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The Comprehensive Guide to Affiliate Marketing - Beginner to Advanced in less than 30 minutes

Updated: Apr 3, 2022


The online world and technology have affected our everyday lives.

Do you ever imagine our lives without online communication?

Technologies opened up so many exciting opportunities.

With Online shopping, businesses are no longer confined by location or restricted by infrastructure. Businesses are exposed to more customers and opportunities to create partnerships.

Headquarters in a big city, a massive sales team, and a huge number of employees are no longer needed. All you need is a computer and an internet connection, and you are ready to take your business to the world.

We have seen more and more one-man businesses grow and expand their reach globally. Entrepreneurship has become a popular business model that helped so many wonderful business ideas come to life.

What does this mean for you?

There are so many different ways and strategies to set up and grow a business, depending on the timing of your idea, niche, resources, skills, etc. Most of these opportunities are a part of the online world, and new opportunities keep popping up.

One of those is affiliate marketing.

Setting expectations.

Before we dive into defining Affiliate marketing, I just want to set the expectations.

The goal today will be to show you the real potential of affiliate marketing and how developing a strategy of your own can help you profit from this huge opportunity of starting and growing your affiliate marketing business.

For starters, you need to know the difference between a Merchant and an Affiliate as these require two different strategies, knowledge about affiliate programs and the essential affiliate marketing tools will be essential parts of your strategy as well.

Your goal will be to learn as much as possible about affiliate marketing opportunities, different affiliate programs and tools with a plan which will be oriented towards one idea – starting and growing your business as an affiliate marketer.

Why Affiliate Marketing?

As Pat Flynn puts it; Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting another company's product (or service).

Approximately 15% of the digital media industry's revenue now comes from affiliate marketing. (Business Insider)

Affiliate marketing will affect 14% of all e-commerce purchases in the United States. (DigitalCommerce360)

Affiliate Marketing Facts:

  • Affiliate marketing is an amazing opportunity for your income as an affiliate.

  • Content is the best way to promote affiliate links.

  • Affiliate marketing will continue to have an important role in e-commerce.

The entire concept of affiliate marketing is focused on sharing revenue by partnering up with others.

Perhaps the best-known affiliate program today, Amazon’s affiliate program, was launched in 1996 two years after the first affiliate program was launched.

Even though there have been several business models in affiliate marketing, with the integration of social media, affiliate marketing became more available to the ordinary people, bloggers, influencers, as a perfect way to monetize their online efforts.

Measuring Performance and getting paid as an Affiliate

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing.

This means that the efficiency of the goal that needs to be achieved is evaluated and rewarded based on the performance, at specific intervals.

The main reason for an affiliate promoting any product or service in the first place is to increase sales for the merchant and of course income for themselves.

Once they enter the program, they are able to promote the merchant’s products using any possible means (Social media marketing, S.E.O., paid ads) at their exposure, in order to increase sales.

Performance is tracked using trackable links and they are paid based on the conversions (number of sales) they achieve.

The most important person in the Affiliate Marketing business (Digital buyer)

Apart from merchants and affiliates, who take an active role in affiliate marketing, the most important participants to mention are the digital buyers.

These are the modern consumers who are experiencing the buying process in a completely different way especially with online and offline behaviors changing rapidly.

Digital buyers explore products before they buy and they want to see the benefits of the product. In the process, they look for recommendations from friends and people they respect (bloggers, influencers, etc.).

Understanding your role in the merchant, affiliate and digital buyer relationship respectively are some of the basics you need to understand to be able to explore how you can leverage the potential of affiliate marketing.

4-part Affiliate Marketing Process…

  1. Affiliates join a program and start advertising the product using online resources.

  2. Their activity is being tracked through links. Once the digital buyer or online user clicks on an affiliate link, that activity is stored in the user’s browser cookies.

  3. When the user buys a product, and this has been detected as a visit originating from an affiliate link, that affiliate is paid a commission.

  4. The time interval during which the cookies stay in the browser can be different from one website (merchant) to another, but it is usually a period of 30 or 45 days sometimes less.

Let us imagine, the user clicks on the affiliate link, checks out the product, but decides not to buy.

However, if the same user goes back and buys the product after a few days.

This sale can still be attributed to the affiliate provided the user doesn’t delete their cookies from the browser.

3 most common types of affiliate websites to share your Affiliate Marketing links

  1. Price/Feature comparison websites

  2. Product review websites

  3. Personal websites

By the way, if you want to learn how to create your affiliate marketing Website or Blog without getting delayed by the technicalities of coding, even if it’s your first time building a website, Watch this video start by signing up for Wix Free here.

What are the Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?

There are a lot of Affiliate Marketing benefits to both Merchants and Affiliates, below are some of the benefits to Affiliates.

No prior investment needed

Affiliate marketing helps you promote and sell products with little to no investment in terms of money from your part. Since you do not own the products, so there are no costs of making or buying products. The only investment needed is time and commitment.

Minimal or no operating costs

To start, you will need to create a website (or blog) and to set up social media channels, and these in most cases won’t cost you more than $150 and in fact, you can decide to take on some of the tasks yourself.

What are the costs of starting an Affiliate Marketing Business?

The costs involved would be for website maintenance, content creation, and content promotion.

Luckily for you, you no longer have to spend a lot when it comes to designing and launching your website nowadays, with a lot of free content creation platforms and Website builders out there that do not need upfront costs and have inbuilt content promotion tools and integrations.

For example, if you sign up for Wix, you have the power to build your complete blocks for your website for Free and launch it when everything is in place.

No need to stock products

Since you do not own the products you promote, you will not need a warehouse to stock the products.

The best part is, if they are physical products, you will not be involved in the shipping process either. The only goal you have is to promote the product.

Handling the products and shipping is done by a merchant, and it does not require your involvement.

Possibility to earn a passive income

Affiliate links bring you profit at any moment of the day.

Any time the visitors click on the link the activity is tracked and there is a possibility to earn a commission if the conversion is made. This is what we call passive income.

When it comes to learning affiliate marketing, there is a lot of great resources out there like Neil Patel’s detailed post coming up every time I do search on affiliate marketing and Patt Flynn with one of the best definitions of affiliate marketing ours there.

It all comes down to collecting as much information as possible on any topic or idea before investing your time or money into it.

Top 3 Affiliate Marketing Networks

If you are a merchant looking to run a campaign to promote your products or services online leveraging Affiliate marketing, there is not enough information out there for your reference, but if you are an affiliate looking to make some passive income promoting other company products and services, there is a ton of information about how you can do that all over the internet.

For instance, when looking for the products and services to promote as an affiliate, you will be overwhelmed by the number of affiliate networks out there.

The first one we are going to talk about is ClickBank.

This is an industry popular affiliate network that has been around for a while now.

ClickBank especially focuses on Digital products/ downloads.

This means that most of the products you will be promoting on ClickBank will be rewarded based on either Per Sale, per install or per download depending on the program of the merchant.

ClickBank has made it very easy to get started in and make a lot of commissions using ClickBank as an affiliate marketing platform, they have a gallery of programs that help you learn what exactly affiliate marketing is and how you can do just that, "Make Money Online" and they do it through their ClickBank University which you can access here.

So, for those who would like to run cost per campaign ads to promote Physical products I recommend you check out some of the other affiliate marketing networks like CJ.

The second one we are going to talk about is CJ (Commission Junction) by Conversant.

Now with CJ Affiliate formerly known as Commission Junction, one of the biggest advantages of CJ is that it’s free to register and has been around for over a decade.

It also hosts the largest number of affiliates among the networks.

There is a huge number of merchants looking for affiliates to help increase sales for their products and services.

Something worth noting about CJ and this could be an opportunity for you to take advantage of is, some of the affiliates on the network are not professional marketers so you leverage your skills to dominate the sales.

Rakuten does not have a large number of merchants to give you a wide range of products to choose from but if you are looking for high-quality products and reputable experience, Rukten has a robust screening process for registering merchants to make sure products are high quality.

Now, this might not work to your advantage if you are just starting and you don’t have a lot of influence and a blog in place and in some cases enough traffic going to your website.

So if you are looking for high-security products and high-quality partnerships Rukten is your friend.

When you are starting your affiliate marketing business with no money, there are various platforms that you can leverage to get started by promoting other company products and growing your sales.

There are a few other networks that are popular, but as I mentioned in my Free Affiliate marketing course when you are starting you will need to concentrate on either one or two of the affiliate networks and if you find there are some features that are missing from one then you can register with another one of your choices.

Hope this gets you started in your affiliate marketing journey.

5 Tips for Selecting a High-Quality product to promote as on Any Affiliate Marketing Platform

So you have made up your mind and decided that you want to promote a certain product or service? But how do you get the product links to promote? You will need to register for one of the affiliate marketing platforms to get started.

Well, there is no straightforward answer to what platform you should use because this is still a huge task before you launch your campaign.

Choosing an Affiliate Marketing platform or network is not an easy task, there are quite a number of networks out there and they all operate in different ways, but that should not be a problem for you because today we will look at the tips to help you select the right network.

  1. Check the Payment structure (CPC/CPA)


Cost per click means you get paid if someone clicks on your affiliate link while Cost per Action means you get paid if someone clicks on your affiliate link and takes a specific action. An action might be a software/mobile app install, sign up, purchase etc.

2. Robust Tracking features

You want to make sure the network or platform you are using has a great tracking mechanism in place.

Remember when promoting your affiliate links, tracking is your friend and without it, your efforts are not rewarded.

Some of the things to consider under tracking is the time interval for the cookies which is the time cookies triggered by your affiliate links are tracked before the next purchase attempt, this is explained clearly in the Definition of affiliate marketing and what you need to get started post.

3. High-Quality Products/Services

One thing you don’t want to do is promote a link that will send your potential buyers to a Sammy website.

You want to care about your audience and make sure to promote a trusted product, this is where choosing the right platform comes in and we are going to look at the top platforms that have a mechanism in place to help you choose the best product.

4. Flexible Commission

Some affiliate networks and programs have a maximum and minimum amount that is paid out to the affiliates ranging up to 50%.

For example one of the most popular networks Click bank has one of the most flexible payment structures increasing the amount of commission per sale with their robust funnels in place. Doing a little bit of research is highly recommended.

By the way, if you want to learn more about Click bank and how to use it for your affiliate marketing business, make sure to watch this video or check out their full program here.

5. Reputation

When registering for an affiliate network, you will need to choose a platform you trust because you will be required to share a lot of information about yourself and about your business too in their systems.

So, when an affiliate network pops up tomorrow, you don’t want to get into it so early until you make sure it’s built a reputation and enough people trust it.


Hopefully, this helps guide you through the process of setting up your affiliate marketing business.

We looked at how choosing the right product can help you get a stable foundation in your affiliate marketing business plus picking the right product and wish you success in making your first affiliate sale.


"My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had -- everyday I’m learning something new."
- Richard Branson

In conclusion, the online environment is a world that continually changes and anyone who wants to stay in the game needs to follow the changes.

Lifelong learning is a very essential skill that will help you explore the possibilities of improving your affiliate marketing business.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, it all begins with choosing the perfect niche and programs.

I talk about How to choose your niche in more detail in my Free Affiliate Marketing Course.

Choosing your niche is the first step and by far one of the cores of choosing a high-quality product and promoting the right product to the right people who have the interest and therefore the highest possibilities of making conversions.

After choosing the right niche, you need to build an influence (reputation) by coming up with great, relevant content to help you in implementing your affiliate links in your content, not forgetting optimization of web pages for mobile devices to optimization of email messages and leveraging the promotion on social media.

Merchants and affiliates should explore and focus on mobile optimization and how well their content is adapted for mobile users.

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