A Complete Beginners’ Guide to Getting Into Affiliate Marketing

ByZeeshan Akhtar


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38% of marketers agree that affiliate marketing is among the top customer acquisition methods. But what exactly is affiliate marketing? How can your business reap the benefits of affiliate marketing? This guide will answer such questions and will also take about how to start affiliate marketing.

Table of contents

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other person’s or companies’ products in exchange for a commission on every sale made through the affiliate link. Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing. An affiliate indirectly acts as a an inexclusive salesperson.

Affiliates need not be exclusive, meaning they can recommend different products of different companies and act as their affiliates.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliates use their network to promote and provide potential prospects and customers with what they want. In return, the original business pays the affiliate on leads generated and sales made through their link.

There are three main parties involved in the affiliate 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?

Before we discuss the payment process of affiliates, you must know how tracking happens behind the scenes:

The merchant assigns a unique affiliate link when an affiliate signs up. When a prospect clicks on the link, a cookie (or small file) gets stored on that user’s device. This cookie tracks the sale back to the merchant as and when the prospect makes a sale.

There are three ways in which affiliate marketers get paid:

1. Pay-per-click (PPC)

In PPC, companies pay the marketers based on the number of visitors 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. Pay-per-lead (PPL)

In PPL, companies pay the affiliates based on the leads generated. It means the number of leads that gave their contact information on the merchant’s website.

Related guide: How to Nurture Leads with Email Marketing

1. Pay-per-sale (PPS)

In PPS, the affiliates are paid based on the number of sales made through their link. They earn a proportion of the sale as commission.

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

Who are affiliates?

Affiliates can be bloggers, email list owners, agencies, influencer, etc. The affiliates leverage different marketing channels to promote any companies’ products.

Here are some of the common types of affiliates:

1. Influencers

Influencers have a huge fan following, and thus they can influence their follower's decision-making process. With a huge fan following, they can boost the sales to another level.

For example, many brands use social media influencers to attract customers, make sales and earn huge profits. It is one of the most popular channels for companies that target customers in particular niches/segments. The influencers use live videos, reviews with photos, stories, and other creative promotion methods.

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 product’s value and help consumers decide.

3. Paid search-focused microsites

These sites are separate from the actual site. But, 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.

Related guide: What Is an Email List and How Can You Build it From Scratch

5. Big media websites

With millions of visitors, the large media sites opt for banners and other contextual links to redirect the audience to merchants’ websites and complete the purchase process. These websites result in high conversions and prove as an effective marketing channel.

6. Agencies

Nowadays, some agencies also work as affiliates for companies. They often have a network and well-defined strategies to 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 several reasons for being an affiliate marketer:

âś… Help generate passive income

It is a great source of passive income. If you want to make money while you sleep, this could be a good choice. The marketing campaigns can help you climb the ladder of success over some time.

âś… 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 recommendations.

âś… Work flexibility

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 it suits you. No physical presence is required, unlike regular office jobs.

âś… Economical

It is a cost-effective option without 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.

Benefits of using affiliate marketing for businesses

The businesses can avail various benefits of affiliate marketing models:

1. Cost-efficient

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

2. 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.

3. High returns

When you channel your efforts through a renowned person, it leaves a larger impact on the audience. Word of mouth influences the consumers’ choice and drives more conversions than traditional marketing channels.

4. Targeted marketing

Companies can target potential customers with the right choice of affiliates more effectively. It helps in building trust and gaining a loyal customer base.

5. 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 you can find the most suitable affiliate program, then the next section will help you make the right choice.

How to find affiliate programs?

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

  • Affiliate websites and directories.

  • Affiliate networks.

  • Affiliate agency programs.

  • Affiliate agencies.

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

A step-by-step process to becoming an affiliate marketer

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

Step 1: Build a rapport

It is crucial to have an audience base to promote the products. Hence, your first goal should be to develop a strong audience and engage with them.

Step 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 many products after getting deep into the demographics. Some prefer luxurious brands, and others may only look for trending items.

Tip: Always test the product before promotion!

Step 3: Decide the platform

The promotional channel has to make a cautious choice. 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; you can also develop a website to interact with your audience.

Step 4: Search for the affiliate program

Finding the appropriate affiliate program will help you in the long run. 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 sales.

Step 5: Sign up as an affiliate

After choosing a program and understanding its terms and conditions, you must 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.

Step 6: Drive maximum conversions

The real action starts here. You must employ the best marketing practices to drive traffic to your website/platform and, further, redirect them to the companies’ site and make the purchase. If you have huge traffic, you can also earn pay per lead.

Step 7: Track your performance

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

Check out Mailmodo's 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: Anyone can become an affiliate, digital marketer, or content creator 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 have the advantage of this great opportunity.

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

Our support team will make the whole promotional process a cakewalk for you.

Join Mailmodo's affiliate program

Earn an average of $1440 per referral
Get your referral link
Know more

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.

2. What is an affiliate disclosure statement?

An affiliate disclosure statement reveals that it is sponsored content to the readers. Legally, every affiliate must 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.

Final word

So, what are you waiting for? Go and be an affiliate and do check out our affiliate program if you are just getting started.

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Get started for free.

  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

What should you do next?

Thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:


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