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10 tips to make money with affiliate marketing

10 tips to start selling digital products!


05/20/2022 | By Hotmart

You’ve probably heard that there’s a way to make money selling other people’s products online.

Working as an affiliate is a growing profession for those who have sales skills, want to work online, like to be their own boss, and all without having to create a digital product.

If this sounds good to you and you want to know how to get started, we’re going to show the essential steps to start selling digital products online. 

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What exactly is an affiliate?

If you still don’t know what an affiliate is, it’s time to learn.

An affiliate recommends digital products made by creators. They do this by promoting product links made available on sales platforms.

Whenever a sale is made by using their link, the affiliate is paid a commission.

In addition to knowing sales techniques, affiliates are also experts in digital marketing and scaling sales.

They constantly study the market and all the best strategies available to promote products.

Working as an affiliate became mainstream after the creation of the Amazon affiliate program, which allowed the promotion and sale of online products to reach a global scale.

It was at this time that people started to see the advantages of promoting third-party products and realized how economically advantageous and risk-free this sales model is.

In addition, the improvements in online tools and the creation of other affiliate programs have helped this market grow not only by focusing on selling physical but also digital products, such as online courses and eBooks.

It’s important to remember that certain practices are prohibited in the affiliate market. Things like spamming,  overpromising, and misusing tools are all frowned upon. These practices can even lead to your affiliate account being blocked.

To avoid this, check out our best practices guide for creators and affiliates.

Here at Hotmart, if you believe a user is violating our Terms of Use, you can report them. Hotmart has a whistleblowing channel, which was created exclusively for this purpose.

It allows you to report violations simply, quickly, and even anonymously if you wish. Just fill out this form and our team will analyze the complaint.

10 steps to make money as an affiliate

If you’ve become interested in this profession and want to get started, check out the initial steps on how to make money as an affiliate.

If you are interested in this career and would like to start working on the internet, check out the following steps to start making money as an Affiliate:

1.  Learn all about the digital market

If you want to work on the internet, the first step is to study and learn everything about the digital market.

You need to understand how online sales work, what resources you can use to promote products, who your competitors are, and especially, what’s on-trend (we’ll talk more about this later in this post).

Trust me: It’s possible to earn money as an Affiliate even if you aren’t familiar with the digital market, as long as you dedicate yourself to it, and are willing to learn all about it.

Working as an Affiliate is something that rests squarely on your shoulders. After all, you’re the one who needs to take time to study and learn everything about the job.

The digital affiliate market is constantly growing. It’s essential to stay up to date about what’s happening in the online world and how you can be more successful in it, always based on perspectives that match your current reality.

A good tip is to follow marketing blogs and YouTube channels that talk about the digital market.

In addition to being free of charge, they are made by people who are already familiar with the market, so their tips can help you a lot.

2.  Study marketing techniques

At the beginning of this post we talked about how in order to make money as an Affiliate, it’s important that you have sales skills, right?

As you’ll be promoting other people’s products, it’s crucial that you understand everything about marketing.

But don’t think for a second that only those to know all about marketing strategies are ready to start selling online.

Just like in Tip 1, it’s possible to study marketing techniques and learn everything that involves sales skills.

There are several digital marketing courses that teach everything from the basics to the most advanced techniques, and you can even find some courses that are free. So there are really no excuses for not learning how to make sales online.

3. Define your business persona

To create effective sales strategies, you need to know who you are communicating with, and who your ideal customer is.

You have to know the characteristics of your niche, your target audience, and even more about your persona.

Digital marketing, unlike traditional marketing, requires more personalized and segmented strategies. Defining a persona is essential in this process.

A persona is a semi-fictitious representation of your ideal customer. In other words, you’ll base the creation of your persona on information from your actual customers. But you’ll represent the persona with a fictitious name and image.

With your persona in hand, you’ll have a clearer view of your ideal customer and what they expect from your business. This way, you can plan your actions more objectively and put the customer in the foreground, which is vital in your quest for success.

4. Choose a niche to tackle

Once you have a feel for the digital universe and understand affiliate marketing a bit more, it’s time to define your niche.

In the first tip, we talked about how you need to understand what’s trending on the market, right?

This is very important when it comes to choosing your area of expertise.

You should definitely consider areas you like and identify with the most. But it’s possible that are interested in various niche, so thinking about market trends can help you a lot when you need to choose a niche.

Think about your skills and hobbies, because this way you’ll be able to promote a product you’re familiar with.

Moreover, using Google Trends and checking out sought after topics on the internet can be very useful. That way, you’ll be able to understand if the area you’re planning to work on, can indeed be profitable.

Pay careful attention! We’re not saying here that if you choose an area that isn’t trending, you won’t make sales.

Your sales depend on how you advertise and to whom your marketing actions are directed. So, even if your niche isn’t huge, you can make money as an affiliate with the right steps and a well-engaged audience.

5. Pick a good Affiliate program

It’s no use learning all about online sales if you aren’t part of a good Affiliate program.

This is because it’s in the program that you’ll find all the necessary tools to boost your sales, and, of course, the products you’re going to promote.

There are several online platforms that have an affiliate program, so it can be difficult to choose which one fits you the best.

To help you, here are the key features a good Affiliate program needs to have:

  1. A large number of registered digital products;
  2. Good commissions;
  3. The possibility to sell anywhere in the world;
  4. Ease to find products that suit you;
  5. Possibility to evaluate products so you know which ones have the most sales potential;
  6. Product information provided by creators so you know exactly what to promote;
  7. Possibility of creating special offers such as a bonus ebook format, infographic or any other material that you want to give to buyers;
  8. Flexibility to create your own campaigns and adapt them according to your audience;
  9. The guarantee that you’ll receive commissions for every sale you make;
  10. Access to advertising material made by creators;
  11. Real-time reports to keep track of all your sales information so you can measure your performance.

6. Decide on which products to sell

Before you put your marketing skills into action, you must evaluate which product will provide a good return. 

We’re not talking only about the product’s popularity, but about certain criteria that need to be taken into account, and that directly influence your performance as an affiliate.

Some of the points you should evaluate include the following:

The material you can use

It’s important to know, for example, the number of alternative pages made available by the creator and if the product has a registered domain.

That way you can better understand who are the customers you need to work with.

Well-structured offer

Take into consideration if you, personally, would be convinced by the offer of the product you have chosen to promote.

Also, make sure that the offer was well structured to show to your audience that that product really delivers what it claimed to.

Product temperature

Think about the strategies you’ll use when choosing the product you want to sell. This will help you determine the best temperature for you.

For example:

If you’re a specialist in paid traffic, you can choose a product with a slightly lower temperature, since you will invest in paid ads.

Now, if you already have an audience, look for a product with high temperature because you are more likely to be able to sell it to your audience.

Analyze the seasonality of demand

We talked about using Google Trends to check out trends, right?

This is very important when choosing which product to promote, as it will help you understand if it’ll be sold seasonably or all year long. 

In addition, you will be able to understand the best time of the year to promote the product you have chosen.

Affiliate support

Look for products that let contact the creators or affiliate managers.

That way, whenever you have questions, you’ll be able to get in touch quickly with those who understand more about that product.

Commissioning rule

Understand what the commission attribution rules are. This way, you’ll know exactly when you’ll get a commission, whether when it’s first or last click.

This is key for you to choose whether you’ll work with paid or organic traffic, for example.


Finally, choose a product that you trust wholeheartedly. That way, it’ll be much easier to talk about what you are promoting.

Don’t simply think about which product can make you earn money the most. 

Promote the products

With the product link in hand, it’s time to spread the word!

But don’t think this is an easy task. Remember when we talked about studying digital marketing techniques and defining a persona?

All this comes into play when it’s time to promote the product. There’s no use in promoting the links any which way and expecting big results. It takes focus, planning, and strategy to have positive returns and survive in this market.

Not to mention that your goal should always be to grow and make more sales!

To do so, you’ll have to gain prominence and trust within the digital marketplace. We call this authority. In other words, having sufficient presence and relevance that automatically boosts your sales.

But how do you build authority? With an online presence, content marketing, and consistency. Here are some tips:

  • Create social media profiles that make sense for your business.
  • Create a website and a blog and post content frequently that answers potential customers’ questions.
  • Answer all questions from potential buyers and maintain an open channel and a close relationship with them.
  • Capture email addresses from users and send them regular communications.
  • Don’t think only about selling, but about offering valuable content and good experiences to those who interact with your business.
  • Know the right time to make the sale! Each person is ready to buy at a specific time, and marketing and sales strategies help you figure out the right time to make the sale
  • Regarding content formats, the idea is to diversify. Write texts with tips and information that help your persona, but also make short videos that spark interest and are more interactive.
  • With these tips, you can build your name in the digital marketplace, gain followers and loyal customers, and of course, grow your business by making more and more sales!

8. Make a business plan

A business plan is a great way of structuring analyses, objectives, and goals that will improve your workflow and consequently, help you achieve more sales.

With this planning, you’ll be able to identify what’s working well in the business, what’s not working so well, and you’ll have a broader view so that you can find the right solutions for the problems that lie ahead.

You’ll organize all the key spheres, such as marketing, finances, and operations into one plan, which will also facilitate how you connect each of these areas. 

Some people think that this kind of work doesn’t require any planning, but now, you’ll be really prepared to make money as an affiliate in the best way possible!

9. Avoid spamming and questionable practices

You probably don’t like receiving SPAM from brands you don’t know in your email inbox, and you probably wouldn’t like being added to a Facebook group without your consent, or to buy something that doesn’t deliver what was promised. 

These practices are extremely damaging to your business’ image, contributing to potential customers no longer being interested in your product, not feeling safe buying from you, and eventually unsubscribing from email and social media.

Besides losing recognition, you also run the risk of having your accounts blocked if you don’t have best practices put in place and violate the platforms’ rules. This is a huge obstacle to your work.

We know that there’s a huge expectation of making a lot of sales and commissions, but it isn’t worth putting your reputation on the line. You’ll gain better results if you act cautiously, respect your customers, and apply techniques that truly work.

10. Monitor your results

A business without analysis hides many unsolved problems!

Monitor your results regularly. Check the performance of your campaign content, review email opening rates, analyze conversion metrics, and really look at how many people are interested in the product you’re offering.

Select your business’ KPIs carefully, and conduct periodic analysis. They will guide your promotion strategy’s performance.

As an affiliate, it’s very important that you pay attention to the metrics related to sales through your link in order to understand the best way to offer it to the audience, or even understand if continuing to offer the product is worthwhile.

With all of this information, you’ll be able to understand what needs to be changed. You can act faster and more assertively, invest less, obtain better results, and waste less time.

Start making money as an Affiliate

These are the first steps you need to take to get started as an affiliate.

As you may have concluded, anyone who is willing to learn more about the digital market and who wants to develop online sales techniques can promote products online.

Promoting digital products is a great way to start your own business and still work from anywhere.

We wish you happy sales!