UpPromote - Affiliate Marketing Software

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money

The world of affiliate marketing appeals to many people as a lucrative model that is easily accessible, but a lot of them also assume that it requires hefty investments at the beginning. That is far from ...

Written by

9 min read
How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money

The world of affiliate marketing appeals to many people as a lucrative model that is easily accessible, but a lot of them also assume that it requires hefty investments at the beginning. That is far from the truth, as you can join the affiliate market without a handsome initial budget.

This article reveals how to start affiliate marketing with no money so you can earn hassle-free passive income with no up-front costs. Of course, you will need extra resources as you scale up, but for now, money should not be a problem in becoming an affiliate marketer.

The Basic of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has a straightforward formula of Sign up – Share – Earn. That is basically affiliate marketing for beginners, right? Although it sounds clear and simple, the model can still confuse some people from the start.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

This is how affiliate marketing works to help you earn money by promoting product/service links within top affiliate networks around the world. Once you register for an affiliate program, you will receive specific links to share with your audiences. Then, the commission is yours when someone purchases via your links.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money

Register for an affiliate program

To enable affiliate marketing strategies, a company or brand will collaborate with affiliate marketers like bloggers, influencers, or Youtubers in their referral campaigns. These people refer the brand’s products to their audiences, and successful referrals that convert to sales will receive a commission.

The signup procedure usually involves filling out a form and all the necessary details for a transparent and direct partnership, payments, referrals, and affiliate marketing efforts from both sides.

Share unique affiliate links

After signing up, you will get specific affiliate links to put on social channels for potential buyers to click. There should be a product description to provide customers with information on what you are advertising from the affiliate program.

Affiliates can share these links wherever they feel suitable, from Youtube videos and blog posts to content on other popular social media platforms. Promoting the products through your content will boost traffic and gain sales, thus, leading to being paid a commission.

Visitors make a sale from the links

When someone visits your channels and clicks on the affiliate links, they will be redirected to the brand’s page to make a purchase. Once the transaction is completed, it is considered a commission for your wallet.

Earn commission for each sale

Each program has its terms and conditions, guidelines, and commission rates. You will know how much percentage you can earn with each sale as you sign up to be their affiliate. If your content creates a sale, the brand will pay you a specific percentage for each purchase.

Pros & Cons Of Affiliate Marketing

Pros Cons
– Zero to minimal investment
– Easy to start
– Flexible rewards
– Work from anywhere
– Payment based on commission
– Highly competitive
– Work as a third-party

Is It Possible To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

Most affiliate programs currently available do not charge you any fees to join. That is why you do not need an up-front investment to start making money with affiliate products/services.

Moreover, it can also enable a passive income through your commission, which is the perfect money-making scenario.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money for Beginners

Now that you know it is totally possible to start affiliate marketing for free, here are the step by step affiliate marketing tactics to get yourself going on this new journey. First, choose an affiliate niche that works best for your goals and find a compatible affiliate program.

Then, pick a primary traffic channel to focus on and start building content and growing your audience. You can drive more traffic from potential sources and scale up your efforts after having considerable followings.

Choose A Niche 

To select a niche for long-term development, you need first to research the current marketplace for popular niche segments, sites, and markets. For instance, fitness, finances, cooking, and blogging are among highly profitable niches.

Next, pinpoint what you are interested in and willing to promote on your personal channels. List out your highlight skills and knowledge and decide what you already excel in. Regarding some products or services you have experienced before, do you want to recommend them to other people?

It is crucial that you also conduct research on competition in general. Find out about well-known affiliate marketing programs, the best platforms for promotion, and how much an average affiliate market makes per month.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money

You can try these currently popular niches for affiliate marketing:

  • Lifestyle: Minimalism, education, eco-friendly, veganism, van life
  • Fashion and Beauty: Top beauty products, accessories, makeup, or fashion tips
  • Home: Home tips, interior design, plants, pets, kids
  • Health: Personal care, mental health, nutrition, anti-aging
  • Hobbies: Traveling, music, DIY, cooking, art, photography
  • Technology: Gaming, web hosting, online security, VPN
  • Fitness: Gym, yoga, accessories, hiking, and more.

Find An Affiliate Program 

If you wish to start affiliate marketing by yourself, choose the most suitable program for your requirements. The simplest way to do so is by using search engines. Type [product] + affiliate program to see whether your selected niche matches the perfect affiliate program.

You can also browse existing programs such as AliExpressLululemon, Amazon, etc., which are all advantageous platforms that benefit millions of affiliate marketers worldwide.

Note that some affiliate programs pay per sale, lead, or click. It is advisable that you study different programs and consider all possible factors before jumping in on how to start affiliate marketing with no money.

  • Promote within your niche (find products that fit your chosen niche)
  • Promote your interested products among various goods
  • Promote what attracts your target audience
  • Promote products from different merchants
  • Select programs with reasonable commissions (it is ideal to have high commissions, but the products may have low sales)

Avoid falling for get-rich-quick schemes while doing your research. When selecting an affiliate program, consider the company’s reputation, product demand, and customer satisfaction.

In addition, do not opt for a program offering high commissions without any actual buyers. Be careful with online scammers who offer flash schemes, and never pay to be an affiliate.

Pick Up a Traffic Channel

After determining your affiliate niche and program, it is time to select a traffic channel to focus on monetizing it. You need to understand some of their algorithms to see which suits best with your affiliate model, so begin with a few popular discussion forums and social media platforms.

It would be a huge plus if you already have certain followers on the platform for the product you plan to sell. For example, if your Youtube or Instagram account is about photography or lifestyle, it will make sense to pick a program in that niche.

Let’s break down some options and how they can benefit your affiliate marketing efforts.


TikTok is a video-sharing platform with more than a billion monthly active users, where most of the latest trends pop up. The best part about using this platform is creating video content with your phone to promote affiliate products.

Although the links on the video are not clickable, you can set up a free business account and attach the link to your bio.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money


Undoubtedly, Facebook is still the most prominent social media channel today, with endless potential for affiliate marketing. Posting about your product on relevant Facebook pages and groups will guarantee its selling like a hot cake.

Moreover, many page and group owners would be willing to share your affiliate links to earn a small commission.


Being a visual-focused channel makes Instagram an ideal place to start affiliate marketing. With the help of top-tiered video and photo content, you can get as creative as you want. The wide range of features like posts, stories, and reels are helpful in creating sales funnels.

Keep in mind that you may struggle a little bit at the beginning on this channel. However, your key to long-term success is publishing quality content and partnering with other growing accounts.


This is another visually oriented platform to begin pursuing affiliate marketing with zero cost. Most people know and use Pinterest to look for lifestyle items. Therefore, if your chosen niche aligns with this channel, your chance of winning is much higher here.


Twitter is a free social media platform where you can attract traffic and sell your affiliate products. Since it focuses on building user engagement, you will be able to grow your audience more easily.

A great tip for Twitter growth: Contribute valuable comments to well-respected accounts in your niche.

Nevertheless, this channel is currently going through many changes that provide an edge to paying users. So in order to maximize its full potential for your affiliate marketing efforts, you might need to get a blue tick.


More than a job-hunting platform, many people choose LinkedIn for personal branding and product selling. Additionally, it has a lot of professionals who will not hesitate to purchase your goods if they meet their demands.

Its organic reach is also an essential factor in helping new entrants expand. However, since the majority of LinkedIn users are professionals, you will be limited to marketing only specific types of products.


Needless to say, no other video search engine can outshine Youtube in developing your affiliate marketing journey. Video content is on the rise, especially with the new short form, and has online users glued to their screens for hours.

Note that it is not simple to sell on Youtube, but you can definitely get there by making quality content and optimizing Youtube SEO. The platform also pays you when your channel grows, which can be another source of income.

Build Content

It is simple how to start affiliate marketing with no money, but this business model is certainly not something you can get rich from overnight. You should set a solid goal to provide value to your followers so that they are motivated to buy from your affiliate links.

That is when your content strategy steps in as a major highlight in your marketing efforts. We recommend examining the content from top users in your niche and also user behavior before producing your own.

Engaging content needs to include storytelling, entertainment, value, and unique perspectives. In case you do not have a unique viewpoint, try to make your content more informative and funnier, or take advantage of music and graphics for a better impact.

Pay close attention to these pointers to bring engaging content to your channels:

  • Address the audience’s pain points.
  • Use catchy titles and headlines to grab attention.
  • Understand your customer insights to create content that suits them best.
  • Analyze similar affiliates and aim to be better.
  • Ensure harmony across platforms using different channels to support your main affiliate platform.
  • Work hard and be patient; it takes time for your work to be noticed.

Grow Your Audience

Many affiliate marketers strive to hit big too early, so getting fewer clicks and views on their work can be demotivating, but that is a wrong approach for newbies.

The key here is consistency, as most affiliate beginners struggle with regular posting, alternating between days with high motivation and a lack of inspiration. That is why you need to design a specific posting plan, including time, date, topic, and type of content (video, photo, livestream, etc.) to follow through.

When you manage to be consistent in posting and promoting your content with affiliate links, you will be able to grow a loyal audience base.

Apply these strategies for better initial acceleration:

  • Collaborate with other growing influencers in the same niche.
  • Share your work on all social media accounts.
  • Promote yourself on discussion forums like Quora and Reddit.
  • Make a series of content about the same topic for viewers to follow.
  • Ask friends and family to check out your content.

Drive More Traffic from Potential Sources 

There are multiple valuable platforms for you to elevate your affiliate marketing efforts on. It is advisable that you choose only a maximum of 2 primary channels and focus on growing them, but you can also drive more traffic from other potential sources.

For instance, if you aim to do affiliate marketing on Youtube, use your profiles on Facebook or Twitter as crutches to leverage the Youtube channel. As you repeatedly mention or attach links that lead to your main channel, it creates harmony and synchronization between different platforms for your overall online visibility.

One thing is for sure; these tactics will enable the snowball effect for your content growth over time. If your audiences are interested enough, they will be more likely to subscribe to see your work on other platforms as well.

By optimizing other relevant channels, you can get more traffic and redirect them to your leading platforms. Putting too much work in only 1-2 channels and ignoring the rest may not help you reach a considerable traffic rate in the long run.

Scale It Up

Once you have built a decent following, use full force to scale up your affiliate marketing efforts and boost your revenues:

  • Invest in automatic tools like AnyTrack, CJ, and Volumm to create targeted content and save time.
  • Hire professionals to get the job done, such as copywriters for Instagram and videographers for Youtube.
  • Start a blog for free on WordPress to tap into a larger audience and create more sales.


How to start affiliate marketing with no money is a promising direction for those willing to put time and effort into their work. As you stay patient and persistent in reaching your goals, your affiliate marketing game will absolutely bring you much more than you first invested in.

With our guide and a positive mindset, anyone can succeed as an affiliate marketer without spending any money initially.

Joan, a creative mind and author behind UpPromote blog. Writing has always been my sanctuary, a place where I can explore my imagination and share my unique perspective on the world of eCommerce. Through my words, I strive to explain the complexities of the digital world and showcase its potential for innovation, growth, and limitless opportunities.