Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase an item, I may earn a commission. See my terms of service for details.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online alongside operating an online store and uploading videos to YouTube. It took me a few months to make my first thousand, and I haven’t looked back. If you have any doubts about becoming an affiliate marketer, you shouldn’t. It’s a legit profession, and there’s a lot of money to be made. It’s possible to make hundreds to thousands monthly over time.
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based advertising model. An affiliate (publisher) promotes a product/service online and receives compensation for achieving a specific objective or action. A merchant (advertiser) specifies the goal, which is usually a valid sale. For example, a merchant will pay the affiliate a 30 percent sales commission. The merchant may use one or multiple advertising pricing models, for instance, cost-per-action/acquisition (CPA), cost per sale (CPS), cost per lead (CPL), or pay per lead (PPL).
The desire to learn about affiliate marketing is enormous. Even though the fundamentals are easy to grasp, many publishers seek affiliate marketing courses and training to get additional insights. Classes taught by reputable marketers and industry leaders can accelerate your learning curve. Merchants that offer excellent training and resources can be helpful as well. Affiliate marketing education ranges from beginner to intermediate. Instructors and course landing pages frequently address subject levels, curriculum, and target markets.
I consider myself a knowledgeable affiliate marketer. I’ve learned by experimenting and observing others with a focus on continually improving. I’ve never purchased an affiliate marketing course and don’t believe you should either. You can get the information you need for free from the many insightful blogs, videos, guides, webinars, and resources that pepper the web. Alternatively, you might assign an annual learning/education budget of $100 to $200 to purchase a class or classes. However, taking too many courses will become wasteful as per the law of diminishing return.
Successful publishers have a robust understanding of affiliate marketing, digital marketing, content creation, and ecommerce. Affiliate marketing fundamentals include how affiliate marketing works, how to get started, and how to choose affiliate programs. An understanding of the top networks and programs is helpful as well.
Digital marketing (also known as internet marketing and online marketing) includes search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), pay per click (PPC), email marketing, social media marketing, and so on. Affiliates must be well-versed in those areas to attract traffic/users to their websites and YouTube channels. SEO is arguably the most critical to learn because ranking well in search results paves the way for fantastic outcomes and earnings. Most of my visitors come from search, which is known as organic traffic.
Content creation involves learning how to create excellent content that will get clicks, satisfy users, and lead to sales conversions. Suppose you’re a blogger. You must know how to create posts that are useful, complete, coherent, grammatically correct, and so forth. If your platform of choice is YouTube, you must understand how to create fantastic and engaging videos, attention-grabbing thumbnails, and succinct descriptions. Blogging, writing, video production, and vlogging training/courses are available on e-learning sites, blogs, YouTube channels, and Amazon (books). The YouTube Creator Academy offers courses and education for creators.
You don’t need to know all the ins and outs of ecommerce, but a basic understanding will assist your efforts. For instance, you should understand different revenue models like freemium, premium, and subscription and how those models can impact your earnings. It could be the difference between generating one-time or recurring commissions. Shopify has excellent ecommerce resources including courses, guides, blogs, podcasts, and an academy.
Marketing Courses & Resources
- Online marketing: Coursera, HubSpot Academy, and Google
- SEO: see this post
- Email marketing: MailerLite (under its resources tab)
- Social media marketing: Hootsuite (under its education tab)
- Ecommerce: Shopify Academy
A Word of Caution
Since I haven’t taken any official courses or training, I can’t recommend any specifically. However, I can give you advice and point you in the right direction. Do your due diligence, read course/customer reviews, and ask yourself, “Is the person a successful affiliate marketer or fake?” Secondly, many high-earning and reputable affiliates have blogs with plenty of insightful content. Moreover, they appear frequently in search results and can be trusted. By contrast, an affiliate without a website—landing and single-page sites don’t count—or a terrible site is likely a beginner or fraud. Also, frauds have a proclivity to promote their earnings without legitimate proof, such as certified income report or tax statement. For example, many YouTubers are notorious for claiming riches without any documentation (it’s mostly a clickbait strategy to increase their views and subs).
A company or individual that promises advanced or expert information is likely trying to deceive customers. “Experts” tend to divulge just enough material to attract paying customers, but not enough for their students to outperform them. When something is working and making money, a person is unlikely to give up those insights because they’re too valuable. Sharing excellent ideas would also reduce a person’s competitive advantages. Secondly, the affiliate marketing industry is so dynamic that what works today may not convert a month from now. Finally, I’ve come across very few people who are experts at anything let alone affiliate marketing. Therefore, you should be skeptical of the promises made by people.
Avoid learning from people who recommend Amazon Associates, Builderall, ClickBank, and ClickFunnels as intelligent and rewarding ways to make money. Folks that tout those programs usually don’t fully understand affiliate marketing and will lead you down the wrong path. Those affiliate programs and networks aren’t promising because of their disadvantageous program terms, policies, platforms, and software. For example, Amazon Associates offers a low commission and laughable 24-hour cookie.
Courses & Resources
Digital Fodder (My Site)
Don’t go anywhere! I write about affiliate marketing frequently and cover fundamentals, strategies, programs, and niches. My must-reads include:
- What Is Affiliate Marketing, How Does It Work, & FAQs
- The Best Affiliate Networks to Join
- How to Choose Affiliate Products & Programs
- Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Increase Your Commissions
Digital Fodder isn’t the only blog/authority site in town. Search for other passionate affiliates and online marketers who discuss strategies, tips, and tricks.
There are many YouTubers with videos about affiliate marketing. Search for affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing training, affiliate marketing for beginners, and affiliate marketing success to learn more.
It’s difficult to discern legit marketers from fakes on self-publishing platforms like Skillshare and Udemy. However, those platforms offer many free and paid courses. Most other online learning sites stay clear of affiliate marketing training. A search for “affiliate marketing” on Udemy produced over 250 results.
Affiliate Software Companies
Affiliate tracking software companies typically have a treasure trove of guides, blogs, webinars, courses, and resources. For example, ShareASale schedules monthly online training, and Commission Junction has a content hub.
Affiliate Summit operates performance marketing events globally. Attendees can network and learn from merchants, influencers, and speakers about affiliate marketing.
Affilorama provides free affiliate marketing training, software, and support.
eBay Partner Network (EPN)
eBay’s affiliate landing page has links to many resources including guides, webinars, and a glossary.
Shopify has many articles about affiliate marketing and a short course that is available to affiliates under the education menu in its affiliate portal.
It’s hard to say what is what on Amazon, but you’ll find many books about affiliate marketing. Amazon has cracked down on fake reviewers and reviews so examine customer feedback to support your choices.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC aims to protect consumers and eliminate and prevent anti-competitive business practices. It has a few articles and guides about how to endorse and disclose affiliate promotions. Many publishers don’t focus on transparency and compliance, but it’s critical.
I don’t want you to become another sucker/victim who falls for false promises made by “gurus” who have supposedly made millions and now want to share their “secrets” with you (ah, how nice of them to want to give back). Ninety-eight percent of what you need to learn about affiliate marketing is available for FREE. The other 2 percent will come from experience. Therefore, there’s no need to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for bogus “systems,” “programs,” “coaching,” “training,” and so on unless you have money to waste. No individual course or network is going to make you a “super affiliate” or six-figure marketer. Experience, experimentation, hard work, observation, high engagement, and continuous improvement are the best teachers and what you’ll need to succeed.
I haven’t vetted all the course suggestions in this post. Do your due diligence and don’t rush to purchase courses. There are as many scammers as honest people in the affiliate marketing community.