What Is Affiliate Marketing? Does It Work?

affiliate marketing, affiliate marketing 101
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What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Ever dreamed about waking up in the morning, opening your laptop, and finding out that you’ve made money while you were asleep? I’m doing it through affiliate marketing. Yup, that’s called passive income earned over time. Affiliate marketing is like farming. You can’t harvest the moment you plant your seeds. It takes time to grow, but as long as you do it the right way and do it consistently, you will see results. Affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to make money online. You can get started as long as you have a domain name and a website hosting provider (I use Hostgator).

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Image Source: justlearnwp.com

The idea behind affiliate marketing is that you promote other people’s products and you’ll earn a commission if the person you’re promoting to end up buying something. Affiliate marketing is a great business model and it’s a win-win situation for everyone. As the business, they want to sell more products and they’ll be happy to pay you a commission to bring them a customer.

Now as the customer, they’ll be able to make an informative decision before buying the product thanks to you! With that being said, you don’t need to have a product of your own to make money. Simply promote a product that you feel has value to your audience and you can start earning an income through affiliate marketing.

I’ve talked about affiliate marketing many times throughout my blog posts, but today, I am going to dive deeper and provide you with a more comprehensive article on affiliate marketing and how you can get started today.

The Advertiser, Publisher, And Consumer

advertiser, publisher, and consumer
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Image Source: awin.com

Affiliate marketing is a collaborative effort. It takes everyone’s contribution to work. The advertiser needs the publisher to promote their products. The publisher needs the advertiser to have products to promote. The customer needs the publisher to find the products. And of course, without the customer, both the advertiser and publisher won’t get paid. Now let’s go over each role in detail:

  • The Advertiser – Often known as the seller, creator, brand, vendor, or retailer. The advertiser is usually the person who creates the product. They can be an individual small business or a multi-million dollar corporation.
  • The Publisher – Often known as the affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketers can be work independently or as a group. The publisher can promote single or multiple products (recommended – don’t place all of your eggs in one basket – you need to have multiple income streams). Their job is to provide enough value to their audience so they would eventually buy from the advertiser.
  • The Consumer – Often known as the customer. Customers are what makes the world go round. Without the customer, both the publisher and advertiser will be out of luck. No sales = No commissions to be paid.

Now it all comes down to the publisher to market to these consumers through appropriate channels. Whether it is through blogging or product reviews on YouTube. When it comes down to affiliate marketing, I can’t stress enough why you need to be fully transparent and honest.

Don’t just promote a product simply because it makes you good money. If you find a product that has value to your audience, simply explain to them the pros and cons and how it can help them with their needs. If they think that the product is worth the money, they’ll buy it.

Affiliate Programs And Networks

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In affiliate marketing, your job is to find a product that you feel has value to your audience. The most common places you can find these products are through individual companies (affiliate programs) or a network of affiliate programs. For most beginners, they start off by becoming an Amazon Associate because they have millions of different physical products that can fit most niches.

However, the pay is not so great, but you can still make a decent living if done properly. However, if you are in the digital marketing space, you’re better off finding products through a network. An affiliate network is a middleman between the publisher and the advertiser.

Basically, an advertiser or product creator can promote their digital product through networks such as ClickBank and they’ll handle the payment and product delivery. Affiliate networks will take a share, but it’s easier to manage compared to handling all of your payments and product deliveries on your own. Another reason why many advertisers go to affiliate networks is that they have access to affiliate marketers who are actively seeking new products to promote.

How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Business

Before you go about starting your affiliate marketing business. There are a few things to consider. Now you can be either become an advertiser or the publisher. There’s no right or wrong answer to this, but if you have products that you want to sell. It’s not a bad idea to become the advertiser and have affiliate marketers promote your product.

It’s seriously a win-win situation for you since you don’t have to pay the commission if the affiliate marketer doesn’t make a sale. And if they do, you’ll be making money before paying out the commission anyway. Or, you can become an affiliate marketer (publisher). Start a blog or start a YouTube channel, build a relationship with your audience, promote products to your audience, and you’ll make money if they buy something.

Note: Most people do take the affiliate marketer (publisher) route because it doesn’t require you to own a product to sell. However, it does take time to build up enough traffic to make money, so it’s not as easy as it sounds.

How To Become An Advertiser

Do you want to sell products and have affiliate marketers promote it? Well, becoming an advertiser is the right path for you! First, you need a product and if you don’t have a product yet, that’s okay.

Step #1. Product Idea:

When coming up with a product idea, I recommend searching for what’s already popular. You must ask yourself if people will even want it. A product with no demand is not going to make you money. Ask yourself, what motivates someone to buy?

  • Some people buy cars so they can travel long distances at a faster speed.
  • Many people buy coffee machines, so they can make coffee at home or at their office.
  • Most people buy gaming computers, so they can play those graphics-heavy games more smoothly.

Remember when fidget spinners were extremely popular? Well, many people capitalized on this idea and created different variations of fidget spinners.

buzzsumo example
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Source: Buzzsumo.com

Tip: You can also use a research tool called Buzzsumo. It shows you what’s currently popular based on social shares.

Since I’m all about making money online, I would recommend looking into digital products since they don’t have that huge investment risk in the manufacturing process. Not that it cost nothing to create a digital product. Here are some resources that you can learn how to create your own digital product: Digital eBooks

Online Courses


Step #2. Product Creation:

If you don’t have the knowledge or skills to produce your own digital product. You can always hire someone to help you by offering to give them a share of your profits.

Step #3. Hype It Up With A Preview:

Once you have created the product, you can start giving a preview to your upcoming product before the product launch. It’s the same method that movie producers use to hype up their movies before its release date.

Step #4. Market Your Product:

After that, you can find affiliate marketers to promote your product by joining affiliate networks. Or you can create your own affiliate program.

I recommend checking out ClickFunnels since they offer one of the best sales funnel creation software plus you can manage your affiliate marketers all on the same platform.

How To Become An Affiliate Marketer (Publisher)

Step #1. Choose Your Platform:

Unlike an advertiser, you don’t need to think about creating an actual product. Instead, you just need to start reviewing products in your niche. This can be in the form of a blog post or YouTube video. I also recommend building your email list using an email marketing service provider.

That way you can always connect with your audience instead of hoping that they will come back and see your content. Also, you can learn how to do a webinar, which is a great way to provide value and build your email list.

product review
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Step #2. Consolidate A List Of Products And Write Product Reviews:

After consolidating a list of products that you want to promote, it’s important to know how to write a good product review. It’s important to include the following information:

  • The name of the product
  • The creator of the product
  • The cost of the product
  • An overview of the product
  • The pros and cons of the product
  • Your conclusion with ratings

When choosing the product, you have to consider how it relates to your audience. How can it help them? If it’s a poor product that you don’t recommend. You are at least doing your audience a favor by helping them avoid wasting money. However, if it’s a good product, it can actually help your audience make an informed buying decision.

No matter what you’re reviewing, just keep it genuine. Otherwise, it can turn off your audience if they sense that you’re only trying to make a quick buck from them. When doing a product review, I recommend actually trying out the product first, so you can actually relate to it.

affiliate link example
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Step #3. Add Affiliate Links:

Within your product reviews, you can include affiliate links to direct your audience to the actual product if they are interested in buying. And that’s how the advertiser knows that the customer was referred by you. Affiliate links are provided to you by the advertiser or the affiliate network. Here’s an example of what my affiliate link looks like for ClickFunnels:

clickfunnels affiliate link example
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Adding affiliate links to your product review is a good start, but it will require lots of traffic in order to make some serious money. A business is built on repeat customers and that’s why you’ll hear this over and over again, “the money is in the list.”

Step #4. Get Repeat Business Using Email Marketing:

Email Marketing: As I mentioned a few times throughout this article, email is one of the best ways to market to your existing audience.

lead magnet
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It all starts with a lead magnet to entice your audience to sign up for your email newsletter.

lead magnet 2
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Example Sign Up Form

To increase conversion, it is best to redirect your subscriber to a confirmation page instead of the simple thank you for subscribing message.

confirmation page
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Example Confirmation Page

You can also use a sidebar widget to capture your reader’s email address. This ensures that they can see your opt-in form no matter which blog post they are reading. Here’s an example from a close friend of mine:

sidebar opt in form
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Source: Organic Sulfur For Health


Keep in mind that your subscribers subscribed for a specific reason. Refer back to your proposition as to why they should subscribe, think about that whenever you’re sending out an email or creating your campaigns. When sending out emails, try not to make it all about sales. Instead, offer them value.

For example, whenever you have a new blog post or product review, you can send those out too. You can also utilize YouTube videos depending on what you’re reviewing. Let’s say you’re about to review a new iPhone. If you were the consumer, would you rather read about it or actually see it in action? Now if you are trying to sell a digital product or even a consultant service.

You can use tools like ClickFunnels to create a landing page where people can sign up for your webinar.

After you’ve set up your landing page for your upcoming webinar. Simply share them on Social Media in advance, so you can get people to sign up before the actual release date. You can host your webinar using services like WebinarsOnAir or Google Hangout (completely free). It’s as easy as using FaceTime or video chat applications. Within your webinar, you can do the following:

  • Introduce yourself, so your audience can learn more about you. (Great for building a relationship)
  • Present the product features.
  • Live demonstration of the actual product itself.
  • Talk about the pros and cons of the product.
  • Explain what you thought about the product after using it.
  • And finally, pitching in the sale. Why your audience should buy the product?

Learn how to start your video call using Google Hangouts by clicking here. Before hosting these webinars, it’s a good idea to reach out to the product creator and let them know about it first. Ask them kindly if they would provide you with a unique discount code for your audience. It’s a great way to get your audience a deal which increases conversion. Lastly, using PPC advertising to scale your affiliate marketing business.

A blog or a YouTube channel takes time to grow organically. That’s why many affiliate marketers look into paid advertising. From personal experience, Facebook ads are awesome for video campaigns and Google ads are search targeted. Now I’m not going to bore you with PPC explains. Instead, here’s an amazing article that compares both Facebook ads and Google ads. Personally, I prefer organic traffic over paid traffic because what happens if you stop paying for paid traffic? The traffic stops.

However, PPC advertising is great if you want to get people to sign up for your webinars, generate more sales, or just to build your email list. I don’t recommend it if you’re just trying to make 1 quick sale. You have to look at the lifetime value of a customer. If you use PPC advertising to capture an email address, you can reach out to them via email over and over again without having to spend additional money to target the same customer via PPC advertising.

In Conclusion

Now let’s recap on what we’ve talked about in this article. So you can either become an advertiser or a publisher if you want to get into affiliate marketing. As the advertiser, you’ll have to come up with a product idea, researching the popularity of the product, creating the product, and getting affiliate marketers to promote your product.

Whereas if you become the publisher, it’s slightly easier, but it will take longer to generate sales since you’re promoting products on your own rather than having an army do it for you. First, you have to either start a blog or a YouTube channel. Next, you’ll have to find a product to review that is relevant to your niche and has value to your audience.

To have return business, you’ll need to build your email list which does cost money, but it’s totally worth it in the long run. And lastly, you’ll have to market your content either through live webinars, PPC advertising, text or video content, etc. Regardless of whichever path you take, doing it the right way can be very rewarding. Which one would you choose if you were to start today? Let us know by leaving a comment down below.

affiliate marketing 101
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Steve Ko
1 year ago

this is a very good explanation for affiliate marketing. I am in the clothing industry. I saw your how to create an ecommerce website earlier. I might open an affiliate program to get people to promote my products.

Alex Luthor
1 year ago

Hey Eric. Very good affiliate marketing guide. You explained everything in great detail and I’m definitely going to come back to this if I decide to do affiliate marketing.

Steve Ko
1 year ago

this is a very good explanation for affiliate marketing. I am in the clothing industry. I saw your how to create an ecommerce website earlier. I might open an affiliate program to get people to promote my products.

Adam Fernz
1 year ago

Thanks for explaining Affiliate Marketing. I feel like affiliate marketing is a term not used often but quite lucrative if you done properly. I am in the process of learning this. I’ve already signed up for Wealthy Affiliate through your affiliate link. I look forward to pursuing this business like yourself.

3 months ago

[…] of which is known as affiliate marketing. You might’ve stumbled across the name Wealthy Affiliate (WA) as you were searching for ways to […]