Affiliate Marketing Guide: How to make your first online sale (Without Ads)

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Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to make your first online sale using organic traffic. That means:

No Google AdWords, No sponsored Instagram ads, No Facebook advertising!

Just you, your laptop, and your content.

In the past, I wasted a lot of time focusing on either too many things or not enough but after a while, I slowly started ranking for keywords on the first page of Google.

I realized that while doing a lot of the right things there were some aspects I didn’t focus enough on which delayed my progress.

Honestly, seeing everyone around me getting results caused a lot of frustration, doubt, and anger.

To prevent that from happening to you I’ve created this affiliate marketing guide containing 9 essential points that’ll help you:

  • Pick the right kind of affiliate products to get a quick first sale
  • Get organic traffic using on-page and off-page marketing strategies
  • Guide website visitors to your product offers effectively
  • find online tools that can help with your marketing

And get that first online sale!

Before we get started

I need to say this: 

Don’t expect immediate results!

We’re dealing with organic traffic and large components of getting organic traffic is putting in the time and effort.

I made this guide assuming you: 

  • Have a website on which you're trying to sell products
  • Know basic SEO

You don't have any knowledge regarding SEO or website building?

I learned it all on an online marketing training platform called wealthy affiliate

Now let’s get started:

Affiliate Marketing Guide: How to make your first online sale ( Without Ads )

1.Create high-quality content with intent

Content will always be the most important aspect of your online business if you don’t use paid advertising.

Content creates relationships and credibility with your potential customers. It also is a huge part of your marketing strategy.

The more content you make about different subjects in your niche, the more opportunities you give people to find your website.

This doesn’t mean you can just make random content.

Among all the content you make there are at least two types of content you’re going to have to include and focus on in your content strategy.

Content type #1: Product reviews

Why Product reviews?

People don’t look at product reviews just to get some information and then do nothing with it.

People mostly look at product reviews if they’re thinking about investing money into a product.

These are the people you need to target because the only thing they require is accurate product information and someone to guide them to a place they can buy the product.

Also if the product they were looking for turns out to be a scam or inferior to your product you can immediately offer your own product afterward

Content type #2: Educational content with intent

Not everyone that visits your website is ready to buy immediately but they might be close to where you want them to be.

They might, for example, be interested in the result your product can bring but they never heard of your product.

While you’re helping them with solving their problem by giving them helpful information you’re going to have to include why they should use your product.

2.Focus on promoting the right affiliate products

I’d go for products that generally aren’t seen as products where the chance of getting scammed is high in the eyes of people with no online experience.

For my first sale, I’d go with service-based products of which it’s almost a no brainer that people will get the value that they’re looking for.

This means:

  • No products that teach you how to make money online
  • No products that’ll help with losing weight
  • No products that teach you success in dating

A lot of people promote these products without having any kind of result with it themselves.

When you’re trying to sell a “make money online” product but you’ve never made a sale it’s going to be a lot harder to convince people that it actually works.

Service-based products revolve around working features which makes them easier to sell even if you’ve never sold something before.

Examples of affiliate products/ services you can pick:

Make money online niche

  • Webpage builders
  • Funnel builders
  • Content marketing research tools
  • email marketing services
  • Hosting

Fitness niche:

  • Gym wear
  • Fitness equipment
  • Healthy diet books

These kind of affiliate products are less associated with a pyramid and other sorts of schemes.

Most people that buy these products have already invested money in the online products I suggested not to focus on.

This is important because it’s easier to sell products to people that already have good experiences with buying products online.

Of course, you can also promote the other products ( I also promote online marketing training products) but when it comes to getting your first sale online why not take the easiest route.

Tip* On a lot of affiliate products you only get a one-time commission but there are also a lot of products out there of which you can earn a monthly recurring income.

This way you’ll always know that money is coming in.

3.Target long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy

SEO might be a long-term strategy but it's incredibly important when it comes to your online business because it makes sure a constant stream of leads will visit your website.

The difficult thing about SEO as you can see in the graph underneath is that the top spots on Google get most of the clicks which mean your content has to be first page worthy.

advanced web ranking (2019) Percentage CTR per position

The higher the competition, the lower the chance that you can get on the first page of search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

This is why it's better to target keywords related to these popular keywords.

A great way to find out what these related keywords are is to type in the popular keyword.

At the bottom of the search engine results for that keyword, you'll find Googles suggestions for related keywords just in case you couldn't find what you need using the initial keyword.

Often these related keywords are what we call long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords contain multiple words and can even be entire sentences.

People often type entire questions into search engines. These questions are also seen as long-tail keywords that you can target.

Tip* Don’t forget to check out how popular the long-tail keyword is. You can do this with a keyword planner.

examples of long-tail keywords

An example of a very popular keyword is "SEO Guide". When you type it into Google ( Results can differ per area) This is what comes up.

The first two spots belong to Moz and search engine journal. These are both high authority websites that have been active in the SEO space for years.

Competing with them would be a waste of time but what happens if we target the long-tail keyword "SEO Guide for niche websites"

You don't have to compete with Moz and search engine journal and the top snippet is about more than just SEO.

This means there's a chance that if you can go more in-depth about just SEO you could get the snippet and one of the top spots.

You'll probably get fewer visitors targeting this keyword but it'll be easier to get on the first page and actually get clicks.

Repeat this process with other long-tail keywords and eventually, the clicks will start to add up.

4.Create effective funnels

Just because you can attract people to your website doesn’t mean they’ll immediately buy any product you have on your website.

Especially when it comes to websites with a lot of pages it can become easy for people to get distracted and look at other things on your website.

This is why you have to put some thought into how you’re going to guide and prepare people for your offer.

What do they need to know? How should they feel? How are you going to gain that last bit of trust that is needed?

Funnels are a great way to guide people to the sale.

Every step of the funnel will tackle one of these questions until your visitors are ready to buy the product.

Example of a basic funnel used by a lot of affiliate marketers

  • Search engine link
    They find your page on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

  • Landing page
    This is the place on your website that people land after they clicked on a link.

    With most blogs, this is just a blog post but a lot of websites have specific pages geared towards people looking for a specific thing.

    An example of that is my “getting started” page that is geared towards people looking for passive income.

    On it is a link to the affiliate companies product page.

  • The affiliates companies opt-in page
    On this page, they ask you to subscribe or purchase the product.Depending on the product this page might also have additional information about the product.

After people have paid for the product you’ll get a commission for the sale that has been made by referring people to the affiliate company you partnered up with.

Funnel Builder

Creating your own funnel can take a lot of time. This is why it’s easier to get a funnel builder that does most of the work for you.

Here is my suggestion for building a funnel and a lot more.

Thrive Themes 

5.Create an email list

Especially since you haven’t had your first sale yet it can be that you miss out on website visitors that were interested but just needed an extra push before they left your website.

This is where email lists are incredibly valuable.

An email list gives you more chances to connect with people after they left your website and provide the things that were missing in your pitch that prevented them from buying your products.

With the correct email software, you can even segment your email subscribers and personalize the messages which can increase your chances of making your first sale.

How do you get people on your email list?

A lot of marketers use simple funnels like this one:

  • Opt-in page + Lead magnet
    People aren’t going to give their email to random websites this is why you’re going to what marketers call “bribe” them for their email address.

    In exchange for their email address, you give them something of value. This could be anything a cheat list, free course, ebook, etc.

  • Thank you/ Welcome page
    On this page, you’ll explain the value that people receive with every email you send along with additional information if needed.

    They can also download the lead magnet on this page.

  • Emails
    You can use the emails to build a relationship with your subscribers over a longer time and then offer the product again.

    You can also use these emails to sell other products to your email list.

Email Marketing Service Suggestions

When you have a large list it’s convenient to be able to segment them, communicate with them, and offer them products.

Email marketing services take care of that.

Not all email marketing services allow you to sell affiliate products though.

I’d advise you to always look at their terms of use before purchasing a membership.

Here is my suggestion based on the fact that they allow affiliate marketing.

6. Reach out to your personal circle

To sell a product you need trust. This is why a lot of affiliate marketers aim to become an authority in their niche.

People listen to authorities because they have trust in their knowledge.

When starting out and you’re trying to get your first sale you’re nowhere close to being an authority but there are people who trust you.

Your friends and family!

There might be people in your social circle that could be interested in what you’re selling.

This is a great way to get your first sale and get some momentum.

Tip*. Don’t just go and offer you products to everyone you know. Make sure you only target the people that’d actually be interested in what you’re offering.

Even if nobody in your social circle wants to buy your products that on itself is feedback too.

You personally have their trust so what else is missing that you can improve?

These kinds of questions will help you adjust and become a better marketer.

Tip #2* Even if you’re approaching your friends to make sure your offer looks professional and make sure you know what you’re talking about when you approach them with it.

Just because they trust you doesn’t mean they trust the companies you partnered up with.

This is also why I recommend service-based products.

If you’re promoting, for example, a “make money online” product but you’ve never made a sale it’ll be hard to convince people that they’ll get the promised benefits.

7. Off-Page SEO: Link building

Honestly, I'm not a fan of spending a lot of time on link building because it feels like a double edged sword to me but you can boost your rankings quick by doing it.

What is link building?

Getting websites to mention you on their website and linking back to your website hence the name "backlinks".

Search engines see backlinks as a signal that you have valuable content on your website which means they'll rank your content higher.

Backlinko (2019) Ranking vs. Referring domains

According to a study done by Brian Dean from Backlinko the people that rank first have the most domains referring back to them.

This doesn't mean you have to start building 300 links.

Yes. They have a lot of effect on your rankings but don't let them become a crutch for your website marketing.

If search engines one day decide that they don't value backlinks anymore you'll be back at square one.

This is why I suggest targeting long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy.

This way you don't have to compete with websites that have hundreds of backlinks and built links actively for years.

Just get a small number of backlinks to boost your rankings if needed and get back to focussing on making amazing content.

Approaches to link building

There are multiple approaches you can take to built links such as:

  • Hunt for websites with roundups
    There are websites out there that feature other peoples work in what they call round-ups.

    You can Google “weekly roundup” + “Your Niche” and email the websites on the search engine result page about showing up in their roundups.

  • Create link magnets
    Create extremely high-quality content that people just want to mention and link to on their own platforms.

    In this guide, I linked to at least 2 websites because of the handy graphs they had.

    When you create content that entertains or makes things you do easier people will link to it naturally.

  • Guest posting
    Create guest posts for websites. After posting the content they’ll link back to your website in the writer box.

There are a lot more ways to built links and I’ll talk about them in the future but for now, I think you’ll be able to manage with these three methods.

8. Get on YouTube

YouTube is an excellent way to get traffic and get your first sale. To be effective on YouTube in 2019 you can't just make random videos.

You have to take into account 2 things:

  • Trend-attaching
  • YouTube SEO

Trend attaching
Before you start to make videos you need to know what your target audience is, what they usually look at, and what is trending at the moment.

The moment you know these things it's possible to get views quicker than you might've expected.

You can do what I call Trend-attaching. You look at things trending right now and attaching your niche to it.

Example: Trend Attaching

Avengers Endgame just came out and let's say you have a YouTube channel that's about fitness.

A way to attach the movie to your normal subjects could be to make a video called: "Chris Evans Crazy Training Routine in Avengers Endgame".

Another idea could be " The Captain America Plan: 5-star Mealplan that'll help with building mass while cutting".

YouTube SEO
Although attaching your videos to trending topics can be effective the moment the topic stops being trending the video will lose a lot of its buzz.

This is why you also have to look for video's that get a lot of views in your niche on a consistent basis.

Unlike with SEO for Google, your aim shouldn't be to get the number 1 spot on the results page but to get into the suggested videos part of the more popular videos.

You do this by making YouTube understand that you're making a similar video by using the same tags, subject, and keywords in the title but making the video your own.

This doesn't mean you can't make original videos but you can't ignore what is working for a lot of YouTubers right now.

Find a ratio between video's optimized in the two ways above and your own original videos that work for you.

YouTube research tools
Youtube research tools can help with getting the information you need to be successful with youtube. Here are two plugins you can use for research.


9. Join a community

You really want to be successful in online marketing I’d highly advise you to join online marketing communities especially when you don’t have a lot of experience with making money online. Communities can help with:

  • finding blind spots you might have regarding your business
  • Getting proper training
  • Link building
  • Staying motivated
  • and much more.

The more help you can get, the sooner you can get your first sale.

The community that helped me get started and till this day is always pointing me in the right direction is called Wealthy Affiliate.

They taught me how to create websites, market them in multiple ways and how to make money from them. Interested?

Final Words

That’s all for today. This is all you need to know about how to get your first online sale or how to give yourself the best possible chance to make a sale.

If you have any questions or you just want to show some love leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Until the next post!

10 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing Guide: How to make your first online sale (Without Ads)”

  1. You did a great job in covering the fundamentals of making sales through affiliate marketing. You left no stone unturned which is very helpful for folks getting started.

    I liked how you emphasized the importance of content and choosing a good affiliate program. Well done. Much appreciated.

    • Hey Joseph,

      Thanks for the comment! Good to hear you liked the post.
      I really tried to make this as applicable as possible.

      Rogier | Real Digital Success

  2. Hello and thanks o much for sharing, as you said it can become frustrating when you are trying so hard and the dollars are just not coming while there are others that are having success and you are wondering what you are doing wrong. But thanks so much for this post that is filled with so many gold nuggets which can help a whole lot.

    • hey Norman,

      Thanks for the comment. I struggled with that for a long time. It’s when I started looking beyond
      the standard X and O’s and joined communities like wealthy affiliate that I started seeing Improvements.

      Rogier | Real Digital Success

  3. Great use of Tips on this article.  They are real gems!  I learned something new about Backlinks..I had no idea what they were before reading your article.  

    I am a new affiliate marketer and I’m starting to realize that promoting affiliate marketing is not going to work. You had some specific ideas on what to promote and that is probably where I should be focusing instead. 

    Looks like it’s time for getting back to the basics and reformulating my strategy. This a great call-to-action article with a ton of useful information in it that I can use.   

    Thank you!

    • You can definitely succeed in promoting affiliate marketing products. It’s what I started with I just noticed going for the tools that support affiliate marketing were a much easier sell in the beginning. I promote both right now.



  4. You’re right about not getting too caught up in trends, even though we ought to make use of them as well.
    Just like regular stores have special seasonal promotions this doesn’t change the fact that their regular content is still there and is the basis of their store.
    At the end of the day it’s all about the content you provide, and really that’s the main factor in attaining and maintaining a longterm online income.

    • Completely agree!

      Creating content will always be the main factor but also pull from every direction to make your website grow.



  5. What great tips! I knew about a few things that you mention within your article but I got a lot of new ideas like doing guest posts and others. You’re right it’s so hard to created on your own. I’ve heard that Clickfunnels is supposed to be good but it’s not cheap. But would you recommend Thrive over Clickfunnels when you compare value? Or does Clickfunnels really give great value for the high monthly price? Thanks a lot!

    • Hey Reyhana,

      If it was a year ago I would’ve definitely said to go for clickfunnels but over the last year thrive has really done some amazing things. It really depends on what you need. Clickfunnels has more tested funnels you can use but Thrive definitely has more than features to help you succeed online at any level.


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