Affiliate Marketing – A Complete Guide

Passive income is the rage these days. Who does not like the idea of making money while they are asleep? Passive income allows you to set-up an income stream once and keeps earning money from it without having to put a lot of work in it. Affiliate Marketing is the best option for people who want to start a stream of passive income.

Affiliate Marketing can be done by anyone ready to learn about it and have a computer and internet connection. It is a low-risk and low-investment passive income stream. Here is a complete guide for you to get started with Affiliate Marketing.

What is Affiliate marketing?

According to Investopedia,

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. The third-party publishers are affiliates, and the commission fee incentivizes them to find ways to promote the company.’

It is one of the oldest marketing techniques where the company asks a trusted figure in an area to advocate for a product and gives him a cut on the profits. The Internet has revolutionized this type of marketing. Today, people trust influencers and bloggers who they follow and their content in a given niche. Companies use this trust to market their products.

How does Affiliate Marketing work?

As an affiliate, you will:

  • Join an Affiliate program (there are so many, we will discuss that later)
  • Choose a product(s) that you like to promote and get an affiliate link for it.
  • You convince people to buy the product by clicking through your link. You can use blogs, ads, etc, for this purpose.
  • You get paid when someone clicks the link and purchases the product. (There are different methods of earning affiliate commission which we will discuss later.)

As you can see in the above steps, there are three players involved in the process.

  1. The Seller (the one creates or wants to sell products)
  2. The Affiliate (the one who advertises the product to earn a commission selling it)
  3. The Consumer (the end buyer)

The complex relationship between these three parties is what makes Affiliate Marketing work.

Affiliate Marketing is one of the most successful marketing techniques.

People are usually skeptical about company and brand ads because they feel their only motto is to make them spend money and buy their products (which is true). So, most of the time people do not relate to these ads and are hesitant to make a purchase based on them.

The same people are more comfortable purchasing a product if a friend or somebody they know recommends it. This is because of the trust and the belief that the person recommending is giving an honest review.

Here is where affiliate marketers come in. Affiliates are individuals or company who are focused on particular niches and their audience believe that they have great knowledge in their niche. So, people trust their suggestions and buy the product without hesitation.

It is a win-win-win situation. The Seller can sell more products and make more money through an Affiliate. An Affiliate can make a decent income by recommending products and not having to take up any responsibility for manufacturing, delivery, or customer service. The Customer is happy because they have received value for the money in the product or service they purchased.

Who can do Affiliate Marketing?


That is right, anyone can do Affiliate marketing. You do not need any degree or special expertise. If you know your way around a computer or a laptop and have an internet connection, you can learn the rest online.

That being said you need to be a little patient to start seeing real money in Affiliate Marketing. Remember the ‘trust’ between the affiliate and the customer. The more you grow that, the chances of customers purchasing you are higher. And building trust takes some time (at least 2-3 months).

Why should you do Affiliate Marketing?

There are so many advantages to doing affiliate marketing. Let me just point out a few for you:

  • Affiliate Marketing is a flexible job. Since you will be your boss, you can decide your goals and schedule your work as per your comfort.
  • Affiliate Marketing can be done independently of your location. Want to work from the comfort of your home? Or want to travel the world while making money? You can decide for yourself.
  • It has the potential to make a lot of money. Yes, it is true. Some people make a full-time income from Affiliate marketing and some people have become millionaires through this.
  • It could be a great source of passive income. It is not a set-up-and-forget-it kind of a passive income stream. However, once you have done the groundwork, it takes you barely 1-3 hours a day to keep it running. You don’t have it be at it every day either. As long as customers visit your website/ads and make purchases through it, you are going to be making money.
  • As an affiliate marketer your responsibilities are minimum. Think about it, you don’t have to put in the investment to create and manufacture products; you don’t have to go through the hassle of delivering them and you don’t have to deal with customer support. You just point your audience towards a product and you get a commission for doing that. That said, you have to make sure you are recommending the right products if you want the trust of your audience.
  • Affiliate marketing is cost-effective. Unlike other business that requires capital and cash flow, Affiliate marketing does not need much to get started with.
  • The money you make depends on your performance. Sadly, this means there is no guaranteed basic pay (but that is the case with every business). However, it also means that there is no upper limit on how much you can earn.
  • Affiliate Marketing gives you a chance to make money writing or talking about your passion or expertise. The regular 9-5 desk jobs could be mind-numbing for us. But who doesn’t love talking about things that get them excited?

Different Approaches to Affiliate Marketing

When you are searching about affiliate marketing, the traditional advice given to become an affiliate marketer is to start a website on a niche to sell products. While it is a correct way to go about affiliate marketing, it is not the only way.

Blogging: It is the most traditional path for an Affiliate Marketer. You create a niche website and you post content valuable to the readers. Once you have an audience that trusts you and your knowledge on the topic, they would be willing to buy the products that you recommend. This is a tried and tested method for Affiliate Marketing.

Becoming an Influencer: With social media spreading like wild-fire across the world, ‘influencer’ has become a cool new job description. Influencers are people who have their huge following on social media platforms. You can become an influencer too if you can get creative and make catchy visual content for audiences on social media platforms. Having an audience following you makes it easy to promote products. You can join affiliate programs and put up affiliate links directly in your social media posts.

Becoming a reviewer: You can do this by creating a website or by simply dropping reliable reviews on other platforms like Quora or Reddit. Drop a genuine review of the product you are suggesting and add the affiliate link in the end. The more reputation you gain for your reviews, the more you can earn passively.

Creating Microsites and advertising: If you are not interested in writing long posts or becoming an influencer but still want to make money through affiliate marketing, this option is for you. Here you create a microsite that focuses on the product(s) and drives traffic to it through advertising it. You could choose to choose any platform for advertising like Google, Facebook, etc.

Ways in which Affiliate Marketers can get paid

The affiliates do not necessarily have to ensure a customer buys a product to get a kickback or commonly known as commission from the seller. There are other metrics also depending on which you can make money as an affiliate:

  1. Pay Per Sale: This is the most well-known method. Affiliates get paid per sale a percentage of the sale price. So, you have to make your audience buy a certain product to earn money.
  2. Pay Per Click: Here the affiliate gets paid for increasing traffic for the merchant’s website. So, all you have to do is convince your audience to click on a link and visit the merchant site and you get paid every time someone clicks the affiliate link.
  3. Pay Per Lead: This option is between Pay Per Click and Pay Per Sale. You don’t have to convince your audience to buy something. Rather you have to persuade them to visit the merchant website and carry out an action like signing up for something and filling out a form. You get paid for every such action carried out.

Tips and Tricks to Become a Successful Affiliate Marketer:

  • Connection and Trust with your audience can take you a long way. When it comes to becoming a successful affiliate marketer, your audience should be able to relate to you and trust your knowledge in a particular topic. They don’t want meaningless ads. They already see enough of it from brands. Provide them value before you expect to reap your returns. This will help you sustain your business for a long time.
  • Put yourself out there and get personal. People can relate to content more if they can attribute a face to it. Allow people to see who you are and give them a peek of your personal life as well. It will help you connect with your audience better and grow their trust.
  • Recommend only those products which you would buy yourself or recommend to your closed ones. Do not promote random products just to increase your income. Once you lose your credibility, you will stop making money. It is all about that trust.
  • Review products and services in your niche. Even before you start throwing in affiliate links, review products, and services in your niche to establish yourself as an expert. Make your review detailed and interesting. While you are promoting a product, you could do a comparison and tell your audience why it is better than other products.
  • Don’t stick to just one approach of Affiliate Marketing. There are so many strategies you can try in affiliate marketing. Branch out. If you have a blog where you do affiliate marketing, try creating a social media presence for it and vice versa.
  • Be aware of the current trends and leverage them. Social media and the internet are all about fads. Today everyone is talking about something and tomorrow they have forgotten about it. While there are some evergreen subjects, if you are not up to date, you could miss out on a lot.
  • Do your research before promoting products. ‘Customer is king’. It will do well for you to remember this. Do market research on what customers are looking for and then promote products that are in line with customer needs. It is much easier to sell those products than convince customers to buy a product that they were not at all looking for.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing for beginners?

Now that you have read and understood all the theory behind Affiliate Marketing, let us get into the practical steps behind setting up an Affiliate Marketing Business as a beginner.

Step 1: Pick your topic/niche.

Step 2: Create a blog or website around that niche.

Step 3: Research on topics you can write and products/services that you can review in your niche. Start creating content valuable for your audience.

Step 4: Sign up for affiliate programs. You can go for general e-commerce websites like amazon or look for niche-specific businesses that you can work as an affiliate with.

Step 5: Promote the products you are an affiliate for using different types of content like blog posts, social media posts, video tutorials, webinars, etc.

Step 6: Increase the reach of your website by optimizing it for search engines and promoting it on social media.

These are the basic steps to get started as an affiliate marketer. Many businesses provide the services of creating websites and running it. You can also learn how to carry out each of the steps through YouTube videos, blog articles, or online courses.

Or there is a one-stop solution for you to go from to noob to an expert affiliate marketer.

All-in-one Affiliate Marketing platforms to get you started.

There are platforms that teach you about affiliate marketing and gives you all the tools you need to become a successful affiliate marketer all in one place. The top platforms in this field are:

All you have to do is to go and sign up as a member in these platforms. They will guide you through the entire process of affiliate marketing through their coaching materials and give you all the tools and support you need.

You can read reviews of Wealthy Affiliate, Affilorama, and Solo Build It here.

If you have managed to reach the end, pat yourself in the back. Now, you know the complete basics of Affiliate Marketing and are ready to take the next step towards becoming one.

Feel free to share the article with your friends who might benefit from it. Thank you in advance!

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