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How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

In our days Affiliate Marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money online, if not the most popular. Almost everyone who starts an online business wants to become an affiliate in one or more affiliate programs or creates his own affiliate program to generate a much higher sale for his products or services.

The Internet Has Revolutionized How We Make Money

The Internet has changed everything, from how we communicate and how we shop, to how we get from point A to point B. Unsurprisingly, it’s also changed how we make money.

  • You don’t need a physical storefront anymore. (Amazon is the largest retailer in the world and they don’t have a single store open to the public.)
  • You don’t need physical products anymore. (Google generates over $50 billion a year without them.)
  • You don’t need employees. (You can leverage systems, tools, and software to do most of the work for you.)
  • You don’t need to wait to get paid after fulfillment. (You can get paid up front before you deliver the product or service.)
  • You don’t need to be location-dependent. (You can work from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.)

Limitless by Matt Lloyd

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry, the mainstream business model of the new economy.

I’m assuming that most of you who read this post know how  affiliate marketing works. Basically, it’s when you’re promoting someone else’s website, business or product. Simply, you send traffic to that website and if someone buys a product then you get paid (usually a certain % as a commission).

Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for every participant in the selling process:

  • For the merchant because he can reach a much wider market through affiliates.
  • For the affiliate (who promotes the product) because he gets paid after the sales.
  • And it’s also good for the customers because they can purchase a lot of products from their home and in most of the cases they can read reviews or recommendations about the product before purchase, so they can make better decisions. 

Why Affiliate Marketing is so appealing to people

You can get into affiliate marketing very quickly. It’s also very easy compared to other business models. Some people might disagree that it’s easy, but if you compare it to most business models it’s really easy.

Let me explain what I mean:

  • You only need a Wifi connection
  • It’s easy to set up an affiliate account
  • You don’t need an office, employees, and inventory
  • As an affiliate you don’t need to create your own products
  • You don’t have to build websites
  • It’s low risk and cost effective

The good thing about affiliate marketing is that unlike in other traditional (brick and mortar) businesses, you don’t have to spend a lot of money for renting out a store or an office, for hiring staff, for building up an inventory and you don’t have to worry about the shipping of the products either. It’s all done by the merchant.

You just have to choose a product, for example at, at Clickbank, at Udemy, or any other merchant or distributor and start promoting it. The product can be physical or digital product.

With affiliate marketing you just have to send traffic. You have to place ads which promote someone else’s website.

Anyone can learn this business. Most of those who are successful affiliate marketers today didn’t have any internet marketing experience, they learned everything by themselves.

If you have an internet connection then you can start promoting different products. Today there are plenty of affiliate programs available in almost every niche and there are some who pay very good commissions if you get customers for them.

How can you promote a product as an affiliate?

#1 – Sending cold traffic to an offer

You copy your affiliate link and start promoting right away. For example, you create a Pay Per Click ad in Google AdWords or on Facebook. You can also send emails to a list that you buy (solo ads). This method is called cold traffic, because you are not involved personally, meaning that the person who will click your ad will have no idea who you are. He will get straight to the landing page of the offer. This is the easiest way to promote a product, but it’s not the most effective way.

#2 –  Sending warm traffic to an offer

For example, you have an email list and you’ve built up a good relationship with your list. Then you send out your affiliate link in an email to your list, so you are involved personally. If people on your list like you then they will listen to you. Another example if you add your affiliate link to your website. In these methods you give your name to the offer, so trust is very important here.

It’s important to mention that you can promote a product without knowing it. However, and it’s of course, personal preference, I wouldn’t really like to recommend something that I don’t know, that I haven’t tried or used myself. 

How is the sales of the affiliate tracked

When you as an affiliate promote a product you will have to use a unique referral link (provided by the merchant) which looks something like this:

This is the link you will have to insert into your website, ads, emails, etc. 

In this case, 123 is your unique affiliate ID. All your sales will be tracked with this code. When a customer clicks on your link and lands on the merchant’s website, a cookie (a small text file) with your affiliate ID will be stored in the customer’s browser. So when the customer makes a purchase your ID will be used automatically even if the customer only buys a few days later (see cookie duration).

Cookie duration

Cookie durations vary from merchant to merchant, it’s recommended to read your merchant’s terms before you apply to be an affiliate. The duration can be 30, 60 days or more.

This means, if the customer buys within 30 or 60 days, you will still receive the commission for it.

They do it like this because usually, people don’t make a purchase when they see the offer for the first time. They want to think about it, they want to read different reviews or maybe they’re just in a hurry and they want to get back later to it. Merchants know it and therefore they offer a period of time until the cookie stays in the customer’s browser.

There are some merchants who don’t provide this at all. Of course, the longer the cookie duration, the better.

Problems with cookies:

  • There are some people who clear their cookies on a regular basis
  • The person you refer might use a cookie blocking software

You cannot do anything about these, this is just part of the game and we have to accept that. But because of this, some merchants use additional IP and session tracking.

How affiliates are compensated

Most programs use CPS – Cost Per Sales – in other words, if you refer someone to your affiliate link and they buy the product then you’ll get a commission based on the sale, you’ll get a % of the sales price.

Only some programs use CPA – Cost Per Action – when you also get a commission if you get someone to fill out a form (asking for name, email, etc.). You actually generate a lead for the company.

Multi-tier programs – in these programs there are different levels. Let me show you this with an example. Let’s say I am an affiliate for X company and John is a customer, who buys a product using my affiliate link. Then John decides to become an affiliate for X company, too and starts making sales. Since I referred John, I get a % of all sales made by him. This is an incentive to recruit other affiliates (sub-affiliates).

How much can you earn as an affiliate?

Usually companies determine their commissions as a certain percentage of the sales price. In case of physical products this can be up to 10%.

Digital or information products have a much higher margin, because the producer/author of the product has actually a one time cost so it’s possible to offer higher commissions for the affiliates. It can be 30-50% or even more.

How can you become an affiliate

  1. Decide what product you want to promote – the ideal situation is if you use the product yourself or at least the product is related to your niche. Find the distributor with an affiliate program.
  2. Read carefully the company’s affiliate related terms & conditions: how much is the commission, how will you get paid, what is the cookie duration, what is the minimum amount to achieve before you get paid, etc.
  3. Create your affiliate account – usually, you will have to provide name, email address and URL of your website (if you have one), payment method (in most cases it’s PayPal).
  4. Usually, there is an approval process, it can take some time (1-2 days). There are some ‘picky’ merchants who don’t want to work with beginners. They will check your website and if they find that you don’t have sufficient page views on it they will decline your application. Also, they might ask how you want to promote their product.
  5. Create an excel sheet to store your all your data like affiliate ID, affiliate link, the URL of the affiliate program, your password, etc. It’s especially useful if you work with several companies. You can also track here the % or the amount of the commission, your sales with date, etc. It’s a good way to measure your performance.
  6. Before pasting your affiliate link on your website or to an ad, or in emails double check your link if it contains your affiliate ID correctly. If you paste a wrong link you won’t get paid.
  7. Check back to your distributor’s website from time to time to see how many sales you had. Sometimes they also provide analytic tools, so you can see how many clicks your link has received.

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