Affiliate Marketing: How does it work, How to earn with it?

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Every once in a while you might come across the term Affil­i­ate Mar­ket­ing. What is it and how does it work? Can you real­ly make mon­ey with it?

What is affiliate marketing?

Affil­i­ate Mar­ket­ing is a mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy used by busi­ness­es to pro­mote their ser­vices or prod­uct. Where­by they use the mid­dle­man to do pro­mo­tion and in return they pay them a com­mis­sion for their mar­ket­ing efforts.

This marketing strategy includes four major players to complete a sale:

The Merchant

The mer­chant is could be the busi­ness or the indi­vid­ual who wants their prod­uct to be sold. This are peo­ple who cre­ate the prod­uct and assign it to the affil­i­ate net­work for a fee.

The Affil­i­ate Net­work

This is like the third par­ty in this type of busi­ness. This is a net­work that acts as the mid­dle­man. The affil­i­ate net­work han­dle the tech­nolo­gies, the sys­tem used to run the busi­ness. It makes the cal­cu­la­tions and insures that the pay­ments are made to all mem­bers. The mer­chant will assign the affil­i­ate net­work their prod­uct and pay a cer­tain fee for plac­ing their prod­uct on the net­work.

In some cas­es a com­pa­ny that pro­duce the prod­uct which is the mer­chant can also han­dle its own affil­i­ate net­work. In that instance the mer­chant is also the affil­i­ate net­work mean­ing it han­dles the pay­ments.

The Affiliate

The affil­i­ate is the per­son who does the mar­ket­ing on behalf mer­chant and get a com­mis­sion for every sale made by the cus­tomer. For the affil­i­ate to get the prod­uct, they have to be mem­bers of the affil­i­ate net­work, that’s how they receive the prod­uct placed by the mer­chant.

All play­ers make mon­ey since they are part of a net­work, the affil­i­ate can earn as much com­mis­sion as they want depend­ing on their mar­ket­ing efforts and skills.

In the make mon­ey online indus­try, affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing is one of the best ways to make mon­ey, even new­bies can earn good amounts in their first attempts.

The customer

The cus­tomer is the last play­er in this net­work, the cus­tomer is brought in by the affil­i­ate usu­al­ly through a web­site. That’s where they might see the prod­uct being pro­mot­ed by the affil­i­ate if they decide to buy the prod­uct. They are tak­en to the affil­i­ate net­work and the trans­ac­tion will hap­pen there. Then the affiliate(the one who was mar­ket­ing the prod­uct) would gets their com­mis­sion from the affil­i­ate net­work.affiliate marketing how it works


One would ask the fol­low­ing ques­tions:

How would the affiliate earn commission if the sale or the transaction happens over the network? How will they know I brought the customer to make the same?

When you reg­is­ter with the affil­i­ate net­work you will be giv­en a unique ID. That ID is the one that a user can be tracked with, that ID is placed with in the refer­ral link, like so

In this case the affil­i­ateID could be a num­ber, let­ters or a com­bi­na­tion of the two.

Online sys­tems use cook­ies to track users from one page to anoth­er, a cook­ie ID can be signed to every user and it can be used to trans­fer data from one page to anoth­er.

When the poten­tial cus­tomer clicks on your refer­ral link your refer­ral ID is trans­ferred to anoth­er page. Where the cus­tomer will make the sale and pay­ments, which will be hap­pen­ing on the affil­i­ate net­work dash­board.

As an affil­i­ate mar­keter though, you don’t have to wor­ry about the track­ing part. Because that is being han­dled by the sys­tem designed by the affil­i­ate net­work on the back­end pro­gram­ming. All you have to do is focus on is your job as affil­i­ate mar­keter and leave the pro­gram­ming to the experts.

Affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing is con­sid­ered the num­ber type of online busi­ness to pro­duce inter­net mil­lion­aires. So if you do your job you could be one of thee best inter­net mar­keters or affil­i­ate mar­keters and earn mil­lions through your efforts.

Your responsibly as an affiliate:

Your job as an affil­i­ate is to do the mar­ket­ing and sell the prod­uct and get a your cut when a sale is made.

But first you have to know the types of affil­i­ate pro­grams that you can choose from. And select the prod­ucts or ser­vice placed by the mer­chant.

Affil­i­ate Mar­ket­ing has three types of affil­i­ate net­works. Know­ing such infor­ma­tion will allow you to make a deci­sion based on your require­ments.

CPA(Cost Per Acquisition), CPS (Cost Per Sale) and CPL(Cost Per Lead)

Cost Per Acquisition(CPA) — also know as CPS(Cost Per Sale), In CPA net­works you get paid only if you refer a cus­tomer who makes a sale.

Cost Per Lead(CPL) — In CPL you could get paid if the cus­tomer leaves their name and email or tele­phone num­ber, basi­cal­ly their con­tact details. A CPL might not pay as much as the CPA since there are no direct sales made.

Rev­enue Shar­ing — This is anoth­er type of affil­i­ate net­work. They are also called rev shares. Usu­al­ly used by sub­scrip­tion web­sites, pay­ments could be recur­ring.

Make a deci­sion on which type of pro­gram you would like to pro­mote but but you should know. With­in some pro­grams there are one or more of the above types of affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing pro­grams.

Anoth­er thing that you should con­sid­er doing is to con­tact the affil­i­ate net­work man­ag­er and the mer­chant. If you do get their con­tacts just get a more under­stand­ing on their offers and expec­ta­tions and what you as the affil­i­ate can offer.

See if you can meet their expec­ta­tions. You can con­tact them via email or phone if is pro­vid­ed. Build a rela­tion­ship with them since you will be doing busi­ness with them by pro­mot­ing their prod­ucts. Not every­one likes doing that though if you believe you can do it with­out con­tact­ing them then just sign up and pick the prod­uct you want to pro­mote.

Here are some of the major online affil­i­ate net­works


If you are in South Africa you might also con­sid­er look­ing at this affil­ite net­works:

How do you make money online with affiliate marketing?

The best way to make mon­ey online with affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing is to com­bine all the inter­net mar­ket­ing strate­gies in one. You find a affil­i­ate net­work online , do your research about it, sign up when you are hap­py with it and get a refer­ral link. You then choose the type of a prod­uct or ser­vices you want to pro­mote then send traf­fic to your refer­ral link which will also be linked to that prod­uct.

How to Get Traf­fic to your affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing prod­uct or how to pro­mote affil­i­ate prod­uct.

This a com­mon ques­tion but if you mas­ter this step of get­ting traf­fic you are good to go and stand a very good chance of mak­ing mon­ey online through affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing.

Start a blog

The num­ber one rec­om­mend­ed mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy is to start a blog or web­site. Even though you can still pro­mote prod­ucts on the inter­net with­out a blog but a blog makes it easy for you to pro­mote almost any­thing online. I have already cov­ered the top­ic on how to start a blog if you don’t know how.

Build a List

Build­ing a list involves email mar­ket­ing, you can use either the free ver­sions of email tools or the paid ver­sions. Depend­ing on your bud­get you should go for what you can afford. An email list will allow you to have lots of sub­scribers you can turn into cus­tomers in the future. Even after you have changed a prod­uct, some­one who has bought from you can still buy again.

Design a landing page/funnel/capture page/Squeeze Page

When build­ing an email list you should do so with a cap­ture page. A cap­ture page makes your mar­ket­ing style look pro­fes­sion­al and well orga­nize. Have a brief descrip­tion and an image about the prod­uct. If you are pro­mot­ing an ebook, have a front cov­er image on your land­ing page and explain a lit­tle about it.

Next to that you can place your email textbox and a sub­mit but­ton, this will let your vis­i­tors to enter their email address and sub­mit by click­ing on the sub­mit but­ton. That will turn them into your sub­scribers for life and you can send them emails when­ev­er you have anoth­er prod­uct.

Build­ing an email list is part of the email mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, so you have to learn more about it. With email mar­ket­ing you stand a good chance in affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing.

For a free email tool try MailChimp and for a paid tool you can use GetRe­sponse. Those tools will also help you build cap­ture page.

Move it to social media

Social Media

This is a part where you have to apply your social media mar­ket­ing. Social media is the way to go if you want to make mon­ey through affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing. Build a fol­low­ing on Face­book, Tweet­er, Insta­gram, Google+ and oth­er major social media sites while shar­ing your post con­tent from your blog which lead to your cap­ture page as well.

Use YouTube videos

Use video mar­ket­ing as one of the online mar­ket­ing strate­gies. Take videos and upload them on YouTube while doing a review about the prod­uct you are mar­ket­ing. You Build a huge sub­scriber list on youtube, learn how to rank your youtube video and dom­i­nate your niche.

Don’t place your refer­ral link direct on your YouTube descrip­tion place your blog and your land­ing page. Doing affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing needs you to be strate­gic in your adver­tis­ing. The video mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy always plays in most inter­net mar­ket­ing includ­ing a affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing.


There’s a forum for almost any top­ic online, find a list of forums that are relat­ed to your niche and par­tic­i­pate in them and be a reg­u­lar mem­ber. Share some of your links when ever pos­si­ble, learn how to mar­ket using forums.

Comment on Other Blogs

Com­ment­ing on oth­er people’s blogs can give you a good name in a long run. Find a few blogs that are relat­ed to your niche and be a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor.

Word will even­tu­al­ly go around on the inter­net about your name and you will start receiv­ing traf­fic to your blog. This might take time but is worth doing.

Use Paid Traffic

I’m not a big fan of paid traf­fic since it cost mon­ey and is also not for long term. But is good for affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing since it makes it easy to get tar­get­ed traf­fic. You can buy ads on Google and oth­er sites to pro­mote your affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing stuff there. This could work if you have a rea­son­able bud­get.

Use search engine optimization

Get organ­ic traf­fic to your blog through search engine opti­miza­tion. This is the best free nat­ur­al traf­fic method. Learn how to opti­mize your con­tent and let search engines find you and build a pow­er­ful busi­ness online while mak­ing mon­ey through your affil­i­ate mar­ket­ing.


Should one imple­ment their inter­net mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy by fol­low­ing this post they might suc­ceed. I hope you liked this blog post and learned some­thing from it. If you feel there’s some­thing that is not includ­ed in this arti­cle please share. I know we might be doing things dif­fer­ent­ly. And also if you have ques­tions regard­ing this post, you are wel­come to ask. I would be hap­py to assist you.

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