What is Affiliate Marketing (for Beginners and How to Get Started)

Affiliate Marketing is a common marketing term that a lot of people have heard about but do not exactly know what it means.

Today I will tell you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, how does it work, the steps to become a successful affiliate marketer, how much you can make from affiliate marketing, and how do affiliate marketers get paid.

After reading this article, you will be very familiar with affiliate marketing and the industry which revolves around it. If you want to start an affiliate business and begin the journey of your passive income or make it a full-fledged business then this article is for you.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

To put it in simple words, Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice that gives commissions to affiliates for every sale or leads they produce. It is a simple structure of marketing but there are lots of areas of marketing expertise is needed to flourish in this business.

It is one of the oldest and cheapest marketing techniques which has been proven all time. There is no doubt that affiliate marketing works, it helps businesses grow rapidly with the help of affiliate agencies who earn tons of money as commissions.

Links are a vital part of affiliate marketing since we are living in a world of technology and the internet. Everything is done online and affiliate marketing thrives online.

The basic fundamental of affiliate marketing is that the more the business earns the more the affiliate will earn. Both parties benefit from affiliate marketing so the effort and the natural objective will always be to perform better.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate Marketing is the involvement of various parties across different marketing groups and the end producer that is the consumer. The number one objective is to spread duties and responsibilities related to product marketing.

The generating of sales through affiliate links requires a protocol of marketing. The benefit of affiliate marketing is that the individuals hold an advantage in numerous marketing strategies which they obtain while giving commissions to the contributors from the share of their profit.

Companies recruit affiliates to generate traffic and help them with the company’s marketing strategies through unique affiliate links or URLs which are generated with software or network.

These affiliate links are a crucial part of the earnings of both the company and the affiliates. The more customer the affiliate can bring and makes them purchase, the more sales will generate which leads to more conversion of sales.

To understand more briefly how does affiliate marketing works let’s dive into the steps involved in the whole process of Affiliate Marketing.

1. The Merchant

The first involvement in affiliate marketing is the merchant. A merchant is the one who forms the advertising and pays the publisher or affiliate partner for bringing sales, traffic, leads, or conversion.

The cost per acquisition decides how much commission the merchant should pay the affiliate partner. The performance-based model is an industry-standard and both small and large scale businesses follow this method in affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is considered to be a vital part of the marketing strategy. 90% of advertisers found this a very important key to growing in marketing. Many portions of companies’ budgets are spent on marketing and a large chunk of those are spent on affiliate marketing.

So the merchant has the budget provided by the seller and his objective is to make a profit with a minimum cost per acquisition or CPA with affiliate partners and publishers.

2. The Affiliate

The Affiliate also known as the publisher, makes different marketing strategies that lead to sales and traffic. An affiliate can be an individual or a company, depending on the size of the operation the seller will go for the individual or a company if the seller has the budget.

The affiliates sell the products through affiliate links which are generated with network building and leads. They target the appropriate customer and persuade that customer to buy the seller’s product or service.

Many affiliates have a very specific niche and sometimes it helps them grow their brand. This allows the affiliate and publisher to have somewhat guaranteed traffic whenever they promote any product.

On the other hand, some affiliates are generally a large affiliate marketing team that can work flexibly and determine their marketing strategies according to the type of product the advertiser is selling.

3. The Network

The network in affiliate consists of marketing tactics that grow sales and traffic through an online network. The affiliate network helps both the seller and affiliate marketer in terms of their earnings.

Sources are telling that 7 out of 10 advertisers are planning to exponentially increase their affiliate marketing budget in the next few years.

An affiliate network has an affiliate partner that finds numerous sources of leads which forms an affiliate network. The affiliate earns a commission for marketing the seller’s product.

The affiliate doesn’t need to only earn if he makes a sale, he can also earn with the number of clicks he generates via marketing. Of course, there are terms and conditions that every seller has some might not pay any commission if there is no sale.

The leads and sales generated by the affiliate marketers are tracked via affiliate links and redirect the consumer to the site where they make the purchase.

4. The Consumer

The last stage of affiliate marketing is the consumer. The sales and traffic generated by affiliates are in the form of consumers.

The consumer does not pay any extra fee for purchasing a product via affiliate links. Sometimes the affiliate partner also discloses that they will get a commission from every purchase made via an affiliate link.

Some consumers are not aware of any affiliate links associate with their purchase and even if they do not know, there is no loss since they are paying the retail price. It depends on the affiliate about the disclosure of affiliate links.

When affiliate links are being shared in a platform where consumers are not familiar with, consumers can find it suspicious and in those cases, it is a smart thing to tell them about the affiliate links and make sure they understand that they do not have to pay extra money when purchasing from affiliate links.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing in 6 Steps

Whether you are new to affiliate marketing or a competent affiliate marketer, these steps will help you grow your affiliate marketing business even more.

These steps are suitable for both individual affiliate marketers and affiliate marketing teams.

1. Choose Your Niche

It is very important to choose your niche and even more important is to stick to your niche. Affiliate marketing does not follow the same type of marketing strategy for all kinds of products and services.

Affiliate marketing requires specific strategies for specific types of products. So it is wise to choose a niche and become an expert in that particular niche and product marketing aspect of it.

Give all your effort to one niche and affiliate marketing strategies for it rather than trying out various niches which give you more burden of knowing other affiliate marketing strategies and your expense can drastically increase without any significant growth.

2. Find affiliate Programs to Join

Everyone needs affiliate programs to get the best performance. It is hard to choose one affiliate program which is suitable for you since all affiliate programs come with their advantages and disadvantages.

If you have to, you can try several affiliate programs and then decide which one to go for. After all, it is about your affiliate marketing business and you want the best program for it.

3. Create a Website

Creating a website will open a lot of doors for you in terms of your business growth and connections in the industry. You need to show your presence and be accessible to companies and advertisers who are looking for affiliate marketing agencies.

Make your website reliable and fast. Create a budget and purchase the best web hosting service for your budget so that the maintenance of your website can get taken care of and you can solely focus on affiliate marketing.

4. Create Great Content

A large portion of an affiliate marketer’s growth comes from its content. Creating great content allows healthy communications that increase the goodwill of your agency.

Content allows readers to easily acquire the information you want to portray. Content does not only limited to the page where you have written all information, it also comes under your communication skills.

Communicating is a big part of changing information and making transactions. So you need to make sure you have proper knowledge of what you are talking about.

5. Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Site

After utilizing all the necessary affiliate tools to drive traffic and other duties, you need to do the actual work which is to drive traffic.

You can follow various methods to generate traffic. You can post a video or multiple videos about the product on Youtube and use affiliate links in the descriptions. The same technique can be made with social media platforms and blog posts.

Engage your visitors with intuitive content and communicate with them. You can ask their bits of advice and the more you are involved with consumers the more traffic will generate.

6. Receive Commission

Discuss with the seller and advertiser about the margin of profit you will be earning as commissions. Everything about commissions or payment should be discussed and an agreement should be made before you start working for the seller.

How Much Money Can I Make As an Affiliate Marketer?

This is the ongoing doubt of a newbie who is just entering affiliate marketing. How much money does affiliate marketing? Is it enough to live comfortably? What is the profit margin in affiliate marketing? These are the questions that live rent-free in the mind of someone who is just starting in this industry.

There is no pinpoint range of how much an affiliate earns through affiliate marketing. The truth is the earnings of affiliate marketers can vary a lot that it is hard to put their earnings in a range.

Some affiliate marketers are earning tons of money, some are earning just enough and some are not earning a single penny. For the first few months, an affiliate should not expect to earn tons of money. In some cases, an affiliate will have to work for months without earning a single Penny.

Reports from STM forum shows that in a poll results of 117 voters, over 18% of affiliate marketer earns less than $20,000 and only 5.98% earns more than $200,000 annually.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

Different Affiliate programs use different payment terms. When you sign up for an affiliate program you get a unique link that you can track and use on your website or any other platform where you are selling the product.

Payment terms of Affiliate programs:

1.Pay Per Click (PPC): It pays you based on the number of potential customers you redirect to the seller’s website via your unique affiliate links. You earn according to the number of clicks you get to your affiliate link.

2.Pay Per Sale (PPS): You get paid when the customer you redirect makes a full purchase and spends money on the seller’s website.

3.Pay Per Lead (PPL): When you generate leads on to the seller website you get paid. These leads are generated when customers provide their contact details to the advertiser’s website.


Affiliate marketing is an ever booming business that involves billions invested in this industry every year. It is a great way to have a passive income.

All you need to do is to create a functional website, post quality content regularly, and attract as much traffic as possible. The first few months can be very daunting since you don’t earn anything. This is where many give up and decides to choose a different path.

If you have patient and knowledge of this industry then you can become successful through affiliate marketing.

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Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links. It comes at no extra cost to you, but it supports us in creating more useful content. We only recommend brands we use and trust.

My name is Ali Mohammad, I’m a full-time blogger and affiliate marketer. I’m sharing every lesson I’ve learned about how to start a blog and make money blogging. My mission is to teach the next generation of online entrepreneurs how to scale their influence at startup speed. Click here to learn more about ai writing software!

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