What is Affiliate Marketing and How Do You Do it?

Home / Digital Marketing / What is Affiliate Marketing and How Do You Do it?

Companies that want to spread the word on their product or service will have to have a sound marketing plan in place.  Traditionally, when we think of marketing, we might go straight to the print advertising we see, the commercials on our televisions, the advertisements and banners on the web pages we visit, or the billboards that assault our senses as we drive down highways.  While these are all important and viable ways to spread a company message, it’s imperative to not overlook the concept of affiliate marketing, either.  In this article, you will learn what, exactly, affiliate marketing is, who should consider becoming an affiliate marketer, the benefits of the job title and simple ways to ensure your success.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

The simplest way to describe affiliate marketing is to consider the marketer a middleman between the product or service and the consumer.  By actively promoting a person or company’s product or service, the marketer earns a predetermined commission for each sale that occurs as a direct result of their backing.  Affiliate marketers are important to businesses, both small and large because they allow the individual or company to pass off some of the marketing responsibility to the general public with no upfront costs.  If the marketer does not influence any sales, the company doesn’t pay them any money.  It’s as simple as that.


The popularity of affiliate marketing has exploded since its introduction in 1996 by Amazon.  According to 99firms.com, 81% of brands and 84% of publishers are now using this marketing tactic and that number is only expected to continue growing.  The same site informs us that 15% of all revenue generated by advertising through digital media is directly linked to affiliate marketing and that an average of 23% of total sales come from affiliate marketing. These percentages are right in line with those of search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising (PPC), showcasing that this method of marketing is just as valuable and effective.


The process of affiliate marketing begins when a marketer shows an ad or link on their website, social network, blog, etc. for another company’s product or service.  Each time a consumer visits the marketer’s site and clicks on the ad or link, it is tracked.  If the consumer follows through with a purchase on the linked site, the business confirms the sale as legitimate and credits a portion of the transaction to the affiliate marketer.


The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

The benefits associated with becoming an affiliate marketer are extensive.  Here are a few of the more common reasons you might consider this line of work.

  • Easy Extra Income: With affiliate marketing, you can essentially learn to make money just by supporting the products and services that you already use. Devoting a short amount of time to get your campaign off the ground will continue to pay handsomely as consumers click the links or ads you have posted and follow through with a sale.  You can even make money while you sleep.
  • Flexibility: Setting up your campaigns is obviously done via the internet, meaning that you can essentially be an affiliate marketer from anywhere, including the comfort of your own home.
  • Adaptability: As your needs and goals grow and change, an affiliate marketing position can do so with you. You have the freedom to set your own goals and reconsider or redirect your trajectory.
  • Cost-Effective: There are no hidden fees with affiliate marketing.  Getting started is straightforward.
  • Incentives: With many traditional jobs, your pay will be the same no matter how much time and energy you put into it.  With affiliate marketing, you are largely in charge of your income and have every opportunity to make extra when you want or need it.
  • Expands Your Outreach: Becoming an affiliate marketer can also help you to expand your own reach as you gain exposure through your affiliation with other companies.

Types of Marketers

Becoming an affiliate marketer will require a certain level of engagement with your audience.  For this reason, some are more prone to success in this arena than others.

  • Bloggers: Writing a review on a product they have tried and tested is a great way for a blogger to market another company.  Because blogs rank organically in search engine results, they are invaluable in helping businesses to expand their reach.
  • Influencers: Having an impressive social media following does hold some merit.  If you are one of those people, capitalize off your following by promoting brands that you trust.
  • Email Lists: Email marketing is still going strong and affiliates with large email lists can certainly benefit by using them to promote the products and services that they believe in.
  • Large Media Websites: Popular websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram can also become affiliate marketers.  The seller typically will see big returns as they are able to reach a much larger audience.

Tips to Successfully Become an Affiliate Marketer

While working as an affiliate marketer can truly work for anybody, the level of success you achieve will be largely determined on how much time and effort you are willing to put into building your business.  There are a few simple guidelines you should definitely follow.

  • Find Your Niche: Post content that will grab the attention of a very specific group of people with similar interests to you.  The more of a niche that you can create, the more likely you are to receive affiliate offers from other companies targeting that niche.
  • Be Authentic: Try not to make your affiliate marketing position all about the Benjamin’s.  Only promote the services and products that you truly believe in.  A big mistake many new marketers make is trying to appease everybody and oftentimes, this makes reviews sound rehearsed and insincere.
  • Start Reviewing Right Away: Don’t waste any time signing up for affiliate programs.  Research the products and services that you already use and, if they offer an affiliate program, sign up immediately.
  • Don’t Rely on One Modality: If you’re an influencer on Instagram, it might be tempting to rely solely on this platform to market.  Think bigger and be willing to use other modalities that you might not have tried before.
  • Make Sure You Can Back it Up: If you want to maintain a level of creditability, you need to make sure that you are only backing quality products and services.  Use your discernment when choosing which campaigns to work on.
  • Stay Up to Date: Lastly, don’t lose sight of new trends emerging in your niche.  Staying on top of what’s current will help to catapult your success to the next level.


Affiliate marketing can truly for all parties involved.  The sellers and product creators get a chance to get their services and products out into the world without a ton of costly overhead.  The affiliate marketers get paid to offer their honest opinions on the services and products they believe in.  The consumers gain access to quality products and services without having to spend a fortune to try them out on their own.  Whether you choose to become an affiliate marketer part-time or full, it’s certainly a viable source of income that can contribute greatly to creating a life you really want to live.


Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC provides digital marketing services to small and large business and professionals throughout the United States. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and marketing consultation



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • Partner links