What’s Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?

Ever wondered what the heck is affiliate marketing?

And how you can make money with it? 

If so, you’re in luck. In this review you’ll learn the basics of affiliate marketing and how it works.

But, first… let’s find out what it is and how it works.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

It’s been around since 1989. Patented by a guy named William J. Tobin.

Affiliate marketing is one of many internet marketing channels.

Not that makes any difference. But, hey it’s good information to know.

Here’s a simple definition of Affiliate Marketing.

What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work

It’s when you become an affiliate. That’s what the company would call you. In some cases, you’re also referred to as a publisher.

As an affiliate, you can get paid for promoting other people’s products.

The products you promote come from retailers, companies, or merchants.

Makes sense!

Worry none!

I’ll provide you with examples. So, that you can leave here understanding how to get started yourself.

Who And What Is An Affiliate?

The affiliate is you. Remember, sometimes, you’re referred to as a publisher too. Whenever you join affiliate programs, those are your title as an affiliate marketer.

For better terms, an affiliate can be an individual, a business owner, or a company.

Who Is The Affiliate In Affiliate Marketing

In most cases, an affiliate becomes a blogger, YouTuber, or a content creator on social media.

  • The best part is you don’t need any prior skills. At all.
  • You don’t need the perfect background.

In fact, it’s easier to become an affiliate, than it is to pass a job interview. There’s no qualifications needed.

Who Are The Companies That You Work With?

The companies that you’ll work with are all different.

  • They can be merchants, retailers, big brands, or small private business owners.
  • The companies can be of any size. Small, Big. Private or Well-known. It doesn’t matter.

Some companies that offer affiliate marketing programs are:

  • Walmart
  • Nike
  • PetCo
  • GameStop
  • BestBuy
  • And the list goes on.

The point is there are thousands of well known companies. That allows you as an affiliate to promote their products for profit.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Although, it’s easy to become an affiliate. Learning affiliate marketing isn’t as easy as it sound
In most cases, beginners usually need to take courses. I’ll explain why shortly.
For example sake, this is how affiliate marketing works.
Let’s use Amazon for an example. I’m sure most are familiar with them.
If you were to become an affiliate of Amazon. They would pay you a percentage for any Amazon sale that you make.
The percentage that Amazon pays you. Is set and agreed upon when you first join the Amazon affiliate program.

As you can see in the image below, Amazon has their rates all ready set for anyone who joins. Plus, you’ll notice that Gift Cards are excluded from the commission structure.

An Example Of What Amazon Would Pay You As An Affiliate Marketer

To become an affiliate of Amazon. It’s free. Go to Google. Type in Amazon affiliate program, and in the search results you would see their website.

By the way, their affiliate program is actually called Amazon Associates Program.
Once the approval process is complete. You would choose a product from the Amazon website. Share that product on a blog, YouTube, or social media.
The way you share the product is with an URL which they call an unique affiliate link.

An example of an affiliate link:


As you can see it makes no sense. It just appears to be a huge URL.

A customer sees a product that has an affiliate link attached to it. They click on the product because, it’ll resolve their issue.

Since the customer clicked your link. They are now considered cookied to you for 24 hours.
Which means if the customer purchases anything on Amazon within 24 hours. You’d get the commission. The 24 hour period is the duration that Amazon sets.

Every affiliate program works differently.

By the way, if you’re struggling to come up with a niche for your site. This Amazon Course walks you the every step. It’ll teach you how to build Amazon sites and make money from it.

Who Handles The Payment For Affiliates?

Using Amazon as the example.
Rest assured you’re not responsible for handling the customers payment.
So, you never see the customers financial information. And, in most cases you’d never know who purchased.
This is the beauty of affiliate marketing. You’re not responsible for any payments, customer service, or shipping.
The company handles it all for you. So, in this case. Amazon would handle the customer’s payment, shipping, and customer service.
It’s like your the middle-man or woman.
Finding a solution for a problem. Connecting a product to the customer. From there the company takes over.

How Do You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

If you’re still a bit confused, it’s simpler than it sounds but, can still be a learning curve for most.

Step 1: You’ll Sign Up To Affiliate Programs

I’ve written a more detailed review about what an affiliate program is and how they work.

Feel free to read it.

In short, an affiliate program is what you as an affiliate will join. To promote companies products

Taking Amazon as our example.

Amazon is not only a place to buy items for online shoppers.

It’s also a place where affiliate’s can make money by promoting those items.

Step 2: Choose A Product That You Want To Promote

After affiliate program approval. You’ll pick a product that you want to share with people or an audience.

If you start a blog. The products that you choose. Should be congruent with the topic that you’re talking about on your blog. or YouTube channel.
In either case, they both have different ways that you’ll drive traffic to your product.

Step 3: Share The Product With An Audience

At this point. You’ve found an affiliate program. You’ve chosen a product. Now, you’ll grab your referral link. Also known as an affiliate link. And share it.

You can use social media, email marketing, YouTube, PPC, forums, or a blog.

Regardless, of what platform you choose. I recommend a blog having a blog.

The reason being is because a blog is a platform that you’ll always own.

Many marketers will also tell you that owning an email list is best. It’s true to an extent. An email list can be shut down as well.

Meaning you can lose all of your subscribers. Especially, if you’re not marketing to your subscribers accordingly. Each email provider is different, and has different rules.

Anyhow, to collect emails it’s easier done when you have a blog or a YouTube channel.

Step 4: Customer Sees Your Link And Clicks On It

During this step the customer sees the product that fits their problem. Hopefully, they click on the link that you’re promoting.

After they click the link. The customer is redirected to the official Amazon website.

Once they buy the product. The company will pay you a commission.

How Do You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Is Affiliate Marketing A Scam?

When I first heard of affiliate marketing. I thought it was a scam. It was new to me. And, I’ve never heard of it.

Either way, I took an affiliate marketing course because it was free to join. And soon discovered that affiliate marketing is legit.

Will Affiliate Marketing Die?

Affiliate marketing still is profitable today, tomorrow, and will continue to grow.

According to Statista. The revenue in the affiliate marketing industry is due to reach 8.2 billion dollars by 2022.

This is an increase of 5.4 billion from 2017.

In other words, affiliate marketing is not dead and doesn’t appear like it’s going anywhere.

Another point, I would like to make. Since we’ve used Amazon throughout this entire review. I’ll continue using it as an example.

Amazon is a trillion dollar company. They’re also one of the most popular and successful affiliate programs. They have millions of products for you to promote.

Even if Amazon were to go away, which is unlikely. There are thousands of other affiliate programs and networks, that you can work with.

The bottom line is affiliate marketing is not dying.

How Easy Is Affiliate Marketing?

As you know anything new to you is never easy. It’s the same with affiliate marketing. It’s not that easy in the beginning.

Most people fail. In fact, many people never make a dime.

There’s many reasons for this.

One reason that I believe is most people aren’t getting the proper training. And the training that they are getting is not leading them in the right direction.

Can You Learn Affiliate Marketing For Free?

Yes, you can learn affiliate marketing without paying for training.

Start by watching YouTube videos or join marketers email list and learn from there.

In most cases, it’s easier to understand how the process works when you do have a paid course.

It helps speed up the learning process. And it keeps you up to date with the many changes that happens within the affiliate marketing industry.

Affiliate marketing is an ever evolving environment. So rules changes, methods change, and products change. A paid course is better in most cases.

So, in short! No you don’t have to pay for training. It’s just better for your success to invest in yourself.

Why Affiliate Marketing?

Of course, there are many ways for you to start earning money online.

But, with affiliate marketing it can help you earn money in many ways.

  • First, it’s low risk.
  • Anyone can start affiliate marketing.
  • You’ll make more money than filling out online surveys.
  • It has helped many people replace their jobs.
  • And, you’re not tied down to one company.
  • There’s many ways to earn as an affiliate marketer.

Here’s Why Affiliate Marketing Is My Favorite

  • I don’t have to create my own products or hold inventory.
  • You don’t have to purchase inventory to promote the product.
  • It’s the way that I learned to make my first dollar online.
  • I’ve learned a lot. Not only about affiliate marketing itself but, about how companies operate.
  • I don’t handle people’s money.
  • You must do a lot of research. So, in the end it makes you a smarter person.
  • There’s no shipping involved.
  • It’s a cost-effective way to start earning money from home.
  • There’s no recruiting, affiliate marketing doesn’t work that way.
  • And you work on your own time, from anywhere.
  • Plus, I can be home with my family.

Is Affiliate Marketing A Pyramid Scheme?

No, no where near it. You don’t recruit others for affiliate marketing.

Instead you’re recommending products for a solution to your audience.

There’s no team building as an affiliate marketer. You’re a one man or woman show.

You’ll get paid off of your performance only.

Are There Cons To Affiliate Marketing?

I believe with any money making opportunity, there’s always a con.

Thankfully, with affiliate marketing, the pros outweigh the cons.

The Cons That Come To Mind Are:

  • It’s a huge learning curve. So, it does take time, work, and lots of learning.
  • You can’t predict your income.
  • You’ll never own the product.
  • There’s many affiliate marketing courses, that leads people down loop holes.
  • Driving traffic to your offer is an uphill battle.
  • There’s not be a team helping you build your bottom line.
  • You won’t get approved for all affiliate programs.

How Can You Get Started With Affiliate Marketing?

Step 1: Start A Blog

If you like the idea of affiliate marketing. The best way to get started is by starting a blog. Most affiliate programs will require a blog or website.

A blog is basically a website that you’ll update regularly and write valuable content on it.

The content will be about the product that you’re promoting. And if the material is written correctly, plus keywords are chosen properly. You’ll drive organic traffic to your site.

Step 2: Join Affiliate Programs

Find the product that you want to promote. Grab your link and start sharing your offer to a targeted audience.

If you do not start a blog, there are affiliate marketing programs that may accept you without a site but, again most programs want to view your website.

Step 3: Drive Traffic To Your Blog

You’ll need to learn SEO to drive traffic to your blog. For that I recommend this community.

They teach you how to drive traffic with SEO. The best part is they also allow you to start a blog, and they provide affiliate marketing training.

You can also start a YouTube channel. It’s free to start making videos. Do a review on the product that you’re trying to promote and drop a link within the description.

You can promote on social media as well. I recommend pinterest. They are easier to promote on. And you can make sales right from pinterest.

Write articles, or respond to questions on Quora. Provide value to your audience. Then share your referral link.

The same for Linkedin. Write articles, pertaining to your niche. And insert your affiliate link within the article.

My sincere advice to you as a person who was also a complete newbie to this affiliate marketing game is to find a legitimate business opportunity and stick with it.

Don’t stop! Don’t give up! Nor should you look back.

If you want to ask further questions or discuss this topic about affiliate marketing. Please leave your comments below.

Either way, I wish you all the best. And most of all, success with your online adventures.

6 thoughts on “What’s Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?”

  1. The “bad and ugly cons” – love it! Yeah, I agree with you that affiliate marketing is still a valid way to make money online, but it’s not really something you can jump into without any other tools, because it takes work. thanks for sharing your thoughts on the topic!

    • You are absolutely right! It does take tools, knowledge, and a lot of work to be successful in affiliate marketing. Thanks for stopping by! ?

  2. Great article, La’Kisha! I was in the same boat a couple of years ago when I was trying to find a way to earn an income by working from home. I had no clue what affiliate marketing was. Once I learned through the great teaching of Wealthy Affiliate, my eyes were opened to the endless possibilities on how to earn money online. You do a great job at breaking this down for your readers.

    • Thank you, Chad! I try to explain everything as simple as I possibly can. I am so glad you were able to understand what I was trying to convey. And yes, Wealthy Affiliate will definitely reveal all the possibilities of making money online could be, which I myself never knew existed. Thanks for stopping by! ?

    • Hi Kerry!

      I’m glad that you enjoyed learning how affiliate marketing works. It truly is an amazing way to earn money online.

      To answer your questions there are different ways to start a blog.

      First of all you want to make sure you are starting your blog using WordPress.org because, with WordPress.org you will have the ability to host your own site.

      This is very important, you’ll always want control of your blog. I personally started my blog with a company called Wealthy Affiliate. They offer a free signup for about 7 days no credit card needed. After the 7 day free trial if you decide to continue with them you’ll have to pay a membership fee but within that membership fee they provide their members with hosting, training, technical support, keyword tool, and community support all under one roof. As a blogger not only will hosting be required. You’ll need additional tools.

      At the time that I started this blog Wealthy Affiliate was the best fit for me because their beginner friendly and no technical knowledge is needed.

      Either way, their hosting has been great to me because my blog has NEVER been offline, which is important. Hosting is what keeps your site on the web.

      By the way, Wealthy Affiliate is not the only place that offers hosting.

      You can use places like Bluehost, or Siteground…which seems to be pretty popular with other bloggers. The difference between Wealthy Affiliate, blue host, and Siteground.

      Blue host and Siteground are stand alone hosting companies. Meaning they only provide services for hosting of your website. So, if you need support during your blog journey you’ll have to research the skills that are needed to be successful. By the way there are many resources online for free but of course, paid courses are also very more in depth and helpful.

      Either way, I have personally used Siteground in the past and they are a great company. The only downside is you will have to learn a few technical things.

      If you’re still on the edge and not sure if blogging is for you check out this free 5 day email course created with new bloggers in mind. The course is hosted by Lucrezia is an international lawyer. I hope this has helped, and if not I will be glad to assist you with any further questions. Just leave them within the comment section.

      Have an amazing day ahead!


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