What Is Affiliate Marketing? An Explanation For Beginners

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Have you heard of people talking about affiliate marketing and have no idea what it is. Read this blog post to get everything you need to know about this stream of income.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular and effective methods for generating income through the Internet. If you’ve ever wondered how bloggers, influencers, and website owners earn money while promoting products or services, you’ve likely stumbled upon the world of affiliate marketing.

Don’t have any skills or own product to sell to people? Make money by selling other people’s products with affiliate marketing. Start selling other people’s products that you already love and use as an affiliate.

This business model is perfect for anyone who doesn’t have any skills to sell or want to create a product. The product has already been created, you just need to drive traffic to your affiliate link. Drive traffic by finding people who would benefit from the product, put it in front of them, and send them to your affiliate link.

You don’t need to close the sale, that’s the job of the company, your job is to drive traffic.

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What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Definition Of What Affiliate Marketing Is

Before we delve into what affiliate marketing is, here’s a quick definition from the Oxford English Dictionary.

A marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals

Oxford English Dictionary

Affiliates monetise their online presence, whether it be a website, blog, social media platform, or email list, by leveraging the trust and loyalty of their audience.

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Key Players In Affiliate Marketing

In affiliate marketing, there are 3 key players: the merchant, the publisher, and the consumer.

  1. Merchant (Advertiser): The company or individual who owns the product or service being promoted. Merchants create affiliate programs to attract affiliates who can help increase their sales and reach.
  2. Affiliate (Publisher): The affiliate is the individual or entity that promotes the merchant’s products or services. They act as a bridge between the merchant and the potential customers.
  3. Consumer (Customer): The end-user who clicks on the affiliate’s link and performs the desired action, resulting in a commission for the affiliate if a purchase or conversion occurs.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Here are 5 simple steps to how affiliate marketing works:

  1. Choosing a Niche: Affiliates typically focus on a specific niche or topic they are passionate about or knowledgeable in. This enables them to target a more relevant audience, making their marketing efforts more effective.
  2. Joining Affiliate Programs: Once the niche is identified, affiliates sign up for relevant affiliate programs offered by merchants. These programs provide unique affiliate links that track the referrals sent by the affiliate.
  3. Promoting Products/Services: Affiliates use various marketing channels to promote the products or services they are affiliated with. This can include writing reviews, creating informative content, producing videos, running social media campaigns, or using email marketing.
  4. Driving Traffic and Conversions: The primary goal of the affiliate is to drive potential customers to the merchant’s website through their affiliate link. If the referred visitor makes a purchase or completes a specified action (e.g., signing up for a newsletter, filling out a form), the affiliate earns a commission.
  5. Earning Commissions: Commissions earned can be a percentage of the sale value or a fixed amount per conversion. Commission structures vary depending on the affiliate program and the merchant.

By creating valuable and authentic content, affiliates can forge strong connections with their audience, drive sales for merchants, and ultimately unlock the path to online success through affiliate marketing.

How People Are Driving Traffic To Their Affiliate Offer

You tell someone in your network about a product and then they buy the product through your affiliate tracking link.

People make referrals with their

Plus just tell people that are in your network whenever you see someone who could benefit from a product you’re an affiliate with.

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What Are Affiliate Tracking Links?

Sign up to be an affiliate of a product and you’ll be given a tracking link to use when promoting the product. The affiliate tracking link is completely unique to you. When someone makes a purchase or signup after clicking on your link, you make the commission.

An affiliate tracking link is usually a pretty ugly link. It’s typically the domain that ends with random letters and numbers. You can make it better looking by using a shortener URL such as bit.ly which is free to use.

There will be times, such as on Pinterest, when you can’t use a shortener, you have to use the ugly link you’re given. Make sure that when you use a platform to promote your affiliate link, you’re following their guidelines, or you’ll be kicked off the platform.

Facebook is notorious for this. They hate it when people are constantly dropping their affiliate link on their platform. A platform that doesn’t grumble about you leaving affiliate links and shorteners is YouTube.

Create a YouTube channel and whenever you create a video (long or short) leave your affiliate links in the video description.

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How Much Will I Make In Commissions With Affiliate Marketing?

Typically physical products have a low commission. Amazon is the typical place people are an affiliate for physical products. Commission for Amazon does depend on the product type, price, and level of sales from your links.On the other hand, you’ve got digital products.

Digital products have a much higher commission as they don’t have any fees for the business in relation to postage and shipping. Digital product commissions vary from 20% up to 60% commission. Even better, your affiliate link will have a tracking cookie.

A tracking cookie means simply that if someone buys inside a certain length of time, you get the commission. A tracking cookie could be 15 days or 90 days, it just depends on the business as to what length of time you get.

Amazon does have a similar tracking cookie on their affiliate links. When someone clicks through on your tracking link and make a purchase from Amazon within 24 hours, you get a commission.

For example, even if you just promote some fashion items which they clicked through on.

If they go on to purchase an item, even if it’s not what you were promoting, you’ll get a commission.


What is affiliate marketing? It’s a word of mouth marketing strategy but taken online and reaching more people with your product recommendations. To get started with affiliate marketing, decide which platforms you want to use in driving traffic, choose an affiliate product, and enjoy those commissions you get.

About Post Author

Alison Wolf

Helping you to build an online business so you have an extra stream of income or quit the day job. Don't forget to follow me on social media using the handle @heyalisonwolf
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