Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: 8 Steps To Earn Affiliate Commissions


To start affiliate marketing for beginners could be challenging if the tricks and efforts required to succeed in the business are not used.

But yet, this is one of the best and most profitable online businesses you could do with no capital.

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There’s no problem if you don’t have your own products, stock, inventory, stores and shipping capacity.

While the companies you’re affiliated to take care of the costs of running the business – designing, producing and shipping a product, your own is just to continually promote and refer new customers to the companies.

That is, if you can persuade people and influence their purchasing decisions, then affiliate marketing could be a great way for you to make a lot of money online.

That may sound very simple but nothing will happen if you don’t do what you have to do.

All you have to do is to know how to get customers for the companies and ensure sales are generated through your leads.

Look at the graph below.

It shows how much Pat Flynn made from his affiliate marketing business in the last few months.

Pat Flynn Smart Passive Income Commission
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Pat Flynn’s Gross Income In the Last 12 Month of doing Affiliate Marketing

Pat Flynn didn’t get to this level in a day.

So, don’t expect any magic in your own case but to make efforts.

In this guide, we will be talking about the marketing efforts and steps required to start affiliate marketing and earn commissions on products you market in Nigeria.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

According to WikiPedia, affiliate marketing is a “performance-based” marketing strategy that allows big businesses to reward those who are affiliated to them for their marketing efforts to make others buy their products or services.

In the short video below, Tyson Quick, the founder of InstaPage, didn’t say anything different about affiliate marketing. His contribution corroborates with what WikiPedia has said.

Affiliate marketing is an amazing sales and marketing platform for businesses which are into e-Commerce.

In Nigeria, we have Jumia, Konga and JiJi while Amazon and the likes are from the other parts of the world.

How does it concern you?

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing, these are the various companies you will be working with. Once you’re affiliated to any of them, you could earn affiliate commissions the more you help them market their products and services online.

So, you need to know them.

Reality of Affiliate Marketing

reality of affiliate marketing
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As you may need to know, you have to work before making money from your affiliate marketing. Thus if you signup for any affiliate marketing program and don’t commit your effort to the business, no success.

[Tweet “This is to tell you that affiliate marketing for beginners isn’t a get-rich quick scheme in which you’re tricked to invest 10k and earn 20k in forty-five minutes. It’s rather a real passive business with lifetime opportunities.”]

Ask any affiliate marketer who tells you he makes certain figures monthly, how he did it?

He would tell you,

There is time to sow and time to harvest.

You too can signup today on any affiliate marketing program that fits your content and start earning extra money. This can happen using a website or even a social media platform.

Each time you generate a lead or sale for the company you’re affiliated to, your affiliate commission counts. You could make a lot of money helping Amazon to sell Gillette shaving blades to your audience.

When you’re just starting up, you have to lay a very good foundation for your success. And that deserves much of your efforts.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing In Nigeria

The truth is affiliate marketing for beginners is sweet. It can be started in Nigeria the same way it is everywhere else. So, don’t think the environment or poor economy here can make any serious impact on the business.

Well, I study what works for others and apply what I learn to my own enterprise and see changes. Most successful foreign affiliate marketers like Neil Patel, Pat Flynn and Bill Hartzer don’t have any secrets regarding their success.

They talk about it in their posts all the times.

After studying them and their huge affiliate marketing success stories, I put the best of their tricks to action and like to share how it works for me with you.

The following steps reflect my experience cum other people’s intelligence, insights, tricks and achievements. Since I wasn’t the first person to treat this subject, anywhere you go to learn how to start affiliate marketing, these are the eight (8) strategies you’ll always come across.

What you can’t find elsewhere is my creative style of simplifying the steps and strategies. This is because I wanted to be sure you understand the nitty-gritty of affiliate marketing.

I’ll walk you through each of these steps to make you know how to start affiliate marketing in Nigeria:

  • Choose your niche
  • Find affiliate marketing programs to join
  • Create an online platform
  • Adopt content marketing
  • Build your audience
  • Target your audience
  • Promote relevant products
  • Repeat Steps 4 – 8

Choose Your Niche

Niche Marketing for Beginners
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Your niche is very fundamental to what affiliate program you want to signup for. It determines what affiliate marketing idea to focus your attention on and what you want your business to be known for.

If you are into sports, what sport is it?

Those who are into fashion will perform well if their niche focuses on specific aspects of fashion such as men’s fashion, women’s fashion or kids’ fashion.

As a soccer enthusiast, you can simply choose soccer instead of addressing sports as a whole. When you’re talking about soccer, swimming, car races, boxing and wrestling at the same time, it confuses your audience. Consequently, that will affect your turnover.

Focusing on a more specific niche will help you attract leads from the people that have the tendency to buy your affiliate products not those who will land on your website and walk away.

You can’t blame them.

They walk away because your content is not relevant to them.

Let’s say your niche is on “Pet” and you want to be known as a “Dog Breeder”, that means whatever content you’re writing must be relevant to dog behaviour, discipline, foods, health, vaccines, accessories, mating, sales and so on.

Let’s say you’re looking for “crime scenes news” and come across two different websites or blogs: one is a mixture of politics, business, crime, sports, education and tech news and the other strictly focuses on crime news.

Which one will you choose?

The crime-focused news website has the potential and authority to give you more relevant and in-depth “crime-scene news” than the other which lacks focus.

You’ll rather choose the one that focuses on crime news since that is where you can get the most reliable and relevant update you need.

That’s how consumers choose between a niche-focused website and a website with scattered niche ideas.

Narrowing down your niche will make consumers in need of a service or product you promote to trust and be loyal to you. This effort is to boost your leads, engagements, conversions and retain your customers.

Benefits of Focusing on a Niche

AffiliateMarketerTraining has a list of what you can benefit from focusing on your niche. These include:

  • To help consumers identify your business in the crowd.
  • Targeting and maintaining good customer relations.
  • To help establish authority in your niche.
  • To help find the best affiliate marketing program that supports your niche.

In fact, if you ever lose focus, remembering what you wanted to be known for will make you get back to your track.

How to Identify a Profitable Niche?

Be informed, not all niches are profitable.

The profitability of a niche can be determined by the amount of people that show interest in the niche. You may not know this if you have not started. To avoid laboring in vain, you can place an assessment on your competitors to see the engagement rate of their content so far.

If most of their posts don’t get read, shares, likes and comments, it means the niche is not profitable. So, why going for what won’t profit you? This is the reason why most websites fail to generate income.

The problem is not the websites but the niche.

You might like reading also, 5 Profitable Side Hustles You Can Start.

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs to Join?

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs in Nigeria
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There are different affiliate marketing programs that you can join depending on your niche or market interest.

As found on WhereverWriter and Invoice, these are some of the affiliate marketing programs for beginners in Nigeria or anywhere:

  1. Wealthy Affiliate
  2. ClickBank
  3. Amazon Associates
  4. RevenueWire
  5. Walmart
  6. Skimlinks
  7. Keysearch
  8. Tailwind
  9. Convertkit
  10. AliExpress
  11. Shopify
  12. Jumia
  13. Konga

Some of these programs require you meet some certain criteria before your application can be approved, while some don’t. So, it’s impossible to tell you categorically which among them would accept you.

Your application to BlueHost, Jumia or Konga can be approved and you will get your affiliate account generated immediately. But that doesn’t make your revenue to level up if you don’t work for it.

For this reason, those that require you meet their standards like ClickBank won’t accept you if you don’t have certain potential such as traffic and authority.

How to make money with affiliate marketing
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Steps to make money with ClickBank

So, whether an affiliate marketing program will grant you an approval or not, what is important is to first ensure you have all it takes to generate leads and sales before sending your application. Otherwise, no companies will give you a commission without seeing your efforts.

This shows, there is no way you can make money as an affiliate marketer if you don’t do all the needful. Meanwhile, your authority, reputation, audience, traffic, among other key factors, are considered before any affiliate marketing program can grant you an approval.

What Online Platform to Use

Social Media Platforms for Affiliate marketing
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Affiliate marketing is an online business so you need a website (blog) and social media platforms to run it.

RECOMMENDED: How to start a blog

If you have an active social media account like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you can perform excellently by linking them to your website or blog.

Most of the affiliate marketing programs want to know your authority and relevancy to their programs. This can be assessed based on the numbers and kinds of followers you have on your social media platforms and the rate of their engagements.

So, if you have a good website and highly engaging social media accounts, you can link them together to maximize your performance.

This strategy means you have the potential to succeed. And when companies see this, they will be eager to do business with you.

Content Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing
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Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to create and share relevant and consistent content such as text, audio, video, graphics to attract and retain a target audience in making a certain profitable customer action.

Affiliate marketers use this strategy to help target audience find precise answers.

Having identified your niche and audience, then you can find products that are relevant to your audience. Create and promote content around the products to make your audience be aware of how the product can help solve their problems.

You don’t need to ask people to visit your website and buy a product. They will definitely follow your content to wherever it directs them if it matters to them.

But if this is not happening, it means the content is not relevant to your audience. So, to succeed in affiliate marketing, be sure that your niche, content and product are relevant to your target audience.

If you want more on content marketing, read Conversion Rate Tricks To Boost Affiliate Sales.

Build Your Audience

Audience Targeting
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Since you’ve worked hard to get to this stage, it would be very sad if your content can’t reach the right audience.

So, all you have to do is to start building your own audience and target them right away.

There’re many ways to build your target audience and these include the use of:

  1. Email Marketing
  2. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
  3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Email Marketing

This is a digital marketing tool used to make website visitors drop their email address before exiting. Affiliate marketers use this strategy to keep in touch with their subscribers and extend the relationship beyond the first visit. The email address will be used to send more interesting stuff to the visitors and that will make them like to return.

Email Marketing
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So, if you have ever dropped your email address on a website and keep getting mails from that website, it means you have been engaged in email marketing.

The major function of this tool is to make you come back to the website and learn more about great content depending on what you’re looking for.

If one of these days you receive a mail about something you’ve been looking for, you will be compelled to go back to that website and do whatever you need to do.

You can equally use this strategy to build you own audience. So, that each time you want to share your content, it reaches all your subscribers. From that act, you can market whatever affiliate product you want to market and make your money.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

If you visit some websites, you will see the numbers of followers and subscribers connected to them.

As seen in the image below, ContentMarketingInstitute had over 200,000 subscribers and almost 300,000 Twitter followers.

Social Media Marketing
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From each of your social media platforms, you can build your own audience as well.

Remember this affiliate marketing for beginners, you don’t have to build a thousand of audience before you can start making money from your affiliate marketing program. You only have to start from somewhere and ensure you start well.

Gradually your audience toll will grow.

If it’s one person you are able to build, it’s possible you start earning your affiliate commission on that one single person inasmuch as your affiliate product is right for him.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine Marketing
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This is the use of search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Baidu and so on to make your content visible in an increasingly competitive environment. This will make your content appear on top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Since those search engines also want to make money, they control what appears on their pages. Consequently, it becomes difficult to have your content visible on the internet without paying for it.

So, to take this advantage, you need two things:

  • Pay per click advertising
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising:

This is a marketing service search engines offer to help marketers get their content viral online. If you pay Google for this service, it saves your content from being buried in the annal of the search engine. Thus it gives you a better exposure. And from there, you could build a large customer base.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is to make search engines understand what your business is all about and help you get it to those who are likely going to benefit from it.

According to Statista, Google has the largest user base in the world.

See the index below.

Largest Search Engine in the world
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However, SEO is about how you can leverage the search engine to build up and target your audience without paying Google for for it.

If you want this to happen, all you have to do is to optimize your website and its content based on Google SEO standards.

I won’t talk too much about this aspect here because it is an advanced digital marketing strategy. But if you want, you can read Off-Page SEO for Beginners to learn more about it.

Target Your Audience

Audience targeting doesn’t mean you have to run after your audience and make a nuisance of yourself like those traditional advertisers who disturb your peace with ad banners that say:

“You can’t judge a book by its cover!”.

Marketing Cliche in affiliate marketing
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Marketing clitches don’t work these days again.

So, you have to respect yourself by not playing on the intelligence of your audience using some unrealistic phrases to compel patronage. Leave them with your real intent to decide what to do with your content.

You can rather convert your stress and effort into building a very strong online presence through the use of your website, social media platforms and search engine marketing.

Affiliate marketing for beginners who know what marketing is all about, requires the use of brand identity tricks to attract more loyal audiences.

Read how to use Facebook Audience Insights to learn more about audience targeting.

The good news is if your content is sure-specific about your niche and you share it with the right audience, those who will buy your stuff will do so without you telling them.

How is that possible?

Let’s say you’re an online tutor and your niche focuses on “how to pass GRE or TOEFL examinations”. That means you should target GRE or TOEFL candidates.

Teaching them “A to Z” of how to pass those exams is your main objective.

However, targeting your audience in that niche means your consistency in creating and sharing content which the candidates need the most to achieve your niche objective, which is “how to pass A Level examinations”.

As long as your content will facilitate the success of your audience in passing those exams, they’ll buy whatever related product contained thereof.

Such products are so relevant that if you don’t recommend them to your audience, others will do and your audience will buy from them.

That means, targeting your audience with essential things they need won’t only inspire you about what content to create but also help you stay within the scope of your niche.

While you’re thinking about how to monetize your blog, determine your audience, recommend the types of products that are relevant to them, and maintain the status quo.

Promoting Relevant Products

Affiliate Products
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As an affiliate marketer, your work includes guiding your audience to do something in a certain way and offer products or services that can help them get good results.

They will be happy with you.

It’s not your job to track sales, provide customer service, fix price and authenticate payments. These responsibilities will be handled by the companies you’re affiliated to. So, you have all the time in the world to market what is relevant to your audience.

Affiliate marketing can get sore if after a visitor opens your affiliate link and lands on a wrong website – a page where she can’t find anything related to her want.

Such practice is offensive and could deteriorate your credibility and reputation. So, don’t do what will make you an unsavory marketer.

However, the golden rule of successful affiliate marketing for beginners is to market and recommend products or services you’re familiar with.

Repeat Steps 4 – 8

Your prospective customers may not show interest in you immediately or during the very first time they visit your website. In fact, you won’t see traces of someone following you but that is not true.

Those who are in dire need of your content are following up silently. But because they don’t trust you yet, they won’t make you notice them. They read your content, like and even talk about it when they’re with their friends.

People generally behave that way online to avoid being scammed. They take their time to build confidence before showing interest in things they come across online.

While this is happening behind you, use the moment to prove to your audience you have solutions to their problems. Repeating yourself will make them know you can offer them better information, products or services they’re clamoring.

So, be consistent until you begin to see desirable results and keep repeating the steps and watch out for your commissions to skyrocket.

Common Mistakes Beginners Make

The mistake most beginners make is looking for money so quick without thinking of how to work for it. But because legitimate money doesn’t come that way, they find real business like this so boring. Unfortunately they lose a lot of money opting for something else.

In my first three months that I started this business, I wasn’t doing it for money. All I was thinking about is doing it for people and I made quality content out of my passion to help!

I use all my free-time to create useful content.

With a lot of dedication, I’ve started getting the reward I deserve now.

It’s most certain you’ll get your own reward too if you don’t stop.

Don’t forget, success depends so much on efforts you invest in your business. So, the more you invest, the bigger your reward.

One day, it will get to a stage whereby you’ll be sleeping and some companies will keep sending you money for your past efforts. This is possible if you work for developing the potential it needs to become a successful affiliate marketer.


Affiliate marketing for beginners could be challenging but with a good relationship with your audience can make you succeed. You only need to update the subject of your content and ensure your affiliate links genuinely send the visitors to genuine products and services.

The business begins with your efforts to simplify your niche, find profitable affiliate marketing products, create a highly quality content, build your audience, link your audience with the products, promote your products and keep repeating the process.

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