Everything You Need to Know About Affiliate Marketing and How to Get Started With It

Affiliate Marketing is a type of internet marketing used by companies (i.e. the advertisers) to promote their products and services through a third-party individual or other company. Such a sale is conducted through an affiliate link, which records it as coming from any particular affiliate marketer, thereby earning them a commission or kickback.

Affiliate Companies are also referred to as advertisers, retailers, merchants, or brands. This term can be used to refer to any company or individual who is looking to partner with affiliates to promote their products and help generate sales, and thereby, pay them commissions in return.

An Affiliate Marketer is a person or company that uses its platforms to market the advertiser’s product. Since this platform usually exists online, affiliate marketers, or publishers, as they are also sometimes known, are most commonly bloggers or other content creators who have built an audience for themselves on the internet.

Such affiliates tend to promote brands and products that are closely related to the type of niche their content caters to. They use their skills as a marketer to convince their followers to buy the product. This can be done through posting pictures and stories, making videos, sending emails, or other marketing methods. Affiliate marketers may even take out banner ads or text links to the affiliate company’s website.

To make things simple, think of traditional advertising where a company goes to a newspaper and pays to have their products be displayed on it. An affiliate marketer is like the newspaper, except that they likely have an audience who are known to be interested in the product category and only get paid if a customer actually buys the product they are promoting.

How Much Can You Make with Affiliate Marketing?

The amount you get paid will depend on the terms of the particular affiliate program in question, and this can vary drastically. These terms are often agreed upon by the advertiser and the publisher at the commencement of the partnership.

There may be a fixed amount that the marketer gets paid when a customer makes a purchase on the company’s website or it could be a certain percentage of the total value of the sale. Some affiliate programs even offer rewards for simply getting the customer to click on the link, even if they do not make a purchase at that particular time.  Commission payments are typically made on a monthly basis, but this may differ depending on the affiliate program.

How do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

When a customer makes a purchase on the company’s website, having landed there through the affiliate’s link, they get paid. Leads, which refers to any meaningful action that a viewer may make through the affiliate’s link, even if it isn’t a sale, may also be compensated. These include actions like installing an app, signing up for a free trial, participating in surveys, subscribing to newsletters, etc.

The payment structure followed by most affiliate programs can be one of three types: pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, or pay-per-sale. This is sometimes known as performance marketing.

Pay–Per–Click (PPC) – The affiliate is paid for all clicks generated, not considering whether these clicks resulted in purchases or leads.

Pay–Per–Lead (PPL) – A fixed commission is earned by the affiliate marketer every time a lead is generated through the affiliate’s link.

Pay–Per–Sale (PPS) – The affiliate earns a percentage of all sales generated through their link. One of the most popular PPS programs is the Amazon Associates program, where a publisher is paid up to 15% of sales commission, depending on the products sold.

How Much Do I Need to Invest to Become an Affiliate Marketer?


That’s right, it costs exactly zero dollars to join an affiliate program (beware of those that ask you for payment upfront – it is likely a scam).

However, that’s not to say you don’t need to invest anything. For instance, you will need to invest your time – which can be a lot or not if you’ve already built an audience in the product niche. Additionally, it may cost you a little bit if you choose to go the route of email campaigns or social media ads, but these are probably not going to make a huge dent in your wallet.

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing?

Step One: Have an audience.

The good news is that you don’t need any qualifications, per se, to become an affiliate marketer. All you need is an audience online who are willing to listen to your recommendations!

It’s certainly a plus if you are proficient in blogging or vlogging, whether it be writing a good blog post or compiling a great review video. Any other marketing skills or knowledge you already have can also be put to great use!

Step Two: Find an affiliate network and sign up.

The next step is to find an affiliate network that you can sign up with. These act as middlemen that manage the relationship between companies and their affiliates, while also providing third-party checks and balances.

Affiliate networks help companies, track, report, and manage payments to the affiliates. When an affiliate joins a particular network, they gain access to all the affiliate companies managed by the network. ClickBank, Commission Junction, and ShareASale are three of the most popular affiliate networks available. All three are known to work with all kinds of brands and advertisers.

Certain other affiliate networks offer a more niche service where they use their specialized affiliate tools and expertise to bring together brands that fit under a certain category. Travelpayouts is one such affiliate, managing over 80 affiliate programs from some of the biggest names in the market. If you were someone who dabbled in that niche, maybe you are a travel blogger, this could be the best affiliate network for you.

Step Three: Affiliate Links

Once you’ve signed up with an affiliate program, you will receive an affiliate link that is embedded with a unique URL that contains your affiliate username or ID. This is the link that you should use whenever you are promoting the advertiser’s product, whether it be on your website, social media, or other places.

Simply sending the customer to the main URL of the company’s website does not count. The customer has to click on this special URL to be registered as a click, lead, or sale. Once they do so, a cookie is dropped onto their browser so that their activity on that particular website can be tracked. This way, the affiliate will get paid when the customer makes a meaningful action.

And… that’s it! Becoming an affiliate marketer is not very complicated and it can be a lucrative gig if you know how to play your cards right. So, what are you waiting for? Why not jump in test the waters? After all, you’ll never know if it’s for you if you never try!