What is affiliate marketing? (Quick & easy refresher guide)

In this article we revitalize your knowledge of exactly what affiliate marketing is and how it works. For many, you will already know bits and pieces however it never hurts to rejuvenate your old brain cells.

For the introverted affiliate faithful it’s important to a have a recourse on our site that explains affiliate marketing in basic terms, just to make sure everyone is up to scratch and on the same page before we move on to the exciting stuff and strategies to make you money online.

What Is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work?

Basically, affiliate marketing is the process of earning commissions by promoting other peoples (or company’s) products or services.

In almost any niche imaginable it’s likely you will be able to find a product that has an affiliate program. These days the majority of businesses out there have some sort of affiliate program and for many businesses it’s their main source of new revenue.

From the businesses point of view it’s like having thousands of sales people all over the world introducing them new customers, only these sales people don’t demand a pay check each week they are rewarded solely based on performance.

HINT: Businesses love their affiliates

Our role as affiliate marketers is to learn the skills and strategies to best introduce customers to established products and businesses.


How To Start Affiliate Marketing (3 simple steps)

In simple terms affiliate marketing can be broken down into 3 simple steps;

Step 1: Choose a product

Step 2: Obtain your affiliate links

Step 3: Share your link


Whats The Best Criteria To Choose An Winning Affiliate Marketing Product?

Due to the number of affiliate products out there, choosing which product to promote or build a campaign around can be overwhelming.

To make the selection process easier I recommend using a combination of criteria.

  • Commission level
  • Interest or enjoyment
  • Include up-sell or high ticket
  • Recurring income model
  • Trending products

I’ve found this criteria extremely helpful and to this day continually bring in passive income following these guidelines.

Commission Level

First is commission level, I like to focus on affiliate products that pay commissions of over 25%.

Programs can range from 2% to 100% on various purchase levels so 25% I’ve found a good level of effort vs reward.


Interest Or Enjoyment

Second is promote what you have an interest in or enjoy. This is especially helpful for new affiliate marketers.

It’s said time and time again follow your passion.

The reason this is preached everywhere is because people lack motivation, we give up on things…

If we’re being honest, both you and I are equally guilty of this at some point in our lives. To be fair, it’s not easy to wake up and grind every day, especially if you don’t see instant rewards.

A tried and tested scenario is, if you enjoy what you do the money will come. If you love what you do you’ll be able to push through the tough times.
Once sufficient skills are built this won’t matter so much as you will be able to build profitable campaigns in any niche.

Still need help deciding on a niche? We’ve written, how to find the best niches for affiliate marketing.

Just remember when starting, out each success will inspire you to the next, so celebrate the little wins.

Every achievement begins with one small win


Up-sell Or High Ticket Item

What is a high ticket item or up-sell? A high ticket product is usually a (higher value $) product where every sale you make a significant commission.

As you can see from the image below.

Even though commission payouts are higher on the lower prices items, you stand to earn significantly more promoting a high ticket offer or up-sell.


A common myth in affiliate marketing is it’s harder to sell high value items, this is simply not true.

It takes the same amount of effort selling a $10 product as it does a $1000.

The product only needs to solve a problem and be presented to a person who needs this problem solved.

Often a high ticket item will also carry across a lot of value – It may be worth $10,000 to the purchaser and $1000 is just a small investment to solve this problem.

HINT: Some affiliate products will have pre-built websites with up-sells including high ticket items.


Recurring Income Model

Another criteria to think about is products that have a recurring revenue model for example software, services or subscriptions. (Here’s a list of 50 Recurring affiliate programs).

Recurring income programs are great as they allow you to actually build a business with regular income coming in.

HINT: Until you have recurring income you don’t have a business

The true beauty of recurring income is; once you’ve put in the initial effort you can continue to receive monthly commissions regardless of where you are. It doesn’t matter if your at work, on holidays or sleeping the money keeps rolling in.

Let’s conjure up an example of how this might look;

Client =  Established retail only business , cafe or entrepreneur with a product to sell.

Problem = The problem is they don’t have the tools or support to sell their product online.

Solution = Software or service to sell and follow up with clients online

Your role as the affiliate is to seek out the software and place in front of the people most likely to buy.

In this scenario in order for the client to sell their product they would need a website or funnel builder such as Clickfunnels Plus an email autoresponder such as Aweber to follow up with their leads. (Both of which have a recurring affiliate program).




As an affiliate marketer if you can locate these clients and present them with a solution.

For every person you help set up their online sales system you can receive up to $44.5/ month

10 Clients = $445/ Month
30 Clients = $1335/ Month
100 Clients = $4450/ Month

Are you starting to see the power of recurring income?


Trending Products

The final criteria to keep an eye out for is Trending products. There are certain times in the year when a product or service may trend and you will have a much better chance of making sales.

Think about;

Valentines day – Gift boxes or personalized gifts

Back to school –  Shoes, backpacks, stationary packs

Halloween – Halloween costumes, masks, props

You may also use a free tool  – Exploding topics which will show you current searches of exploding and trending topics.

If you foresee a trend beginning, complete a search for potential affiliate programs to take advantage of the trend.



Next Steps: Obtain and Share Your Affiliate Links

When you’re just starting out in affiliate marketing its important to keep it simple, so many people over complicate it.

Contrary to many courses – You don’t need an email list, website, opt in form or fancy funnel. This is a great advantage of affiliate marketing, skipping hurdles and technical blocks.

Sure, as you begin to grow your brand and business, personal websites and lists will become useful. Initially though, all you need to focus on is introducing customers to relevant products.

Once you join an affiliate program you will be able to get a direct, unique affiliate link attached specifically to you. It might look something like this…


Once you have your link you need to start to share.


Where and how to share affiliate links

It doesn’t take much brain power to develop a massive list of places to share your affiliate links.

A good place to start is direct messaging, word of mouth, posting, creating content or running ads.

Some of the best forms of content for affiliate marketing includes product review articles, how to guides, explainer or tutorial videos.

To give you a few examples of where to share your link;

  • Quoura
  • Facebook groups
  • Forums
  • Reddit

Other more visual sharing options are

If your interested in creating video content YouTube should be your go to platform.

Or if interested in articles Medium is a great free platform or for a small investment you can start a blog or review site.

For speedy results, if budget allows… Exploring paid advertising is the fastest way to boost earnings. Learn the secret ranking on the top of google ads while paying the least per click with (Liam James Kays Google Ads Bootcamp).



How To Find Affiliate Marketing Products To Promote

There are a few different ways to find products to promote, each with their own pros and cons.


Affiliate Platforms

Affiliate marketing platforms are a great place to start. Platform are essentially a marketplace of products in different niches. These platforms are generally well trusted, have good support and a history of reliable payouts.

With this ease of access also has increased competition, and in many cases take a bit of the commission themselves.

Platforms are where most people get started, they are usually free and can’t hurt to sign up to a few and have a look around.


  • Easy to locate products
  • Well trusted
  • Good support and feedback from others
  • History of reliable payouts


  • Higher competition
  • Often lower commissions than direct to merchant

Direct To Merchant

Direct to merchant means you are working direct with the company, there is no middle man.

While going direct often attracts higher commission and less competition from the masses, marketers who know this strategy are often more experienced and can be tougher competition (you will have to stand out). Going direct also has the reality that in some cases you may convert a sale and not get paid.

An easy way to find if the product you want to promote has an affiliate program is a simple google search.

I often use (software or service name) + Affiliate or (software or service name) + Affiliate terms


  • Can promote products you use or have affiliation with
  • Less competition from the masses
  • Higher commission
  • Builds a relationship with the company


  • Less reliable payout history
  • Terms can change
  • Competing against experienced affiliates


What Are Some Of The Most Popular Affiliate Networks?

As you can see there are pros and cons of going direct or through an affiliate platform. For those interested in having a deeper look into networks, here’s a selection of some popular platforms (all free to join).

  • Amazon –  Every product on amazon, Wow!
  • Shareasale – Lots of exclusive merchants. Over 1,000 of the merchants at ShareASale only work with ShareASale.
  • Clickbank – ClickBank definitely leans towards digital products, but you’ll find some physical products as well.
  • Awin – 13,000 Merchants.
  • JVZoo – Digital products / service.
  • Avangate – digital goods and software, rather than physical products.
  • Moreniche – Promote high performing health, beauty and fitness offers with a leading health affiliate network.


Making Money With Affiliate Marketing

Once you have a product selected, your personalized link and distribution focus, you have all the tools you need to launch your affiliate marketing business.

Your role then moves to locating where potential customers would hang out.

Making money with affiliate marketing is achieved by simply sharing a product or service with people. When they sign up through your link, you earn commission.

How we actually make money with affiliate marketing.

It’s important to understand that in order to make any money with affiliate marketing the incoming customer or client must purchase, sign up or register by clicking your personalized link.

If you mention the product to your friend and they visit the vendors direct website to purchase, unfortunately you will not be rewarded for this transaction.

Knowing this we can position ourselves to make sure when mentioning a product or service via either word of mouth or our content we follow with a clear call to action directing too our link.

Call to action examples:

  1. Click here to learn more
  2. Now you have to ask yourself how badly you really want that in your life.
  3. Act now before this deal is gone for good!
  4. For the investment of $29.99, you’ll get an instant download of our software solution & guide, allowing you to fix the <problem> within seconds of purchase:
  5. I’ve shared with you my personal story… shown you a video on how easy it is to start… and included testimonials from people who are making money with this system right now, even as you read this… and I’ve even offered this system to you 100% RISK-FREE FOR TWO FULL MONTHS. The only thing left to do is click on the order button and start building your future – today.
  6. Register free today
  7. Confirm your reservation!


Affiliate Marketing Example

How do we link affiliate marketing back to the real world with an example?

Product: Computer Keyboard

Imagine your keyboard in front of you…

If your keyboard broke this is a pretty serious problem that would need solving.

An example of affiliate marketing here would be if you were able to locate a keyboard vendor with an affiliate program. Then share your affiliate link with people who might be looking for a keyboard.
In this example when someone buys the keyboard through your link you can earn a commission, amazing right!

This ultimately is the broadest of explanations how affiliate marketing works in the real world.

The recurring pattern is always – Solve a problem with a product.

Anyone can learn and master this for incredible results.


Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has a number of advantages unique to this type of marketing.

  •          One of the best ways to make money online
  •          Don’t need your own product or idea –  (Product creation is a serious roadblock for many beginners)
  •          Fast to get started – Save time since your latching on to already established businesses. In many cases businesses can spend years coming up with an idea, making investments, inventing, testing and creating products. Affiliate marketing instantly skips this whole process.
  •          Low barrier entry – No experience or expertise needed
  •          Consistently Earn over 25%  commission sometimes up to 100% commission
  •          Start with little or no investment
  •          Freedom – Do it from anywhere in the world, You can run a successful business with only internet and a laptop
  •          Lucrative and huge industry – Over $4 Billion/ Year (source)
  •          Simple tracking – No need to learn technical tracking software
  •          Flexible work life balance
  •          Promotes Independence and sense of achievement
  •          Save a butt load of time -No need to come up with your own marketing kit. Most good affiliate marketing programs have pre-made marketing material with pictures, videos, articles etc. Done for you promotional tools so you can get started instantly.
  •          Good source of supplementary income – Its not uncommon for busy parents, full time workers or students to have successful affiliate marketing campaigns set up attracting supplementary income.
  •           You can build a whole brand and business around affiliate marketing
  •           Convenience

Affiliate marketing is an extremely convenient method for creating and generating a new source of income.

Whether your looking help your family, build a brand, start a business, earn a little extra each month, there’s little in your way. The advantages of affiliate marketing, low barrier entry and instant start time makes it perfect for any experience level to  investigate. It starts to become clear why affiliate marketing is a popular avenue to success.



Can You Really Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Yes absolutely,

While the amount you can make with affiliate marketing can vary significantly from person to person.

One fact that holds true is, the only people making any money are the ones who have attempted and taken the first steps to learn more.

Commissions can range on the higher end of 50% and sometimes up to 100%.

As a general rule I tend to target commissions of 25% or more. Anything less would only be considered if it brought in either recurring income or was a high ticket item $1000 or more.


All Round Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing

When you think about the benefits of affiliate marketing, it’s hard to ignore the immense saving of time and effort required to actually start a business.

You don’t need to create any products yourself, don’t have to create a sales page or deal with payment processing. You simply need to; choose a product, grab a link and start to share with potential clients.

Another advantage of affiliate marketing is you can start off with little or no investment there is such a low barrier to entry. Getting started is generally available to anyone with internet access and a laptop, phone or computer.


Is Affiliate Marketing Different To eCommerce, Amazon and ebay Selling?

Yes, very different

With other typical online businesses where you sell things online like e-commerce or amazon. You generally need to buy stock plus invest in necessary equipment, software and tools if you wanted to sell online.

Affiliate marketing you don’t need to do anything like that, it has an extremely low barrier to entry. You can join affiliate programs for free, share links for free and earn money from following this process.

You can set up a campaign from the comfort of your home directing leads to your link. Once a lead is obtained, in many cases the business follows up and converts the sale where you get paid.

After your initial effort to set up, you can head off to the movies, shops or the beach and can still get paid, a true lifestyle business.

It’s an amazing feeling receiving a buzz or notification on your phone saying you have received another commission.

I have received these emails in some of the strangest places… 4am message waking me up before work, on holidays, at work, on my lunch break, in the toilet or in the middle of the night.

I was once on the phone to someone, received a message and they asked why I was silent – I nearly fell off my chair because I had earned $450 in a single commission – I told them;

I feel like I just got a shot of Adrenaline,

I just earned more sitting here speaking to you than I did at work today.


What Is Affiliate Marketing Conclusion

Thanks for reading, by now you should have a far better understanding of exactly what affiliate marketing is, a few advantages and steps to make money.

With this information you should be able to conjure up a plan to get started.
Remember, the only people who make any money with affiliate marketing are the ones who get started.
Once you receive your first commission you will feel a massive sense of accomplishment and think to yourself why didn’t I get started sooner.

Continue checking our site for up to date tactics to get the most profit from affiliate marketing. Feel free to message me, as I started from nothing and can share some things that worked for me.

Did this article help you? Leave a comment with your thoughts.


10 thoughts on “What is affiliate marketing? (Quick & easy refresher guide)”

  1. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. i did not even need to watch the video as your explanation was really clear. i believe this is going to be of great help to me as i venture into my online business. thank you very much

  2. Personally, I feel that affiliate marketing is one of the best business to do online. One thing I love affiliate marketing is the fact that I could develop a business based on my passion while marketing products relevant to what I discuss. The most amazing thing I love is the reoccurring commission. When someone buys a product ones and continue using it, I will keep on getting commission. This is just the beauty of affiliate marketing. I’ve learnt a lot here.

  3. Your guide is very awesome for me. While reading I know that Affiliate marketing platforms are a great place to start. Platform are essentially a marketplace of products in different niches. These platforms are generally well trusted, have good support and a history of reliable payouts. Making money with affiliate marketing is achieved by simply sharing a product or service with people. When they sign up through your link, you earn commission. Thanks for sharing awesome guide

  4. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful article with us. Your article was interesting and informative. I have got a lot of information about affiliate marketing. I have been affiliate marketing for two years and affiliate marketing is a commission earned by promoting other person services. I earn commissions by sharing links to other people’s products that I promote on my website. I have been able to change my life with affiliate marketing and I have succeeded. I will share your article with my friends so that my friends can benefit from reading your article. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back to your website later. I wish you all the best. Thank you.

  5. Hey, I enjoy a lot while reading your article on Making Money With Affiliate Marketing. I found your article is awesome to make money with affiliate marketing. I know many new things like It’s important to understand that in order to make any money with affiliate marketing the incoming customer or client must purchase, sign up or register by clicking your personalized link. I will try my best to earn from affiliate marketing.

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