Affiliate Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to monetize web traffic and generate additional income. You can make a lot of money from affiliate marketing, regardless of what industry you are in. This comprehensive guide on affiliate marketing will help you get started in affiliate marketing, grow your marketing business, and provide some helpful tips to make your affiliate marketing more successful.

Affiliate Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s common to hear people say that affiliate marketing can make you money while you’re sleeping. However, it’s not a good idea. Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to generate passive income online. However, it’s not possible to do so if you don’t follow the correct steps. This affiliate marketing guide will show you how to make affiliate marketing work for you so that you can build your bank account day after day.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting and selling another company’s products or services for a commission. While this is a straightforward concept, it can also involve many moving parts. Affiliate marketing is essentially selling the stuff of someone else and making money.

How does Affiliate Marketing work?

Affiliate marketing is simple. But there are some key points to remember. An affiliate marketer creates a program with the seller and gives it to their affiliate marketers. Each affiliate then uses the unique link to promote the product. Because the links are unique for each affiliate marketer, it is easy to track who made that sale.

A cookie is placed on the browser when someone clicks an affiliate link. The cookie allows the seller and the affiliate to track who sold the product. Affiliates can still earn commissions even though the person clicking the link does not decide to purchase the product. Cookies have an expiration. This means that the cookie cannot be used to credit a sale if the consumer does not make a purchase by the expiration date.

Let’s suppose you click on an affiliate hyperlink that offers a 30-day cookie. However, you decide not to buy the product. You go back a few days later to complete your purchase. The cookie was stored within the 30-day deadline so the affiliate marketer will credit you for your purchase.

Who are the Players

There are three or more key players in affiliate marketing.

Let’s take a closer look to each one of these players.



They are the people who make the products and services that affiliates market. They receive affiliate commissions when sales are made. Sellers can either be individuals or businesses. Anybody who is willing to pay for affiliates’ sales commissions. Sometimes, the seller might not even create the product or service, as is the case with Amazon Associates Program.

Networks (optional).


The affiliate links that are provided to customers allow them to purchase products or services.

How can affiliate marketers get paid?

This is one question we hear most often about affiliate marketing. Affiliates generally get paid when a user completes an action, like a click, form submission, or sale.

Per Sale

This is the most common model of affiliate marketing. Affiliates earn a commission for each sale they make.


Affiliates earn a commission for every click generated in the pay-per–click affiliate marketing model. This is regardless of whether or not a sale has been closed. This model is quite rare.

Per Lead

Affiliate marketers make money for the leads they generate through the pay-per-lead system.

Common Affiliate Marketing Channels

Affiliate marketers can generate traffic and sell products in many different ways. Affiliate marketing channels can be more popular than some. Here are our top choices for marketing channels that can help you succeed in affiliate marketing.


Blogging improves affiliate rank in search engines results and can drive organic traffic to affiliate offers (aka, “free”). Blogging is a great way to promote your affiliate product. Bloggers typically use tutorials and how-tos as well as reviews. To earn credit for the sale they then link to seller’s site via their unique affiliate link.

Influencer Marketing

As you can see, Influencer Marketing Hub is a big fan of influencer marketing. Influencers, which are people who have influence over others on social media platforms such Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and other sites, are those with a lot to say. People follow influencers to learn more about what they have to say, and to openly try any product the influencer may promote.

Influencer marketing for affiliate sales can take many different forms like live videos, product reviews, account takeovers, and more.

Paid search microsites

Microsites, also known as branded pages, are pages (or one page) that are not part of your main website. These sites allow you to provide additional information and sell affiliate products. Because they aren’t connected to your main website, it’s possible to send a more targeted message and keep away from distractions associated with traditional websites.

Email Marketing

Email marketing has been around for a long time, and for good reason. The ROI of email marketing is excellent. The ROI on email marketing is high. Depending on what study you have read, the return rates can be anywhere from 3500% to 4400%. You can make $35-$44 from email marketing for every $1 that you invest.

Coupon Sites

Mass Media Sites

Large media sites, also known as mass media, are designed to bring in tons and lots of traffic. These sites allow you to compare and review different products, some of which may be affiliate products. These sites provide social proof by storing information about the products and their services. They often promote products by using contextual affiliate links and banners.

Affiliate Marketing: Benefits

Passive Income


Affiliate marketing gives you the freedom to do what you wish while still making money for your business. You don’t have the responsibility of creating, producing, shipping, supporting, or maintaining the product. Instead, you just need to sell it. It doesn’t matter how much time you have for product promotion or creation. It’s easy to choose products that you like and will appeal to your audience. Then, you can create the content necessary for promotion.


Low Risk

In addition to the previously mentioned benefits of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing also comes with low risk. Affiliate marketing is free of cost. You don’t have the financial resources to make products or store them. Only your job is to promote the products and to get paid traffic to them (if you choose that route). Blog promotion of affiliate products is a great way to make money. There are many products and services that affiliates can promote. Don’t waste your time on a product or service that isn’t worth it.

Customer support is not available

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Step 1. 

This doesn’t mean you can only promote one product, or even a single service. You might be an affiliate for the wider golf niche. There are many opportunities to promote this niche.

  • Bags, clubs, and clothing are all part of the golf equipment
  • Books and online learning
  • Promote day passes and memberships at golf courses
  • Professional golfing stuff, such as tournaments, golf history, and memorabilia

You get the point. Here are some verticals to consider:

  • Hobbies such as photography, travel and sports betting
  • Financial products, such as investing, debt settlement and credit cards
  • The wellness topics include yoga, nutrition, and organic product reviews
  • Lifestyle products like fashion, luxury items, online dating
  • Home and Family topics such as home security, baby items, gardening
  • Techy stuff like SaaS or web hosting, VPN, and other techy items
  • Alternative products, such as CBD and essential oils, can be used for personal development.

What is your passion? What do YOU buy? That’s an excellent place to begin!

Step 2. 

After you have decided on your niche, choose one channel or platform to promote affiliate marketing. Blogs, as we’ve already said, are probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to get into affiliate marketing. This is especially useful for affiliates who wish to compare products or write reviews to help them promote their chosen products.

This is another place that you can find a lot affiliate marketing activity. It’s a very active platform. If you already have a following, it can be a brilliant option. To promote affiliate products, you can create visually appealing videos and images. Like other platforms, you can also buy ads.

You will need to be clear about sharing promotions on any platform. It is a good idea to include affiliate link disclaimers along with any links. Your blog should link your affiliate product. Then, add the “affiliate Link” in parentheses. On YouTube, include your affiliate link disclaimer in your video description. Instagram offers many options for Instagram.

Step 3. 

Once you’ve selected a niche for your affiliate products and have decided where to promote them, you can now choose the products you want. Be sure to choose products that are relevant to your target audience. Also, ensure that you offer high-quality products that people will actually enjoy using. You can tell if your products will benefit the lives of people who you are recommending them to. Is this something you would buy, or that your grandma would recommend? If you pass these tests, you will want to be sure it offers you an opportunity to make money by promoting the product. What does it look like when the product converts and pays?

If nothing comes to mind or you simply want to look around, you can go to your favorite search engine, search for “your affiliate in niche”, and start from there. Or…

Step 4. 

If you already have content created on your website, you’re well ahead of the pack. You can use analytics on your site to determine who your audience are so you can find products that meet them and pay you the right amount. An affiliate network or program allows you to connect with brands and gives you tools to help you select the right products. These are some of the best affiliate networks.

Affiliate networks give you access, if not thousands, to hundreds of different affiliate programs.

How to Select the Best Affiliate Programs

Type & Amount

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to earn money. There are two types in general of commission structures: recurring and flat. Flat models are more popular for physical products. This model involves a one-time flat payment for each sale. With subscription products, the recurring models are more popular as you earn commissions for each customer who renews.

It’s also important to inquire about the brand’s refund policy. Shoppers are bound to get a refund. What happens if a customer purchases via your affiliate link but then asks for a refund? It’s important that you know whether or not you will be charged for refunds.

Cookie Lifetime

Now we’re back to the cookie lifespan we discussed earlier. When we speak of cookies on the internet we are referring to text files containing small bits and pieces of data. These cookies are used to uniquely identify your computer while you’re using a network. You will need to know the duration of the cookie so you can consider affiliate marketing. This is crucial because it gives you a greater chance of a shopper coming back to you and making a purchase.

If someone clicks on your affiliate link and the cookie only lasts for 24 hours, the shopper must complete the purchase within 24hours. The cookie’s expiration date is 30 days. This means that the shopper could still make a purchase up to two weeks after accessing your affiliate link. The longer the cookie expires, the better.


Your success in many things is dependent on the success of your audience. Affiliate marketing is no different. Find products that are relevant and useful to your audience. High payout products are even better. However, don’t select a product just because it’s high-paying. This will not only affect the trust that your audience has in yourself, but it also means you won’t be selling any products.

Payment Logistics

What will it take to get paid? Be sure to understand what the affiliate program pays out and where it will take you. If you’re selling products that are based on a recurring payment model, how often do these payments go out? Do you have to meet a certain threshold in order to get paid? (e.g. payouts are only possible if there’s $50 in commissions).

Creative/Promotional Materials and Conversion Rates

Most brands will provide creative assets such as banners, graphics, coupons and other promotional materials that you can use for your products. These resources can be very useful. You might get a link via text from another brand. Take a look at the resources the brand offers. While a simple link to promote may not be important, you should consider how much it will cost to build these resources.


Competitiveness is another important consideration when choosing affiliate programs. How many people already sell the product? You may be better off looking for another option if the market appears saturated or the brand does not seem strong enough to sustain the sales effort.

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