Affiliate Marketing: What is it and How Does it Work?

Affiliate marketing is in no way a new concept, however it seems to be catching on like crazy. Chances are that most people have at least heard about it, whether or not they actually know what it is or understand how it works. Affiliate marketing is used by everyone from bloggers to Instagram influencers, as a way for them to monetize their websites and social media accounts. Affiliate marketing is a huge business, and you don’t have to have an enormous following to get in to it. These days it is easier than ever to get started, so I will help answer some of the most common questions that people have about affiliate marketing.

(Disclaimer: I receive financial compensation for affiliate links on this page)

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of securing leads and sending business to companies in exchange for a commission. When an affiliate gets someone to go to a company’s page and make a purchase, the company pays the affiliate marketer because they brought the business to them. It doesn’t cost the consumer anything, it simply guides them from a page they already follow to one that has something that person might want to buy. Affiliate marketers make millions of dollars every year, and that number seems to be growing as more people get into the business.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

When you sign up for an affiliate marketing program, they will typically give you a special link that will take you to a landing or sales page. This link is unique to you, meaning that they can track which sales have come through your link, in order to ensure that you get your commission. Some companies will give you a special promo code instead of a link. I often see this with fitness accounts on Instagram. When one of their followers purchases a product using that promo code, the seller can track that to make sure that the marketer gets their payment for the sale.

Is Affiliate Marketing Legit?

Yes. Affiliate marketing in and of itself is a legitimate way to make money. That being said, there are affiliate marketing companies that don’t have you or the consumers best interest at heart. It is your job to do the research and to vet the affiliate programs that you are interested in. This is an important step, without it, you could end up in a bad situation, or you could put your readers and followers in a bad situation.

Why Start Affiliate Marketing?

Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Affiliate marketing is a lot like running a business, except unlike a normal business, you don’t have to handle any inventory, shipping, distributions, or returns. There is also no real limit on the amount of money that you can make through affiliate marketing, meaning that similar to a car salesman, the harder you work the more money you will bring in. If you have a blog or a large social media following, this means that people trust you. If you promote a product to them, there is a good chance that they will be interested, so it is your job as an influencer to make sure that you are promoting the right products to your audience.

How Much Does Affiliate Marketing Pay?

The amount that you make depends a lot on what companies you are working with, and the types of products you are selling. There are two types of ways that affiliate marketers are typically paid. Either it is a commission percentage or it is a fixed rate payment. I will use some of the affiliate programs that I use as an example. Bluehost is a blog hosting website, and when someone purchases a plan through my link, I earn a fixed payment that ranges from $60-$130 for every qualified sale. The more sales I send their way, the higher my commission becomes. WordPress on the other hand, pays me 20% of the revenue earned through my link, meaning that the more someone purchases the more I make. These are active links by the way, to help show you what happens when you click them. Both are good in their own way, and every affiliate program has it’s own pay rate for marketers. One of the most popular affiliate marketing programs, the Amazon Associate Program, pays a certain percentage depending on the category the product falls under. Amazon brand products pay a higher commission than a video game would. So it helps to promote products that fall into the higher percentage categories.

What Products Should I Promote?

This is the best part about affiliate marketing. The products or services that you choose to promote are entirely up to you. It has long been said that the best niches are health, wealth, and self-improvement. We want to be better people, with better health and more money, so there tends to be a large audience for content in these niches. That being said, there are affiliate programs for almost any niche you can think of, so find the products that are right for your followers. With the Amazon Associates Program, you can make money off of almost any product you can think of, so there is no excuse for you to not be able to find a product to promote if you are really serious.

Do I Need Thousands of Followers to Start Affiliate Marketing?

Yes, and no. It is possible for you to make some money with only a few hundred readers or a decent sized social media following. However, if you really want to make a living off of affiliate marketing, you will need to work to grow your website or account. If you want to get really serious about affiliate marketing, you will have to start taking the time to start attracting more readers, growing your social media accounts, and building an email list.

Should I Become an Affiliate Marketer?

This is entirely up to you, what your goals are, and what you are comfortable with. I believe that anybody can build a following and a steady income with affiliate marketing if they put in the time and effort. Most affiliate markets don’t make money with it, but I’m not saying that to scare you. It might take a long time to really get going with it, but the whole model of affiliate marketing is to make sure that it is as easy as possible for you to earn money. So if you decide to start, stick with it. I am not making a living off of affiliate marketing. I have a day job, but I know that I can grow it to a full-time job if I keep up with the effort I am putting in, so don’t give up.

Thanks for Reading!

I really appreciate every single reader who lands on one of my blog posts. You guys are the reason that I hop on here and write so often. I want to give you the best content and help you to live your best lives.

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If you enjoyed this post or it helped you out, feel free to leave a like or follow the blog to stay updated when new articles are posted. Thank you so much and good luck on your affiliate marketing journey!

8 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing: What is it and How Does it Work?

  1. My first attempt at affiliate marketing was in 2009. I built my first website and marketed it everywhere, adding new content like crazy for months. I really put in 100% effort daily for a while, 12 hour days giving it everything I had. Disappointed and due to circumstance I eventually got a 9-5 job and forgot all about my website for a while. About a year later, to my surprise I check in and found I had earned few thousand dollars. From that point I went back to writing content daily and have been self employed for the past almost 10 years.

    I guess the moral of my story is to give everything you do your best shot. If you have the dream to work from home, or for yourself. It can be done, it just takes a lot of hard work. But along with hard work, it can simply take time as well.


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