How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?


Many people have found a way to earn extra money in their spare time through affiliate marketing. In fact, many people have been able to quit their full time jobs and some have even become quite wealthy. So, how does affiliate marketing work exactly?


Affiliate marketing is a commission based marketing system whereby a webmaster can earn money by connecting buyers with sellers. You do not need to sell products directly from your website. You earn money by sending the buyer to the sellers website with an affiliate link exclusive to you.




Affiliate Programs


The list of companies offering affiliate programs is always increasing. It’s a smart way to build a large sales team without having to worry about all of the headaches associated with having a lot of employees. If you’re interested in promoting a certain type of product or service, look for companies who have websites that offer those products/services. Chances are, you’ll be able to find a company with an affiliate program.




Amazon is probably the most well known affiliate program around. Affiliate marketers love amazon due to the enormous range of products they can promote. Even if a consumer buys a different product than the one being promoted, the affiliate still makes a commission.

Some affiliate marketers have started looking for alternatives to amazon due to the low commission rates. Another problem is the fact that there is a growing list of states where resident can no longer use the amazon affiliate program.



Affiliate Networks


An affiliate network is usually a company who has a pool of retailers for whom they manage affiliate programs. One of the more popular affiliate networks for people just starting out in affiliate marketing is Clickbank.

Anyone can apply to become a Clickbank affiliate and once you’re accepted, you can immediately begin promoting any and all of the products available on their site. Clickbank products serve a wide range of niches and the commissions are usually 50% – 75%!



Pay Per Lead


Pay per lead programs, as the name suggests, is where a company will pay you a certain amount for sending them a qualified lead. That means that the leads you send must demonstrate real interest by submitting detailed information. The internet is full of “tire kickers” so these companies definitely want to weed them out when they’re paying for a lead.

Pay per lead programs are usually offered by financial institutions, insurance companies and educational institutions. Reputation is important to many of these companies so they will actually have an affiliate manager examine your site.

It’s not unusual for these companies to reject your application the first time around but  it’s never final. You can always continue to improve your site and re-apply later.



Pay Per Click


Pay per click campaigns can be extremely profitable for affiliate marketers who know what they’re doing. I’m sure you’ve seen those “Ads by Google” a million times on various websites. Those ads are a result of a pay per click advertising campaign. It’s an easy way to get traffic to your site.

Pay per click is not recommended for people who are new to affiliate marketing. Until your website can convert a decent amount of visitors into buyers, it’s best to learn how to build traffic through free SEO methods.




Offline Affiliate Marketing


Over the last several years, many marketers have been using their skills to gain clients who run traditional businesses. Most “bricks and mortar” business owners know very little about marketing themselves online in an effective way. This has created a huge opportunity for affiliate marketers.

Internet marketers are snatching up domain names that include; type of business followed by the targeted city. An example of this would be: “”.

These types of domain names are usually easy to rank for. Once the owner of the site achieves top search engine rankings, they look for a business owner in that field and offer to feature that particular business on the site for a monthly fee.


You can learn more about this here




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  1. Daniel

    This is a really cool read.

    It certainly seems like there’s alot to affiliate marketing but it sounds like an interesting thing to do.

    I’ve heard about the Amazon affiliate thing before but i didn’t know there were many others!

    You said that Amazon’s affiliates are declining due to states not allowing their use? What has been happening there?

    • Steve

      Hey Daniel,
      Due to complicated government tax law’s, amazon is starting to exclude residents from certain state’s from participating in their affiliate program. Of course, they are NOT excluded from shopping. The State of California was recently reinstated by amazon because their law maker’s could see how over-taxation hurts businesses and the overall economy. (Hopefully the rest will catch on some day).
      Even if you happen to live in one of those state’s, there are tons of other affiliate programs out there.

  2. Joanna Sanchez

    You have so much information I don’t even know where to begin. I am definately bookmarking your site so I can come back to it later. It all sounds very legit.

    • Steve

      Thanks Joanna,
      Hmm…. maybe I need a “Start Here” page or something like that. I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting 🙂

  3. Kevin

    Hi Steve,
    Great website – I’ve spent the better part of an hour going through it and wow, VERY informative. I too have bookmarked your site for future reference.

  4. Kristina

    Interesting read! I had no knowledge about the offline affiliate marketing so I will definitely have to take a look at that, thanks for the info. Regards, Kristina

  5. Evelyn

    Affiliate marketing is an awesome way to make money from home. You don’t need to keep a bunch of inventory in your home, you don’t have to worry about sending the product to people, no employees needed and you can do it at anytime anywhere. Great breakdown on Affiliate marketing.

  6. Jennifer

    Very informative. Thanks for taking the time to write this article,Your article has helped me better understand what affiliate marketing is. Thanks again I will definitely bookmark your site!

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