What is Affiliate Marketing? + The Best Strategies to Start in 2023

With the rapid growth of technology, people are finding new ways to earn money.

The term “passive income” is becoming more common as new possibilities to monetize content or online platforms are discovered. 

One of the most popular methods for generating passive income is affiliate marketing.

This article will teach you how affiliate marketing works and how to do it successfully. 

We’ll explain affiliate marketing terminology, possible marketing channels, and their pros and cons.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of referring a company’s products or services to a larger audience on a website or other platform. 

To do this, the affiliate seller adds a link to the page of the product in question to its content and the latter will receive a commission for each successful purchase.

Knowing Affiliate Marketing Terminology

There are several terminologies that you must learn before becoming an affiliate marketer. 

Make sure you understand these terms to avoid future confusion.

Affiliate Marketer

An affiliate marketer or affiliate partner can be anyone. 

However, they are typically bloggers or content creators familiar with a specific product industry. 

The affiliate promotes a company’s products, services, or brand by including affiliate links in its online content.

Affiliate Link

A unique affiliate link redirects visitors to a product or service page. 

Contains the affiliate’s ID or username, which allows the merchant to know where the traffic is coming from.

These links track the IPs of the referred users and validate the purchases. 

The amount of money that the merchant will pay to an affiliate is based on the data recorded by the affiliate links.

Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate marketing programs are associations of companies that give their members commissions for referring their products.

Joining an affiliate program is relatively easy. 

Many Companies have a dedicated program that allows you to become a direct affiliate. 

If you prefer not to join directly, you can always find a suitable program through an affiliate network.

Affiliate Networks

Companies that do not have enough resources to run their own affiliate program often join an affiliate network.

An affiliate network provides a database of available merchants, making it easy for affiliate merchants to search for opportunities.

It also gives merchants access to a large pool of affiliates. 

Merchants will have access to helpful affiliate management tools such as payment processing, refund processing, tracking, and reporting.

ShareASaleClickBank, and CJ are some of the most popular affiliate networks.


A niche is a specific interest or topic that allows you to narrow down a target audience. 

It is essential to choose a relevant niche for your audience with good monetization potential.


Compared to other channels, affiliate marketing offers merchants a higher ROI since it is based on performance. 

That is, they only pay for real customers instead of just visits.

Because of this, when several affiliates are involved in the same transaction, it can be quite complicated. 

You might even have cases where other affiliates claim a commission for clients brought in by other affiliates at the last minute.

A good affiliate program will offer multi-channel attribution to ensure that the affiliates who provide the most value receive the highest payout.

Some of the most common types of payment methods used by merchants are:

  • CPS (Cost Per Sale – cost per sale): you will receive a fixed fee per sale or a percentage of the value of the product or service.
  • CPL (Cost Per Lead – cost per potential client): you will receive a payment for each validated potential client.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click – cost per click): You will receive a payment for driving traffic to the merchant’s site through ad clicks.
  • CPA (Cost Per Action – cost per action): you will receive a payment when users complete the actions you advertise (by filling out forms or surveys).

What are Affiliate Marketing Channels?

Affiliate marketing businesses have different channels and methods. 

In this section, we’ll look at five different types of affiliate marketing to consider and how they work.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing refers to the activity of partnering with influential personalities online to promote products and services. 

This includes the use of paid advertising or an affiliate system.

This is a very popular internet marketing strategy because influencers have an established audience that trusts their opinions. 

About 38% of customers trust the opinions of influencers before buying things on the Internet.

These influencers can use any platform or social media to share affiliate links. 

Most use Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.

Therefore, partnering with internet influencers is great for promoting products to a younger audience. 

Companies can use various content for their affiliate campaigns.


Affiliate marketing is one of the ways bloggers monetize their content. 

Creating blog posts is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to start your journey as an affiliate marketer. 

All you have to do is get web hosting and use WordPress to start your blog.

For new affiliate marketers on a budget, start with free blogging platforms like Tumblr

However, this option is less favorable if you plan to scale your blog in the future.

You can start by writing about the topics that interest you. 

Over time, you can branch out into other topics to attract more audiences.

Some popular types of affiliate blogs are product review sites, comparisons, and list articles. 

However, you are not limited to these options when it comes to creating profitable written content online.

An excellent example of an affiliate blog is The New York Times Wirecutter.

To be successful, make sure your blog posts provide useful information and are relevant to your target audience.


According to Cisco, 82% of global Internet traffic in 2022 will come from streaming and downloading videos. 

It makes sense for affiliate marketers to use video content to generate leads.

Today, video content creators have several options when it comes to platforms. 

YouTube is the recommended site if you prefer long-form videos. 

This video hosting giant is said to get 1 billion hours of watch time daily, giving you a great opportunity to gain an audience.

YouTube allows creators to share affiliate links in the video description or within the video itself using annotations. 

The only downside to this platform is that you will have more competitors depending on the topic you choose.

For their part, affiliate marketers who prefer shorter videos can use social networks like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok

As short videos have grown in popularity in recent years, they can be a great opportunity to earn affiliate income.


Podcasts are another type of content that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. 

About 62% of the US population over the age of 12 have listened to a podcast. 

Also, 26% listen to at least one podcast every week.

With their large audience base, podcasts have become a great medium for companies to promote their products.

There are many ways for podcasters to collaborate with brands and monetize their content. 

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways.

Since many podcasts offer informational and educational content, they allow creators to discuss topics in greater depth. 

Audio content is also convenient for most audiences as it requires less attention.

Therefore, many potential customers are in favor of podcasts as they provide real value and are not just a branding tool.

The most common way creators promote affiliate products is by mentioning them during a podcast episode and including the link in their description.

Email Lists

Using an email list for digital marketing campaigns helps you target audiences with the greatest buying potential. 

After all, it is better to focus on those who are really interested in your product.

This channel also works for your affiliate marketing efforts. 

With email lists, you can keep in touch with your potential or existing customers through personalized messages. 

It is also a great channel to offer product updates and offers in your affiliate program.

The key to the success of an email marketing program is to keep your messages concise, engaging, and valuable. 

Avoid sending irrelevant promotional emails that will end up in their spam folder or push them to unsubscribe from your email list.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

There are three main types of affiliate marketing, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Unlinked Affiliate Marketing

In unlinked affiliate marketing, the affiliate typically has no relationship or experience with the product or service they are promoting. 

They do not act as a voice of authority and cannot make any statement about the performance of the product or service.

Related Affiliate Marketing

Related affiliate marketing marketers have some connection and familiarity with the industry and the product they promote. 

They have enough knowledge and influence that people trust them and take an interest in the product.

However, affiliates in this marketing model are not necessarily actual users of the product they are promoting.

Affiliate Marketing Implied

Affiliates in this marketing model share a close relationship with the affiliate products and services they promote. 

They actually use the product and find it satisfying and valuable.

Their positive experience with the product allows them to recommend it with more confidence. 

The affiliate’s audience sees you as an authoritative voice and is more likely to trust your opinion.

The pros and cons of Affiliate Marketing

As with any other marketing method, there are several advantages and disadvantages to using them.

While affiliate programs can seem lucrative, especially for a blogger or entrepreneur, it’s a good idea to learn what the pros and cons are before joining one.

Advantages of Affiliate Marketing

Let’s start with the pros. If you are considering affiliate marketing, here are some of the advantages:

  • Low cost/low investment: In general, you will not have to pay to join an affiliate program. Most affiliated companies handle services
  • and products, which means you won’t have to worry about inventory or supplies.
  • Performance-Based Incentives – Most affiliate programs reward you based on your performance. Your income may change based on the effort you put into promoting the affiliate’s product or service through your platform.

This makes affiliate marketing a very flexible business model. For example, you can stop promoting a product if it’s too hard to sell.

  • Less focus on customer service: One of the most difficult and complex parts of running an online business is providing good customer service.

However, in an affiliate marketing business, you are less likely to engage with customers regarding their purchases or their shopping experience. 

The merchant will take care of all fulfillment processes, and you can focus on improving promotion methods.

  • Easy to manage – Most programs, including Amazon Associates, provide their affiliate partners with all the necessary marketing tools. You can create banner ads and unique affiliate links to add to your own website.
  • Good source of passive income – One of the main reasons people are interested in affiliate marketing is because it helps you earn money 24/7. All you have to do is include the affiliate links on your platform, and you will be able to earn passive income, even when you are asleep, which is why it is considered one of the best work-from-home jobs.

Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

Of course, as great as affiliate marketing sounds, it’s not entirely perfect. 

There are a couple of downsides. Some of them are:

  • No Control Over Affiliate Program – Since you only promote vendors’ products, you have no control over their quality and fulfillment process. As an affiliate, you are also subject to the program rules, which may change from time to time.
  • There is no guarantee of income: Predicting exactly how much an affiliate earns with an affiliate marketing program is almost impossible. There are many intricate factors involved in it, and it is unlikely that you will get the desired income immediately.
  • Potentially Fraudulent Practices: Although not practiced by most affiliate marketers in the industry, affiliate links can be hijacked and used to defraud customers and vendors.
  • Advertising Restrictions: Some affiliate programs impose advertising restrictions, such as not allowing email marketing or blocking specific keywords in pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
  • Payment requirements: Some affiliate programs will only pay you once you have achieved certain performance. Therefore, affiliate marketing is not suitable as a primary source of income.

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

Getting started with affiliate marketing is relatively easy compared to other online businesses. 

These are the four general steps you should follow:

  • Having a Dedicated Platform – Having a dedicated platform like a blog or a website allows you to have full control.
  • Research Affiliate Marketing Programs Thoroughly: Before joining an affiliate marketing program, make sure it fits your preferences in terms of commission model, product type, and brand reputation.
  • Create quality content – ​​To increase traffic, you need to post compelling and valuable content. Your content types should match the preferences of your niche audience and be relevant to current trends.
  • Expand your affiliate marketing business – Grow your affiliate platform by improving your website, promoting other products, and using social media to reach a larger audience.

Once you have a thorough understanding and an established method as an affiliate marketer, you may want to join other programs to diversify your affiliate marketing income.

The Best Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Building a successful affiliate marketing business takes time and strategies to maximize opportunities. 

Here are eight useful online marketing tips to gain more traffic and increase your affiliate income.

Optimize Your Affiliate Website

If your website has pages dedicated to displaying the affiliate marketing products you promote, make them the main focus. 

These product pages determine your conversion rate and your success in affiliate marketing.

Use a user-friendly design for essential pages so that visitors can easily navigate through them. 

Avoid hiding product pages behind unnecessary menus. 

This makes it difficult for visitors to the affiliate site to find them.

Making your site aesthetically pleasing is also an important factor. 

If you use a CMS like WordPress, there are many ready-to-use themes to make your site more unique. 

Use high-quality images to showcase affiliate products or services whenever possible.

Another way to further optimize your product pages is to make them load faster. 

There are many ways to speed up your website

This can prevent potential customers from leaving your site due to slow loading.

Promote Products Through Your Email List

As mentioned in the previous section, email marketing can be a great way to improve the success of your affiliate program. 

Setting up your first email list is relatively quick when you already have the right tool.

Email marketing tools help you promote affiliate products through a mailing list, such as HubSpot, Mailchimp, and Sender

Some of these email marketing solutions are free, so they are suitable for beginners just starting their affiliate marketing business.

Email marketing can help you engage with the people who subscribe to your affiliate website even when they are not actively using it. 

Keep them up to date with information about new products, seasonal discounts, and other relevant offers to keep your affiliate brand top of mind.

Use Social Proof by Running a Giveaway

Social proof is an excellent method to build trust and credibility in the brand. 

One way to do this is by holding giveaways for your loyal audience. 

This can help you build positive relationships with them while promoting products as an affiliate marketer.

However, a raffle requires a certain financial investment, depending on the product you choose as a reward. 

Avoid using this method if you’ve just started a business, as it’s less likely that you already have a steady stream of income.

Instead, we recommend making an agreement with the merchant or affiliate platform to sponsor the sweepstakes. 

Thus, the merchant will take care of the logistics of the draw and you will not have to spend money.

Mask Your Links

Link cloaking is the practice of changing a URL to hide hard-to-read information, making it more attractive to users. 

Many affiliate marketers hide links to make them more reliable and memorable.

Aside from the visual benefits, link cloaking is useful for affiliate link management. 

Some link cloaking tools allow you to organize your links, classifying them based on different affiliate programs or campaigns.

Hiding your links also allows you to track their performance. 

This lets you know what type of URL works best for a particular product, helping you improve your future affiliate marketing strategy.

Collaborate With an Influencer

Partnering with social media influencers can open up new opportunities for your affiliate brand. 

It makes it easy to reach new customers, as most influencers already have an established audience base that trusts their opinions.

However, it’s important to do your research before deciding which influencer to partner with. 

Make sure you know the right type of influencer for your affiliate business. 

Keep in mind the three R’s of influence, which are:

  • Relevance: The influencer must have an audience that aligns with your affiliate niche.
  • Reach: Evaluates the number of followers an influencer has. Make sure you have enough followers to meet your goals.
  • Resonance ( Resonance ): Every influencer has a different ability to engage with their audience. Look for someone who can actively capture the public’s attention and trust.

Once you find the right influencer partner, contact them professionally. 

Use your preferred contact channel, if you have one, and start discussing the possibility of a partnership.

Some social media platforms, like TikTok, also offer a built-in affiliate partnership feature that allows businesses to connect with creators directly.

Start Partnerships Between Brands

Another way to boost your marketing capabilities is to collaborate with non-competing companies. 

Joint marketing allows you to share exposure and resources to make your promotional effort more effective. 

According to a Partnerize survey, 54% of companies say collaborations drive more than 20% of total company revenue.

Collaborating with a brand that shares your values ​​and the demographics of your target audience is key.

Next, establish actionable and measurable metrics before engaging in the cross-brand partnership. 

This allows you to determine the success of the initiative and what needs to be done to improve your campaign.

If the initial partnership benefits both parties, consider exploring opportunities to expand your collaboration. 

For example, you can join a new affiliate program or cross-promote using an additional marketing platform.

Create Product-Related Content

Content marketing is a popular method used by most affiliate marketers. 

Provide real value instead of just promoting products to get them to buy.

There are many types of content that affiliate marketers can choose as a means of promotion. 

Written content, such as product reviews or opinion pieces, is very popular in affiliate marketing.

Implement search engine optimization (SEO) methods in your blog posts to increase your website traffic. 

When done correctly, this can help improve your affiliate sales rate.

Other types of content, like video marketing and podcasts, can work just as well. 

Whatever the format, the key is always to add value to the content and relevance to gain the trust of your audience.

Take Advantage of Coupon Offers

Discounts and special offers attract potential buyers. 

People’s purchase intent increases when they are offered the opportunity to save a few dollars on the product. 

So taking advantage of vendor coupons can help boost conversion.

Distribution of coupon discounts is more manageable since you can control who can get the deal. 

Use coupons to attract new customers, reward loyal customers, and maintain a good relationship with them.

Coupons are also easier to track and measure. 

You can get a clearer picture of its impact on your conversion rates.

Thoroughly examine the behavior and preferences of your target market before using this method. 

Determine the best time to distribute the coupons and choose the right affiliate product to include in the offer.


The potential for affiliate income in recent years has increased due to the rapid growth of online media and online shopping habits. 

Almost anyone can join an online affiliate marketing program and earn a passive side income from it.

Affiliate marketers can use various channels and mediums such as social media platforms, blogs, videos, podcasts, and email marketing to promote products.

There are three types of affiliate marketing, depending on the degree of involvement with the product you promote:

  • Unlinked affiliate marketing
  • Related affiliate marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing Implied

The following affiliate marketing strategies maximize opportunities and increase conversions :

  • Optimize your affiliate site
  • Use the email list
  • make raffles
  • mask the links
  • Collaborate with influencers
  • Join a brand-to-brand partnership
  • create content
  • Use coupon offers

We hope this guide to affiliate marketing for beginners has helped you better understand affiliate marketing and how to get started. 

With more learning and practice, you will be able to become a successful affiliate marketer. 

Good luck!

What is Affiliate Marketing? FREQUENT QUESTIONS

These are some of the most common questions related to affiliate marketing.

Q: How can I find an affiliate marketing program?

Start by looking at the most popular affiliate networks, like ShareASale or Rakuten Marketing. Join the network and then start looking for available affiliate platforms. Most networks allow you to filter shows based on keywords and categories to match your niche.

Q: Can affiliate marketing be a career?

Affiliate marketing can be a primary source of income once established. However, it can require a long process and a lot of work. You can learn online through affiliate marketing courses, but we recommend that you view it as a side business, especially if you are just starting out.

Q: How can I create an affiliate website?

Creating an affiliate site can be easy, depending on the platform you choose. Options like WordPress or other CMS require some technical knowledge but allow you to easily extend the site. On the other hand, website builders are better for beginners who want to start affiliate marketing quickly.

Q: Can a beginner do affiliate marketing?

Absolutely – if you have a website, just join the affiliate programs available in your niche. Once you have an affiliate account, simply grab your unique link, include it on your landing page or website, and start promoting it.

Q: Which method is best for affiliate marketing?

That depends on your niche. In general, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising is a profitable affiliate marketing method, but many successfully use social media, SEO, blogging, coupons, email marketing campaigns, webinars or just posting reviews.

Q: How much money do I need for affiliate marketing?

Although it’s possible to get started for free, many affiliate marketers spend anywhere from $500 to a few thousand dollars on various tools before they start making money.

Thanks for Reading.

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