As an ex-corporate employee who quit his job after using Affiliate Marketing, it just makes sense that more people – especially beginners learn exactly what is Affiliate Marketing and how does it work.
I want to explain to you what exactly is affiliate marketing and how it works.
I firmly believe that affiliate marketing is a great online business model if you’re working in a full time job and have other priorities such as family. Once you get an affiliate business up and running – it is very much hands-off.
Many people have asked me recently how the process of affiliate marketing works, and how to get set up and start making sales online. I’m going to explain everything you need, specifically:
- What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
- Benefits of affiliate marketing
- Challenges of affiliate marketing
- Affiliate marketing vs other strategies
- Costs of affiliate marketing
- Choosing a product/offer
- Marketing the product/offer
- Best affiliate marketing strategy
- Affiliate marketing examples on the internet
- My journey as an Affiliate Marketer (including revenue)
What Is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work? Well, it’s very simple.
Affiliate marketing is where you promote and sell other company’s products to earn a commission.
You basically partner with brands and promote their products to your audience, earning a commission on sales made through your unique referral link. Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn an income around your job – especially if you don’t have your own product or service!
You simply leverage an existing company’s products and go out and market that product. The company may even provide the marketing assets for you. On top of that, the company will deal with customer enquiries, refunds, fulfilment, etc, so you don’t have to! So essentially, it’s a ready-made business which you have to market.
I am currently an affiliate marketer for four brands, and it was my first online business model in 2019 while working in my 9-to-5 corporate job.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, you really want to market a product you have used before and would happily recommend it to others. If you want help getting started with your own affiliate business – check out the same training that I used as a beginner. It’s still hands-down one of the best affiliate training programs out there.
Here are the basic steps to become an affiliate for a brand:
Step 1 – Find a product, service or brand you use. Simply type in Google a product/brand followed by “affiliate program”. Check out the example below:
Step 2 – If that brand has an affiliate program, you will see the search result for it’s affiliate page:
Step 3 – Sign up for free:
Step 4 – Start sharing your unique affiliate link with your friends, family, social media followers, email list, etc. If someone clicks on the link and purchases the product, then you receive a % of the sale price.
Not all brands will have an affiliate program. Some brands may also name their program differently, i.e. ‘associate program’ or ‘members’.
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
I firmly believe that affiliate marketing is the best online business model for beginners. It was for me in 2019 when I didn’t have my own product, service or offering!
Here are the benefits of affiliate marketing:
+ Low risk
There’s no huge capital outlay required. Your only sizeable expense will be paid advertising if you choose to go down that route. It’s great for beginners, especially those in full time jobs – who initially want to use affiliate marketing to build a side income around their jobs.
Considering the size of your audience size for your particular niche, scaling is very possible with affiliate marketing. Depending on your income per product sold, you can go from 3 figures/month to over 5 months/month.
+ Focus on marketing
You only have to focus on marketing to new customers, with fulfilment, returns and customer complaints handled by the company.
+ No holding of stock
If you’re an affiliate marketer for a physical product, you don’t need to hold stock. This is done by the company who will deliver the product to the customer directly.
+ Time leverage
By utilizing available online platforms, you can earn income from sales 24/7. The tools and platforms available online mean that you don’t have to be there to oversee a sale. It can all be done on auto-pilot. For this reason, affiliate marketing is an example of a ‘leveraged’ strategy because the model frees up your time to focus on other things or live your life!
That means earning income in your sleep! If you’ve set up a winning funnel, sometimes there is very little input required by yourself. Compare this to traditional ‘9-to’5’ jobs where you have to commit x time to earn y salary.
+ Multiple affiliate businesses
You can be an affiliate for multiple products within the same company you are an affiliate for. That’s because you can refer your existing customers to other, more expensive products within the company.
The advantage of starting an affiliate business is that you learn how to market a product. So once you market one product successfully, you can then go on to build affiliate income from other products!
+ Uncapped earning potential
Some companies offer commissions of up to 80% of the sale price to the affiliate. This means that if you can get your costs right, then you stand to do well. Remember, if you use paid advertising to find your customers – then you need to ensure that:
$ Return per customer > $ cost per customer acquisition
Challenges of Affiliate Marketing
While it appears to be a straight-forward model, you need to consider the following when getting started with affiliate marketing:
Depending on your affiliate funnel, it can take some time to see results. You might hit the mark quickly, or maybe split-testing is required to see which landing page, lead magnet, headline, etc, makes a difference and starts to attract clicks and sales.
Lack of control
As an affiliate, you are a ‘sales-man’. That means that you won’t have control over the quality of the product, the customer service team, the nurturing process, the company assets, etc. There is a chance the company can change the offer or pricing with little notice and it might affect your whole business.
It does help to be an affiliate for a brand/product for which you’re familiar with and have had a great customer experience with.
Affiliate Marketing vs Other Strategies
Online business is my hands-down preferred strategy for building extra income. But here are other strategies I pursued and their pros and cons:
+ actual physical asset
+ property appreciates over the long term
– requires significant capital outlay
– extra costs, i.e. service charges, taxes, repairs, etc
+ more investment platforms = reduced transaction costs
+ allows you to benefit from company earnings via dividends
– requires research
– long time horizon
– subject to economic cycles
+ you can set your risk/return preferences in your strategy
+ can start with little money
+ unlimited earning potential
– need a strong mindset to not chase losses
– you’re on your own
– guaranteed failure if you don’t have a plan/or don’t stick to one
+ physical product
+ can market and sell on a huge platform like Amazon
+ Don’t have to hold stock
– upfront cost to find in-demand product and test the market
+ allows you to market your unique skill-set online
-requires a commitment of your time
+ real physical assets
+ ready made brand
-huge upfront and regular expenses
Costs of Affiliate Marketing
Below I have listed the minimum you need to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground.
Website builder + domain hosting
There are lots of website builders and domain hosters out there! Some are adequate, while others have additional features like 24/7 support, tools, etc. Convertri is my favorite website builder because it is great for affiliate marketers! The best things about Convertri is that it is so simple to use. You can just drag and drop elements to design your webpage as you please. Also Convertri webpages load super quick! This is so important for SEO or for paid ads, as users want fast page speeds. Google recognizes fast page speeds for SEO ranking.
Monthly subscriptions will start at $75/month.
An email autoresponder allows you to send an email or newsletter to multiple people at one time. If you have built up a list of follows or subscribers, then you would want to stay engaged with them. This might be by sending regular emails on your product, or providing tips relating to the product area, useful content, offering downloads, etc. The key with email marketing is to continue to provide valuable content to generate trust from your customers. Eventually they’ll become paying customers.
In fact, email marketing provides one of – if not, the best return on marketing spend compared to other ad types.
AWeber or Mailchimp as reputable email autoresponders. AWeber offers a free starting package, but as your subscribers increase, they start to charge. Their paid packages start at $12.50/month.
Graphics and content design package
Canva is an excellent graphics and design website. It is so user-friendly and allows you to create content for a whole range of platforms – and in a range of formats. They have a huge collection of professional looking templates and is my go-to place for design new graphics.
Canva offers a free package, but the paid package gives you access to more templates and graphics – starts at $10.99/month.
Paid traffic (optional)
If you use paid advertising (i.e. Google, Facebook ads) to attract customers, then you will probably need to spend at least $5/day for the algorithm to work properly and start bringing you customers. Note, this is an optional cost.
As an affiliate marketer, one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a program is the commission rate. After all, the higher the rate, the more money you stand to make from each sale. In this post, we will take a look at some of the best paying affiliate schemes currently available.
1. Amazon Associates
Amazon is one of the biggest and most well-known e-commerce companies in the world, and their affiliate program, Amazon Associates, is just as popular. With Amazon Associates, you can earn up to 10% in commissions on eligible products that you promote. One of the great things about Amazon Associates is the wide range of products available, including books, electronics, clothing, and more. Plus, their cookie duration is 90 days, giving you plenty of time to earn commissions on referred sales.
ShareASale is an affiliate network that allows you to promote products from a wide range of merchants. With ShareASale, you can earn commissions of up to 35% on sales made through your referral link. They also have a large selection of merchants in a variety of niches, making it easy to find products that align with your own interests and audience.
3. CJ Affiliate
CJ Affiliate, formerly known as Commission Junction, is another popular affiliate network with a wide range of merchants and products. With CJ Affiliate, you can earn commissions of up to 8% on sales made through your referral link. They also have a long cookie duration of 60 days, giving you plenty of time to earn commissions on referred sales.
FlexOffers is another affiliate network that offers a wide range of products and merchants. With FlexOffers, you can earn commissions of up to 50% on sales made through your referral link. They also have a long cookie duration of 30 days, giving you plenty of time to earn commissions on referred sales.
ClickBank is a popular affiliate network that offers products in a wide range of niches, including health and wellness, personal development, and more. With ClickBank, you can earn commissions of up to 75% on sales made through your referral link. They also have a long cookie duration of 60 days, giving you plenty of time to earn commissions on referred sales.
There are many great affiliate programs out there that offer high commission rates. By choosing one of the programs listed above, you can maximize your earning potential as an affiliate marketer. Just be sure to do your research and choose a program that aligns with your own interests and audience.
You can even search for a brand that you love using, and in Google type ‘xyz affiliate scheme’. This will take you to the company’s affiliate page where you can sign up, and start promoting the product and earning commission when you make a sale.
Choosing An Affiliate Product or Offer
Here are some guidelines when choosing an affiliate product or offer.
1. It should be a product you like or have used yourself. If you don’t like it, you won’t promote it with any passion. People will see right through you.
2. It’s got to be useful for your customer. Don’t just promote something for your own gain. Promote something that will really help people. All businesses are started to solve problems and yours should too.
3. I found the best niches for launching an online business, especially an affiliate marketing business are:
If you can find a product that falls within one of the above niche areas, then that’s a great start. For example, diet products fall under ‘Health’ and are always in demand. Similarly for money making strategies – which fall under ‘Wealth’.
But…you don’t want to be too generic with your sub-niche, as there may be a lot of competition. For example, weight loss pills are everywhere on the internet. It may not be easy to stand out. Check out this article on how to use Google Trends to find your sub-niche:
4. To get real success you ideally want your business to have monthly recurring income. In other words, each month the customer pays for the product subscription – you get a commission. So by earning a monthly revenue, you have created a passive income for yourself.
5. Once you have customers you want them to love your product, rave about it and keep buying other related product from you. So make sure the product has other products to compliment it, or even up-sells, i.e. a premium package. This is a great way to increase your revenue from the same customer. In other words – your revenue per customer increases.
Points 1 and 2 are non-negotiable.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to properly start an affiliate business, then I would highly recommend the Modern Wealthy training below.
Marketing The Product or Offer
Free (organic strategies) vs Paid advertising?
Once you’ve decided on a product or offer, you then need to work out how to market it to an audience. Ask yourself, do you have time or money? If you have more time, then maybe you can go down the route of content creation. This is where you create content regularly and post on your social media (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc) or broadcast to an existing audience by email.
The content you post will be related to the product, and includes tips, news, quotes, free products, etc. By creating content regularly, the idea is to create followers. Once you have sizeable followers, then you can actively start to market your affiliate product – and hopefully make sales.
If you like to write, then why not consider blogging. Blogging is free and you can write to your heart’s content. The key with using blogging for affiliate offers – is to ensure your blog is relevant and addresses a key pain point of the reader. Only then can you bridge the reader to your offer.
There are many blogs about a variety of topics, so the internet is pretty saturated already with blogs. But that shouldn’t stop you from writing an article about something you’ve learnt, or presenting some compelling research or stats relating to your affiliate product.
I have used my blogs and then sliced and diced them to post on my socials. That includes email broadcasts, Instagram, Facebook etc. Reformat and reposting is a great way to ensure you are utilizing all of the platforms.
Note that blogging and the other content creation strategies above require you to play the long game and build an audience.
Paid advertising is where you are paying for targeted traffic. You can advertise your offer on Google search, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram etc. Of course – this strategy has the potential to provide you with laser focussed traffic who are interested in what you are offering. Be warned though – that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can waste a lot of money on paid ads!
Here are some of the paid advertising platforms:
Google search –
Google is the world’s go-to search engine, and has billions of searches every day. You can’t afford NOT TO be on Google!
It is all about search intent. Someone will use Google because they need to learn about a topic, or need a solution or help to fix something. Considering the number of advertisers – Google ads are very competitive, but if you can produce an ad and content that directly addresses the pain or problem that someone is searching – then your affiliate offer will do well.
YouTube is owned by Google, and so it uses the same paid advertising platform as Google Search – ‘Google Ads’. YouTube advertising is powerful because you can connect with a viewer on an emotional level. Something that is hard to do with plain text. If you can create a compelling video ad that hooks the viewer, addresses their pain problems and presents a solution – then you’re onto a winner.
YouTube video ads generally appear before the main video that the viewer is watching. You have 5 seconds at the beginning before the viewer can click on ‘Skip’ and continue with their main video. In those 5 seconds, that’s when you ‘hook’ your viewer in.
I started my first affiliate business by marketing on YouTube and it was amazing. I was able to portray my message with emotion, logic and results. Video is powerful and I would always recommend marketing on YouTube with the right guidance.
Facebook is a super mature platform, with a very sophisticated algorithm behind it’s advertising. That means that Facebook is so incredibly clever at finding the right people for your offer – providing a) your ad is highly focussed, and b) you apply the appropriate targeting for your ad.
If you can create a Facebook ad funnel that is generating leads and sales from your affiliate product, you stand to do very well. Just note that when it comes to scaling your ad – YouTube is much better to get to 5 and 6-figures a month. That is because YouTube typically is better for marketing high ticket products (>$300). Where Facebook does well for those advertisers who are marketing products that are priced at <$300.
These days you will note that there are so many adverts online shouting out “How you can make $000s a day” or “Change your life in a week”.
But it’s pretty much impossible for a beginner in affiliate marketing to do it this quick.
When getting started with affiliate marketing you want to promote 1 product only. Focussing all your attention on getting it to work and produce nice healthy profits. Only at that point should you start to promote and sell a 2nd, 3rd, 4th product etc.
Alot of people make the mistake early on with trying to do 10 things at once.
Focus on 1 product, learn the process and then you can repeat later on.
This is a journey, not a sprint.
Below are the steps you should now take:
1. Google the company you want to promote (example Amazon affiliate program, Manscape affiliate program, Booking.com affiliate program, MindValley affiliate program, etc). You’ll see if you can promote their products or not.
2. Sign up for the free affiliate program, and you’ll receive an affiliate link from them.
3. Build a basic website/landing page around your niche or product you are promoting (once you’ve learnt how to build websites you can do this in a few hours). Today’s technology makes website building so quick and straight forward.
4. Advertise via free strategies such as blogging, YouTube channel, Instagram or Facebook. Or go down the route of paid advertising such as Bing, Google Search Ads, YouTube ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads or banner ads.
5. Add value to your customers and show how the product can help them solve their pain or problem.
6. Customer clicks and buys, and you make an affiliate commission.
Note there are various ways from point 4. to generate sales, but the above are the most common.
As you can see it requires a bit of work and learning to get to this stage.
It’s not possible for a beginner to make money in a week with all of this. Chances are it will take a month or maybe 2 or 3 months. Maybe even longer to really learn the skills that are needed to succeed in affiliate marketing.
But the next few months are going to pass regardless so you may aswell get started. And once you set up a successful funnel, it will run virtually automatically, generating sales 24/7 – while you are sleeping, travelling or eating.
Don’t believe me? Google it now. Type in companies and take a look at the commissions they offer. Some commissions range from hundreds of dollars to thousands per sale. How many $2000 commissions do you want to make a month?
Best Affiliate Marketing Strategy
Imagine a subscription-based product priced at $100 monthly that pays you $25 per month each time the customer pays the $100 (btw – thousands of products offer a subscription-based affiliate model. I’ve picked a mid-range.).
Normally digital products, memberships, software, courses and training products offer these types of recurring commissions.
Let’s say your aim is to make 10 sales a month (you can advertise to a global audience):
Month 1 – You’ll be earning the sales commission only, no recurring commission
Month 2 – You’ll be earning $250 in recurring commission + new sales you make
Month 3 – You’ll be earning $500 in recurring commission + new sales you make
Now imagine you can make 20 sales a month – over the course of a year.
As mentioned above, you don’t need to have a following to do this. Advertising can get you in front of buying customers within hours of launching an advert.
There is no reason why within a few months you can’t be set up with you affiliate funnel and making your first sale online. From that point on you just scale your advertising budget, reach more people and make more sales.
The process is very simple. It’s just about learning the skills that is vital for all of this to work.
High ticket affiliate marketing strategy
You can be an affiliate for Amazon for example. That means you don’t have to own a specific product. You simply promote a particular product and if someone clicks on that specific link, it takes them to Amazon where they can buy it.
Now Amazon pays it affiliates around 5-10% commission. Let’s say that an average Amazon product is $30. So if you were to promote and sell a $30 product as an affiliate – you’d make around $3.
That’s not ground-breaking.
You’d have to sell ALOT of those products to make it a worthwhile business.
If you wanted to earn $1000 a month as an affiliate – you’d have to sell over 300 of those products.
I sell products that are priced higher, i.e in the hundreds and thousands of dollars (not $30).
Also – i target those affiliate programs that pay a high affiliate commission %, i.e. 30%, 40%, 50% and more.
Yes those programs do exist!
So I basically promote and sell high priced products that pay a high affiliate commission:
In the above example you can see that you can earn $200 if you sold a $400 product as an affiliate (assuming commission rate is 50%).
To hit a monthly income target of $1000, you’d only have to sell 5 of these such products:
And you’re income is not only restricted to the initial commission you get from a sale.
Some affiliate programs pay affiliates membership income, i.e. for each month the customer stays as a member – the affiliate receives a percentage of the monthly membership fee.
This is known as ‘recurring income’.
Also, some brands and companies have up-sells, where the customers goes on to buy further products. Therefore, you as an affiliate can receive affiliate commission from future purchases/upgrades that that customer decides to make.
This is known as ‘high-ticket income’.
Bottom line – if you can find an affiliate scheme that pays all 3 types of income (initial, recurring and high ticket) – then you’re on your way to a six-figure passive income.
Real Life Affiliate Marketing Examples
Vikki Renz is the owner of YouTube channel – ‘Oh my Mama Body’, where she gives advise on women going through pregnancy.
As part of her channel description, she has an affiliate link to Lavender Oils that she uses and recommends (see below).
She also offers a 24% discount when a new user clicks on the link and sets up their account. If that person buys the oils, then Vikki stands to make a commission.
Landria Onkka is a spiritual teacher and manifestation guru. On her website – https://landriaonkka.com/, she has a page on Healthy Choices. There she has different products that she has used and recommends.
The links take you to her Amazon shop where she utilizes Amazon affiliate links to sell other company’s products:
Amazon will then pay her a commission (5-10%) for every sale made.
You know those review articles that compare products? Well, those are affiliate websites. They compare and rate products – and then give you an option to buy them via affiliate links:
Check out the listings for websites when I type in ‘best noise cancelling headphones’:
When I click on this link, it takes me to the TechRadar article – which has affiliate links for different headphones that they are comparing.
See below example for the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones:
YouTuber David De Las Morenas has a channel called ‘How To Beast’. Here he posts videos on how to become your best self.
As a result of accumulating 1.3m subscribers, he is able to promote other products and services he uses. He does this by sharing the product’s affiliate link:
See below a sleeping mattress product URL link that David shares in his YouTube video description. You can see this product (Helix mattress) is relevant to the video content ‘My Morning Routine 2023’.
By adding the ‘/beast’, at the end of the URL, the company Helix Mattresses can then identify where sales have come from. If David’s audience clicking on that link and purchase a mattress, David receives commission from the sale.
My Journey As An Affiliate Marketer
When I started my affiliate marketing online business journey four years ago, I had doubts around what I could achieve. I had a desirable goal in mind, but wasn’t sure how realistic it was. I had these questions in my mind –
– Is it a scam?
– Can I really do it?
– What if give up and fail?
– What will my family think?
It took me a few months to go through the affiliate training and then I was ready to start marketing my affiliate products in July 2019. And I was so excited!
But the sales and income didn’t come quickly for me.
It took me a few months to really get my funnel nailed down, to get my marketing message pinpointed – AND more importantly to get my mindset corrected.
So it was in Sep’19 when I made my first few sales.
Below is a graph of my sales at that time.
While it might not be massive earnings, at the time it was very significant for me. It showed me that if I can make $100 online, I can $1000. And I can make $1000, I can make $10,000.
That’s the advantage of a leveraged business model.
With people I knew earning >$30k/month, I know that if I keep persisting, if I keep learning and tweaking my business, and more importantly – if i stay committed to the journey – the sky is the limit!
I hope my growth can inspire you as well.
Note – I’m not special in any way.
Trust me on this. I’m not a whizz when it comes to technical stuff. I’m not a natural born entrepreneur. And I’m not a natural sales-man.
But i was committed to changing my circumstances. I didn’t want to rely on a wage anymore.
So click here to get started with the same affiliate marketing business training that I took. It allowed me to learn digital marketing and earn at the same time by creating an affiliate marketing business.
The important thing is – how bad do you want to change your circumstances? How badly do you wish to create another income around your job.
Or how much do you want to quit your job and live a freedom lifestyle?
Take the first step today.