there’s no stopping you.

What Is The Best Affiliate Marketing Training Program?

So I hope this post (and accompanying video) has given you the basics, and an honest assessment of affiliate marketing, I would love to hear your feedback and also if you have any more questions that I can add onto this affiliate marketing for dummies guide?

One thing I am cautious of is that some of you watching this will prefer to invest in some training and learn the affiliate ropes faster than just clicking around and figuring out yourself, and if so, I take my hat off to you because it took me a long time to get to that point, I wanted everything for free for way too long and cost myself a few years of getting nowhere.

So, as I’ve said all the way through, I only recommend products I love, and below I’ve left a link to a series of real in-depth free training from my own mentor. A 7 figure affiliate marketer.

He’s as genuine as they come and has helped me massively on my own journey.


In the free training, you will learn exactly what’s needed to become successful, and for full disclosure, he does offer a full coaching program which is unlike anything else you will find, it isn’t a sell and run program where you never see that person, he’s there in the community and helps us out.

It has all the support you need.

If you would prefer to check out the Top Earner Transformation Review first then follow this link and hear my thoughts on this affiliate coaching program.

But if there’s anything I want you to take away from this post, it’s that affiliate marketing is by far the best way to make money with online content.

Anyone can get started with affiliate marketing, and as we rely more and more on shopping online this industry will only continue to grow, so start now, don’t look back in a year and realise where you could have been if only you had taken those first steps.

Take them today.

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