How to Earn Money with Affiliate Marketing: Complete Beginners Guide

How to Earn Money with Affiliate Marketing: Complete Beginners Guide

Affiliate marketing is the term that you often hear when it comes to earning online income. People often search for online ways to earn money without investment. Affiliate marketing is the most profitable and safe way of earning money.

There are many options available for online earning but Affiliate marketing dominates all. This article is about “How to earn money with Affiliate Marketing: Complete beginners guide”.

This ultimate guide is very useful for beginners and will guide you to earn money with Affiliate Marketing.

Table of Contents

What is Affiliate Marketing

what is affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a kind of marketing in which companies, brands or businesses offer commissions to affiliate marketers to promote their products and services.

Affiliate marketing is a popular way to generate a sale and earn significant online income. This way of marketing is beneficial to both brands and affiliate marketers. The brands get the sales without much marketing expenses and the affiliate marketers receive a decent commission on the sales.

The commission varies from product to product and can be in the range from $1 to $10000.

Main Components of Affiliate Marketing

Before getting into the process, let’s first understand the four main components that are most important in Affiliate Marketing.

1. The Affiliate Marketer or Publisher

An affiliate marketer is an online publisher. It may be an individual or a company. An affiliate marketer is the one who promotes one or more products/services of brands or companies.

Affiliate marketer tries to convince customers to buy the product/services by mentioning the value of the product/service. The affiliate marketer will receive the commission if he/she is able to generate the sales.

There is no limit on how much commission an Affiliate marketer can earn.

2. The Merchant or Advertiser

The merchant is the online advertiser. The merchant is the company, brand, business, online store, vendor, retailer. Basically the party, who creates or has a product/ service to sell.

It could be big giants like Tata, Godrej or individual manufacturing and selling a single product/service.

Anybody who has a product or service to sell may start an affiliate marketing program. It has nothing to do with how big or small the merchant is.

3. The Customer

The customer is the most important component in affiliate marketing. Customer is the one who buys a product or service via affiliate marketers.

When the customers buy the product or service, the merchant gets the sale and affiliate marketer the commission.

In most of the cases, the customer even does not know about the purchase he is making via affiliate marketing.

In fact, the customer does not have to pay any higher price or money due to the fact that affiliate marketing is making a commission. This commission is paid by the merchant to the marketer.

4. The Affiliate Network

The Affiliate Network acts as the mediator between the merchant and the affiliate marketer. The affiliate network is a platform which makes the job easy for both merchant and marketer.

A merchant can get several marketers who can promote and market their product/service on the platform. And a marketer can get multiple products and services of different merchants at the network.

The network keeps track of sales, commissions, and payment and plays a vital role in the process of affiliate marketing.

There are several merchants who run an affiliate marketing program only through an affiliate network.

How Affiliate Marketing works

Broadly affiliate marketing works in 4 simple steps:

  1. An Affiliate marketer joins an affiliate program.
  2. Marketer chose a product to promote (he will get a unique affiliate link from the merchant)
  3. He shares the link via Social media, blogs, YouTube videos, Facebook ads or any by any other means.
  4. When someone makes a purchase via the affiliate link, the marketer earns a decent affiliate commission.

The below infographic will show you how affiliate marketing works:

 how affiliate marketing works

Requirements to become Affiliate Marketer

To start anything you need to have some basic requirements. Here, to become an affiliate marketing you need to fulfill the below requirement:

1. Some Value or content to share

To become an affiliate marketer you don’t need any formal degree or education. You just need to have something to share which can add value to people.

This can be in the form of your experiences, knowledge, skill, expertise or anything that can educate, inspire and motivate your audience.

2.  Presence on online platforms

As the world is getting online, you need to have a strong online presence. This may be through a blog/website, YouTube channel, Podcast, Review website, Instagram or any social media platform.

This is required because with the online presence you have the audience who are your followers or subscribers. This audience is going to consume your content which in turn will buy the products or services

This indicates that anyone having a decent following with an online presence can become an affiliate marketer and start affiliate marketing.

3. An authority in your online zone

You need to be an authority figure on the online platform. This means you are creating quality content, having a regular flow of visitors and have a good following and engagement on social media.

People trust you more if you have bagged some awards, have good reviews and testimonials.

You will also get an advantage if you are speaking at conferences, doing sponsorships programs, building good offline relationships and networking. If you fulfill this criterion you will fetch the amazing results and earn money with affiliate marketing.

How to start work as an Affiliate Marketer

With the emergence of the Internet, affiliate marketing has become very simple. You just need an internet connection and you can start working as an affiliate marketer.

Identify your strengths, start with what you like to do and you are good at.

Let’s understand the ways and means to do affiliate marketing.

Common ways and means to do Affiliate Marketing

1. Personal Blog or Website

The most common and best way is to start writing your thoughts, views, ideas or experiences on the topic of your interest. In the blogging world, it is called a niche.

This can be any field of interest like technology, fashion, cooking, parenting, motivation, education, spirituality or anything. Write blogs on the niche and monetize it to earn money with affiliate marketing.

It is very easy to Set up a WordPress blog and you may refer our YouTube channel for more information. There are several tutorials available on YouTube and blogs. With practice, you can become a professional blogger and can earn in dollars.

2.  A Deals and Coupons Website

As buyers are making more online purchasing, affiliate marketing is getting very popular. Here comes the demand for coupons and discount websites. This is the most common and easy way to become an affiliate marketer.

A few examples of coupon websites are,,,

3. Grow your Online Community

You can grow your online community by bringing people together. People interested in similar topics would love to be a part of your community. For example, if you have a blog on fashion and lifestyle and you are putting in great content on that. People interested in the topic will subscribe to your blog and will be your community.

In this way, you can easily promote your products to your community and convert them into your customers.

4. Social Media Platform

There are several social media platforms available. You can create a strong presence via these platforms. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, etc. Once you have a huge following on these social media platforms you can easily work as an affiliate marketer by sharing good products and services among those followers.

5. Online Review Site

People shop online, but before making the final decision they tend to view the reviews. Review sites may prove to be the best affiliate marketing site as you are going to review various products and services.

Based on your opinion about the products and service you can recommend to buy them. Once a sale is made, you will earn an affiliate commission on them.

A few examples of online review sites are The Wire CutterQuora, Best Products, Viewpoints, etc.

6. Mobile App

Smartphones are a necessity for everyone. It’s not just a device to communicate but a tool to manage everything from scheduling day, shopping, studying and whatnot.

If you have any such idea which can be turned into a mobile app, then it is the best way to earn money with affiliate marketing.

7. YouTube Channel

YouTube is playing a major role in our lives. We just go to YouTube to learn any subject, any recipe, any DIY tips, advice, opinion, motivation, health tip, reviews, and much more.

One can easily promote affiliate products and become successful as an affiliate marketer. If you have earned a good subscriber base in a particular niche, you can easily sell the products to them and earn a decent commission.

8. Unique Product Discovery Site

The world is full of unique and amazing products. These never seen before products can be showcased on your website and you can earn very good commission out of their sales.

In your websites, you can show the pictures, usages, reviews, demo videos, etc. The visitor will find it interesting and useful. Once the trust is built they will buy those products and affiliate marketers can generate good income.

A few examples of unique product discovery sites are Product Guru, Mouth Shut, C net, etc.

So these are all some ways to get started as an affiliate marketer. As you get familiar in these ways, you can try more advanced methods to make money. Some of the advanced ways to earn money with affiliate marketing are as follows:

Advanced ways of Affiliate Marketing

1. Online Media Buying

In this way, you buy advertising space (like banner ads) on a website or number of websites for a fixed budget and time period. And you can promote various products or offers on these banners for affiliate commission.

Let’s understand this with an example, if an affiliate marketer buys advertising banner on a network of educational websites and blogs, he can promote a number of educational products and courses through it.

Here the commission is calculated on the basis of how many customers signed up via ad or how many times the ads were seen by a customer.

There are few niches that make enormous money via affiliate marketing are adults, weight loss, beauty, and dating.

Nevertheless, this method requires a high investment of around $500 to $1500 to start.

2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing is the way in which you buy ad space from Google and Bing and use it to promote various products and offers for affiliate commission.

The most popular paid search platform is Google AdWords than comes Bing Ads.

3. Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)

In pay per click method, you can display your ads among organic and unpaid search results when people search for something on Google, Bing or other search engines. In this PPC method, you need not pay for how many times the ads were shown to buy only pay the search engine when someone clicks on your ad.

Marketers bid on various keywords and search phrases as PPC is available on an auction basis. Then the search engine gives the ad a place in the search results on the basis of certain criteria like validity, quality, relevancy, etc.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is the most cost-effective and easiest way to promote affiliate products, services, and offers.

You can become an affiliate marketer by promoting affiliate campaigns via email. This is possible only when you have an authentic email list. In this way, you can send emails to potential customers mentioning the products or offers.

You must use Email marketing tools like ConvertKit, Aweber or GetResponse for effective campaign management.

For example, If you have a health blog then you can ask your visitors to subscribe to your blog or your newsletter. They will agree and give their email id. Later on, you will use those emails to send them information and details pertaining to the products and offers you are promoting.

How to promote Products and Services in Affiliate Marketing

There are mainly four different ways in which an affiliate marketer can promote a merchant’s products and services through affiliate marketing channel:

1. Banners

In this affiliate marketer provides a space to host banners of merchant or affiliate network that you partner with. Here the merchant or affiliate network will provide you the code, which you simply have to add in your blog or website’s template. This can be header banners, side widgets or footer banners which can be used to promote affiliate campaigns.

2. Text Links

This is a widely used way to promote affiliate products. Here you can hyperlink certain words or groups of words in your content with the relevant affiliate links. Usually, the reader does not know that this link is an affiliate link.

For example, if you write an article on weight loss and you may hyperlink words like “effective weight loss remedy” or “weight loss secret”. You can redirect readers to the relevant product or services page pertaining to the text.

Here you have the option of whether to disclose the customer that you are earning a commission on a purchase they might make.

3. Tailor-made Content

If you have a strong authority and influence in the market, merchants may directly approach you to create tailor-made content around their products and services. Here you will get fixed commission.

This is possible when you partner directly with merchants.

4. Email Marketing

With email marketing, you can promote the products and services by simply putting texts or call-to-action buttons.

You can even host affiliate ad banners in your emails to your subscribers or followers.

Glossary of Terms used in Affiliate Marketing

As a beginner, you may find it difficult to understand some terms which are frequently used in affiliate marketing.

Let’s check out the glossary of terms used in affiliate marketing:

  • Advertiser

This is the most common term which is used in Affiliate Marketing. The advertiser is also called as the merchant. The advertiser is an individual or company that produces or manufactures products and/or services that affiliates promote.

  • Affiliate

The person who promotes products and/ or services for an advertiser is known as an affiliate. In return to their sales or leads, affiliates will get a commission from the advertiser.

  • Affiliate link

This is a link given by advertisers or merchants to affiliate to promote products and/or services. This is embedded with a unique tracking code to enable the merchant to track the leads or sales generated by affiliate

  • Affiliate Program

This is a program designed by the advertiser for affiliates to promote or refer their products and services to the customers. In lieu of the sale made by affiliates, the advertiser gives them a commission.

  • Associate

This is a term that is used in the associate/affiliate program for an affiliate.

  • Banner Ad

The graphical advertisement that an affiliate places on their website or blog to market a product or service to generate leads or sales is banner ads.

  • Commission

This is the pay-out or fee which an affiliate gets by an advertiser for generating a sale.

  • Chargeback

It is the deduction from further commissions of the affiliate by the advertiser. This is due to the return of a product by a customer. And the commission for the product is already been paid to the affiliate.

  • Conversion

This is an act to make a customer take the desired action. These may be to buy a product/service, signing up for emails, fill out an opt-in form or make an inquiry about the product via any form, etc.

  • Conversion Rate

This is the percentage that is derived after dividing the total amount of sales by the number of impressions via an affiliate link multiplied by 100.

The conversion rate is used to analyze the number of sales generated via a particular link in comparison to the number of times the link viewed.

  • Cookies

In affiliate, marketing cookie is a file that is created and stored on your visitor’s web browser when they click on one of your affiliate links.

Generally, cookies are assigned for a specific period of time. If the visitor makes any purchase even without using the affiliate link within the specified period, the affiliate will get a commission for the sale.

  • Bounty

Bounty or customer bounty is another term for commission.

  • Data Feed

A file with a list of all the products and services that a merchant sells with prices, images, descriptions and affiliate links is called data feed.

  • Disclosure

A notice on an affiliate’s website or blog, mentioning visitors that the affiliate is being paid or compensated for endorsements, recommendations and advertisements of a product and/or service on their blog or website.

  • Email link

This link is an affiliate link specially created for email promotions.

  • Impression

This indicates how many numbers of times an ad is shown on a page.

  • Niche

This is a specific topic, area or segment on which your blog or website is around. For example, one can have health, parenting, lifestyle, digital marketing, etc. as a niche.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is no doubt one of the best ways of earning passive income and have so many advantages.

benefits of affiliate marketing

I am listing below some major benefits of affiliate marketing

1.    Passive Income

In any active source of earning or income, you need to be regular and active to make money. While affiliate marketing allows you to earn passive income i.e. while you sleep or when you are not active.

Let’s understand this with an example, you invest some time initially into a campaign. You will keep getting returns on that time as consumers purchase the products over the next few days and weeks. Now even if you are not working you will get your commission on the sales generated by that campaign.

2.    No Customer Support

In affiliate marketing, the responsibility of the affiliate marketer is to link sellers and consumers. They need not have to worry about rendering support to customers.

It will always be the responsibility of the advertiser or seller to attend and entertain any customer complain and provide support to them.

3.    Work from Home

In affiliate marketing, you need not go to the office or market. You work from home and earn decent money. If you are someone who hates 9-5 job or any boss on your head, then you must give serious thought to earn mney with affiliate marketing.

4. Cost-Effective

Almost all the business and start-ups need investment to start with. But to earn money with affiliate marketing you don’t require any investment to start with. You can start to work very quickly and without much hassle. There are no fees or payments to join any affiliate platform.

So anyone can earn money with affiliate marketing.

5. Convenient and Flexible

When you are in a job you have to work according to your employer. Working hours are also not flexible in most cases. But when you are working as an affiliate marketer you have convenience, since you can select the products and campaigns that you want to promote.

Also, you have the flexibility in time, as you can work anytime and take a break whenever you want.

6.    Lucrative Rewards

While in a job, even if you work more than regular hours you will get the same salary. But when you aim to earn money with affiliate marketing, with the quality content you are surely going to get good sales.

As your sales increase so your commission. So you can expect lucrative rewards against your well-designed campaigns and efforts you are going to put.

Tips to become Successful Affiliate Marketer

1.    Develop a Bond

While you are initiating your affiliate marketing, you must create an audience with specific interests. This will allow you to make your campaigns to that niche and this will increase your chance to get more conversions.

Once you provide value in a particular niche you are able to develop a bond with the audience and can pitch the products.

It’s always advisable to promote products of a specific niche rather than a huge number of products of different segments.

2.    Make it Personal.

People will trust you more when their experience with your recommended products is good. So always promote those products which you tried and trust to promote. Hence your campaigns must be around the products that make the consumer happy and satisfied.

In this way, you will not be able to generate more conversions but at the same time be able to establish the reliability of your own brand.

3.    Review Products and Services in your Niche

It is very common to read reviews before buying a product. So you can also review products and services.

Any product can be reviewed, it would be better if you can compare them with similar products of different brands.

Also, you can provide detailed and articulated content for more conversions.

Since you already have a rapport with your audience and they get a detailed and comparative review of products they are looking for, they will surely be going to buy from you.

4.    Use Several Platforms to Reach

Don’t just focus on email marketing to reach out to the audience, but use other platforms as well.

One most prominent and long-lasting way is to promote products via a blog or website. You can easily create a blog with very little cost and generate huge revenue.

You can refer How to create a WordPress Blog in easy steps: Complete guide for beginners in 2019

Also use other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, etc. for promotions. Based on the analytics and conversions you can reset and plan further strategies.

5.    Choose Campaigns Deliberately

If you have selected the products to promote that are not good, you will ultimately end up getting fewer conversions.

It is always advisable to spare enough time to study the demand for a product and its quality before promoting it.  Your time is worth so spend it wisely on campaigns about the right products.

6.    Aligned with the trends

Affiliate marketing is lucrative but at the same time, it is competitive too. You must be aware of the trends going on in the market. What are the new marketing strategies and techniques prevalent in the market?

You must be up to date with all these in order to have greater conversion rates and this will be resulting in higher revenue.

Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Apply in 2020

1. Recommend Products that You are Confident and Familiar About

You will be able to gain the trust of your audience when you recommend the right products. They will come to your site again and again when they get the right recommendation and knowledge.

Don’t ever force or tell visitors to buy the product, you just recommend them.

2. Promote Products from Different Advertisers

Don’t just promote the products of a single merchant. If you do this you will be stuck with their commissions and affiliate policy. It will be much better if you work with many different merchants.

In this way you will have many products to promote and this strategy will diversify the amount of commission you generate.

This will also allow you to create a steady source of revenue with an affiliate website.

3. Test and Optimize your Conversion Rates

You must regularly test and optimize your conversion rates. Let’s take an example to understand if you have a page where you are promoting affiliate products.

If you get 4000 visitors per month and conversion at 2%, you have 80 conversions. In order to get 160 conversions, you may either try to get another 4000 visitors or increase the conversion rate to 4%.

Instead of spending a couple of months on building domain authority with blogging and SEO to get organic traffic, you just have to raise the conversion rate to 4%

You can do this by optimizing a landing page or testing your call-to-action. One can easily get better results by optimizing their site.

4. Pay Attention to Your Affiliate Traffic Sources.

You must pay attention to where your traffic is coming from. What are the demographics of your audience? This will allow you to customize your strategy.

One must study Google Analytics to study bounce rate, time on page, age, gender, time of day, geolocation, devices (desktop or mobile), etc.

This analytics will help you understand the type of traffic you are attracting your site. So you can focus on may traffic sources like organic, paid, social media, referral, email, display, etc.

This analytics will help you make wise decisions, increase your conversion rate and ultimately more affiliate commission.

FAQ’s on Affiliate Marketing

By now, you must have a basic knowledge of what is affiliate marketing and how it works.

Still, there may be some common questions in your mind, let us know the answers.

How much earning can I make as an affiliate marketer?

The answer is “unlimited”

There are so many affiliate marketers who are earning millions of dollars every month via affiliate marketing. You can also earn money with affiliate marketing.

Well, most of the things depend on how you are promoting affiliate products. Are you using PPC, social media marketing or using a blog? Among all these blogging is the most effective and fetch you revenue for a long time.

Is it mandatory to have a blog for affiliate marketing?

It’s not mandatory but highly recommended since the blog is the best promotional method. There are other methods such as PPC or advertising to promote affiliate products. But the most trusted and effective way to generate sales is through the blog. Learn how to create a blog here.

What are the charges to join an affiliate program?

Unlike other businesses, the affiliate network does not charge anything to join their program. However, the cost depends on what promotion method you are using. Like a blog post doesn’t cost you anything, to create a blog it just needs a good hosting for which I recommend A2 Hosting and a domain. But PPC, advertising or email marketing are a bit expensive.

Any special qualification do I need to become an affiliate marketer?

There is no special qualification needed to become an affiliate marketer. But it will be an added advantage if you have good copywriting skills and marketing skills.

Although it’s not necessary since these can be learned with practice.

Is Affiliate Marketing risky or illegal?

Affiliate marketing is neither risky nor illegal. Since there is no major investment needed and you need not have to maintain any stock of the products that you are going to promote.

Although in a few countries, you are required to disclose that you are going to get some commission if the buyer purchase through your link.

Few Popular Affiliate Marketing Platforms and Networks

As you are all set with a blog and an intention to earn money with affiliate marketing, the very first thing is to select the best affiliate marketing platforms and networks.

There are several platforms available but I have mentioned the few most popular ones. Here you will get a number of products of all big and small brands.

  1. Amazon Affiliate

Amazon’s affiliate is one of the most popular platforms for affiliate marketers. If your interest is to promote physical products than this must be your first choice.

With Amazon, you can choose among thousands of products available to promote.  In Amazon, affiliate commission ranges from 1% to 10% depending on the category. Cookies last for 24 hours.

  1. ShareASale

This platform is quite popular among affiliate marketers. It has more than 4500 merchants, big and small both.

You need to apply to merchants and get the approval via ShareASale’s dashboard to promote their products.

This platform has a variety of products both digital and physical.

  1. CJ Affiliate (Formerly Commission Junction)

Similar to ShareASale, CJ (formerly Commission Junction) also has more than 2500 plus merchants in its network.

Like ShareASale, you need to apply individually to these merchants from the CJ dashboard. Once you get the approval you will be able to generate links and view statistics.

It also has a wide range of products from digital to physical with a very good commission depending upon the products you choose.

  1. Awin (Formerly Affiliate Window)

Awin has over 13000 merchants from almost every niche with products from both physical and digital categories.

On the line same line with ShareASale and CJ, you need to apply individually to merchants. And after getting approval you can generate links and start tracking statistics.

  1. Rakuten Marketing (Formerly LinkShare)

This network is not as big as ShareASale or CJ. But still has around 1000 merchants in the network. It has some big merchants on the platform like Walmart, Best Buy, etc.

You can go to this network if you want to work with these big brands. Also, it has some good features like easy Ad rotation.

  1. Avangate Affiliate Network

If you have more interest in digital goods and software than Avantage is the best affiliate network. Here you can get access to more than 22000 software.

Avantage affiliate network offers a higher commission than physical products on other networks. It also has a cookie duration of 30 to 180 days.

  1. ClickBank

ClickBank also has a lot of digital products as similar to Advantage. But it also has physical products in its network.

Unlike ShareASale and Awin which have several big internationally big brands, ClickBank is certainly having smaller merchants or brands.

Here you need to be a bit careful while choosing the products to promote.

  1. FlexOffers

FlexOffers is a very old platform that can be trusted. It has more than 12000 products from different advertisers/ merchants. Here you can access both physical and digital products from various niches.

FlexOffers assigns a dedicated account manager to every publisher who helps you to find the best offers to promote and improve your affiliate marketing.

  1. JVZoo

JVZoo is a very good platform if you are an online marketer.  It has a wide range of products and mostly digital ones.

It mostly has small brands and companies about which you might now know more about.

Like ShareASale and CJ you have to apply to advertisers directly via JVZoo’s dashboard to seek approval.  Within 1-2 days you get the approval.

After approval, you can generate the link and start promoting the products.


This was all about Affiliate Marketing. I have tried to cover almost all the topics to earn money Affiliate Marketing. This is the thing which once you mastered will fetch you decent money till the long run.

All you need is to put it hard work initially to put all in place and make the things work for you.

I have compiled “How to Earn Money with Affiliate Marketing: Complete Beginners Guide” to make you familiar with the term.

I hope you start your journey of Affiliate marketing and end up in a lot of success.

Kindly comment on any feedback or suggestion. Also, feel free to ask any questions if you have regarding this.

Good Luck……

Also, recommend to read:

Complete Digital Marketing Guide with Strategy

How to create a WordPress Blog in easy steps: Complete guide for beginners in 2019

Setup WordPress Blog in 5 easy steps 

The ultimate guide on how to choose the best web hosting


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