Affiliate Marketing Part 1 | How To Get Started

This is a 2 part article on Affiliate Marketing for the beginner as well as the more advanced Affiliate marketer.

In this first article I will be covering:

  • What Is Affiliate Marketing?
  • How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
  • How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
  • Why Start An Affiliate Marketing Business?
  • Common Types Of Affiliate Marketing Channels
  • Tips to Help You Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer

In Part Two, I will discuss:

  • Tips to Help You Become A Successful Affiliate Marketer
  • What Affiliate Marketing Strategies Should You Employ?
  • Benefits To Joining the BigCommerce Affiliate Program
  • What To Look For When Joining An Affiliate Company


If your like many people you have a job.  Now correct me if this does not describe a typical go to work job:

Affiliate Marketing

                 Waking up

You wake up at an ungodly hour. In most cases, the sun has just started stream in the window.  Sleepy eyed, you shower and get dressed. Still half asleep, you make your way to the kitchen and if your lucky enough make a cup of coffee or tea.  If you have a family, you get the kids ready and off to school.  If it’s Winter, and you live in snowy states, you may have to clean the drive of snow.  If not, you start the car and back out of the drive along with all your neighbors.

Here’s the problem:  Just like you, there are hundreds even thousands of others who have just back out of the drive.  Like every other day, you are now in Traffic, Stop Lights, Stop Signs.  In the big cities, you are probably in a Traffic gridlock, streets jammed with other half-asleep commuters wishing they were at home in bed.

You finally make your way to your work.  You park the car in the same place as you did yesterday and walk to your office as you did yesterday.  By now you NEED another cup of coffee to calm your nerves.

You now begin to Slog through email after mind-numbing email.  The boss needs something or you are working on your daily task just like yesterday.  LUNCH.  You either work through lunch or take your lunch break as the company is gratis to give you.

Back to work and waiting for your release at five o’clock.  Another day well done!!


Remember the morning drive?  Your doing it again this afternoon.  Gridlock, rude drivers, stop lights, heat of the day or cold.

Your home, tired and remember you have to do it all over tomorrow!

Affiliate Marketing

              Morning Commute

Sounds terrible doesn’t it?

I did that for 12 years and every year it got worst with more drivers.

If you ride the train or transit, replace the drive with crowed commuters, maybe add a taxi or bus.

FUNNY NOTE:  While in college, one of my professors said, “If you drive more than 15 minutes to work…either move closer or get a new job.”  

Of course that does not work today.  The average commute is over 50 minutes one way and in some cities HOURS?

What if, instead of dealing with the monotony and stupor of the job rat race to earn a few bucks, work 40 or more hours per week and 48 or more years, only get 2 weeks vacation an 10 days of sick leave, a boss, co-workers, possible lay-offs or the popular “down sizing” and retire on social security or hoping you made enough in your savings to retire…What if  you could make money any time, from anywhere — even while you sleep? (Don’t plan on that just yet)

That’s the concept behind affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a popular tactic to drive sales and generate significant online income. Extremely beneficial to both the company and affiliate marketers. The new push towards less traditional marketing tactics has paid off. In fact:

  • 81% of brands and 84% of publishers leverage the power of affiliate marketing, a statistic that will continue to increase as affiliate marketing spending increases every year in the United States.
  • There is a 10.1% increase in affiliate marketing spending in the United States each year, meaning that by 2020, that number will reach $6.8 billion.
  • In 2018, content marketing costs were gauged to be 62% of traditional marketing schemes while simultaneously generating three times the leads of traditional methods. In fact, 16% of all orders made online can be attributed to the impact of affiliate marketing.
  • In March of 2017, Amazon’s affiliate structure changed, offering rates of 1-10% of product revenue for creators, providing the opportunity for affiliates to dramatically increase their passive income based on the vertical they’re selling on.
  • The affiliate marketing of Jason Stone, otherwise known as Millionaire Mentor, was responsible for as much as $7 million in retailer sales just in the months of June and July in 2017.

Pretty amazing statists.

Affiliate marketing has been stated as:  “The perfect home based business!”

Let’s answer the question:

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

If you are new or just beginning, “Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate (you and me) earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate (you and me)  simply searches for a product they enjoy (Niche), then promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.”

Affiliate Marketing

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Because affiliate marketing works by spreading the responsibilities of product marketing, it manages to leverage the abilities of a variety of individuals for a more effective marketing strategy while providing affiliates with a share of the profit. To make this work, three different parties must be involved:

  1. Seller and/or  product creators
  2. The affiliate or advertiser
  3. The buyer or customer

Let’s look at the relationship these three parties share to ensure affiliate marketing is a successful business.

1. Seller and/or product creators.

The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, personal products, games, toys, household products,  automotive or a service.  The company or seller may also known as the brand. The seller doesn’t need to be actively involved in the affiliate marketing, but they may be the advertiser.  Both will profit (the company makes profit, the affiliate makes a commission) from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.

As an example:  An affiliate markets Addis shoes.  When a buyer purchases the Addis shoes from the affiliate’s website, both Addis and the affiliate make money.

2. The affiliate or advertiser.

The affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product to potential buyers. In other words, the affiliate promotes/advertises the product to persuade buyer that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the buyer does end up purchasing the product, the affiliate receives a portion or commission of the revenue made.

Affiliates (you and me) often have a very specific audience or Avatar to whom they market, generally adhering to that audience’s interests. This creates a defined niche or personal brand that helps the affiliate attract buyers who will be most likely to act on the promotion.

3. The Buyer/Customer

Whether the buyer knows it or not, they, and their purchases are the drivers of affiliate marketing. Affiliates share these products with them on social media, like Facebook, YouTube, Blogs, and websites.  The buyer/customer has the ability to purchase these products from the affiliates’ social media ads or blog articles.

When buyers purchases the product, the seller and the affiliate share the profits. Sometimes the affiliate will choose to be upfront with the buyer by disclosing that they are receiving commission for the sales they make. Most of the time the buyer may be completely oblivious to the affiliate marketing infrastructure behind their purchase.

Either way, they will rarely pay more for the product purchased through affiliate marketing; the affiliate’s share or commission is included in the retail price. The consumer will complete the purchase process and receive the product as normal, unaffected by the affiliate marketing system in which they are a significant part.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

Affiliate Marketing

How does an affiliate marketer get paid?

As explained, affiliate marketers get paid a commission upon the sale of a products from the seller or company.  The affiliate’s advantage is an inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually owning a product.

Affiliate marketing has an undeniable draw for those looking to increase their income by simply finding customers online.

But how does an affiliate (you and me) get paid after linking the customer to the seller? The answer is not complicated.

The potential buyer doesn’t always need to buy the product for the affiliate to receive a commission. Depending on the affiliate company program, the

affiliate may get paid in various ways:

  • Pay-per-sale
  • Pay-per-lead
  • Pay-per-click

Let’s examine each of these pay programs:

1. Pay-per-sale.

This is the standard affiliate marketing structure and the one most used. The Pay-per-sale program, the seller or company pays the affiliate a percentage (commission) of the sale price of the product after the buyer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, you and I make money each time a sale is made from our marketing activities.

2. Pay-per-lead.

Some may think this is a more complex system, it operates much like the Pay-per-sale.  In the Pay-per-lead program the affiliate directs the potential buyer to the company or sellers’ website.  The affiliate persuade the buyer to visit the merchant’s website and complete a desired action —it could be filling out a contact form, signing up for a trial of a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading software or files.  When the buyer completed the action, the affiliate receives a commission for the referral.

As you can see, no actual product is sold…the company receives a lead in which they can market their products to a potential buyer.

3. Pay-per-click.

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically. It is SEO or Keyword intensive.  The affiliate directs the buyer from their website to the merchant’s site much like Pay-per-lead.  The affiliate is paid based upon the increased traffic to the company’s website.

Why Should You Look At Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing

Why be an affiliate marketer?

There are many reasons to become an affiliate marketer.  So why should you look at affiliate marketing as a business?  There are 10 easy reasons, not to mention the problem in the Introduction:  Commuting to your job.

  • Passive income
  • No customer support
  • Work from home
  • Low cost start-up
  • Convenient and flexible
  • Performance based rewards (unlimited income)
  • No employees
  • No product to develop
  • Tax advantages (check with your accountant)
  • Set your own hours

Now let examine each of the 10 reasons why you should develop an affiliate business.

1. Passive income.

While a “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money every day 365 days a year.  By investing an initial amount of time into a marketing campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as customers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished your marketing campaign. Even when you’re not working, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.

2. No customer support.

Sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their customers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased. Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the customer to the seller. The seller deals with any customer issues.

3. Work from home.

If you’re someone who hates going to the office, affiliate marketing is the perfect solution. You’ll be able to launch campaigns and receive an income from the products that sellers create while working from the comfort of your own home. This is a job you can do without ever getting out of your pajamas.

4. Low cost start-up.

Franchises and brick and mortar business require large start-up fees.  However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much cost.  In some cases, there are no affiliate program fees and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of business is relatively straightforward.

5. Convenient and flexible.

Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, your own working hours, where you want to work and taking days off when you feel so inclined. Choose any products that interest you to promote. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as a boss and ill-performing teams.

6. Performance-Based rewards (unlimited income).

With a jobs, you could work 40-50-80’s hour week and still earn the same salary. Affiliate marketing is purely based on your performance. “You’ll get from it what you put into it.” Honing your marketing skills and writing engaging blog campaigns will translate to direct improvements in your income. You’ll finally get paid for the outstanding work you do!

7. No Employees

Owning a franchise or brick and mortar business normally requires employees.  Finding good employees is a big challenge.  Keeping good employees is a big challenge.  Then you have to deal with paying the employees, accounting, taxes, time off, vacations, sick days, and even showing up for work.  Affiliate marketing requires no employees unless you want to “off load” some of your responsibilities to someone else.  It is your choice.

8. No product to develop

With no product development, you can spend quality time locating a niche product your interested in to promote.  Promote that product or products and receive a commission.  On the flip side, you may have a product you want to promote.  A product you developed ie:  Ebook, software, physical product, you promote that product using your marketing skills.

9. Tax advantage

Taxes and operating a business, especially a home based business can be a topic of confusion.  The following is for information only.  I’m not a tax professional therefore, please contact a professional such as a tax attorney or a tax adviser.  With that out of the way, there are many advantages in operating a business and a home business.  If you operate a business out of your home, you maybe able to deduct a portion of your mortgage with a dedicated room on your income tax, including utilities.  If you entertain, you should be able to deduct the expenses.  Use of a vehicle and gas could be deducted.  Product cost for resale is also a deductible expenses.  There are other deductions available, however the best advice is to contact a professional as this is in no way legal advice.

10. Set your own hours

When you have a business you can set your own hours in which to conduct business.  Affiliate marketing is a great example of this advantage.  You can operate the business out of your home or anywhere you want.  Your hours of operation is completely up to you.  If your used to a 9-5 job, you may want to operate 9-5.  Many successful affiliate marketers operate their business 4-5-6 hours from the comfort of their home.  The hours is up to you as well as the number of day.  Want to work 4 days a week from 10-3?  Do it!  Want to work more or less…Do it.  it’s your business.

Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels

Most affiliates share common practices to ensure that their audience is engaged and receptive to purchasing promoted products. But not all affiliates advertise the products in the same way. In fact, there are several different marketing channels they may leverage.

1. Experienced Marketers.

Experienced marketers is an individual who holds the power to impact the purchasing decisions of a large segment of the population. This person is in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing. They already boast an impressive following, so it’s easy for them to direct customers to the seller’s products through social media posts, blogs, and other interactions with their followers. The experienced marketer then receive a share of the profits (commission) they helped to create.

2. Bloggers.

With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries (SEO), bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger may samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic to the seller’s site. The blogger is rewarded with a commission from the seller upon the sales that are made.  This is done in various ways such as mentioned above “How Does Affiliate Marketers Get Paid.”

3. Paid search focused microsites.

Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.

4. Email lists.

Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the customer purchases the product. Another method is the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.

5. Large media websites.

Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions. These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual affiliate links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.


In part 1 of “Affiliate Marketing What It Is and How To Get Started”, you saw the many advantages.  First affiliate marketing is really easy to start.  Second, you can start on shoestring budget or no money to start.  Fourth, you can set your business up in the way your most comfortable with:  pay-per-sale, pay-per-click and pay-per-lead.  Fifth, you may qualify for tax advantages.  And Sixth, you can operate your business Anywhere, Anytime and on your own schedule.

Affiliate marketing advantage is starting part-time making a good income before going full-time.  In either a part-time or full-time income, affiliate marketing can be operated from your home.  You don’t own the product, you only market the product.  You don’t have to worry about shipping, returns, complaints or in most cases collecting the money.

Affiliate marketing has been stated as:  “The perfect home based business!”

Click Here To Access Part 2 of Affiliate Marketing and How To Get Started

My Top Advice If You Want To Become An Affiliate Marketing Success Story

Have patience! That is my #1 tip for those that want to become their own affiliate marketing success story. You have to be patient. This is a business just like any other businesses. Most small businesses take, a few years to truly start turning a profit.  Affiliate marketing absolutely is a legitimate business that can earn you well into the 6 or even 7 figures, but you should not expect that to happen without months, if not years of hard work and consistent effort.

The vast majority of affiliate marketers never find success simply because they give up. Most people are very motivated in the first few weeks, but then life gets in the way, other things take priority, and affiliate marketing businesses become deserted and goes nowhere.

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About the Author


Bill Fletcher is a long time marketer and coach. My goal is to help anyone who is interested in building a business through a systematic approach to success. Affiliate Marketing 100 will guide you with the help of some of the best articles and coaching program available anywhere. We train you in all categories of business building and success management.

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