Learn what is online Affiliate Marketing and how does it work. Affiliate Marketing is a process when you earn a commission by ADVERTISING (or promoting) product(s) of a company or an individual. When company or an individual sells the product, YOU as an Affiliate (or a partner) will earn a commission.
Affiliate Marketing means advertising the product or service!
What this means is that all you have to do is to draw customers to manufacturer’s website or online store. When they sell product, merchants will reward you for your efforts by spreading the word about them and their products or services and of course, by helping them SELL the products.
The beauty of Affiliate Marketing is that brands allow you to promote and earn commission from ALL items they are selling on their platforms or their E-Commerce stores.
There are MILLIONS of products you can sell just by looking at websites such as Ebay, Clickbank or Amazon where people list their products with their offer of commission from each sale that you make for them. You can join Affiliate programs with many niches like Ebay or Amazon or you can join individual Affiliate programs.
What is Online Affiliate Marketing?
Online Affiliate Marketing is the relationship between three parties:
ADVERTISER (also known as the ‘MERCHANT, RETAILER OR BRAND’), THE PUBLISHER (also known as the affiliate-YOU), and THE CUSTOMER (also known as the ‘consumer’ or someone who buys a product).
ADVERTISER OR MERCHANT is a company or a brand that is selling products like digital downloads, electronics, movies, music, beauty, clothes, home and gardening tools, you name it. There are many online merchants / brands that have their own affiliate programs.
The most popular advertiser (or affiliate network) on the Internet with millions of products selling every day is AMAZON. You have probably heard of Amazon. Here is a screenshot below…
Let’s talk about Amazon for a second. Amazon is the biggest online merchant or advertiser with nearly 200 million products you can promote and sell (TWO HUNDRED FREAKIN’ MILLION). Now imagine this: Only one single product out of this 200 million can give you an opportunity to earn amazing income as an affiliate marketer. ONE! As you can see, there is literally endless number of products you can promote as an affiliate just from Amazon.
But that is just a drop in the ocean. Besides Amazon, there are THOUSANDS of affiliate programs online. Are you interested in dancing? Fishing? Dog training? Painting? Fitness? You can find either individual affiliate programs or big online stores like Amazon, EBay, or ClickBank for every possible product you can imagine.
You as a PUBLISHER will be rewarded by a company for every sale they make through your link or unique ID/Code from your website, because you are helping to spread the word about company and the products they offer.
What do you need to do to promote products from Merchants?
If you want to promote products from merchants/brands, you have to SIGN-UP in their affiliate programs. But you need to see if you are eligible to participate in Affiliate program, because some affiliate programs are suited only for US / Canadian citizen (but it is very rare).
How the merchants know that the product sale came from you?
When you join an Affiliate Program, you will receive unique code or ID that will be included in promotional materials. Visitors will click on these links from your promotional material with your unique ID, and when a customer purchases product through your link / gateway, merchants will know you were his referral, and they will pay you commission for every sale you make. It is as simple as that.
To make life easier for you, companies will provide promotional material like banners, text ads, splash pages etc. , so they will know that the sale came from you. Next screenshot will show you how your unique ID is included in banner.
Affiliate Marketing business model has many advantages
Once again, Affiliate Marketing is all about ADVERTISING AND PROMOTING products from merchants. So, besides earning money from the comfort of your home, let’s see what other benefits you have as an Affiliate Marketer…
- Affiliate programs are free to join. All you have to do is to provide your personal details
- You don’t have to create the product or own online store to earn money with Affiliate Marketing
- You don’t have to deal with product shipping, or packing of the product. It is all taken care of by the merchant
- You don’t have to deal with customer support or deal with complaints from customers, it is also taken care of by the merchant
- You can reach people from all over the world very easily. Number of worldwide Internet users is nearly 3 BILLION (that is nearly 40% of the entire population on the planet)
- You can create an extraordinary full-time passive income and Internet business with Affiliate Marketing
The most popular Affiliate Networks (merchants/retailers)
They are the most popular E-Commerce site in the world with 200 million products and they are extremely reputable brand, founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos.
So far, Amazon has 15 localized storefronts: (Amazon.com (USA), .com.mx (Mexico), .ca (Canada) – North America, Amazon.cn (China), .in (India), .co.jp (Japan), com.sg (Singapore) – Asia, Amazon.fr (France), .de (Germany), .it (Italy), nl (Netherlands), .es (Spain), .co.uk (United Kingdom) – Europe, Amazon.com.au – Australia and Amazon.com.br – Brazil.) You need to have a website before applying to their affiliate program. You can check out their affiliate program called Amazon Associates here:
Clickbank is one of the largest online retailers, formed in 1998. Clickbank is mostly focused on digital products and goods like e-books, videos and tutorials, software, membership sites etc. Clickbank has more than 6 million products. The reason why Clickbank is popular among affiliates is huge commission percentage per sale (50-75%). You can take a look at their info affiliate page here:
3. CJ (Commission Junction or CJ Affiliate by conversant)
Commission Junction is an Affiliate marketplace where you can earn commission by promoting thousands of items from hundreds of affiliate programs. They have many more than 3000 Affiliate programs to choose from. 60% of the top 500 retailers that use 3rd affiliate marketing party are powered by CJ (Apple is one of them). Before applying to their affiliate program you need to have a website. CJ Affiliate program is located here…
ShareAsale is an Affiliate network and they have nearly 4000 Affiliate programs. As you can see there is a lot of things you can promote and earn handsome commissions. They have excellent reputation and they are respected within Affiliate Marketing industry. Their affiliate programs span in more than 40 different categories. You can even choose a category to preview a selection of merchant programs before you join their affiliate program. See screenshot below.
Affiliate networks you may not be familiar with
FlexOffers.com is an award winning affiliate marketing network. They have 12 000 advertisers. They offer fast payments to their affiliates and you can also earn more money with their special FlexRev-$hare program, and with that program you can refer as many publishers as possible and earn up to 50% of the FlexOffers.com profit. There is no limit how many publishers you can refer. You can visit their website and check out their affiliate programs by clicking on the link below…
2. SFI Marketing group
They are one of the oldest (and the most interesting) programs on the Internet and in 2018 they will celebrate 20th birthday. In 2009 they launched big online store called Tripleclicks. Besides nearly 100 000 products you can promote, you can also earn money by promoting Pricebenders penny auctions, games/contests etc.
They also offer possibility of earning money with team building (up to 12 generations), E-Commerce associate program (if you refer an ECA to Tripleclicks online store you earn 10% lifetime commissions from every sale they make) and they have lots of payment options. You can read SFI Marketing group review on my website under the “SFI Marketing group” section.
They exist since 2006 and they are one of the most popular digital affiliate networks on the Internet (besides Clickbank). However, Avangate is an Affiliate network that is mostly focused on software and online services market like subscriptions, B2B (Business to busines), gaming sofware, educational software and Saas software.
For those of you who don’t know what Saas means, it is basically ‘Software as a service’ which means that users subscribe to a specific software (whether it is gaming or antivirus software) on a monthly basis instead of traditional software which is buying the software and installing it on their computer.
You can earn up to 75% commissions with Avangate when you sell a product. As an Affiliate you can also create your own coupons to gain trust with your customers. They have more than 4000 merchants and some of the most popular merchants that are powered by Avangate are Kaspersky, BitDefender, HP software etc. So if your niche and interest is in the online services and software, this program is ideal for you. Check out their website by clicking on the link below…
How affiliate programs pay commission to their affiliates?
There are 3 payment methods…
- Pay Per Sale (PPS) – This is the most common method of payment. When a customer buys a product, and when the purchase is complete, merchant will pay you percentage of the sale price. Of course, you will receive more commissions from the products that are more expensive.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) – This is the method of payment where advertisers pay a fee to affiliates when they get redirected to merchant’s website through affiliate’s promotional materials. You can think of this method as buying visits to particular website. To choose this method of payment, you need to have some experience in Internet Marketing. Wealthy affiliate has special training section for creating successful PPC campaign, but I suggest that you avoid this method when you are starting out. PPS payment method is the best option for starters.
- Pay Per Lead – Affiliate is paid when somebody who is redirected to merchant’s website completes subscription form for newsletters, trial offers etc.
What are the most common payment options for affiliates?
Here are the most common payment options from the merchants / affiliate programs I am most familiar with!
- Direct deposit – you must have minimum $10 on your account
- Gift Certificate – total amount due must be at least $10
- Check – total amount due must be at least $100
ClickBank (you can select your own minimum payment threshold, but it has to be minimum $10)
- Direct deposit
Commission Junction (CJ) (minimum payment threshold $50)
- Direct deposit
- Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard: you can use it anywhere MasterCard is accepted; online, at stores, for purchases to grow your business or for cash withdrawals from ATMs worldwide. (more info here).
ShareAsale (minimum payment threshold $50)
- Direct deposit
- Payoneer MasterCard
- Check (USA only – minimum payment threshold $25)
- Direct deposit (USA only – minimum payment threshold $50)
- PayPal (non US residents only – minimum payment threshold $100)
- Wire Transfer (Non-USA only – minimum payment threshold $5000)
SFI Marketing group
- TripleClicks MasterCard from Payoneer (more info here)
- Check (minimum payment threshold $50)
- ACH Direct deposit
- PayPal (minimum payment threshold $20)
Avangate (minimum month target of 100 EURO has to be reached)
- Wire Transfer
- Avangate Prepaid MasterCard
Affiliate Marketing is NOT the same thing as MLM (multi-level or network marketing).
Many people confuse Affiliate Marketing with MLM, and they think they are the same thing. But nothing can be further from the truth. They are completely different business models.
MLM business model is legitimate (kind of) but controversial. MLM is based on recruiting people to pay top players within the company while others struggle to even cover basic monthly costs. Another thing I don’t like about MLM companies is that you must pay and purchase various kits and promotional materials in order to sell it to another customers.
Oh, and yes, many MLM companies will create a false propaganda of luxurious lifestyle with expensive cars, yachts and villas. They will claim that you can live like a rock star if you join their company. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a big joke to me.
While there are some legitimate MLM companies out there, I do not recommend MLM business model to anyone. Please read my post Multi Level Marketing Vs Pyramid Scheme.
How to find suitable affiliate program
#1. Search engines: Go to your favorite search engine (whether it is Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.). Than type ‘niche+affiliate program’. For example, let’s say that I want to find DIET affiliate programs in Google search engine. I will simply type DIET+AFFILIATE PROGRAM.
As you can see, when you type ‘DIET’ in Google search engine, you can see some diet programs like ‘THE 3 WEEK DIET’, ‘DIET TO GO’, ‘DIET.COM’ etc. There are over 2 000 000 results for the term ‘DIET’. Many of them are INDIVIDUAL which means they are not tied to any affiliate network.
#2.: Join Affiliate programs / network with a lot of niches. Let’s talk again about Amazon. They have 200 million products. With 200 million products they cover absolutely EVERY NICHE YOU CAN IMAGINE.
You can also type the word ‘DIET’ into Amazon search engine and you can see more than 370 000 terms (or niche ideas) for ‘DIET’ alone.
So, the choice is yours. You can work with individual Affiliate programs or you can choose merchants like Amazon, Ebay that have nearly all niches you can think of.
The best choice is to choose Affiliate program with bigger commissions. You can do some research about commissions from other affiliate programs / networks. For example, as a ClickBank affiliate, you can get up to 75% commission on all sales.
You can also type something more specific + affiliate program in the search engines. I will use the niche ‘horse training+affiliate program’ as an example.
As you can see, there are many affiliate programs out there for anything you can imagine (thousands of them). There are also many INDEPENDENT affiliate programs online, which means they are not tied to any affiliate network like Clickbank, Rakuten, FlexOffers etc.
Usually, independent affiliate programs pay HIGHER commission when you promote & sell their products.
So don’t tie yourself to ANY affiliate network or program. There is big opportunity even outside the most popular affiliate networks.
SPECIAL NOTE: Before you join ANY affiliate network or program (especially Amazon), it is highly recommended that you learn how to build a website and have your niche website up and running. Affiliate programs will probably NOT approve you without a website, because they want to see that your website or blog is relevant to whatever you are promoting.
Some affiliate programs do not necessarily require a website (like SFI marketing group), but majority of them will reject you without a website.
If you are intimidated with the fact that you need to have a website, you don’t have to be. You don’t need any knowledge about programming and coding, because website building platforms have drastically evolved in the past decade. Nowadays, you can build a website with few clicks, even if you never built a website before.
If you want to learn how to write good content and great reviews, my biggest recommendation is to join Wealthy Affiliate and begin with training. It is completely free to get started.
Until you decide to join Wealthy Affiliate, you can encourage yourself and build your first free website. You can do that in 1 minute. Please read my post How to build website free in 30 seconds or less about free Siterubix website builder (powered by Wealthyaffiliate.com).
Another beauty of Affiliate marketing
You already know that primary objective with affiliate marketing is to refer customers to merchant’s store of your choice for products that you are promoting on your niche website.
But here comes the best part.
You will earn a commission even if your customer doesn’t buy the exact product that you promote on your website. If you refer a customer to merchant’s online store, you will earn a commission for ANY product that he buys within ANY niche.
Are you still confused?
For example, let’s say that I have created a niche website where I promote Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Premium Kids Headphones. (I took Amazon as an example).
First scenario: Customer reads review or information about this particular product on your website, joins Amazon (through promotional materials with your unique code or ID), and finally, buys that product. This item costs $97.61. You will earn 6% commission ($5.85), because Amazon pays 6% fee for headphones.
Second scenario: Customer reads review or information about this particular product on your website, joins Amazon (through promotional materials with your unique code or ID) and for some reason Elk Ridge ER928 Kitchen 15 Piece Knife Set captures his attention. Instead of buying Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Premium Kids Headphones (product that you originally promoted on your website), he decides to buy Elk Ridge ER928 Kitchen 15 Piece Knife Set.
Will you still earn a commission? Absolutely, because he joined Amazon from your website through promotional materials where your unique AFFILIATE ID is included. This product costs $75.10. You will earn $3.37 as an affiliate because Amazon pays 4.50% fee for kitchen products.
Third and the best possible scenario: customer decides to buy both products. You earn commission for both products.
Customer can buy even more products, and you will earn commission for everything that he buys when he joins Amazon through your affiliate link.
Amazon has millions of products. You have a HUGE potential you have if you become affiliate marketer. Remember, Amazon is just 1 merchant with affiliate program. There are thousands of merchants on the Internet, and thousands of affiliate programs.
SPECIAL NOTE: 3 scenarios I have described above apply for ALL affiliate programs (both affiliate networks or individual affiliate programs).
If you become Wealthy Affiliate premium member, you owe to yourself to watch 2 brilliant live video classes called ‘BEING AN AMAZON AFFILIATE’ and ‘BEING A NON-AMAZON AFFILIATE’.
Do not try this alone!
Affiliate Marketing business model is not that hard to understand. However, one big mistake is that people jump into affiliate marketing thinking they’ll be making money on the internet in the first week or month and live happily ever after. But nothing can be further from the truth.
Is Affiliate Marketing worth your time? Absolutely, if you are willing to do the work.
What is online Affiliate Marketing? I will tell you right now what online Affiliate Marketing is not! Affiliate marketing is not GET RICH QUICK scheme of any kind. It will require work and dedication, especially if you do not have experience.
Affiliate marketing can be great stream of passive income, but the most important thing is that you need to have fun with it.
If you want to become successful in affiliate marketing, you need to follow some rules and steps in order to become successful. And this rules and steps WILL take some time to achieve.
It takes proper training and guidance to get started no matter what affiliate program you’re using. You need to surround yourself with experts within the industry.
If you want to become successful affiliate marketer, my biggest recommendation is to join Wealthy Affiliate training university (read my review first) and if you don’t like what you see, feel free to walk away. It is free to get started! Within Wealthy Affiliate training platform you will learn many valuable things.
- You will learn what is a niche and what is a niche website (niche is something that you love – hobby or passion)
- You will learn how to build your first free website
- You will learn what is a Keyword research
- You will learn how to write great content and text on posts and pages
- You will learn how to write quality reviews of the products you like
- You will learn how to choose Affiliate program (there are thousands of affiliate programs online)
You will receive help from top Wealthy Affiliate earners and ambassadors within the community. I highly recommend Wealthy Affiliate university to everyone, especially if you are newbie (and if you already have experience in making money online).
Is Wealthy Affiliate university a scam? Maybe you are skeptical about Wealthy Affiliate, and you probably think Wealthy Affiliate is just another scheme. But nothing can be further from the truth.
If you have questions about affiliate marketing, post a comment below. I will be more than happy to reply.