Affiliate Marketing - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

By Akssar

Last updated on Mar 31 2022

Affiliate Marketing - A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners - What you Need to Know to Succeed


The invention of money happened courtesy of man’s need to sell things. Indeed, sales were the driving point behind this landmark breakthrough in human civilization. It started with the barter system of exchanging goods for goods, but not every man produced goods, yet every man did desire them. This led to the invention and the propagation of the concept of money.

Since then, marketing and sales have adapted at every stage of human history, merging with the latest tools that they have available at their disposal. This happened with the use of paintings, theatre, announcers, even temple sponsors, print media, radio, tele-callers, etc.

As we can see, it changed gradually with the best technology available at hand. This trend has continued in the age of the internet with the coming of digital marketing. The role of a salesperson within marketing has also evolved similarly and has now come to the birth of the affiliate marketer in the realm of digital marketing.


What is Affiliate Marketing?


It is the practice of promoting certain products or services offered by a given merchant with the intent to make a commission on the ensuing sale. In essence, it is a salesperson within the digital space. The skills required are quite similar, with a need for charisma and confidence to build a rapport with people with the intent of using that rapport to make sales. The difference is the scale of the audience engaged and the medium in which the pitches are pushed. Here affiliate marketers build an audience using their skills and persona in the digital space and promote a chosen suitable product to this audience.


Parties Involved in Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate –

The affiliate is the marketer or the salesperson in this style of marketing. They promote the product or service for a sales commission. They can be either individuals or businesses. Increasingly though, they are content creators involved in a certain niche, products of which they promote. The products are promoted through content delivery mechanisms like social media posts, blogs, videos, etc. Sometimes, affiliates even make use of paid ads to drive traffic in, but organic traffic is better in the long term. There are different payment methods available to base their commission on. The first is Pay-Per-Click (PPC). Here the affiliate gets paid for every generated click irrespective of its conversion into a lead or sale. The second option is the Pay-Per-Lead (PPL). Here the affiliate gets paid for every lead generated. The last type of payment is Pay-Per-Sale (PPS). Here the affiliate makes a commission for every sale made.



They are the company (or individual) who are looking to offer a product or service to consumers. They create products that are promoted by the affiliates. They pay a commission to the affiliates based on the agreed-upon payment system for the generation of clicks, leads, or sales. Interestingly, with programs such as the Amazon associates’ program, the seller merchant does not even need to be the actual producer of the product. Various such programs are cropping up across e-commerce platforms resulting in the increasing number of merchants who do not produce the product that they are selling.


Affiliate Networks-

This is an optional part of the system. These are online platforms where merchants can list their affiliate programs for the affiliates to subsequently find.  It is not compulsory to enlist the services of one as merchants tend to find affiliates without networks and vice-versa. However, it is extremely helpful in cataloging the programs undertaken and hence is recommended.



These are the potential clients to whom the products are targeted. These are members of the audience of the affiliates. The audience of the affiliates generally fits within a certain niche according to which the product to promote itself is chosen. The affiliates recommend the products to them with the intent of convincing them of making a purchase.


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How does Affiliate Marketing Work?


Although in certain ways affiliate marketing seems complicated, it is important to remember that in essence, it is making a sales pitch with the intent to accomplish sales. These points are intended to give you an understanding of the skeletal mechanism behind affiliate marketing.

  • First the affiliate joins the program offered by a given merchant. The affiliate is allotted a unique URL to use for the promotion of the merchant’s product.
  • The affiliate attempts to organically include this link in their content with the intent to persuade their audience into clicking it.
  • A cookie is placed o the computer of the visitor who gets to the website by clicking on the link provided by the affiliate. This is to ensure that the affiliate gets the credit for the sale even if it occurs at a later point in time.
  • As a follow-up to the previous step, the merchant website checks for the cookie after each successful sale on the buyer’s computer.
  • The merchant prepares a sales report based on the data so gathered to ascertain the number of sales made with the help of the affiliate.
  • Affiliate is paid by the merchant as per the agreed payment period and method.


Steps to follow for Successful Affiliate Marketing


Step 1- Find your niche

The first step for any affiliate would be to pick a niche to focus on. The affiliate needs to pick a niche to ensure they can make a mark with their audience. Also, this is the best way to establish influence as it provided the affiliate with the ability to demonstrate valuable insights within a certain niche. The affiliate needs to find a niche based on their skills and interests rather than trying to gauge which niche has the best audience.

Some examples of niches are finance, fitness, cosmetics, travel, etc. Here for example if the affiliate has elaborate knowledge about finances, then it would be prudent to create a niche in finances rather than in a higher-performing niche like fitness as irrespective of individual performance of the niche, the niche in which their skill-set is reflected would provide the best opportunity to build an audience. The niche you pick is going to determine the kind of products you can market in the future. For example, if the niche you pick is fitness, the products you can promote are protein powders, fitness apps, gym equipment, pre-workouts, etc.


Step 2- Choose your platform

Once the affiliate has chosen a niche to focus on, it is time to identify the platform to best build content for it. Most affiliates do this on multiple platforms but it is important to have a primary channel that will act as the base for promoting merchant products. Additional channels can help drive traffic into the primary platform of the affiliate.

Blogging is the easiest way to create content. Here, the focus is on the content itself without the added pressure of charisma. Also, the production cost is minimal and is a very cheap medium to access. This can work for product reviews in a particular niche along with articles on the latest trends. Blogs can be published promoting the merchant’s products.

Instagram is another great platform and is the most active platform among the social media platforms. It has high user engagement and would require good content centered around quality pictures and reels. It also offers the option to do paid promotions which can help build an audience initially.

YouTube is another very good platform to do affiliate marketing. It is the largest free video-sharing platform and is free to create and publish content for users. Statistics have shown time and again that video is the best form of content and has the maximum user engagement. Youtube affiliate marketing is a very lucrative and highly competitive sphere within the realm of affiliate marketing. However, it is tough to build an audience due to the plethora of competition present on the site. Furthermore, quality content videos have a higher production value and consume a lot more time as well.


Step 3- Build an audience

Irrespective of the platform you choose, it is important to build a loyal audience and engage them using quality content. For this purpose, you need to understand the latest trends in your niche and create concise content around them. It is also important to add a personal touch to the content with your input to set it apart from other content available. Once a regular audience starts building you need to analyze the kind of content, they are most responsive towards. Based on that data you can curate content to the taste of the audience to create greater engagement with them.


Step 4- Join an affiliate network

Now that you have a good audience base, it is time to get into marketing to them. For this purpose, you need to join an affiliate network or an affiliate program. You can sign-up for any affiliate networks like ShareASale, CJ affiliate, etc. These networks will help you find merchants in your niche as well as help merchants find affiliates like you.  Some of the best affiliate marketing websites are free to join with minimal complications in the sign-up process.

Alternatively, there are a lot of affiliate programs available which will help you find niche products within common product selling platforms. You need to consider factors like cookie lifetime, commission percentage, relevance, payment compatibility, etc. to determine which are the best affiliate programs for you. Amazon affiliate program and Flipkart affiliate program are very popular among e-commerce sites. Even the google affiliate program is picking up with the google shopping catalog available on the search engine.


Step 5- Choose products to promote

Once a suitable affiliate program or network is identified, it is time to zero in on the product. The affiliate must ensure that the product falls within their niche. Once it is established that it falls in their niche, it is to be determined if it is something that would resonate with their audience and whether it is consistent with the type of content that they create. Finally, you must also ensure that the product is worth plugging. You must ensure that the product is worth recommending and should recommend it only if you would use it yourself. This is because if you promote a bad product, it might create a bad reputation for your recommendations amongst your audience. So, take time in selecting the products that you are going to promote.


Step 6- Create quality content around the product

Now, it is time to make the sales pitch. It must not be too direct and force or demand your audience to make a purchase. Instead, it must be integrated with your regular content. This must be done without watering down the quality of your content. This will engage the audience with the sales pitch and will leave them with more conviction about making a purchase. The sales pitch content must retain the individuality which sets the affiliate apart from others and at the same time engage their audience.


Step 7- Analyze, Optimize, and Get paid

Analytics are easily available with any of these channels. The affiliate must utilize them to understand the performance of both their promotional content as well as their regular content. This data must be used to further optimize their content to create greater audience engagement and reach. This will lead to further successful promotion of present and future products picked for promotion. With a good content strategy, you will be able to coax your audience into making purchases. Then, you can get paid as per the terms agreed upon with the merchant.


Benefits of Affiliate Marketing


  • It takes minimal monetary investment to start affiliate marketing.
  • Low risk for companies to engage in a promotion.
  • High ROI for affiliates and affiliate marketing companies.
  • Great flexibility for both affiliates and merchants.
  • Low cost of upkeeping for affiliates.
  • Highly targeted traffic for merchants.
  • There are several affiliate programs for beginners which makes it easy to start.


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Affiliate marketing is turning out to be a highly sought-after mode of promotion in the present sales market. With the right skill-set coupled with perseverance, affiliate marketing can turn out to be a lucrative career option for those seeking to engage in marketing.

Affiliate marketing for beginners can seem complicated to get into. It is better to do a course in digital marketing to get a complete understanding of its various facets to be successful in the long term. Doing a course with a reputed training platform like Sprintzeal can go a long way in helping you have a successful career in affiliate marketing.

Enrolling in a course will help you access the highest paying affiliate programs. Digital Marketing Masters Program Certification Training is a course offered by Sprintzeal in this regard. This course will leave you well versed with the workings of digital marketing and leave you in good stead to access the top paying affiliate programs. Join Sprintzeal today and start your journey into the world of affiliate marketing!


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About the Author

Sprintzeal   Akssar

A law graduate with an immense passion for research and writing. Loves to travel, read and eat. When not doing that, loves working toward bringing well-researched and informative content to readers. Has experience in, and, is passionate about journalistic pieces, blog posts, review articles, sports coverage, technical research pieces, script-writing, website content, social media marketing, advertising, and creative writing. Sleeps when the ink runs out writing all that.

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