Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: What is Affiliate Marketing? A Guide to Becoming an Earning Affiliate


38% of marketers agree that affiliate marketing is among the top methods of customer acquisition. But what exactly is affiliate marketing? How can your business reap the benefits of affiliate marketing? Let’s explore in detail the reason behind the craze of this form of marketing and further understand how to start an affiliate marketing engine for your business.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a means of bridging the gap between companies and customers. It is the process of promoting other person’s or companies’ products in exchange for a commission on every sale made through the affiliate link.

An affiliate indirectly acts as a salesperson. However, they need not be exclusive, meaning they can recommend different products of different companies and act as their affiliates too.

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing.

How does affiliate marketing work?

As we have already briefly covered in our introduction, affiliates promote the products through an affiliate network by providing the potential prospects or customers what they want or desire. In return, the original business rewards the affiliate on leads generated and sales made through the affiliate link.

Typically, there are three main parties involved in the affiliate marketing business model.

1. Seller and product creators

They are the real merchants who want to sell their products through affiliates or promoters. Also, known as retailers, vendors, brands, and so on. It could be a single person or company as a whole.

2. The affiliate or publisher

They are the ones who promote and advertise one or more products through various mediums like blogs, websites etc. Again, anyone could become an affiliate. Be it a single party or whole company, all can earn a few bucks to millions from an affiliate marketing program.

3. The consumer

They form the basis of the entire affiliate program. The goal is to acquire customers by selling the products they need. The more, the better!

How do affiliate marketers get paid?

Tracking behind the scenes: When an affiliate signs up, the merchant assigns a unique affiliate link. When prospect clicks on the link, a cookie (or small file) gets stored on the user’s device which tracks the sale back to the merchant as and when purchase is made.

The money making models itself can vary based on how different business reward the affiliate’s efforts.

Broadly speaking, there are three ways in which affiliate marketers get paid:

  1. PPC: In PPC (Pay Per Click), companies pay the marketers on the basis of number of visitors that are redirected to their website through the affiliate link. It represents the traffic the affiliate’s blog or website drives to the seller or creator’s site.

  2. PPL: In PPL (Pay Per Lead), companies pay the affiliates on the basis of the number of leads generated. It often means those leads that provide their contact information on the merchant’s website.

  3. PPS: In PPS (Pay Per Sale), the affiliates are paid on the basis of the number of sales made through their link, they earn a proportion of the sale as commission.

It takes practice and some patience before it picks up pace, but there is no limit to this source of passive income. Before we can dive into how to become an affiliate marketer, let’s look at who these affiliates actually are.

Who are affiliates?

You now know what affiliates do, but who are these affiliates and how do they become one?

For starters, it could be anyone such as bloggers, email list owners, agencies, etc. The affiliates leverage different marketing channels to promote any companies’ products. Here are some of the common types of affiliates:

1. Influencers: They have a great impact on the audience and thus, influence the decision-making process in the long term. With a huge fan following, they can boost the sales to another level. For example, many brands use influencer campaigns on social media platforms like Instagram to attract customers, make sales and earn huge profits. It is one of the most popular channels among companies that desire to target customers in particular niches/segments. The influencers use live videos, reviews with photos, stories, and other such creative methods for promotions.

2. Bloggers: Content is the king. Bloggers use the power of content marketing to increase brand awareness and recognition. SEO tactics further pave the way to success. Bloggers write comprehensive reviews, blogs, and articles to explain the value of the product and help consumers make an informed decision.

3. Paid search-focused microsites: These sites are separate from the actual site. However, they bring in more conversions through easy CTAs. The microsites showcase a particular category of products, designed for a specific audience.

4. Email list owners: Email marketing is only booming with time. Email marketers employ promotional strategies through newsletters and mass email campaigns. The affiliate link is enclosed within the content that leads to the sales at large.

5. Large media websites: With millions of visitors, the large media sites opt for banners and other contextual links to divert the audience to merchants' websites and complete the purchase process. These websites result in high conversions and prove as a significant marketing channel.

6. Agencies: Nowadays, some agencies are also working as affiliates for companies. Most often, they have a network and well-defined strategies using which they can promote the products to deliver the required results in terms of sales and profit.

But why should you exactly choose affiliate marketing over any other option? Allow me to explain in detail.

Why be an affiliate marketer?

There are a number of reasons for being an affiliate marketer:

  • Passive income: It is a great source of passive income. If you want yourself making money while you sleep, then this could be a good choice. The marketing campaigns can actually help you in climbing the ladder of success over a period of time.

  • Direct deal: The companies deal with the customers directly, as an affiliate your role is to bring more and more customers. So, you will not be responsible for customer support and even satisfaction, only recommendation.

  • Independent work: Affiliate marketing is quite convenient and flexible. People can design their own strategies and change them as necessary. There is no restriction regarding the number of work hours or methods of promotions. Moreover, you can work from anywhere, howsoever suits you. No physical presence is required, unlike regular office jobs.

  • Economical: It is a cost-effective option as there are no joining or ongoing costs. One can start it easily. Therefore, you can say its’ the cheap and best way to earn a high income without investing much.

Now, have a look at the benefits of affiliate programs to small business owners and companies.

Benefits of the affiliate marketing model

The businesses can avail various benefits of affiliate marketing models:

  • Cost-efficient: The affiliate marketing business model is relatively cost-efficient. No startup, advertising, or ongoing costs are involved here.

  • Low risk: It involves very low risk as payments are mostly made on the sales. Thus, it also suits companies that are running on tight budgets.

  • High returns: When you channelize your efforts through a renowned person, it leaves a larger impact on the audience. The word of mouth influence the consumers’ choice and drive in more conversions as compared to the traditional marketing channels.

  • Targeted marketing: With the right choice of affiliates, companies can target potential customers more effectively. It helps in building trust and gaining a loyal customer base.

  • Flexibility: Merchants can take the businesses to new heights by expanding or shrinking the affiliate’s team. The model offers complete flexibility to all the parties involved.

If you’re wondering where can you find the most suitable affiliate program, then the next section will help you in making the right choice.

How to find affiliate programs?

Some of the sources for finding the best affiliate programs are:

  1. Affiliate websites and directories

  2. Affiliate networks

  3. Affiliate agency programs

  4. Affiliate agencies

After proper research, you can carefully decide the most suitable program depending upon the terms and conditions.

How to become an affiliate marketer: A step-by-step guide

You can follow the given steps to become a successful affiliate marketer:

1. Build a rapport: First and foremost, it is crucial to have an audience base to whom you can promote the products.

2. Identify the niche: You must identify the products and niche by understanding the needs and demands of your audience. For example, if the percentage of women is more, you may opt for fashion as a niche. Later, you can promote multiple products after getting deep into the demographics. Some could prefer luxurious brands and others may be looking for trending items only.

👉 Pro tip: Always test the product before promotion!

3. Decide the platform: A cautious choice has to be made regarding the promotional channel. It should be comfortable for you as well as your audience. For instance, Instagram is trending among influencers currently. But your strength lies in blogging and content marketing, then you can also develop a website to interact with your audience.

4. Search for the affiliate program: Finding the appropriate affiliate program will help you in the long run. Like, the amazon affiliate program is quite a buzz in the digital arena. Different YouTubers and bloggers use this mode to share the products’ reviews and earn commissions on the sales.

5. Sign up: After choosing a particular program and understanding its terms and conditions, you have to sign up as an affiliate. Then, you’ll be able to generate the unique affiliate link. It will help you in keeping a check on sales.

6. Drive maximum conversions: The real action starts here. You must employ the best marketing practices for driving in more traffic to your website/platform and further, redirect them to the companies’ site and make the purchase. In case, you have huge traffic, you can also earn on pay per lead.

7. Track the performance: Follow-up is a must to identify the loopholes if any. Notice your strengths and weaknesses. Continuous monitoring would help you in designing the strategies that work best for you.

FAQs on Affiliate Marketing

  1. What is an affiliate network?

An affiliate network is responsible for connecting the merchants with the publishers. Usually, they charge a small proportion from each sale as agreed upon by the merchants/advertisers.

  1. What is an affiliate disclosure statement?

An affiliate disclosure statement reveals that it is a sponsored content to the readers. Legally, it is mandatory for every affiliate to add this statement on their website, video, etc. before promoting any brand. For example, you must have noticed the tagline, “includes paid promotion.” in many YouTube videos. The aim is to maintain transparency between the publishers and potential buyers.

Interested in the Mailmodo affiliate program?

Mailmodo an emerging email service provider and a budding brand in the business community offers an appealing affiliate program to marketers. We have one major expectation from our affiliates, interest. If you are, then here are some of the benefits of joining the Mailmodo Affiliate Program:

  • Attractive rewards: Be it a digital marketer or content creator, anyone can become an affiliate and earn big rewards. You would be surprised to know that an affiliate can earn up to $5000 per referral on Mailmodo.

  • Simple: Register, promote, and get paid! It’s that easy to join and earn here.

  • Reliable company: Mailmodo provides the super-powerful AMP technology along with the traditional HTML emails at your service. Thus, it is turning out to be a reliable option among email marketers.

  • Last click attribution model: We provide a high cookie life of 60 days. The affiliates can actually have the advantage of this great opportunity.

  • Content assets: We create blogs, articles, and newsletters to keep the marketing audience engaged. The high-quality content does its job in bringing in desired conversions.

Moreover, our support team will make the whole promotional process a cakewalk for you.


So, ready to go? Get started with affiliate marketing right away. If you still have any confusion, feel free to write to us in the comments. We’d be happy to help you!

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