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Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

  • In this guide, you’ll learn how to get started with affiliate marketing in seven steps:
  1. Decide on a platform
  2. Choose your niche
  3. Find affiliate programs to join
  4. Create great content
  5. Drive traffic to your affiliate site
  6. Get clicks on your affiliate links
  7. Convert clicks to sales
  • An affiliate cookie does two things:
  1. It helps the merchant attribute the sale back to the right person;
  2. It (usually) holds an expiration date, so you get paid even if the buyer delays their purchase.
  • Here’s an example of how this works.

Imagine that a reader visits your post about the best winter jackets. They click on one of your affiliate links, leading them to a product on Amazon.

But they realized they have to pick up their daughter from school. So they leave their house, pick up their daughter, have dinner, and then finally go back to Amazon where they find the product again.

Since they’re already shopping on Amazon, they decide to purchase some ski gear too.

Here’s the good news. Earlier, they clicked on your affiliate link and a cookie was stored on their device. Because Amazon has a 24-hour cookie duration, you get compensated for both the winter jacket and ski gear—even though you didn’t promote the latter.

  • To participate in an affiliate marketing program, you’ll need to take these five simple steps:
  1. Find and join an affiliate program
  2. Choose which offers to promote
  3. Obtain a unique affiliate link for each offer
  4. Share those links on your blog, social media platforms, or website
  5. Collect a commission anytime someone uses your links to make a purchase
  • Benefits of the affiliate marketing model

Affiliate marketing offers several benefits to affiliates (i.e., you), one of which is its ease. Your side of the equation simply involves handling the “marketing” side of building and selling a product—educating customers. You don’t have to worry about the harder tasks, like developing, supporting, or fulfilling the offer.

Affiliate marketing is low risk. Since there’s no cost to join affiliate programs, you can start making money with an established affiliate product or service without any upfront investment. Affiliate marketing also can generate relatively passive income through commission—the ideal money-making scenario. Though initially you’ll have to invest time creating traffic sources, your affiliate links can continue to deliver a steady paycheck.

Finally, successful affiliate marketing offers the potential to significantly scale your earnings without hiring extra help. You can introduce new products to your current audience and build campaigns for additional products while your existing work continues to generate revenue in the background.

Before you get too excited, know that great affiliate marketing is built on trust. While seemingly there are an endless number of products or services to promote, it’s best to only highlight those you personally use or would recommend. Even when a product interests you or fits within an existing hobby, becoming a great marketer for that product takes a lot of work.

  • An easy way to find affiliate programs is to visit an affiliate marketplace or platform. Browse your niche to find top performing affiliate platforms. Here are some of the most popular:
  • Affiliate Network
  • Avant Link
  • CJ by Conversant
  • Click Bank
  • Flex Offers
  • Link Connector
  • Revenue Wire
  • Share Sale

Examples of businesses using affiliate marketing

Looking at some of the companies that participate in affiliate marketing will provide you with inspiration—as well as proof that this is a legit and lucrative revenue stream. Affiliate marketing terminologies:

Here are some of the common terms associated with affiliate marketing:

  • Affiliates:Publishers like you and me who are using affiliate program links to promote and make sales.
  • Affiliate marketplace:There are many marketplaces like Share sale, CJ, and Click bank. These work as central databases for affiliate programs in different niches.
  • Affiliate software:Software used by companies to create an affiliate program for their product.
    • Example: First Promoter.
  • Affiliate link:Special tracking link offered by your affiliate program to track the progress of your affiliate promotion.
  • Affiliate ID:Similar to the affiliate link, but many affiliate programs offer a unique ID which you can add to any page of the product site.
  • Payment mode:Different affiliate programs offer different methods of payment.
    • Example: Cheque, wire transfer, PayPal, and others.
  • Affiliate Manager/OPM:Many companies have dedicated affiliate managers to help publishers earn more by giving them optimization tips.
  • Commission percentage/amount:The amount or percentage you will be receiving in affiliate income from every sale.
  • 2-tier affiliate marketing:This is a great way of making money from an affiliate program. With this method, you recommend that others join affiliate programs, and you receive a commission when a sub-affiliate makes a sale (similar to MLM or multi-level marketing). This income is also known as a sub-affiliate commission.
  • Landing pages:A unique product sales or demo page used for the purpose of increasing sales. Most of the programs that you will be promoting have many landing pages, and you can run A/B testing to see which pages convert best for you.
  • Custom affiliate income/account:Unlike a generic affiliate account, many companies offer custom affiliate income to people making the most affiliate sales for them.
  • Link clocking:Most of the affiliate tracking links are ugly. Using a link clocking technique like URL sharpeners, Thirsty Affiliates, etc., you can turn ugly links into links that can be read and understood by your readers.
  • Custom coupons:Many programs allow affiliates to create custom coupons which are also used to track sales. Custom discount coupons help you to increase affiliate sales as well.

1)     Wire cutter:

Wire cutter, a site promoting gear and gadgets—from kitchen tools to travel gear—that was acquired by The New York Times in 2016, says it only makes recommendations after “vigorous reporting, interviewing, and testing by teams of veteran journalists, scientists, and researchers.”

2)     Buzz Feed:

Buzz Feed Reviews started out as a gift guide and expanded into reviews of various product categories. What makes the site unique is that it covers a variety of ordinary items, giving top picks at three different price points. Buzz Feed’s reviews are quite thorough, which provides lots of value to the reader. Here’s recent and another on women’s white t-shirts.

Affiliate marketing terminologies:

Here are some of the common terms associated with affiliate marketing:

  • Affiliates:Publishers like you and me who are using affiliate program links to promote and make sales.
  • Affiliate marketplace:There are many marketplaces like Share sale, CJ, and Click bank. These work as central databases for affiliate programs in different niches.
  • Affiliate software:Software used by companies to create an affiliate program for their product. Example: First Promoter.
  • Affiliate link:Special tracking link offered by your affiliate program to track the progress of your affiliate promotion.
  • Affiliate ID:Similar to the affiliate link, but many affiliate programs offer a unique ID which you can add to any page of the product site.
  • Payment mode:Different affiliate programs offer different methods of payment. Example: Cheque, wire transfer, PayPal, and others.
  • Affiliate Manager/OPM: Many companies have dedicated affiliate managers to help publishers earn more by giving them optimization tips.
  • Commission percentage/amount:The amount or percentage you will be receiving in affiliate income from every sale.
  • 2-tier affiliate marketing:This is a great way of making money from an affiliate program. With this method, you recommend that others join affiliate programs, and you receive a commission when a sub-affiliate makes a sale (similar to MLM or multi-level marketing). This income is also known as a sub-affiliate commission.
  • Landing pages:A unique product sales or demo page used for the purpose of increasing sales. Most of the programs that you will be promoting have many landing pages, and you can run A/B testing to see which pages convert best for you.
  • Custom affiliate income/account:Unlike a generic affiliate account, many companies offer custom affiliate income to people making the most affiliate sales for them.
  • Link clocking:Most of the affiliate tracking links are ugly. Using a link clocking technique like URL sharpeners, Thirsty Affiliates, etc., you can turn ugly links into links that can be read and understood by your readers.

Custom coupons: Many programs allow affiliates to create custom coupons which are also used to track sales. Custom discount coupons help you to increase affiliate sales as well.