12 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners

12 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners
10 July, 2023 • ... • 1554 views
Natasha Zack
by Natasha Zack

Affiliate marketing has been around for several decades, and it is still going strong. In fact, the industry is in full bloom right now and is projected to grow. That means plenty of opportunities for potential affiliates looking to monetize their assets. But the abundance of choice has a downside, too — especially when you’re just starting out. 

Luckily, we’ve got you covered. In this article, you’ll find a list of the best affiliate programs for beginners, along with a bunch of tips on how to choose the perfect fit.

But first…

What is an affiliate program and how does it work?

An affiliate marketing program aka an associate program is a business arrangement between a brand and an independent marketer (an affiliate/associate) where the latter gets a commission for each customer or lead they attract to the brand. 

Allegedly firstly patented in 1989, this form of marketing has become increasingly popular. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, 10,000 firms offered or specialized in affiliate marketing programs globally in 2022, and the industry is projected to grow consistently in 2023-2024. That said, we can consider the growth of affiliate marketing as one of the marketing trends in 2023.  

So, how exactly does it work? Pretty simple. 

  1. First, you choose an affiliate program and check if you meet the eligibility criteria. 
  2. Then, you sign up for the program and get unique trackable links or promo codes for the products you want to promote. 
  3. Next, you create promotional content that incorporates these links or codes and publish it on your marketing channels, such as a website or a social media blog. 
  4. When people click on your links or use your codes and then perform the target action (for example, make a purchase or sign up for a trial period), you earn a commission. Even if they don’t take action immediately, you can still get a commission thanks to tracking cookies. For this to happen, your lead has to return to the company’s website and perform the target action within the “cookie life” period, which can range from several days to a year.  

Commission rates can vary significantly, usually falling within a range of 5-50%. But there are programs with higher commissions. For example, Selzy’s affiliate program offers a 60% commission that is unmatched on the market. On the other hand, commissions lower than 5% also exist. For instance, in the Amazon Associates program, rates start from just 1%.

With engaged audiences and carefully picked brands to promote, affiliate marketing can be very lucrative. But where do you begin? Here’s what to look into firsthand.

Choosing the best affiliate program: What to consider

Type of platform

Some brands manage their affiliate programs themselves. Such programs are known as in-house affiliate programs

But it is also common for businesses to outsource affiliate programs to third-party platforms — affiliate networks. These networks offer multiple programs from different brands and act as mediators between brands and affiliates, handling all aspects of affiliate programs they feature — tracking, payments, customer service, etc. 

For the affiliates, both in-house programs and networks have pros and cons. Generally, you might prefer networks if you’re looking to sign up with several brands, and in-house programs — if higher commissions are a priority. 

Eligibility criteria

Once you have a shortlist of suitable programs, check the eligibility criteria. While there are no universal requirements for affiliates, each brand or network usually has some criteria you have to meet to join a program. 

The most common requirements include a specific type of platform (for example, a website), minimum traffic volume, audience type and quality. To make sure you meet all the criteria, carefully study the requirements and guidelines provided by a brand or platform before applying for a program.   

The products

Picking the right product is essential for your efforts to be successful. So, make sure the products you promote are A) relevant to your audience and B) familiar enough to you to highlight their value. 

For example, it doesn’t make sense for a beauty blogger to promote automobile tires — but a makeup guide could be a good fit. Likewise, promoting a product you’re never tried yourself can be tricky, especially if you’re a beginner in affiliate marketing. 

The company’s reputation

As trust goes, brand names often speak for themselves. For example, MAC is known as a top beauty brand, and Goodyear is a leading tire manufacturer. These brands are popular and respected, so promoting their products is easy and safe. 

But there are also brands with controversial reputation, either because of the quality of their products or bad practices such as greenwashing. Naturally, it’s best to stay away from them. To avoid controversy, always research the company before joining its affiliate program.   

Commission rates

As mentioned earlier, commission rates vary significantly across programs. Typically, in-house programs offer higher commissions than networks, but that is not always the case — plus commissions can change over time. To pick the best deal, research the programs you’re most interested in and compare their commission rates before signing up. 

Also, make sure you’ve considered other factors mentioned in this section. For example, joining one high-commission program without any knowledge of the product is probably a worse strategy than picking several lower-paying programs from brands you and your audience are familiar with. 

Payment methods and terms

Payment methods and terms also vary depending on the brand or network offering the program. The most common payment methods across programs include PayPal and direct deposit (direct transfer to the affiliate’s bank account). But other options, such as virtual wallets, wire transfer, check, and more, are also available in some programs. 

Other things to consider in terms of payments include minimum balance requirements for money withdrawal, available currencies, and processing times. Typically, in-house programs process payments faster, while networks offer more payment methods — but it depends on the specific company, so yet again — do your research.   

Market saturation

Some markets are more popular with affiliates than others. For example, the health and wellness niche is one of the most saturated, making it harder for affiliates to promote products from this category. The home improvement and DIY market is less popular, so it might be easier to get to your audience by promoting these products. 

Yet, it is always possible to narrow down to a smaller niche, or find a unique angle, or target lower-frequency keywords to beat the competition in a saturated market. So, if the niche suits you, go for it — but make sure you adjust your strategy accordingly. 

To help you choose your ideal affiliate marketing deal, we’ve put together a list of 12 affiliate programs and platforms that are a good fit for beginners. Read on to learn about the key features each of them offers.

12 best affiliate marketing programs to try out if you’re a beginner

Selzy

Selzy

Key features

60% commission on the first sale, 3 affiliate tiers, multiple payment methods available, promotional materials provided by the company.

Selzy is a powerful yet easy-to-use professional email marketing service covering all essential features for businesses: bulk emails, email analytics, automated campaigns, personalization and individualization features, and more. The service is especially popular with small and medium-sized companies as well as with beginners in email marketing.  

Currently, Selzy offers one of the most high-paying affiliate programs, offering a 60% commission for the first sale plus 30-50% recurring payments within a year. As an affiliate, you can use ample promotional materials offered by Selzy or produce your own if you choose to.  

The program is great for individuals such as bloggers, content creators, freelance marketers and email marketers, and for digital marketing agencies with audiences interested in growing their business through digital marketing. To become an affiliate, you don’t have to use Selzy yourself, but we recommend that you at least sign up for a free plan to get an impression. 

Commission: Up to 60% commission on the first sale via your referral link; 30-50% commission on recurring payments within a year.

Payments: Wise, ACH, wire transfer, and other options. Monthly payments for referrals on monthly plans, payments every 3 months for annual-plan referrals. 

Cookie duration: 1 year.

More details: Selzy Affiliate Program

Hubspot

Hubspot

Key features

3 affiliate tiers, bonus to new partners, 180 days cookie duration, promotional materials provided by the company.

HubSpot is a powerful CRM platform that helps thousands of businesses worldwide to attract, engage, and convert customers using its marketing, sales, customer service, content management, and operations software. 

HubSpot affiliates get a 30% commission on all sales generated by their referrals, but you can increase earning potential by moving on to higher tiers, getting bonuses and custom commissions. The program also offers a bonus of up to $80 to new partners, plus challenges with opportunities to earn more. Also, the cookie life is remarkable: 180 days instead of the 30 days typical for the industry.    

The program is great for content creators, software reviewers, educators, and businesses with products that integrate with HubSpot. As an affiliate, you’ll get access to hundreds of promotional assets, the Affiliate Resource Center, and more perks.  

Commission: 30% commission recurring for 1 year plus bonuses and custom commissions for higher affiliate tiers. 

Payments: Direct deposit (EFT) or PayPal. The minimum balance for payout is $10. 

Cookie duration: 180 days.

More details: HubSpot Affiliate Program

ConvertKit

ConvertKit

Key features

Recurring commissions for 24 months, no minimum balance for withdrawal, 90 days cookie life, and promotional materials provided by the company.

ConvertKit is a professional email marketing platform that offers a variety of features, including landing pages, forms, and email drip campaigns. 

The company’s affiliate program is mostly for its existing customers looking for ways to generate additional revenue. As an affiliate, you’ll get a 30% commission for 24 months on every paid customer acquired through your referral. No tiers or extra perks are offered to affiliates in this program: everyone gets the same percentage. However, there are several pricing plans on the platform, so partners earn more for referrals on more expensive plans. 

Being an affiliate for ConvertKit is especially beneficial for creative professionals — writers, bloggers, musicians, podcasters, etc., who can promote the platform to a similar audience.  

Commission: 30% commission recurring for 24 months on every paid customer acquired through your referral. No minimum balance requirements for withdrawal. 

Payments: PayPal. 

Cookie duration: 90 days.

More details: ConvertKit Affiliate Program

Elementor

Elementor

Key features

Up to 50% commissions, 90 days cookie life, support and promotional materials provided by the company.

Elementor is a software company primarily known for its free, no-code page builder plugin for WordPress which users cite as one of the best out there. Other products the company offers include WordPress hosting, Elementor AI, and more.    

Elementor’s affiliate program offers generous commissions of up to 50% CPA. As the company claims, the program has a high earning potential: some affiliates earn over $10,000 a month. However, the details are only available via email.  

This program is best fit for content creators of all sorts, web educators, and digital entrepreneurs as well as for WordPress developers, marketers, and marketing agencies. If you don’t fall into any of these categories but have “something unique to offer”, the company is ready to consider your ideas.   

Commission: Up to 50% CPA on every new sale. Custom commissions for high-volume affiliates.

Payments: PayPal or other preferred method. The minimum threshold for withdrawal is $200. 

Cookie duration: 90 days. 

More details: Elementor Affiliate Program

Moosend

Moosend

Key features

5 affiliate tiers, lifetime recurring commissions, $5 minimum balance for commissions withdrawal, 90 days cookie life, promotional materials provided by the company.

Moosend is a professional email marketing and marketing automation platform that helps businesses grow their audience and increase sales through email campaigns. The platform has some big corporate clients but is more popular with small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. 

The Moosend affiliate program offers the whole 5 tiers with commissions increasing a few percent with every tier. Affiliates can use a variety of promotional materials provided by the company, but you are free to create your own if you please. 

This program is best for bloggers, content creators, email marketers, advertising agencies, and everyone with an audience that might be interested in promoting products or services via email. Though being a Moosend customer is not required, the company encourages its affiliates to at least try the service before recommending it.    

Commission: 30-40% lifetime recurring commissions depending on your affiliate tier. 

Payments: PayPal or Stripe. The minimum threshold for withdrawal is $5. 

Cookie duration: 90 days. 

More details: Moosend Affiliate Program

Leadpages

Leadpages

Key features

3 affiliate tiers, lifetime recurring commissions, $5 minimum balance for commissions withdrawal, 90 days cookie life, promotional materials provided by the company.

Leadpages is a landing page builder helping businesses connect with audiences, generate leads, and drive sales through landing pages and websites. The tool is one of the most popular on the market, especially with small to medium-sized companies which are its core target audience. 

The company’s affiliate program has 3 tiers with commissions ranging 10-50% depending on the revenue each of your new referrals generates. The tiers are calculated every 30 days, and the system might seem complicated at first. Luckily, the company provides clear instructions, as well as ample resources for affiliates, including promotion ideas. 

The program is a great fit for content creators and educators with expertise in marketing and entrepreneurship — YouTubers, social media influencers, email marketers, etc. Using Leadpages is not a requirement for affiliates, but the company claims partners who are also its customers earn more. 

Commission: 10-50% lifetime recurring payments, depending on the affiliate tier.  

Payments: PayPal or Stripe. Monthly payouts with a $5 minimum threshold for withdrawal. 

Cookie duration: 90 days.  

More details: Leadpages Affiliate Program 

Shopify

Shopify

Key features

Flexible commissions, promotional materials provided by the company.

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows businesses to create and manage their own online stores as well as sell across many channels including web, mobile, social media, and more. Featuring millions of merchants worldwide, Shopify is one of the major players in the e-commerce industry out there.

The Shopify affiliate program is a good fit for content creators, educators, and influencers looking to earn money promoting a well-known and trusted brand. The platform provides support to its associates through access to promotional materials. The best-performing partners can level up, gaining access to the invite-only program with higher commissions and other benefits. 

Commission rates vary depending on the type of plan your referral signs up for, as well as their country of residence. Also, there are some specific eligibility requirements, such as owning a website and having experience with the e-commerce industry. 

Commission: Fixed-bounty for all merchant referrals on full-priced plans. Rates vary depending on the merchant.

Payments: Direct deposit or PayPal. Payments are bi-weekly or when the account reaches a certain milestone. The minimum balance for withdrawal is $10.   

Cookie duration: 30 days.  

More details: Shopify Affiliate Program 

Capitalist Exploits

Capitalist Exploits

Key features

50% commission rates on all sales, support and resources from the company, 365 days cookie life.

Capitalist Exploits is an investment service that provides guidance to its clients through its free blog and paid newsletter, offering information and expert advice on the most lucrative opportunities out there.   

Currently, Capitalist Exploits has one of the highest-paying affiliate programs with a potential earning of a minimum of $788 and up. According to the company’s claims, many of its affiliates earn $2,000 and more on a regular basis. As a partner, you’ll get support and guidance from the company plus product samples and promotional materials. 

The program is best fit for individuals and businesses with expertise in finance and investments as well as everyone with an established audience interested in managing their finances and growing their wealth. Channels you can use as an affiliate include websites, social media, and email.        

Commission: 50% on every referred sale. 

Cookie duration: 365 days. 

More details: Capitalist Exploits Partners Program

Fiverr

Fiverr

Key features

Multiple services to promote, lifetime recurring flexible commissions, multiple payment methods, 3 available currencies.

Fiverr is a global online marketplace connecting freelancers with potential customers. Using Fiverr, businesses and individuals can find contractors to complete a wide range of tasks, from writing to software development. The company also provides other services through its tools and platforms such as Fiverr Learn, Fiverr Workspace, and more. 

The Fiverr affiliate program is great for website owners, bloggers, social media influencers and content creators with audiences that might be interested in the company’s services. As an affiliate, you’ll get access to promotional materials and support from affiliate managers.  

The commission structure in this program varies depending on the affiliate plan, the type of Fiverr service you promote, and the product category. It might seem complicated, but the company provides instructions even a beginner can understand. 

Commission: Up to $150 CPA and up to 30% lifetime recurring commissions depending on the service category and the Fiverr business you promote. 

Payments: Direct deposit, PayPal, Payoneer. The minimum amount for withdrawal is $100. The available currencies are USD, EUR, and GBP.  

Cookie duration: 30 days.  

More details: Fiverr Affiliates Program

ClickBank

ClickBank

Key features

Many products to promote, flexible commissions, multiple payment methods, support and resources from the company, 60 days cookie life.

ClickBank is a global online marketplace featuring thousands of digital and physical products from ebooks to food supplements. The company has its own affiliate network, one of the oldest in the industry. Established in 1998, the platform now boasts a vast partner network of over 10,000 sellers and marketers worldwide. 

The ClickBank affiliate program is known for its high commissions (up to 90%), reliability, and ease of use. The company provides support from free guides and video courses to promotional materials and tracking tools.

Overall, the platform is good for all affiliates with little to no experience due to an abundant choice of products and support from the platform. However, competition is strong there, so it might take you extra effort to get yourself noticed.      

Commission: Varies depending on the commission group, type of product, and other factors.  

Payments: Check, direct deposit, wire transfer, Payoneer. The default minimum threshold for withdrawal is $100. 

Cookie duration: 60 days.

More details: ClickBank Affiliates

eBay Partner Network (ePN)

eBay Partner Network (ePN)

Key features

Many products to promote, support and resources from the company, payments are available in many currencies.

With over a billion products across thousands of categories, eBay is one of the biggest global online marketplaces out there. Once perceived as a used items “flea market”, it is a go-to place to buy products of all sorts these days for customers around the globe. 

The wide range of products available for promotion, and the platform’s global coverage makes the ePN affiliate program a good place to start for all aspiring affiliates. The program also has a relatively low joining threshold, plus eBay offers support and ample materials to its affiliates. 

Yet commission rates are on the lower side here, as compared to other networks. The cookie life is not awesome as well, but the company claims 90% of sales are completed within 24 hours anyway.   

Commission: 1-4%, depending on the type of product.  

Payments: Direct deposit, PayPal. Payments are available in different currencies. The minimum amount for withdrawal is 10 units of your chosen currency. 

Cookie duration: 24 hours.

More details: eBay Partner Network 

CJ Affiliate (ex-Commission Junction)

CJ Affiliate (ex-Commission Junction)

Key features

Many products to promote, support and resources from the company, payments are available in many currencies.

Key features: 

CJ Affiliate (ex-Commission Junction) is one of the oldest affiliate networks out there, as well as one of the largest ones. It serves as a mediator between brands (advertisers) and affiliates (publishers) and features a huge pool of associates, including the likes of CNN and BuzzFeed. 

But you don’t have to be a media company to sign up for the program. The entrance barriers are relatively low — however, the company does require its publishers to have an active website to be eligible. 

Other details of this affiliate program may also be difficult to grasp for a beginner, but the company offers guidance and support throughout the process. But the choice of advertisers on the platform, as well as its reliability and convenience, still makes it a good fit for affiliates who are just starting out.  

Commission: Varies depending on the merchant. 

Payments: Two monthly payouts via Payoneer or other method specified in settings. Multiple currencies available. 

Cookie duration: 1-120 days, depending on the merchant. 

More details: CJ Affiliate

In conclusion

Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest and most popular forms of marketing out there. Today, it’s also one of the simplest ways for businesses and individuals to generate extra revenue — and it can be quite lucrative once you learn the ropes. 

In this article, we’ve covered the essentials of affiliate marketing for beginners, from defining the term to offering a list of the best affiliate programs to try. 

Once you choose the program(s) to try, proceed with studying all the information provided by the company, and then follow the instructions. And remember: as anywhere, it takes time to make it in affiliate marketing. Good luck! 

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10 July, 2023
Article by
Natasha Zack
I’m a professional journalist with 10+ years of experience. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with various kinds of media — print, online, broadcast. Currently, I write copy for brand media and teach English part-time. I also have my own edtech passion project dedicated to teaching English via Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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