Affiliate Marketing – How Does It Work

Affiliate Marketing

They say that the average millionaire has about seven streams of income. I know what you are thinking…Who has time for that?  For most of us, having only one stream of income, allows us to pay bills, and sometimes barely taking care of necessities, which is why many of us continue to look for ways to supplement our income.  Many people are looking for ways to make money online, all you need is a laptop or tablet.  Affiliate Marketing is one way to make money online.  The potential is limitless.

Affiliate marketing is a unique form of advertising that has been around for a while now and has been one of the most consistent means of earning a regular income online. It is a process which involves the promoting of other people or company’s products/services to earn a commission. Most people working in the online marketing and e-commerce field use this particular form of advertising to generate passive income for themselves.

If you would like to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing, you can get all the training and suport you need at Wealthy Affiliate.

What really is Affiliate Marketing?

It is a highly effective advertising technique through which companies or merchants who are really interested in generating more sales for their products or services make use of marketers known as affiliates to help promote their products/services and attract buyers by using various kinds of online marketing strategies, and in turn these affiliates receive a commission for the sale of each product/service that was sold through their effort.

You probably may have come across a coupon or discount link while browsing or shopping for a product or service online, and after clicking on it, you are then redirected to an e-commerce website where you can place your order for the said product/service. Well, that ad you saw is most likely an affiliate link and that is basically the general principle of how affiliate marketing literally works.

As Wikipedia aptly puts it, “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.” It is one of the oldest forms of marketing and was among the major innovations that sprung up during the e-commerce boom of the mid 90’s – a period when various e-commerce websites began creating valuable content and providing immense benefits to their visitors.  Here is a book on the topic: Affiliate Marketing: How to make money and create an income

Key players in Affiliate Marketing

The major stakeholders in affiliate marketing are: the merchant, also known as the retailer or the brand; the network, which is the platform containing the offers available to affiliates, these network may include affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors, they are also responsible for handling the commission payments to the affiliates; next is the publisher, also known as the affiliate; and finally the customer, to whom all other stakeholders make their bidding.

The merchant usually keeps track of all the traffic and sales made by their affiliates by making use of a tracking URL – which is a unique link assigned to the affiliates by the Affiliate Company or Product Company. It is this URL that the affiliate marketer will use to promote their products to prospective customers and every sale that comes through them will be tracked by the merchant and the commission paid accordingly.

Affiliates can also earn commissions from other products or services purchased through their unique assigned affiliate link even though they didn’t promote or recommend those particular products or services that were purchased.

All traffic and sales you are making however will be tracked via your website or other promotional techniques. Although many affiliate platforms allow buyers to add the email or referral details of affiliates to account for their sales, this method however, is outdated and certainly not the best way to track progress.

How it works

Affiliate marketing follows a very simple process, usually an online shopper who decides to purchase an item may land on an affiliate page created by the affiliate marketer, where the product he or she is interested in is being offered for sale, he proceeds to make the purchase and is redirected to the merchant’s site, the shopper finally makes the purchase and the merchant rewards the affiliate for his efforts. That’s it! Quite Simple, right?

The first thing to do when getting started with affiliate marketing is to find an affiliate marketing platform/program and sign up to become an affiliate marketer or publisher with them. Some common affiliate marketing platforms include: Clickbank, Rakuten, Amazon, eBay, CJ Affiliate, JVZoo, ShareASale—to name a few.

Then you will have to set up your affiliate page where your products will be advertised, this is usually in form of a landing page or a squeeze page, a blog, or website. You will also need to find the right companies whose products you will promote, it is highly recommended that you find one that guarantees a recurring or passive income and that offers products you’re familiar with or would recommend…even better if you use the products.

Traffic driving methods for generating passive income

Finally, you will need to employ other internet marketing methods in order to drive traffic to your affiliate page and get people to make purchases. Some of the methods that can be used by affiliate marketers to ensure consistent traffic to their landing page include, organic search engine (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC –Pay per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, TV, radio, print, word-of-mouth, social media and online display advertising.

Some affiliates also employ the use of less orthodox techniques in their traffic driving campaign such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner. The more purchases that is made via your unique affiliate tracking link, the more commission per sale you receive.

Make Sense

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that all that is required is the platform on which to sell, there’s no need investing your time and effort in creating the product to sell, all that has already been taken care of by the merchant. After driving the necessary traffic to you page, you can then sit back and watch your profits soar while you bask in a constant stream of passive income.


  1. I’m going for an interview this Tuesday for a customer rep position. Business attire. Some suggestions for proper makeup and hair deeply appreciated:)
    You seem to have a good sense of outward and inward professionalism. I’m always in scrubs LOL so I’m a bit out of my ken!

    • Hello Lisa,
      For interviews, I like to keep it simple/neutral colors. Create a look that is a natural as possible. For the hair, put that hair up in a bun. My bun takes 2 mins and everyone ask me how I do it. Good Luck on your interview.

  2. This sounds pretty darn interesting as an additional revenue stream. What’s your specific reason for recommending Wealthy Affiliate? I would be a total beginner, will it help me from the start?

    • Craig,
      I was a total beginner myself and let me tell you…by beginner I mean clueless. Wealthy Affiliate provided training and the most important thing for me was the support and the community. So, that is the most important reason I recommend WA. Thanks for visiting.

  3. HI ,
    Great article here , i like the way you make clear for every who is ready to change their lifestyle .
    i agree with you beauty of affiliate marketing is that all that is required is the platform on which to sell, there’s no need investing your time and effort in creating the product to sell all that has already been taken care of . thank you for this .

  4. Thanks for posting this. I never really understood how I could make any money with affiliate marketing. Now, I understand how to do it.
    Also very helpful was the list of companies that do affiliate marketing

  5. I want 7 income streams! Thanks for the info on affiliate marketing. There is much to learn as I embark on my own internet marketing adventure. My desire is to one day give up my day job and live by my own rules! I will begin with affiliate marketing and work my way into other platforms. Thanks again!

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