Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing: How to Get Started

Affiliate marketing business can be run side by side with your current job. You can grow the business while you are still working with your current company.

There are some lessons we have learned during the COVID-19 lockdown. And part of it is that more people need to start working from home.

WFH (work from home) jobs will increase and brands will have more of their staff working remotely. We will also witness more people doing their business from the comfort of their homes.

Imagine going to your workplace without having to go through traffic. Or bother about having to tolerate that difficult boss or toxic workplace.

If any of these appeals to you, then you should think about running your own affiliate business.

And when the affiliate business starts earning profits, you can switch to full time. Enough said, this is a complete guide to get you from where you are to the affiliate world.

Why is Affiliate Marketing Such a Good Business?

Let’s start off on the same page by giving you the basics of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is an online business model that entails the promotion of vendors’ products by marketers.

In today’s world, marketing has evolved to include different models targeted at different markets. We have the likes of direct sales, network, content, and affiliate marketing.

Each of these models has its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. For affiliates, it provides a cheaper way for vendors to advertise their products to their target market while affiliates are offered the chance to earn income from their website traffic.

So while vendors enjoy cheaper methods to promote and sell their products, affiliates are able to earn some extra money.

For someone going into the affiliate space, the bulk of your earnings will come from commissions earned from vendors.

That simply means an affiliate who doesn’t make any sale should not expect any money when it’s payday.

For every affiliate business to run smoothly, there are 3 different parties (sometimes 4) that are involved.

Let’s find out these parties and the roles they play in making your affiliate business successful.

1 – Vendors

A vendor is the company, could be a self-employed person or large corporation, which provides the products to be sold.

These products could be physical like shoes and bags, digital courses and eBooks, or services. Vendors are also referred to as merchants, sellers, producers, or advertisers.

Most vendors have their own affiliate programs that marketers can sign up directly to. This setup gives the vendor total control over the running of the affiliate program.

2 – Affiliate Marketers

These are a group of people who promote vendors of products through different digital platforms.

Affiliates are also referred to as publishers since they own platforms through which they publish their contents.

The first thing an affiliate has to do is build an audience through its platform. These platforms could be a website or blog (which is the most popular), email subscriber list, and social media networks.

Websites and blogs are mainly focused on a niche or industry, and therefore attract a specific audience.

It is to this audience that products and services are promoted. And because these products are in the same niche as the site, it is easier to get people to buy them.

Affiliates earn income through the commissions that they receive from the vendors.

An affiliate business can be rewarding if you are able to build quality traffic and choose the right affiliate programs and products.

After you sign up for an affiliate program, you will be offered an affiliate link, banners, and other tools to promote the offers. The affiliate link has to be placed in different locations of your website, and they link to the products page of the vendor’s website.

3 – Consumers

The whole affiliate system is centered around getting the consumers to buy affiliate products on offer.

The affiliate first attracts them to her website with great quality content, usually reviews or how-to guides.

Once they become regular visitors or subscribe to your email newsletter, you can offer them the products.

The most important thing to note is that any product you offer the consumers has to be relevant to them. Or else you will hardly make any affiliate sales, no matter how cheap the products are.

4 – Affiliate Networks

These are companies that manage the affiliate programs of the numerous vendors. They manage to sign affiliates up, offer those tools and resources, and track all their affiliate activities.

Lots of companies usually prefer affiliate networks because it takes affiliate management off their desks, and instead gives them enough time to handle other important aspects of their businesses.

Whether you choose to run with a specific affiliate program or join a network, you still have to be paid.

How Affiliates Get Paid

All through this post, I have mentioned that an affiliate is paid a commission for every product sold. But that’s not the full picture because affiliates can earn in other ways.

Let’s highlight 3 of those ways through which affiliates get paid.

1 – Pay per Sale

This is the most common payment option used for affiliate programs. The affiliate promotes the vendor’s products; an interested person clicks on the affiliate link and makes a purchase.

The affiliate earns an agreed percentage of whatever the product costs.

2 – Pay per Lead

The affiliate is paid an agreed amount whenever a clearly defined action is completed.

Let’s say the action required is for a person, usually called the lead, to visit a particular website and fill out a form!

The affiliate’s task is to convince the readers to click the affiliate link and fill that form. And anytime someone follows the affiliate link to fill that form, the affiliate earns some money.

There are different types of actions that an affiliate’s audience is expected to complete. These may include filling a form, subscribing to an email newsletter, downloading an app, or taking an online survey.

3 – Pay per Click

This is a method where affiliates get paid for directing traffic from their website to the vendor’s website. For every person that clicks the affiliate link to visit the vendor’s website, the affiliate earns some money.

So you see, you could earn income as an affiliate in different ways. Apart from this, there are other reasons affiliate marketing should be your choice for a home business.

Affiliate Marketing Benefits

1 – Earn Money While Asleep

“Going” to work is a must if you must earn income to take care of your basic needs. Any day you do not show up for work, your employer will not pay you a dime.

In fact, you could get punished for not showing up at work. But with affiliate marketing, you could be receiving income even while you’re in bed.

All you need to do is invest energy, resources, and time to promote the affiliate offers you have. Once your promotion begins to gain traction, the income starts coming in even when you are involved in other activities.

2 – Convenience

This is a business model that allows you to decide your workdays, hours, and length.

No more waking up early to catch the train or the bus, or having to attend those boring meets that you find repulsive.

You are your own boss, so you can decide when, where, and how long you want to work.

3 – You Are Part of the Value Chain

Affiliate marketing isn’t all about looking for high paying offers or making a 7 figure income. It is about offering real value to all the people who visit your website regularly.

An Affiliate provides vital information that will help their audience in making the right decisions.

For instance, if you own a gadget review blog, you will be offering information that will guide your audience. You will be helping them save money, or avoid making the wrong purchase.

4 – Little or No Start-Up Cost

As an affiliate, the major cost you incur is domain name registration, web hosting, and internet subscription.

It is a business most people can start running because it doesn’t reply to a large amount of money to begin.

5 – Determine How Much To Earn

As you grow in this business, you can actually set targets on how much you want to earn monthly.

Unlike fixed income jobs that pay you the same amount every month. An affiliate can decide how much to earn by setting targets and working towards the targets.

I’ll like to tell you that you can earn 6 figure incomes by the second year of your affiliate business, but it’s not always so

You have to put in a lot of effort and time to achieve that kind of goal within your first 24 months. One of the first steps to take for a successful affiliate business is to build and engage your audience.

Different Marketing Channels to Promote Your Affiliate Business

Your affiliate website will need different traffic sources in order to keep the money coming in.

Apart from deploying SEO techniques and social media networks, there are other marketing channels you can use.

I – Guest Blogging

This channel lets you access the audience of other bloggers in your niche or industry.

You will have to reach an understanding with the host blogger. And once this is done, your content can be hosted so her audience can read them.

If the audience finds your content valuable, they are sure to reach out to you.

II – Influencers

Influencer marketing has been on a steady increase within the past few years.

An influencer is a person who has succeeded in building a large following. Influencers could be music artists, football players, sportsmen, and women, or entertainers.

Most influencers will charge you an amount in order to broadcast your content to their network of followers while you can reach an understanding with others, though this depends on your rapport.

Influencers can give your affiliate offers a big boost by simply posting your message to their networks.

III – Email List

Email lists comprise subscribers who may have signed up through your website. Maintaining an active email list is a great way to build and engage your audience.

Emails are great for sending messages to a large group of people, with just some mouse clicks.

Here is a powerful email platform that offers a 100% free membership

IV – Paid Search Ads

You can pay for ads on Google, and have your site displayed alongside particular keywords.

Also referred to as search engine marketing (SEM), this offers the opportunity to reach new audiences with your offers.

V – Ads Networks

Ad networks are company-owned platforms where advertisers and marketers buy and sell ad spaces.

You can also run budget-friendly ad campaigns through these networks.

Some Helpful Tips for Your Affiliate Business

  • The first thing you need to consider is building high-quality traffic to your website
  • Build constructive relationships with other affiliates, bloggers, influencers
  • Seek to provide value to your audience first, before asking them to purchase through you. Once you are able to build trust with your audience, they will support your business
  • Stay relevant in your industry by studying and learning the latest updates
  • Use as many marketing channels as possible for driving traffic to your affiliate website
  • When choosing products to promote, make sure the products are genuine and valuable to your audience
  • You can promote products of different vendors, or join different affiliate networks.


Affiliate marketing is one of the best business choices if you’re searching for a work from home job.

It does not require large sums of money before you can get your business started. As long as you have the cash to pay for domain name registration, web hosting, and internet subscription, you’re good to go.

You can determine your work hours, monthly income, and holidays as an affiliate. The information provided in this guide can help you kick off your own affiliate business, even right now.

Do you want to start an affiliate business with ease? With or without the knowledge of affiliate marketing, anyone can venture into this business and become a super affiliate in no time. The only community you ever need to accomplish your dream is Wealthy Affiliate University.

2 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing: How to Get Started”

  1. Hey Sierra,

    This is awesome article. You have clearly defined what is affiliate marketing and it’s benefits being an affiliate. Many people want to try a hand on this business model as online spending is growing tremendously. However, they might be clueless how to start an affiliate marketing and you have explained all the necessary steps in this guide.

    Having said that, it’s best to find a legit online training platform to learn and master the necessary skills. FYI, l learned my affiliate marketing skill with Wealthy Affiliate, and l strongly recommend business like-minded people to join this online training platform. Besides training, WA provides all the necessary tools to kick-start your online business. And also the millions of members within the WA community will help you to sail through the initial phase of your entrepreneurship journey.

    Great read.


    • Thanks for reaching out Chris! Oh, yes, affiliate marketing is a viral online business model that rewards you for promoting other people’s brand. And Wealthy Affiliate is truly one of the most recognized affiliate marketing communities in the entire industry and has members from all walks of life who are always willing to help you succeed online. Thanks again for stopping by.. Stop by anytime!


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