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What is Affiliate Marketing and How does it Work? [With Examples]

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is a type of online marketing where you earn commission by selling other’s products. This is the simplest and easiest-to-understand definition you can get. Many website owners and bloggers choose this type of marketing. The reason being that it’s considered to be more rewarding than other forms of marketing.

In this guide we will explore what Affiliate marketing really is and how it works. We have included real examples in this guide just to demonstrate its working to you. The most important thing is to know the basic definition of it. Once you grasp the basic concept, implementing it is a breeze.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Our Example Company:

We will use an example to demonstrate the concept. Consider the company Amazon. We bet all of you know about it. It’s the world’s biggest E-commerce company that sells all sorts of items worldwide.

Amazon has an Amazon Affiliate Program that you can join as an Affiliate. You will understand what this means in a few minutes.

Let’s say you visit Amazon and you browse to a particular category of products. For example, you are interested in “Dell Laptops”. Now we see that the price of a particular Dell Laptop at is $397.

Dell Laptop Price

You can simply buy it for $397. But what if Amazon offers you the option to recommend this product to your friend. And once your friend buys this laptop you will earn $15.88 which is roughly 4% of $397.

This is exactly the concept of Affiliate Marketing. Hence the definition:

You refer your friends / clients to buy a specific Company’s products. And you earn commissions when someone buys them. This is called Affiliate marketing.

I hope that by now you have grasped the basic concept of Affiliate marketing. Now the question: How to become an Affiliate and make it work for yourself? We will again use the example of Amazon’s Affiliate program for this purpose.

How does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Here’s how we put Affiliate marketing in simple steps:

  1. First you select an Affiliate program that suits you the best. You selection criteria can be commission structure, Popularity, range of products etc.
  2. Note down your Affiliate ID. (Affiliate ID is the tracking ID used to identify the Affiliate who referred the product)
  3. Once you have joined a particular Affiliate Program, you start deciding which products to promote.
  4. Make a list of all the products you want to promote and find out the commission percentage for each of them.
  5. Determine all the necessary tools you need to promote the products to the public. Most popular forms of tools are: Banners, Ads, Product links, Promo codes.
  6. Generate product links that contain your Affiliate ID. Make sure your Affiliate ID is present in the URL. For example: where ref=123xyz is the Affiliate ID or the Tracking ID.
  7. Promote the affiliate links on your website, your blog and social media. The more you share the more chances of generating sales.

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work

How to Join an Affiliate Program

Test Case: Amazon Affiliate Program

Now we are going to discuss how to join and become an Affiliate. In our guide we are going to demonstrate how to join Amazon Affiliate Program and work with it. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Go to the Amazon Associate Program URL and click on “Join Now”. Click Here to Apply
  2. You will have to create an Amazon account to become an Affiliate. Go ahead and create one.
  3. Once you have created your Amazon account you can start filling out the required application forms.
    Amazon Affiliate Signup
  4. You will have greater chances of success if you own a Website or a Mobile app. If you own a Blog that’s also good. Amazon suggests that you need to have a website where you can promote the Affiliate products and Banners.
  5. After you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail.
  6. If your application is successful you will be notified via e-mail. Then you can sign in to the Amazon Associates Portal. Here’s how it looks:
    Amazon Associates Portal
  7. The next step for you is to select the products you want to promote by browsing Once you have selected the products you will have to generate Product links with your Affiliate ID. To do that you have to click on the Product Linking tab on the menu.
  8. This will take you to Product search screen. You can search any product through its Name or ISBN. Here’s what it looks like:
    Search Product on Amazon
  9. After generating your Affiliate product links you can start promoting them. In the next section I’ll explain how you can choose different methods to promote your Affiliate links.

How to Promote Affiliate Links

There are a number of ways you can promote your Product affiliate links that you generated in your Dashboard. We are going to categorize Affiliate link marketing into 3 categories:

  • Social media marketing
  • Website / Blog marketing
  • Online Forums

Social Media Marketing

If you use major social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin you can easily market your product links on your social profiles.

Amazon has a feature known as Site Stripe. The Site Stripe feature allows you to generate affiliate links for sharing on social media.

Site Stripe

You can generate a simple Text link, Image link or a text + Image link. Afterwards, you can copy and paste this link and share it on your social media profiles. Here’s a snap of a product link shared on Facebook:

product link

That’s how simple it is to promote your product links on Social media. Whenever someone in your friends list buys this item through your shared link, you will earn commission for it.

Website / Blog Marketing

If you are a website or a blog owner, you can easily put your affiliate product links and banners on your website. If you’ve got a steady flow of visitors to your website you can generate a good number of sales. Smart bloggers usually write product reviews on their blogs and generate sales from them.

For example, you can write a review about the new iPhone and include an Affiliate link in there as a recommendation. Even if one out of hundred readers buys the product from that link you will earn good bucks.

You can also get your favorite banners from Amazon Associates portal and put them on your website. You can get banners from the Product Linking menu in your Associates Dashboard.

Amazon Affiliate Banners

Those banners can be inserted in your website / blog. Whenever a visitor clicks the banner and buys any product from there you will earn commission.

Online Forums

Another way to market your affiliate product links is by participating in online forums. Once you have established a good reputation on a Forum you can recommend products to other members. You can also include affiliate links in your signatures. The forum signatures are shown below every post you make on a forum. Here’s an example:

Online forum signatures

We hope our guide has taught you the idea of affiliate marketing. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding our guide you can ask directly in the comments section below.

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