what is affiliate marketing featured

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing which is also known as performance-based marketing, is a system that when an affiliate makes product recommendations and refers potential customers to another business and, if a sale is made, the affiliate earns a small commission.

This is a very popular way that many people get started with making money online for the following reasons.

  • Low start-up costs
  • Affiliate programs are free to join
  • Work from anywhere there is an internet connection
  • You can earn passive income
  • Be your own boss working the schedule you choose
  • Don’t need to buy or stock product
  • No merchant account needed
  • Don’t have to handle customer service, order fulfillment or, returns

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Many companies (aka advertisers) have an affiliate program and will pay affiliates (aka publishers) forimage of company names referring customers who then makes a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link.

Once the link is clicked, it places a tracking cookie on the customer’s device that identifies which affiliate the referral came from so a commission can be paid.

The duration of the cookie can last anywhere from 24 hours to 60 days or more, depending on the company, which means that if the customer doesn’t initially make a purchase and then returns to complete the purchase before the cookie expires, the affiliate will still earn a commission.

The commissions normally range anywhere from 2% of the sale to 50% or more depending on the program and type of product.

Physical products are usually at the lower end of the range because of the overhead associated with physical products with digital products being at the higher end of the range.

There are also residual affiliate programs that will pay a recurring commission over a period of time, as in the case of subscription-based products for example, where the affiliate will earn a commission every month or year that the customer continues to renew.

To become an affiliate, in most cases, you will need to fill out an application and then wait for approval.

It is free to apply to affiliate programs.

Typically, the company’s affiliate manager will then visit your website to see that your site meets their basic requirements and once you are approved, you will be allowed to log into your account where they will provide you with your unique ID or affiliate link.

Most affiliate programs will typically have creatives for you to use such as banner ads in different sizes that are encoded with your unique ID as well.

What Are Affiliate Networks?

There are many companies who have affiliate programs that they don’t wish to run and manage themselves so, they contract with another company who will manage it for them.

These companies are known as Affiliate Networks.

Typically, these networks manage the affiliate programs for hundreds of companies.

If a company you wish to affiliate for is managed by a network, you would first have to apply to the Affiliate Network before applying to each individual company that you are interested in promoting within that particular network.

 What Is Affiliate Deep Linking?

Deep linking in affiliate marketing is when you link directly to a specific product page rather than just the home page of an advertiser’s site.

Some affiliate programs do not allow deep linking and will only give you the ability to link to their homepage.

This is something you should consider when choosing which programs to promote as deep links convert at a much higher rate than simply linking to the homepage.

 CPA Marketing

CPA or Cost Per Action is a type of affiliate marketing that pays a commission after a specified action has been taken.

The specified action could be a sale of an item as well as one or more of the following.

  • A survey being taken
  • Form filled out
  • Email and zip code submitted
  • A trial offer being accepted
  • Getting an estimate
  • Software or App being downloaded and installed

CPA Marketing can be quite lucrative as you don’t need to rely on people spending money in order to get paid as an affiliate.

There are affiliates who only promote CPA offers but I suggest promoting these offers in addition to traditional affiliate marketing programs which can give you the advantage of having multiple income streams.

To promote these offers, you need to apply to and be accepted by a CPA network.

Be sure to fill out the application thoroughly and honestly as an interview by telephone is normally required before you will be accepted.

There are hundreds of CPA networks such as

Just to name a few but, before deciding to apply to a network, you might want to go over to odigger.com which is like a CPA Marketing search engine and click on the reviews tab to see what experiences others are having with some of the various networks.

Can I Do Affiliate Marketing Without A Website?

The short answer is yes but, I wouldn’t recommend it.

There are many ways to do affiliate marketing and I will be covering them in future posts, however, I recommend doing them as a compliment to your own site.

In order to build a real business and set yourself up for long-term success, you need to have your own website in my opinion.

A website is also a tangible asset that you own and can even be sold at some point if you choose.

Also, each affiliate program has their own terms of service which dictates how you can and can not promote them.

For example, some programs do not allow direct linking which means that you can not post your link and send users directly to the company’s website without first being referred from your own website.

Others will not allow you to put affiliate links inside of emails.

Many programs will not even approve you without a website.

Failure to comply with their terms can result in being terminated from the program with any commissions forfeited so, be sure to read their guidelines and rules before applying to a program.

Is Affiliate Marketing Easy?

It is fairly easy to get started in Affiliate Marketing, however, it does take time, hard work and dedication to be successful.

If it were super easy then everyone would be doing it. Right?

Let’s face it, you aren’t going start out by simply spraying affiliate links all over the internet and expect to be rubbing elbows with Bill Gates within a few weeks.

It just doesn’t work like that.

To be successful, you need a plan of action, a way of learning what you need to do for each step of the process and knowledgeable people to help and guide you.

That is why I recommend Wealthy Affiliate where you can get all of the tools and training to start and grow your online business so be sure to read my review.

I am a member there and I truly believe in the platform.


Next Up: Getting Started


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