Affiliate marketing presents an excellent opportunity to start an online business with very little upfront investment. Unlike other business models that require products, employees and overhead, affiliate marketing simply requires you to promote other companies’ products and get a commission when you make a sale.

The best part about affiliate marketing is that you can get started today without spending any money.

By leveraging free platforms and tools, you can launch and grow an affiliate marketing side hustle or full-time business without breaking the bank.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover how to start affiliate marketing with no money step by step so you can begin to generate commissions:

Step 1: Choose a Niche and Research Products

Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money

The first step is selecting a niche you’re passionate about that offers affiliate opportunities. Think about topics you already follow and enjoy reading about.

Once you’ve selected a niche like fitness, cooking or fashion, start researching potential affiliate programs related to your niche by searching “[niche] affiliate programs”.

Browse affiliate networks like Sovern, ClickBank and ShareASale as well as individual company programs like Amazon Associates to find relevant products to promote. Make sure to join any affiliate programs that interest you.

When researching products, look for ones that provide good affiliate commissions, are aligned with your audience and have resources like banners, text links and product imagery to use in promotions.

Step 2: Create Free Platform Accounts

The platforms you need to start affiliate marketing—like your website, email marketing and social media accounts—can all be created for free.

Here are the key platforms to set up:

  • Website: Create a free WordPress website through or register a free custom domain through a host like Hostinger. This will become your hub for affiliate content and promotions.
  • Email marketing: Sign up for a free Brevo or MailChimp account to start building an email list to promote affiliate offers to.
  • Social media: Create accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and other platforms. Make sure your profile aligns with your niche.
  • Affiliate links: Use a free affiliate link tracking platform like Sovern by Conversant to create tracked affiliate links and monitor your campaigns.

The key is maximizing free tools so you can get started without any financial investment. Many affiliate marketers rely solely on free platforms well into their careers.

Step 3: Create Valuable Content

Content creation is one of the key affiliate marketing strategies for beginners. Through platforms like your blog and social media, focus on creating content that provides value to your audience.

For example, if you’re in the workout niche, create content like “The 10 Best At-Home Workouts for Beginners”. If you focus on cooking, create content like “5 Easy Instant Pot Recipes Anyone Can Make.”

Make sure to organically incorporate affiliate links to related products in your content. For example, link to the exact instant pot and exercise equipment you mention in content.

The goal is establishing yourself as an authority through valuable content. This organic content marketing helps build trust and a loyal audience that will convert through your affiliate links.

Step 4: Build an Email List

Email marketing is one of the most effective promotional channels for affiliate marketers. Since you own your email list, you don’t have to worry about algorithms or bans like on social media.

Offer a lead magnet like a free guide, checklist, coupon code, email course or other opt-in incentive in exchange for an email address. For example, you could offer a “How to Start Meal Planning” checklist in your cooking niche.

Tools like Brevo make it easy to create opt-in forms for your website, social media profiles and more to grow your list.

Then send regular emails with valuable content and promote affiliate offers. Make sure to only recommend products you genuinely believe in.

Step 5: Partner with Influencers

Partnering with influencers in your niche allows you to tap into their engaged audience to promote affiliate offers.

Search hashtags related to your niche on Instagram and TikTok and reach out to micro-influencers with 5,000 – 50,000 followers.

Read More: How To Make Money with Instagram With no Money

You can offer a commission split, free product or flat payment per promotion. Make sure to draft a simple agreement clarifying the partnership terms if they agree to post.

Tools like influencer kit also connect brands with influencers. Just start small by partnering with nano-influencers to keep costs low.

Step 6: Share Affiliate Links & Promotions

There are many ways to share affiliate links for free as you build an audience:

  • Blog posts: Weave text links and image banners into long-form content.
  • Social posts: Directly link to affiliate products from your social accounts using tracked short links.
  • Product reviews: Write dedicated reviews of affiliate products you recommend.
  • Email sequences: Promote relevant affiliate offers in your email newsletters.
  • Referral programs: Promote affiliate links directly to friends and followers.

Focus on providing value, transparency and only promoting offers you genuinely recommend based on actual use or research. This builds trust and credibility.

Step 7: Track Performance & Optimize

It’s essential to track key affiliate marketing metrics like clicks, impressions, conversions and commission earned.

Tools like Sovrn make this easy. Dig into what content, channels and offers perform best to optimize your promotions.

Try tweaking things like:

  • Affiliate product selection
  • Content topic and angles
  • Email and social post copy
  • Call-to-action placement
  • Influencer partnerships

Continual testing and optimization is key to maximize conversions over time.

Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money
Image by Freepik

Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money

The steps above outline how to start affiliate marketing and promoting products to earn commission without any upfront investment.

With free platforms and organic promotion through valuable content and influencer partnerships, you can get your first sales rolling in.

Over time, you can reinvest revenue earned back into your business to grow faster through paid ads, dedicated tools and other investments. But focus on what you can do for free to build momentum and prove the concept first.

Consistent effort over a few months will start to compound and establish your business. So don’t get overwhelmed trying to do it all at once.

Just take it step-by-step following the guide above. Before you know it, you’ll start seeing affiliate commissions coming in and your own business being built.


Can I start affiliate marketing for free?

Yes, you can start affiliate marketing without any upfront investment by utilizing free platforms, organic promotion through content, and building partnerships. You don’t need paid advertising or fancy tools to get started.

How can I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

Follow the step-by-step guide above. Focus on choosing a niche, signing up for affiliate programs, creating platform accounts, building an audience through valuable content, promoting affiliate links, and tracking your performance. Take it slowly and consistently.

How to become an affiliate marketer without spending money?

Use free tools and platforms outlined in the guide like free website builders, social media, and email marketing. Build an audience by providing value rather than paid advertising.

How can I promote my affiliate products for free?

Organic tactics like social media, email, search engine optimization, and outreach to influencers and websites allow free promotion. Prioritize organic traffic and conversions.

How much does it cost to start affiliate marketing?

You can realistically start with $0 upfront investment using this guide. Once you begin earning commissions, you can reinvest revenue back into your business for additional tools and paid advertising.

What are the fees for affiliate marketing? Most affiliate programs are free to join. You will only pay commissions on actual completed sales, usually around 5-20% of the product price. Programs like Amazon Associates charge no fees.

Is affiliate marketing hard for beginners? Affiliate marketing has a relatively low barrier to entry compared to other online business models. As long as you have some technical skills and work ethic, you can absolutely succeed as a beginner.

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