You have already taken the time to build up an impressive social media following or a blog with a decent number of readers.
Now it is time to put that hard work to good use and start earning money through affiliate marketing.
But how can you find a good affiliate marketing program that helps you earn commissions without a large upfront payment?
Some of the top free affiliate marketing programs that beginners can try, even when they have no money, include ClickBank, Amazon Affiliates, ShareASale, Rakuten, JVZoo, and Market Health. All are a good combination of high commissions, many choices in products to promote, and easy to sign up.
In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the best free affiliate marketing programs that you can join as a beginner.
To see how affiliate marketing works and to earn some money from all the hard work you already put into your website or social media.
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What is Affiliate Marketing?
Before you decide to join an affiliate marketing network, it is important to understand how affiliate marketing works.
Affiliate marketing is a model of advertising where, instead of paying for big television commercials or other advertisements, a company will compensate the third party, often known as an affiliate, to generate traffic and sales.
The affiliate will get a link to place anywhere they want, usually on a social media post or on a blog, and when someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission.
Thanks to the internet and many people working to make money from home, affiliate marketing has grown like crazy. There are now quite a few networks you can choose from.
Companies enjoy affiliate marketing because it allows them to reach a larger audience, and only pay when they get a click or a sale, depending on the commissions’ agreement.
How Does It Work?
Affiliate marketing is a process in which you can earn money, known as commission when you promote products and services for a company.
You can join a network and promote a product you like from there. Every time someone clicks on your link and purchases something, you can earn a commission. The more sales, the more you earn.
Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to make money by promoting products and services you love to your readers and followers.
Having your blog or website set up with a regular following is important to make any money.
The simple steps you can follow to start with affiliate marketing include:
- Find and join an affiliate marketing program that interests you.
- Choose the products you would like to promote. You can then submit to work on these and receive your affiliate link.
- Share this link. Social media or a website are often the best places to share that link.
- Wait for someone to click on the link and make a purchase. When they do, you earn money.
You will need to have some platform in place to utilize affiliate marketing. Without followers and readers, you can put up as many links as you would like and never earn a sale.
The more of a following you already have on your social media account, or your website and blog, the easier it is to earn money from these links.
It is also essential to present the links well. There is a lot of competition in affiliate marketing, and if you write articles and posts that seem like a sales pitch, your customers will get annoyed and choose another blog to follow.
Adding it naturally into your writing, and showing why it can be valuable to your readers is a much better approach.
The Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
There are several advantages that you will enjoy when you decide to work with affiliate marketing.
Some of these include:
- Many products and companies to choose from: The exact companies and products will depend on the network you join. This gives you many opportunities to earn. For example, in the case of the Amazon Associates program, you essentially have every type of product in the world at your fingertips.
- Earn money on links: You can write a review or recommend the product on your blog, and then earn money when someone clicks on it and makes a purchase. You can keep the link as long as you want and continue earning money.
- Turn it into a passive income: Once you do the hard work of creating a blog and getting people on board to read it, you can easily write some good content with the affiliate link inside on occasion, and earn a passive income.
- Recommend some great products to your readers: If you do affiliate marketing well, you will recommend products your readers will enjoy and find valuable. This helps increase credibility in your site and helps you earn more money.
- Great way to earn money writing. If you have a knack for putting words together in a manner that people connect with, recommending affiliate products is a great way to monetize your skill with words.
The Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing
While there are many things to enjoy about affiliate marketing, there are some drawbacks too. Some affiliate marketing networks offer low commissions, making it hard to earn a decent amount.
It is important to search around and find the right commission structure you are comfortable with.
There is also the problem of high competition. Pretty much anyone with a blog or website will use affiliate marketing today. This makes it hard to stand out from the crowd and earn enough to make it worthwhile.
And with some limited products and not getting paid until someone purchases from your link, it is sometimes hard to earn anything in affiliate marketing.
The Best Free Affiliate Marketing Programs
There are several different affiliate marketing programs out there, and choosing one can be challenging.
You want to pick one that will go along with your goals and one that pays well. And when adding to your social media site or blog, you need one that offers products your customers will enjoy.
Some of the best free affiliate marketing programs to use includes:
This is a great option because it is one of the largest networks and is also friendly and easy to use for beginners.
The neat thing is that there are many merchants to choose from in this system, to mix and match with relative ease.
As of writing this article, ShareASale has 3900 merchants, and more than 1000 only work with ShareASale.
This is a company you can trust. They have been in business for 18 years, and there are so many merchants that you can work with as well.
This makes it easy to find the company and the products you would like to promote, without having to sell-out or pick something your following will not work.
When you visit this site, you will be able to see all the necessary information for each affiliate product you may want to consider. This can seem like a lot of information overload, but it will help you make the best decision.
You can explore each product before choosing to include the amount you will earn per click on your link, the reversal rate for each product, the average sale of each product, and the commission for the product.
ShareASale is a free resource that you can use to start promoting different products, and there are so many to choose from.
With so many marketers only working with this site, and never working with anyone else, this provides many opportunities for you to pick unique products.
If you have done any research about affiliate marketing in the past, then you may have run across the ClickBank company.
This is a big network and one of the most widely used options out there. It is estimated that their marketers make millions of dollars a year combined.
There are many great programs available within this network, so you have a lot of choices. Companies in every field and many different products are available to choose when you use this affiliate network.
Sports, travel, parenting, self-help, and more are all options you can add to your social media or blog and earn money from the links; you just need to find the right one.
ClickBank is a name most affiliate marketers know and trust, and while they may use a few other options on the side, this is one they will often return too.
ClickBank is seen as one of the more reputable affiliate marketing networks out there, with 17 years of experience.
You can visit this network and find products that work well for your customers, or market to more than 200 million customers throughout the world.
The commissions are also higher on this site compared to some others. While it will depend on the exact product and company you choose to work with, you have the potential for some to earn 75%.
And some companies are willing to offer you recurring commissions on your work each month too.
The next option on our list is known as JVZoo. This is a good network to choose because you get access to thousands of different programs and advertisers all in one place, while still receiving each tool and solution necessary to build up your business.
You can earn even more in commission on your work for some products than ClickBank, with a few products offering 100% commission payouts.
This site works a bit differently than the rest. It provides affiliates with real-time tracking of the campaigns, so you can see how well each product is performing and when it is time to switch to something new.
There is also a two-tier system for commissions based on the type of product you promote. This means that you can recruit your own affiliates for some products, earn sales on your links, and the links that others under you use as well.
There are a lot of reasons to enjoy this affiliate network over the others. You just need to sign up for one account and then, you can be an affiliate, a seller, or both.
The network is free to join, and depending on the product, the commission amount for your work can be high. Plus, all commissions are paid out from the vendors right into your PayPal account once the sale is made.
It is simple and easy to use while making a good commission in the process.
While our other options have spent some time talking about networks that sell many different products from a wide variety of companies, Market Health is a little more specialized.
This is the best affiliate network to choose if you want to promote some of the best beauty and health products online. If your blog or website is about these topics, then this is a great option.
The main reason to choose the Market Health affiliate network is that you can find exclusive beauty and health products to promote to your readers.
It is high-converting because of the quality of products, giving you a great way to make money.
There are many other reasons to go with Market Health compared to some of the other affiliate programs.
First, it is one of the leading networks for these kinds of products, and a quick glance will blow you away at the quality and how great these products are.
It is also set up to help you become one of their “super affiliates,” allowing you to start earning 60% or more per sale.
The payouts on this one are on regular intervals, being sent out on the 1st and 16th of the month, though you do need to have a minimum of $20 earned to get the payout.
But with the high-quality products and how easy it is to get signed up, you will be able to earn that first $20 in no time.
This is one of the oldest options out there for affiliate marketing. Thanks to some rebranding and more, their popularity is growing fast.
To ensure that this site is easy for the users to work with and to keep the competition away, Rakuten has a few features that are very distinctive for them.
For example, one feature is that they provide a rotating banner ad that is different for each product. This will make it easier for you to optimize and administer the product over the long-term.
Unlike some of the other affiliate networks out there, you would not need to select one specific ad to use. This process allows you to set up things manually to have more than one version of the ad run on your site.
There are several benefits of using this affiliate network over some of the others. First is the deep linking option.
This provides a good deal of flexibility to the affiliate and can ensure they have a chance to reach more people. Dynamic ad rotation helps you to change ads around and optimize them based on the chosen customer.
The signup process is free and straightforward, making it a dream for someone beginning in affiliate marketing.
While there is a lot to enjoy with this site, some drawbacks seem to make some affiliates choose other options.
It is too similar to some of the other networks out there. Despite being on the market for a long time, it isn’t as big of a name as others in the business.
There aren’t as many products to choose from due to this, and the commissions are lower.
We can’t get far in a discussion about the best affiliate marketing sites without taking the time to talk about Amazon Associates. This is one of the largest networks out there with many reasons why a seller and an affiliate would want to join.
For example, when you join this network, you get the choice of one and a half million sellers to work with, which provides many opportunities to make money, and plenty of products to promote.
Even advanced marketers will have something to enjoy with Amazon Associates. They can create their own custom websites and tools with APIs that include some of Amazon’s implementations to make more money. A beginner can start with a simple website or blog.
Because there are so many different companies that utilize Amazon Associates, you get plenty of options for which products and services you want to promote.
You can do so by writing articles or reviews about the product. And the earnings potential is much larger.
Unlike other networks that only give a commission based on one product being purchased, the link you get from Amazon will earn you a nice commission each time something is purchased from that site.
There are many reasons why affiliates like to work with Amazon. It is easy to use, even for a beginner, there are millions of potential products to sell, so it allows for a big partner network and plenty of flexibility, and it is popular. Since so many people trust the Amazon brand, it is easier to get them to click on the link and make a purchase.
The biggest drawback of using Amazon Associates is that commissions are a bit lower than other sites.
This one starts at around 4%, which is not high for the market. You will need to get more clicks and sales to earn anything substantial, which is why some people choose the other affiliate sites.
This is a good marketing platform to consider because it has so many options for you to choose from. It has 15,000 advertisers and more than 200,000 active publishers.
Publishers have a choice of searching through all of the advertisers before they apply for the products they want to promote.
This gives them a lot of choices. The biggest issue here is that one brand may have tons of products that you have to sign up for one at a time.
For this marketing network, there are a few brands that are picky about who they will let use the links. You may be able to apply for one of the company’s services, but they may not want you to promote too many of their products at once.
Other standards may be set up by the individual advertiser, and if you don’t meet these, it may be harder than other sites to get things set up.
Even though there are a few more rules on this one than the other affiliate networks, there are many companies to choose from, and you are certain to find some great products and services to promote on your website.
It may take a bit of time to search around and find what you want specifically, but Awin is a great place for beginner affiliate marketers to start.
This is a good network to choose if you would like to work with companies that have a global reach.
This network will provide you with some Product Widgets, which you can then embed on your own website or blog.
Once this widget is in place, you can show more than one product on the page at a time, using a grid, collage, or slideshow. This helps to increase sales because it shows potential customers many options.
In addition to the widget that helps increase sales, you will benefit from using deep link automation. This is a great way to make more money because it will take care of all the automation of your links so you can start to make money quickly.
Plus, you get real-time transaction monitoring, so you know exactly when you make a sale.
Many great companies work with CJ Affiliate, and you can have your pick. However, the application process is a bit more complex than a few of our other top choices.
You can do so for free, but must submit your website to see if it meets all the quality standards in place. You will also need to apply individually to each company you would like to work with.
The next option to work with is HubSpot. Their mission is to help many companies learn how to grow better, and they provide many companies with all the tools they need to manage their customer experience.
This can include awareness all the way to advocacy and even purchasing products.
Because they work differently than some of the other affiliate sites, the commission structure is different.
This one will give the affiliate a flat fee based on the product tier that each product is in. Once you send over a referral who purchases, you can earn between $250 as a starter all the way to $1000 for the enterprise.
This is for each item purchased, so if a referral purchases two or more items, the commission goes up.
Because the commission is higher on this one, there is a lot of competition, so sometimes the application process takes time, and it is hard to beat out others.
However, if you have a large audience already and know how to find the right way to entice them, this could be a lucrative way to make money.
This is a great online platform that will help businesses with management and marketing.
They include options like workflow automation, email verification, app integration, and more. They also have a really great affiliate program available for those who want to utilize their own skills to bring in more customers.
A few of the unique features that are available with this affiliate marketing network will include:
- Affiliates have the option to promote any, or all, of the products available. In the process, they will receive a 30% commission on sales within 40 days after the sale is complete.
- Pabbly will help track sales of all products with a single cookie. So no matter what product you are promoting, you will get a commission on that sale through your link. It can also make it easier, so you never have to refer to each product on its own when promoting to an audience.
- The commissions are usually pretty good with Pabbly. The minimum right now is $183 for each sale, making it well worth your time if you can get people interested.
In addition to all of those neat features, affiliates who use this network will get a single dashboard to monitor their sales.
This makes it easier to review everything about your commissions, including the referrals, payouts, and sales, in one place.
Related Post: Pabbly Affiliate Review – A Good Recurring Program?
When you want to become an affiliate marketer, there are many choices out there.
Some offer nice features or better products that match up with your blog and website, while others may have a higher commission rate to earn you more on each sale.
Finding the right one for you that is free is possible; it just takes some research and a good understanding of your audience.
- Blogger Passion: Top 15 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners in 2020
- Pure Residuals: Reviews and Affiliate Marketing Tips
- Investopedia: Affiliate Marketing
- Big Commerce: Affiliate Marketing in 2020: What It is and How You Can Get Started
- Wikipedia: Affiliate
- Wikipedia: Affiliate Marketing
- Affilorama: Affiliate marketing: Step By Step Guide for Beginners
- The Muse: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About How Commission Works
- TechRadar Pro: Best Affiliate Marketing programs of 2020
- Hubspot: 43 of the Best Affiliate Programs that Pay the Highest Commission
- AWIN: We Create Trusted Partnerships that Drive Growth
- Amazon Associates: Amazon’s Affiliate Marketing Program
- Rakuten Advertising
- MarketHealth: Affiliate Network
- JVZoo Sell More with Us
- ClickBank: ClickBank is a Leading Global Retailer and Affiliate Marketplace
- ShareASale: What is Affiliate Marketing?
- Pabbly: Powerful Software Tools to Run Your Business
- HubSpot: There’s a Better Way to Grow
- CJ Affiliate: Dare to Think Big