What Is Affiliate Marketing?

So you want to earn more money and make more money. You’re in luck! Affiliate marketing is a good way to do this. It has many advantages, such as versatility. No matter what industry you’re in, you can use affiliate marketing and we’ll show you how.

Hey, you’re looking for an online income stream that can be nearly passive. Well, we wouldn’t do our job if we didn’t tell you the truth about affiliate marketing. This type of marketing definitely requires work. That said, it is one of the best ways to generate passive income online.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is an easier concept than you think. It means that you are marketing and selling someone else’s products for a commission. In essence, affiliate marketing just means that you are selling something and earning money from it.

Affiliate marketing is a small but important way of bringing more customers to your site. There are many different nuts and bolts that make up this concept. The most important aspect, though, is that you will be earning money by promoting other companies’ products or services.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is simple, but there are a few moving pieces to understand. It can be an easy way to generate revenue for your business by partnering with an affiliate. The affiliate marketer will promote your products through their unique link. When the customer clicks on that link, they’ll go from your site to the affiliate’s site to purchase the product.

It’s easy to track who sold a product when you use an affiliate link. A unique code is assigned to each affiliate marketer so sellers always know who made the sale. This code stores on a browser as a cookie. It lets the seller know who bought it and also awards commissions for consumers who clicked the link and then decided not to buy right away.

Affiliate marketing is all about the people. There are three or four key players involved: Affiliates, Sellers, Networks, and Consumers. Let’s take a closer look at each of these players.


If you want to promote a product or service through content, an affiliate might be just the right choice. Affiliates are usually creators in the same niche as the product or service they promote. They sell products and services by sharing content like social media posts, blog posts, videos, and other types of content.

Affiliates can drive traffic to websites with paid ads, but are limited by keyword guidelines for the products they’re promoting. For example, affiliates cannot use the brand name or trade names of products.


Sellers may not be based in the United States, so laws governing affiliate marketing may be different and can vary by region. A vast majority of the time, the sellers are individuals or companies. Sellers are the ones that pay for affiliates, and they’re more than willing to do so. The difference with Amazon is that they don’t actually create the products that are being sold. Amazon Associates is indicative of this.

Networks (optional)

When sellers work with an affiliate network, they can focus on the most important tasks: designing products, recording sales, and perfecting customer service. Third-party checks are handled by the network, which also manages relationships between sellers and affiliates. With affiliate networks, it’s easy to find the right affiliate marketing programs for your product or service. Top networks include ShareASale, ClickBank, and Rakuten.


Consumers are the ones buying products and services through affiliate links, so it is important for brands to provide excellent service and quality.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

Affiliate Marketing is an important part of many companies’ marketing strategy. But how does it work? The short answer is, they’re paid when a customer completes an action like clicking on a link or submitting information through a form.

Affiliates can be paid for sales, clicks, or both. Pay-per-sale is the most popular model because affiliates only get paid for each sale generated. The pay-per-click affiliate marketing model is also popular but uncommon because affiliates are only paid for each click, not a sale.

Per Click

The pay-per-click affiliate marketing model is also popular but uncommon because affiliates are only paid for each click, not a sale.

Per Sale

Pay-per-sale is the most popular model because affiliates only get paid for each sale generated.

Per Lead

Pay per lead affiliate programs are one of the most sought-after types of affiliate partnerships. A commission is paid for every new customer that the affiliate brings in, and this type of payment model provides a lucrative commission structure.

Most Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels

One of the best ways to succeed with affiliate marketing is by knowing your marketing channels. Affiliates can make sales in a number of ways. Some of them are more popular than others. We will go through some of our favorite channels so that you can make money and grow your business without any problems.


Blogging about your affiliate product is a great way to rank for relevant search terms and drive traffic to your offer. Bloggers provide reviews, tutorials, how-tos, and other educational content about the product to promote it for their readers. To get credit for the sale, bloggers then create links from their site to the seller’s site by using an affiliate link.

Paid Search Microsites

Another way to give customers a reason to buy is by creating different sites. These sites, called “microsites,” are separate from your main website and provide a greater opportunity for you to offer detailed information about affiliate products. Microsites are free from the distractions that usually come with a typical site, so you can focus exclusively on providing relevant information.

Microsites are whole websites that are separate from your main one. They help you offer a more specific and targeted message than you can on a traditional website. This is because you don’t have to worry about other products, promotions, social media, etc. that usually take up space on your site.

Coupon Sites

Coupon sites have become extremely popular in the world of affiliate marketing. They bring in lots of sales from savvy shoppers who are looking for a bargain. Online shops such as Amazon and other eCommerce sites offer a range of coupons, while also providing quick and easy shipping deals.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a longstanding staple within the marketing world. The ROI on email marketing is high, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. One study showed that email marketing has a 8x return. Another study found that email marketing leads to a 2x return.

Affiliate marketers often fret about sending promotional emails to their list. However, there is nothing wrong with promoting your affiliate sales in every third email you send. You can include your affiliate links in your email newsletters and watch the commissions roll in.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been named “the most powerful marketing trend of 2019” by Forbes. Influencers are people who hold a lot of sway over the people in their sphere of influence, typically on social media platforms. People follow them because they’re interested in what the influencer has to say.

Mass Media Sites

You’re probably wondering, what is an affiliate product? It’s a product or service that is being offered on a mass media site. These sites are built to bring in tons of traffic and they help consumers find what they’re looking for. They have reviews and comparisons of different products, many of which are affiliate products. The sites act as a depository for social proof for the products and services on them, which means they promote products through banners and contextual affiliate links.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

You’ve got this, affiliate marketer! You may be thinking about giving up, but you can’t. The time and effort you spend on affiliate marketing will pay off. Creating content and attracting traffic is a lot of work, but it’s all worth it in the end. You’ll also spend a lot of time promoting products on social media.

Almost Passive Income

Affiliate marketing is a money-making option for brands just about anytime. No matter what time of the day it is, this type of marketing can make you passive income. And even if you don’t know the brand, you can still make money from their success. All you need is a system set up and a great return could happen without too much hassle.

Low Risk

Partnering with an affiliate program has never been easier—but it still has its benefits. You don’t have to create, produce, store, ship, or provide support for the product—you just sell it. That means you don’t have set hours in which you need to be creating or promoting the product. You can work your own schedule and still make money by just being an affiliate.


If you are looking to start your own business, you might think of affiliate marketing as a low-cost way to do it. The founder of the company only needs to invest their time in content creation and promotion. With an affiliate marketing business, you’ll have a lower barrier of entry than opening a store or manufacturing a product.

No Customer Support

Yes, as an affiliate marketer, you are relieved of the responsibility to provide customer service. That’s because the company you’re selling for takes care of the customer service. It’s a great relief to many who want this freedom – with this opportunity, affiliates can sell products without having to worry about the problems that come with actual customers.

You gotta be choosy with your affiliate products. If you push bad products on your audience, they won’t trust you anymore. Be picky and promote only the best products.


You want to start an affiliate marketing campaign but aren’t sure what type of business you should sell. Don’t worry, affiliate marketing gives you incredible flexibility to do what you want and still bring in revenue. You can sell anything: clothes, makeup, jewelry, or even electronics. You don’t have to create, produce, store, ship, or provide support for the product—you just sell it!

Get Started With Affiliate Marketing

Step 1. Find a Niche

Now that you’re ready to start your own affiliate marketing campaign, it’s time to choose a niche and stick with it. A common mistake is to have a generalized store vibe and not specialize in anything. To be successful, you want to do the opposite — be known for something specific.

You are only promoting one product or service. But that doesn’t mean you’re limited. You might want to be an affiliate for a broader category. And within that category, you could promote other items.

For example: Hiking Shoes are a single product or service, but it doesn’t mean you can’t specialize within the broad niche of Hiking. You could be an affiliate for Hiking and eventually promote the related sub-niches.

In that niche you could promote other products like:

  • Hiking Jackets
  • Hiking Courses
  • Compasses, Walking Poles and other hiking equipment.
  • Hiking Events

    There are limitless possibilities!

Step 2. Choose a Channel

Affiliates often want to start with blogging and that’s understandable. Blogging is the easiest and cheapest platform for affiliate marketing, but there are other choices too. Affiliates can also choose social media including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. A site like YouTube might be a good option as well because of its video content. All these channels are easy to use and relatively inexpensive.

You might have noticed YouTube is a great platform for marketing. You can upload videos and get exposure without having to pay. It’s also easy to start a channel and create tons of videos. The downside is that there are a lot of videos on the site that you’ll have to compete with. It will take more time to create a good video than create and upload a blog post.

YouTube is a fantastic and powerful tool for businesses with an online presence. If you want to be on camera, talking to people, it’s a great idea. YouTube already has a huge following, so if you already have one, you should definitely leverage it for your successful affiliate marketing.

If you’re savvy and have a following, Instagram is a great place to promote your affiliate products. On Instagram, you can make visually appealing images and videos to get the word out about your product. There are also paid advertisements that you can buy if you want to give your posts an extra boost.

No matter the platform, you should make it clear when you are promoting a product. This not only includes affiliate link disclaimers, but also adding “affiliate link” in parentheses to your blog posts and including your affiliate links in your YouTube descriptions.

Step 3. Choose the Products You Want to Promote

You’ve chosen a niche and know where you want to promote your affiliate products. Now it’s time to choose the products to promote. Choose products that work well within your niche, and be sure to provide high-quality goods that your customers want to buy.

When considering a product to promote, ask yourself if it improves the lives of those you’re promoting to. Does it benefit you and those close to you? If it does, it’s worth putting all your time and effort in. This is a surefire way to avoid scams that don’t provide opportunity for growth or income.

It can be hard to know what you’re getting into with an affiliate program. What are the conversion rates? What are the payouts? If you’re not sure, go ahead and search for a few of your favorite related terms, like “online shopping” or “your niche.”

Step 4. Join an Affiliate Network or Affiliate Program

Perhaps you’re just starting out with a website right now. You have an audience of your own and can use your analytics to figure out who they are — and what products they like. Joining an affiliate program will allow you to profit from these products, and you’ll find that affiliate networks often have the brands you’re looking for.

If you’re looking to make affiliate marketing an important part of your career, then it’s a great idea to sign up for one or more affiliate networks. The top affiliate networks are ShareASale, Awin, Amazon Associates, CJ Affiliate, and Rakuten Marketing. With a membership to one of these networks, you’ll have access to hundreds or even thousands of affiliate programs.

Choose the Best Affiliate Programs?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right affiliate program for you. Some important considerations when choosing which affiliate program to work with is knowing your audience.

Commission Type & Amount

When it comes to affiliate marketing, you might be wondering what commission type and amount you can earn. Thankfully, this information is relatively easy to find. A flat commission is the most common for physical products, and is a single payment at the time of sale. Recurring commissions are more common for digital products.

With the recurring model, commissions are continuously paid based on renewals. It’s important to find out about the brand’s refund policy and if you can sell products that are more risk-free. Often, a sale includes a refund policy. In the event of a sale, it’s important to know whether you can get charged back.


Finding the right products to promote online is a crucial part of affiliate marketing. It’s not just about what you’re promoting, it’s also about reaching your target audience. When choosing products, there are many things to take into consideration. Make sure they’re relevant to your audience and have high payouts. But if a product isn’t a good fit for your audience, don’t select it just because it has high payouts.

Promotional Assets and Conversion Rates

brands will give you different types of assets to use, such as banners, graphics, and coupons. A helpful resource is the type of assets that the brand provides. For instance, some brands give you a link while others allow you to post graphics. Always check what kind of assets are available.

Cookie Lifetime

The internet is made of millions of computers. To help keep track of yours, you have cookies. They’re like text files that store small bits of data. Cookies are especially useful for when you’re looking for affiliate programs. You’ll want to know how long the cookie will stay on the shopper’s device.

Payment Logistics

You may not know yet, but we want to make sure you’re on top of the details. In order to make it perfectly clear, when does the affiliate program pay out? Where will you get paid from and in what currency? As a result, who has the first right to your money? There’s a lot of information to take in, but don’t sweat it. We have it all covered.


Competition is an important thing to look at when choosing your affiliate program, as well. A lot of people on the market selling the same product? You might want to consider picking a new one. If there are many people selling the same product, and it seems like there are too many to support, you’re probably better off with a different option.

Step 5. Create High-Quality Content

You’ve got it all figured out. You’re a smart cookie. But now what? You need to create content for your affiliate products. The type of content you create will depend on the platform or platforms you choose to promote your product on.

Creating content for the promotion of your brand on various platforms is an important task. There are a few types of content that you can depend on, such as promotions and contests, blog posts, and videos.

Product Reviews

Sharing your honest opinion of a product is one of the most important ways to increase your audience’s trust in you. You can do this in an article or video, depending on your affiliate marketing channel. In your review of the product, remember to share both the things you love and those you don’t (keeping your honesty is crucial).

Product Comparisons

Taking into account all its strengths and weaknesses, you can give your audience a better idea of the product they should buy. Not all products are good in every situation. It’s important to be honest and impartial when you’re comparing affiliate products.

A Resource Page

A Resource Page can be a great way to build up your affiliate marketing income. Clearly, it is an easy way to earn some extra money, and it’s also super simple to set up. The page only takes a few minutes to create, and there are products that you get to recommend along with the links for those products.

Case Studies

In case studies, you get to show off the success stories behind the products you’re promoting. It’s a show-don’t-tell type of promotion and is sure to convince your customers to buy.


Tutorials are the perfect way to show your audience how you use a product or a service. They are informative and get your audience to follow along with actionable content. If you are looking for success, tutorials are the way to go!

Step 6. Generate Traffic and Build an Audience

You’ve spent hours on content, but you still need an audience to see it. Lucky for you, we have three handy strategies for you so you can build a following on your own terms.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic is a great way to bring in new customers, but you don’t want to depend on it. You can use it as a secondary source of income and reinvest some of the profits into it. Paid traffic is something you create to bring people onto your site (search engine or social media platform). It’s not guaranteed to make sales, but it will help you bring in more visitors and potentially get your site ranked higher.

Build an Email List

What’s so great about email marketing? Well, you know how you have to follow people on social media in order to promote your business? Well, there are two problems with that. First, social media networks could shut down tomorrow. And second, people can unfollow you on social media. What would happen to your business then? The answer is clear – email marketing! Unlike social media networks, your email list is yours to do with as you please.

Building an email list will help you increase your ROI. And unlike your followers on any particular social media, you own the list and can use it whenever you want. If one social media outlet suddenly becomes unavailable, you’ll still be able to reach your customers through your email list.

What’s your strategy for growing a following? We’ve found the best way to grow your email list is by offering a lead magnet. Once you have someone’s attention, you can send them valuable content occasionally, and then include a promotional email at appropriate intervals.

Search Engine Optimization

Targeting the right keywords to increase organic traffic is key. To do that, you need to get your site indexed by search engines. This is often done by creating content on topics that are of interest to your target audience and then making sure your site is found in Google, Bing, and other search engines.

Levelling Up Your Affiliate Marketing

You’re ready to start making money with affiliate marketing and you know the basics. But what’s next? Take some tips from me to get you started and level up your efforts quickly.

Keep Up to Date

There’s so much competition, and it’s only growing. To stay at the top, you need to be up on the latest trends and developments in your industry, whether that’s a new social media site or an upcoming marketing trend. If you’re a whiz on social media marketing, you don’t want to be put at a disadvantage when the next TikTok video app hits the scene.

Gain Trust With Your Audience

In order to earn your audience’s trust, you shouldn’t push products on them that they don’t want or need. It’s better to focus on the products that you truly believe will benefit your target market. And when it comes to telling them to buy a product based on your expert opinion, you should never do it.

Product Reviews

When you’re just getting started, it’s important to take the time to review your product and services. Reviews will allow you to establish trust with your audience and establish yourself as an expert in your niche. Once you have reviewed a few products, create some comparisons.

Keep Your Products Diversifed

Affiliate marketing is all about the products you promote. Don’t get stuck in a rut with one or two brands for your whole affiliate marketing campaign. Sometimes, it might be better to work with other sellers and push their products instead of your favorite’s. This way, if that favorite company decides to cut their commission or limit your reach, you’ll be protected.

Remeber to Test and Optimize Everything

As an entrepreneur, you’re always trying to have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in your business. You can’t know for sure how something will work until you try it, so test and optimize everything. Your analytics will help inform the marketing and promotions that you do. Pay attention to what performs better, and then do more of those. For example, if social media posts are performing better than blog posts, then post more on social media.

Get started!

Who needs to wait? Now you have everything you need to get started with affiliate marketing. With education, tips, and a step-by-step process, you’ll be an affiliate marketer in no time.