What is affiliate marketing?

3 min

Affiliate Marketing. You’ve probably heard of it, maybe you’ve even tried it already, or perhaps you’re just starting with it.

And now you are here, which leads me to a question. How much do you know about it effectively?

Many people know “something” about it. What is it in high-level, how it works.

Or know someone who makes passive income with and shared basics with them.

But is it enough to become a successful affiliate marketer? Probably not.

That’s probably why you are here. And I’m glad you are. I want to change that and that’s why I’m going to share all my knowledge about it from A to Z.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing definition is quite simply “a process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products”.

You find a product or service you like, promote it to others and earn a commission for every sale you make.

Therefore, you’re generating passive income by promoting, sharing, recommending another company’s or person’s product or service.

The best part is that you don’t have to spend the time and effort in creating your product and service.

That’s the beauty of affiliate marketing – you choose what you like, or you are passionate about, you start promoting it, and you earn a cut!

This can be a revenue share, cost per sale, fixed fee or a combination.

And all you have to do is to send traffic through a unique link to that product. And everything after that is taken care of by the company or person you’ve chosen to promote.

Easy right? Well, not as easy as it sounds.

It’s easy to get started but more challenging to make affiliate marketing profitable.

Don’t get me wrong – when done the right way, affiliate marketing can make you a nice and stable income. There are entire sites dedicated to finding cool products and then promoting them. For example, This is why I’m broke does that.

How does affiliate marketing work?


Image Source: Commission Factory

Wikipedia mentions 4 parties involved:

  1. Merchant – the retailed or brand whos product or service you promote
  2. Network – contains offers for the affiliate partner to choose from and also takes care of the payments
  3. Publisher – this is you, the affiliate partner
  4. Customer – pretty self-explanatory

The network can either be some of the big networks (for example, cj.com or ShareASale) or many companies use their software for an affiliate.

The benefit of using affiliate networks is that you have many merchants and offers in one place.

The benefit of going directly via the company’s software is that you can get exclusive deals. Especially when you build a strong relationship with their affiliate manager.

But back to the first step.

First of all, you have to choose what you want to promote and the right merchant. Focus on choosing what you’re passionate about. There is no point in promoting special bio broccoli packages when you don’t like it.

The next step is to register to a network. You can choose from networks mentioned further down.

After that, you get a unique link that gets the potential customer from your side to the merchant site. The link is unique to you, and it’s essential to use it. If you don’t use it, your sale most likely won’t be tracked to you, and you won’t gain a share.

So you have the product or service you want to promote and you have the link, now what?

You get the product or service in front of your audience and start promoting it. You can do a demo, review, offer answers to your audience or, when possible, and you can interview, for example, the founder of the product or service.

What does the affiliate network do?

The affiliate network is the middle-man between merchant and publisher. Therefore, a middle-man between the brand/company/person whose product or service you promote and you as a publisher/affiliate partner.

It allows you to more easily find what you want to promote and will enable merchants to promote their affiliate programs.

The affiliate network provides software that gives you an overview of your sales and also takes care of all payments.

Here are some of the most popular affiliate networks:

Joining an affiliate network as a publisher/affiliate is entirely free. If a network asks you to pay a fee upfront, I strongly recommend not to proceed. You can sooner or later find out that this was a scam.

However, you can also decide not to go with a large network and register directly to the merchant affiliate programme. For example, Kickstarter has its referral programme.

Steps to become an affiliate marketer?

First of all, you need a platform to sell on. It can be a microsite, blog or another type of a website. You can also have a community on social media platform or extensive list of e-mail addresses you want to monetise.

Tips&Tricks: How do I make a high conversion website?

The second step is to choose an affiliate network or register as an affiliate partner with the merchant you’ve selected. Also, start building a relationship with an affiliate manager. It will help you to get a better commission.

The third step is to find the product or service you want to promote and get links. As mentioned above, it’s essential you have the correct links.

The fourth step is to engage with your audience and start promoting the product or service with the strategy you’ve selected. Don’t forget to use the links.

And the fifth steps is to watch the reports of your sales and continue with optimisation.

I hope you’ve gained a good overview and good luck!

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Petr Royce


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