Affiliate Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started? JANUARY 16, 202412 MIN READ
Affiliate Marketing: What It Is and How to Get Started?

Affiliate marketing programs have emerged as a lucrative industry for individuals and businesses alike. But what is affiliate marketing? And what does affiliate marketing mean? In this guide we will dive into all things affiliate marketing, providing insights on different types and offering practical steps for beginners to kick-start their journey.

Whether you are a B2B e-commerce seller or an aspiring affiliate marketer, this article is tailored to equip you with the knowledge and hard work needed to thrive in the affiliate marketing landscape.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing model where businesses reward individuals (affiliates) for driving traffic or sales to the business through the affiliate's marketing efforts.

It's a mutual relationship where both parties benefit – the business gains exposure and customers, while the affiliate earns a commission for successful referrals.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Now that we understand the affiliate marketing definition, we can explore the process. Affiliate marketing operates on a simple premise. An affiliate promotes a product or service through a unique affiliate link provided by the business.

Whenever a user clicks on the affiliate link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission. Tracking all of the clicks and purchases is usually done by using cookies. This helps ensure affiliates are credited for the sales they generate.

The Key Players in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is composed primarily of three players.

Merchant (Advertiser): This is the business that owns the product or service. Merchants create affiliate programs to enlist affiliates for marketing purposes.

Affiliate (Publisher): The individual or entity that promotes the merchant's products or services. Affiliates leverage various channels such as websites, blog posts, social media, or email marketing to reach potential customers.

Customer: The end-user who clicks on the affiliate's link and makes a purchase or completes a desired action.

Tracking and Analytics

Comprehensive tracking systems and analysis tools are leveraged in affiliate marketing to monitor the performance of affiliates.

Merchants can assess metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and overall return on investment (ROI). This data is crucial for optimizing the affiliate program and ensuring its effectiveness.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

One common question that arises with affiliate marketing is, “Does the affiliate use the product or service being promoted? There are three main types of affiliate marketing that define the relationship affiliates have with a product. Below is a snapshot of each type.


The unattached affiliate marketer takes the "no strings attached" approach. In this case, there are no claims regarding product usage. The affiliate does not create a relationship between the brand and the consumer. Often, this type uses a pay-per-click approach.


The related type of affiliate marketing acts as a middle ground. These affiliates haven’t used the product or service, but they may have a connection to the audience interested in the product. For instance, they may be a fashion vlogger pushing clothing or makeup items. In this case, the audience may purchase the product, but the affiliate risks losing trust if the product is subpar.


Involved affiliate marketers have a personal experience with a product. These affiliates have tested the product and can vouch for it. This type of marketing leverages the trust affiliates have built with their audience.

How do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid

How do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

Understanding the diverse models of affiliate marketing is essential for anyone looking to get involved. Here are common types and affiliate marketing examples:

1. Pay-Per-Sale (PPS):

In the PPS model, affiliates earn a commission when the referred customer makes a purchase. This is the most common type of affiliate marketing and is often associated with e-commerce.

2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC):

Affiliates earn a commission based on the number of clicks generated by their marketing efforts, irrespective of whether the referred user makes a purchase. This model is prevalent in content marketing, content creators, and display advertising.

3. Pay-Per-Lead (PPL):

In the PPL model, affiliates earn a commission when the referred customer takes a specific action, such as signing up for a trial or filling out a form. This model is commonly used in industries where direct sales are not the primary objective.

4. Pay-Per-Call:

This model involves affiliates earning a commission for each call generated through their promotional efforts. It is particularly effective for businesses that rely on phone inquiries and consultations.

5. Two-Tier Programs:

In a two-tier affiliate program, affiliates not only earn commissions for their direct referrals but also for the affiliates they bring into the program. This creates a multi-level earning structure.

Why Be an Affiliate Marketer?

Digital sales will continue to surge for the foreseeable future. The rise of e-commerce sets the table for a profitable affiliate industry. Here are some of the benefits of affiliate marketing:

1. Low Barrier to Entry:

Affiliate marketing is accessible to virtually anyone with online access. Internet penetration across the globe continues to rise, which creates a greater market to tap into.

You don't need a substantial upfront investment or a specific skill set to get started. It is generally a low-cost venture. As long as you have a platform to promote products or services, you can become an affiliate marketer.

2. Passive Income Potential:

Once you've set up your affiliate marketing channels, they can generate passive income. As long as your content remains relevant and continues to attract an audience, you can earn commissions on an ongoing basis.

3. Diversification of Income Streams:

For B2B e-commerce sellers, affiliate marketing provides an opportunity to diversify income streams. By enlisting affiliates, sellers can tap into new audiences and markets without significant upfront costs.

4. Performance-Based Rewards:

Unlike traditional advertising where costs are incurred regardless of results, affiliate marketing is performance-based. Merchants only pay for actual sales or actions, ensuring a direct correlation between investment and returns.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

As with any industry, affiliate marketing comes with its own set of benefits and challenges. Is affiliate marketing legit? This is a common question asked by individuals looking to enter the market. Here is a brief snapshot of the pros and cons within the industry.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Pro: Low Risk, High Reward

Affiliate marketing involves minimal upfront costs for affiliates. With the potential for high commissions, the risk-to-reward ratio is favorable.

Pro: Passive Income Potential

As your content continues to attract traffic, you can earn passive income through ongoing affiliate commissions.

Pro: Diversification of Income Streams

For businesses, affiliate marketing provides an opportunity to tap into new markets and audiences without substantial upfront investment.

Con: Dependency on Merchant

Affiliates rely on merchants to provide quality products and fulfill orders. If the merchant's performance falters, it can impact the affiliate's success.

Con: Commission Structure Variability

Commission rates can vary among affiliate programs. Some may offer high commissions, while others may have lower rates or complex payment structures.

Con: Market Saturation

In popular niches, competition among affiliates can be intense, making it challenging for new affiliates to stand out.

Getting Started in Affiliate Marketing

Now that we have established the pros and cons of affiliate marketing, it is time to break down how to get into affiliate marketing. Below are 5 steps individuals and businesses can follow to crack affiliate marketing.

1. Choose Your Niche:

Selecting a niche is the first step in your affiliate marketing journey. Focus on a niche that aligns with your interests or expertise. This will make it easier to create valuable content and resonate with your target audience.

2. Research and Select Affiliate Programs:

Once you've identified your niche, research and choose affiliate programs that align with your content and audience. Look for programs that offer competitive commissions, reliable tracking systems, and quality products or services.

3. Create Quality Content:

Content is the backbone of successful affiliate marketing. Develop engaging and informative content that provides value to your audience. This could include product reviews, tutorials, or informative articles related to your niche.

4. Promote Through Multiple Channels:

Diversify your promotional efforts by leveraging various channels such as your website, blog, social media, email newsletters, and more. A multi-channel approach increases your reach and potential for earning commissions.

5. Build Trust with Your Audience:

Trust is crucial in affiliate marketing. Be transparent about your affiliations and only promote products or services that you genuinely believe in. Building trust with your audience enhances your credibility and fosters long-term relationships.

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Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success

If affiliate marketing now sounds intriguing to you, then these affiliate marketing tips are sure to help. These tips will guide you on how to make money with affiliate marketing. These 6 useful tips are the best ways for businesses to reach success in affiliate marketing.

1. Understand Your Audience:

Successful affiliate marketing begins with a deep understanding of your target audience. Tailor your content to resonate with their needs, preferences, and pain points. By addressing your audience's specific interests, you increase the likelihood of driving conversions.

2. Choose Quality Products:

The products or services you promote reflect your brand and credibility. Select high-quality offerings from reputable merchants to build trust with your audience. Genuine recommendations lead to better user experiences and increased trust in your recommendations.

3. Diversify Your Content:

Don't limit yourself to a single type of content. Experiment with various formats such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts. Diversifying your content helps you reach a broader audience and keeps your marketing strategy fresh.

4. Optimize for SEO:

Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies is essential for maximizing the visibility of your affiliate content. Conduct keyword research, optimize meta tags, and create compelling content that addresses user queries. A strong SEO foundation can contribute to long-term success.

5. Stay Updated on Industry Trends:

The affiliate marketing program landscape is dynamic, with trends and strategies evolving rapidly. Stay informed about industry developments, emerging technologies, and changes in consumer behavior. Adapting to the latest trends keeps your marketing efforts relevant and effective.

6. Build Strong Relationships:

Cultivate relationships with both merchants and your audience. Regularly communicate with merchants to stay informed about new products and promotions. Engage with your audience through comments, social media, and email to foster a sense of community and trust.

How to Set Up an Affiliate Marketing Program

How to Set Up an Affiliate Marketing Program?

On the other side of the coin is the affiliate network or the merchants that create affiliate programs to enlist affiliates for marketing purposes. Setting up an affiliate marketing program involves several key steps:

Define Your Goals:

Clearly outline your objectives for the affiliate program. Whether it's increasing sales, expanding reach, or driving leads, having well-defined goals guides the structure of your program.

Choose the Right Affiliate Software:

Invest in reliable affiliate marketing software to track and manage affiliate activities. Look for features such as robust tracking, reporting, and payment processing capabilities.

Establish Competitive Commissions:

Develop a commission structure that attracts affiliates while aligning with your business goals. Consider competitive rates to incentivize high-performing affiliates.

Create Compelling Marketing Materials:

Provide affiliates with effective marketing materials such as banners, text links, and promotional content. Clear and compelling materials enhance the chances of successful promotions.

Implement Tracking and Analytics:

Utilize tracking tools and analytics to monitor the performance of your affiliate program. Track key metrics, analyze data, and make adjustments to optimize performance.


What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing model where businesses reward individuals (affiliates) for driving traffic or sales to the business through the affiliate's marketing efforts. It works by affiliates promoting a product or service through unique affiliate links. When a user clicks on the affiliate link and makes a purchase or completes a desired action, the affiliate earns a commission.

Is affiliate marketing legit?

Yes, affiliate marketing is a legitimate and widely adopted marketing strategy. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement where businesses leverage the marketing efforts of affiliates to reach a wider audience, and affiliates earn commissions for successful referrals.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money?

Starting affiliate marketing with no money is possible. Begin by selecting a niche, creating content on free platforms like a blog or social media, and joining affiliate programs that don't require upfront fees. Focus on organic traffic through SEO and engage with your audience to build trust.

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

Affiliate marketing is a promotional model where a company pays a third party or affiliates to generate traffic or leads to the company's products and services. It works by an affiliate earning a commission for marketing another person's or company's products, earning a piece of the profit for each sale they make.

How do you earn money through affiliate marketing?

You earn money through affiliate marketing by promoting a company's products or services on your website or platform. Whenever a visitor clicks on the affiliate links and makes a purchase, you receive a commission from the company.

How much can one potentially earn from affiliate marketing?

The earning potential in affiliate marketing is virtually unlimited, depending heavily on the affiliate's methodology, target audience, and product selection.

Successful marketers can earn from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per month, with top-tier affiliates earning well into the six or even seven figures annually. However, results may vary greatly based on effort, strategies, and market conditions.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid in affiliate marketing?

Some common pitfalls to avoid in affiliate marketing include choosing the wrong products or services to promote, partnering with unreliable affiliate programs, and not focusing on building genuine relationships with your audience.

Lack of a proper marketing strategy and disregarding SEO can also hinder the performance of your affiliate marketing efforts.

Sell on

Harness the power of affiliate marketing on to amplify your sales. Join the affiliate program, explore marketing tools, and take the first step toward reaching a global audience. Start selling on today and unlock new opportunities for business growth.

In this comprehensive affiliate marketing for beginners, we've delved into the intricacies of the affiliate marketing industry. We’ve answered common questions like what is affiliate marketing and how it works.

We’ve looked at affiliate marketing from its core concepts to practical tips for success and determined that affiliate marketing works. By understanding the pros and cons, and setting up your affiliate marketing program, you are now ready to enter the affiliates industry. empowers sellers to be part of the affiliate marketing industry. provides a vast marketplace for B2B sellers, offering a diverse range of products. Sellers can leverage the affiliate marketing model to expand the reach of their brands and connect with affiliates who can promote their products.

Join's global e-commerce market to enlist affiliates who will promote your products. Benefit from increased visibility and sales without upfront advertising costs. Access a library of promotional banners and links that affiliates can use to effectively market your products.

If you want to become a successful affiliate marketer, consider the expansive opportunities presented by Take advantage of marketing tools, join the affiliate program, and start selling on a global scale.