Affiliate Marketing: An Express Guide to Getting Started (2024)

This ultimate guide to affiliate marketing covers what it is, how it works, and how it can be used to make money online.
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More than 8 billion dollars have been spent in the United States for affiliate marketing only a few years ago, making this type of marketing one of the best ways to earn passive income in the 2020s.

So how do you get involved in this process and start make money online ?

It's not that hard to get started.

It does not require an inventory of physical products or too complicated knowledge in digital marketing.

Whether you are a publisher looking for best affiliate programs to join, or a brand looking to generate sales through affiliate marketing, this marketing channel can do wonders for your business (and revenue).

This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, how it works, and how you yourself can take advantage of this channel to earn a passive income this year.

Here's a quick affiliate marketing tutorial from my YouTube channel to get you started.

READ MORE >> Affiliate Marketing Or Dropshipping: Which Is Better?

Discover Affiliate Marketing

The Affiliate marketing is a popular concept in the online marketing world. But what exactly is it, and how does it work?

Definition of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a strategy where an individual recommends products or services and earns a commission each time a sale is made as a result of their recommendation.

  • It's an effective way for brands to drive sales using the power of recommendations.
  • Affiliates use a unique tracking link that allows businesses to see what sales are coming from their efforts.

The mechanisms behind this model are simple:

  • A visitor clicks on the publisher's affiliate link.
  • A cookie is then stored on his computer.
  • If the visitor makes a purchase within the time specified by the cookie (usually between 30 and 90 days), the publisher receives a commission.
How Affiliate Marketing Programs Work
Source: BigCommerce

Who are the Affiliates?

An affiliate, also known as a publisher, is someone who recommends products or services. It can be:

  • Un blogger who writes about specific topics.
  • Un YouTuber or vlogger featuring products in his videos.
  • A social media influencer.
  • Or anyone with an email list.

It is crucial for an affiliate to only promote products or services that they truly believe in. Affiliate marketing is not just about making money, but about providing value to your audience.

Why start affiliate marketing?

  • It is a source of additional income for editors.
  • This allows brands to touch a New audience.
  • It's one of the easiest ways to monetize an online platform.

If you're a publisher or a brand, affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for growth. For the publisher, it's a chance to share products they love and to benefit from them. For brands, it's a way to reach new potential customers through the power of recommendations.

Tip: To ensure authenticity, it is recommended that you only promote products that you have tested and approved.

History of Affiliate Marketing

Every invention has its own heritage, and affiliate marketing is no exception. This marketing strategy, which seems omnipresent today, has a humble but powerful origin.

William J. Tobin: The Pioneer

William J. Tobin

  • 1989 : William J. Tobin develops the affiliate marketing concept.
  • He launched his initiative with Prodigy Network for PC Flowers & Gifts.
  • En 1993, Tobin already saw a turnover of $6 million thanks to this method.

Based on the success of Tobin, the concept was patented in 1996 and officially recognized in 2000.

CDNOW and the BuyWeb Program

CDNOW BuyWeb Affiliate Program
  • En 1994, CDNOW presents BuyWeb.
  • The program allows music sites to redirect traffic to CDNOW for purchases, thus receiving A commission for each sale.

Amazon Associates: The Giant Comes On The Stage

Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program
Source: Amazon Associates
  • Although arriving later in 1996, Amazon Associates quickly became an iconic model in affiliate marketing.
  • The program offers a commission for each customer brought by an affiliate.

Even today, Amazon Associates remains a major force in the affiliate marketing universe.

The Revolution with Commission Junction and Clickbank

  • 1998 is marked by the entry of Commission Junction and Clickbank.
  • Founded by students and entrepreneurs, they offer a platform for affiliates and traders, leveling the playing field.
  • These platforms give smaller businesses the opportunity to benefit from affiliate marketing.

Today, Commission Junction and Clickbank are considered to be two of largest affiliate networks to the world.

To summarize, affiliate marketing, from its humble beginnings, has grown to become a dominant marketing strategy today. The key to its success? Continued collaboration and innovation. Whether you are an affiliate or a business, there is a wealth of opportunities to explore in this field.

Affiliate Marketing Types

Get started in the Affiliate marketing ? Knowing the different approaches is essential to maximizing your chances of success. Three main methods dominate the landscape, as defined by expert Patt Flynn.

PPC Affiliate Marketing (Pay-Per-Click)

PPC is the method where the publisher:

  • Does not have authority in the niche it promotes.
  • Base its efforts on the pay per click to generate traffic.
Builderall Review PPC Ad

Key features:

  • The editor is not Not the face of the brand it promotes.
  • Reliance on sources such as Google Ads or social media ads.
  • Benefit: No need to establish a deep relationship with the audience.
  • Disadvantage: Complete dependence on paid advertising.

While tempting, PPC can be risky without a solid strategy.

Related Affiliate Marketing

This method is adopted by those who:

  • Have a online presence.
  • Promote products without necessarily using them themselves.

Key features:

  • Placement of advertisements or links on the site or content.
  • Example: A food blogger promoting utensils that he does not personally use.
  • Benefit: Potentially lucrative if the commission is high.
  • Disadvantage: Risk of losing the trust of the audience if the product is not up to par.

Prudence is the mother of safety. Make sure the products match the needs of your audience.

Affiliate Marketing Involved

Here, the editor:

  • Has a relationship profound and authentic with the product or service.
  • Has personally used the product/service and can attest to this.

Key features:

  • Natural promotion in content.
  • Increased credibility because the publisher fully believes in the product.
  • Benefit: Often leads to high conversion rates.
  • Disadvantage: Requires real conviction and experience with the product.

This type is often the most beneficial because it is based on authenticity and mutual trust between the publisher and the audience.

To conclude, choosing the right method of Affiliate marketing is crucial. Make sure you adopt an approach that is aligned with your image and your audience to ensure a successful affiliate strategy.

Affiliate Marketing: Major Players

The world of affiliate marketing has evolved well. In the digital age, there are many ways for specialists to reach a wide audience. Let's discover the main players in this universe.


Affiliate Marketing Pioneers

The growing popularity of blogging offers an effective platform for affiliate marketing.

Source: Serious Eats
  • Ease of access : No initial investment required. A simple hosting like Bluehost is all it takes to get started.
  • Personalized niche : Whether you're talking about fitness, food, or education, the choice is yours.
  • Adapted promotion : Look for affiliate programs that are tailored to your niche to promote relevant products.
  • Helpful tools : Plugins can help personalize affiliate links.

The secret : SEO, link building and quality content strategy.


The Art of Converting via Video

YouTube offers a visual platform for affiliates.

How YouTube affiliate marketing works
  • Videos instead of articles : Create video content and convert viewers into customers.
  • Varied niche : Beauty, fitness, software... The choice is vast.
  • Affiliate links : Placed either in the video or in the description.

The trick : Learn SEO to rank your videos well and attract an audience.

Affiliate search

Search affiliates optimize traffic through paid advertising.

Search affiliate marketing example
  • Landing pages : Specific pages to direct traffic.
  • Paid advertising : An initial investment to attract visitors.

To watch : Make sure that affiliates are not outbidding on the same keywords as the merchant.

Exam sites

These sites provide detailed reviews to guide buyers.

Best CRM Software Review Post
  • Focus on a niche : Like kitchen appliances or gadgets.
  • Affiliate with Amazon : A popular platform for affiliates.

Key to success : Quality content for better conversions.

Coupon sites

Couponing has grown explosively in recent years.

Affiliate marketing coupon stie example
  • Benefits for brands : Increased traffic and sales.
  • Visibility on search engines : Coupon sites often dominate SERPs for related keywords.

Point to note : They can be very beneficial for brands while increasing revenue.

Email marketing

A proven strategy for affiliate marketing.

Traffic sources
  • Creating a list : Build your own traffic source.
  • Email marketing providers : Use tools like Moosend to manage your campaigns.

consultancy : Be sure to comply with the CAN-SPAM standard.

Web properties

High-volume sites that attract millions of visitors.

Affiliate marketing big web properties example -
  • Revenue models : Revenue sharing or CPA (cost per action).
  • Major example : Red Ventures, owner of numerous online brands.

Observation : These sites use a combination of affiliate links and ads to generate revenue.

In conclusion, the affiliate marketing offers a multitude of channels to reach a wide audience. Depending on your niche and your target audience, there is a platform adapted to your needs. Make sure you're opting for an authentic, customer-centric strategy to succeed in this fast-growing field.

Best Networks to Maximize Your Earnings

Let's demystify the world of affiliations together.

If you're determined to make money online as an affiliate marketer, knowing which networks are the most lucrative is critical.

These platforms act as intermediaries between product creators and affiliates, facilitating the process.

1. Shareasale

An affiliate network that has stood the test of time.

Shareasale affiliate marketing network
  • Extensive choice: Over 4800 merchants available.
  • Diversified compensation models: Payment per lead and per sale.
  • All slots covered: From e-business to health, there is something for everyone.

Shareasale offers rare diversity, making it a must-have option for all affiliates.

2. Clickbank

Place yourself at the heart of digital technology and discover a world of opportunities.

ClickBank affiliate marketing network
  • Rich offer: Marketplace for digital products and services.
  • Substantial payments: Over $4.2 billion in commissions paid.
  • Simple registration: Quickly create affiliate links and generate traffic.

Clickbank simplifies the connection between brands and affiliates. Whether you're a brand or an affiliate, Clickbank is a great place to start.

3. Commission Junction

Partner with world-renowned brands and maximize your commissions.

Commission Junction affiliate network
  • Gigantic: Pays approximately $1.8 billion per year in commissions.
  • Variety of brands: Over 3,000 merchants, including giants like Barnes and Noble and Lowe's.
  • Performance above all: Performance-based platform. Make sure you have stable traffic before you start.

If you're ready to play in the big league, Commission Junction is the platform for you.

4. Amazon Associates

Leverage the power of Amazon and win with every purchase.

Amazon Associates

  • Huge audience: 150 million Amazon Prime members.
  • Attractive commission: Between 6% and 10% depending on the product.
  • Effective reporting system: Track your performance with precision.

Amazon Associates offers a unique opportunity to monetize your audience, knowing that they are probably already buying on Amazon.

In summary: The world of affiliate marketing is vast, but choosing the right platforms will make your path to success much easier. Adapt your choice according to your niche and preferences and get started!

Essential Tips to Succeed as a Publisher

Affiliate marketing is a field that is constantly evolving, with considerable revenue potential. In this section, we'll break down the various steps you can take to succeed in affiliate marketing and understand how it can be a profitable business.

Finding Your Niche in Affiliate Marketing

Choosing a profitable niche is crucial for success in affiliate marketing.

  • Niche Choices: Research and select a niche that promises profitability.
  • Market analysis: Study trends, competitiveness, and identify your unique advantage.

The trick here is to think of your business as a business from the start and choose a niche accordingly.

Creating Quality and Attractive Content

Content is king in the affiliate marketing world. Your content should not only be informative but also engaging.

  • High quality: Ensure that the content you create is of the highest quality.
  • Public engagement: Use tools like BuzzSumo to find trending topics and create content that resonates with your audience.

Ultimately, every piece of content should educate and convert your audience while establishing your authority on the subject.

Know the Products or Services You Promote

Authenticity is essential in affiliate marketing.

  • Test and believe: Only promote products that you have tested or believe in.
  • Enthused: Your passion for products will go a long way; users can sense your enthusiasm.

Staying authentic and passionate will make your content more compelling.

Set Appropriate Goals and Expectations

Affiliate marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

How to set SMART marketing goals
  • SMART goals: Set realistic and achievable goals.
  • Avoid Exhaustion: Work your way forward in stages, avoiding exhaustion or disappointment.

Setting realistic goals from the start will help you maintain steady progress.

Always Refine, Test, and Optimize

Continuous improvement is the key to success in affiliate marketing.

  • Analyze and Test: Review what types of content work best and test different variations.
  • Optimize constantly: Learn from your powerful content and optimize continuously.

Understanding your audience and continuously adapting your content will keep you on the path to success.

In summary, succeeding in affiliate marketing requires careful planning, careful niche selection, quality content, authentic product knowledge, well-defined goals, and constant optimization.

With these key steps, you are well positioned to build a successful online business in the affiliate marketing world.

Affiliate Marketing Strategy for Brands

Boost your visibility with affiliate marketing is more than a necessity in a competitive digital world.

Google search for ecommerce platforms

So how do you maximize your success as a brand?

Affiliate marketing basics for brands

The approach brands take in affiliate marketing is not a mere coincidence. It is a real strategy to be everywhere without being everywhere.

  • Range extension : Affiliates amplify your message where the brand can't always be present.
  • SERP optimization : Being well positioned by quality affiliates is essential for SEO.

Affiliate marketing gives your brand considerable influence on SERPs, rooted in quality relationships and a well-designed affiliate program.

Optimization of the affiliate program

Having a program is good, managing it effectively is better.

  • Professional management : An affiliate manager or an agency can optimize your program.
  • Dedicated platforms : Tools like PartnerStack offer specialized support.

To remain competitive, centralize the management of your affiliate program while using the latest tools.

Recruiting and activating affiliates

A growing affiliate network is a sign of a growing brand.

  • Proactive recruitment : Expect to take the first step in attracting new affiliates.
  • Activation of sleepers : Wake up your inactive affiliates with incentives to boost sales.

Don't let your affiliate network stagnate. A proactive approach and commitment are essential to maintain momentum.

Engagement with your valuable affiliates

Maintain open and rewarding communication.

  • Regular dialogues : A constant exchange strengthens trust.
  • Competitive offers : Keep your best affiliates by offering them advantageous conditions.

The key is to create an ecosystem where your affiliates feel valued, listened to, and ready to collaborate over the long term.

In conclusion, the Affiliate marketing is a powerful lever for brands. Adopting a well-structured and scalable strategy guarantees not only better visibility but also sales growth and partner loyalty.


In this article, we've covered what affiliate marketing is and how beginners can get started, the different types of affiliate networks you can join, and tips for publishers and brands to generate sales through affiliate marketing.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with the information and resources you need to start taking advantage of the monetary benefits of affiliate marketing, whether as a publisher or as a brand.

And now it's your turn!

Good luck!

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