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Affiliate Marketing: A Short Guide

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Image credited to Pixabay

Brief History

Thought of Amazon as the pioneer of affiliate marketing? Well, that was just a myth! Did you know? Affiliate marketing has been around in the business industry for three decades now. And it started way back in 1989.

Affiliate marketing was the idea of an American entrepreneur and businessman named William J. Tobin, the first affiliate marketer in the world and founder of PC Flowers & Gifts (which specializes in online retailing) and other companies. Tobin also secured several patents for his various products and services.

However, affiliate marketing was not so popular then. It began to flourish when Amazon started its e-commerce business in 1996. During that time, Amazon was only selling books. After Amazon, several companies also started making their names, such as Rakuten Affiliate Network (1996), Commission Junction (1998), ClickBank (1998), and ShareASale (2000).

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

So, what is affiliate marketing by the way?

The phrase affiliate marketing might be cumbersome to grapple at first for novices. Some might think that only those people who have a background in business or marketing will be able to fully grasp it. Others may say that you need to have a lot of experience to venture into affiliate marketing. However, it is not as hard as we may think.

Affiliate marketing is simply a type of online marketing system wherein you promote someone else’s product or service in exchange for a certain amount of commission. In other words, you earn a commission every time you make a sale. The more products or services you sell, the higher the commission you will receive.

However, since affiliate marketing is now getting popular these days, it also has tons of competition. So, you also need to know how to play your game.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Different bodies of affiliate marketing

So, how does affiliate marketing really work?

Often, affiliate marketing involves three different bodies: the merchant, the affiliate, and the customer.

The Merchant

Also known as the vendor or seller.

The merchant could be an individual or a company.

Merchants’ roles are to create products and services and deliver these products to potential consumers. These could range from physical products such as health and fitness or woodworking tools (products we usually see at Amazon.com); digital products like E-business and E-marketing goods; and services like How to Make a Website in 2020 and How to Train Your Dog.

The Affiliate

Also known as the advertiser or publisher.

Like merchants, affiliates could also be an individual or a company.

The major role of the affiliate marketer is to promote the products and services offered by the merchants. Although merchants also promote their products, affiliate marketers are the ones to do most of the promotions and the advertisements side.

To do this, affiliates market products and services through a myriad of platforms such as websites, blog/vlog posts, and social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.).

The Customer

Also known as the buyer or consumer.

Mostly individuals, but may also be a company or corporation.

Costumers are considered as the “heart” of the affiliate marketing business. Of course, without them, both the merchant and the affiliate marketer will not make any money at all.

Millions of customers search for products or services online every day hoping to solve a particular problem. Once these potential customers have decided to buy, that is also the time that the merchant and the affiliate will earn money.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Earn A Commission?

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Image credited to Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

There are several ways affiliate marketers may earn a commission. The three types of commissions listed below are the most common ones: physical products, recurring billing, and high and low tickets.

Physical Products

Physical products are products that we can physically see or touch like the products that we order from e-commerce sites such as Amazon or eBay.

It is interesting to note that millions of customers around the world are searching for products online, so you would also have a huge chance of making a profit. But, commissions from physical products have several drawbacks.

First, most of these e-commerce companies accept only well-established affiliates. If you are a newbie in affiliate marketing, you might be facing a huge obstacle.

Second, these companies pay only a small percentage of commission to their affiliates. Because of that, these affiliates need to promote multi-products to maximize their income.

And third, most of these companies’ cookies only last for a day. That means to say that you will get a commission once a customer makes purchases within 24 hours. (For more information about cookies, click here)

Recurring Billing

The second type of commission is called a recurring billing.

It is a type of billing in which the seller automatically charges the customer (either monthly or annually) for a product or services that this customer has availed. In return, affiliates also earn continuously as long as the customers keep the services and remain active.

Examples of products or services with recurring billing are membership clubs, coaching programs, software as a service (SaaS), and web hostings.

High and Low Tickets

What is the difference between a high ticket product and a low ticket product?

In general, high ticket products are high-value products with huge income in return. On the other hand, low ticket products yield a small amount of profit.

Choosing between high ticket products and low ticket products is hard and can be confusing, especially if you are just starting as an affiliate.

Each ticket program has its pros and cons, and it’s really up to us to decide which one to promote first.

While we can promote both the products, it is still best to concentrate on one first so that we will be able to speed up the process and avoid so much hassle on our part.

Below are some of the pros and cons of both products:

High Ticket
(e.g. autowebinar)
Huge profit
Fewer spent on ads
Less hassle
Mostly expensive
Harder to sell
Limited products
Low Ticket
(e.g. ebook creator)
Easier to sell
More products available
Small profit
A bit tedious
More spent on ads

Why you should join affiliate marketing

Fortunately, there are lots of benefits to affiliate marketing. Listed below are just some of the most fascinating reasons why you should join affiliate marketing.

Passive income

Who would love to see thousands of dollars keep flooding into their bank accounts while sleeping? I bet all of us would love to.

That’s the power of affiliate marketing. It allows us to earn an income passively. Besides, it gives us the freedom to do whatever we want, pursues the things that we like, and helps us provide the daily needs of our family.

Also, with affiliate marketing, we will be able to have the financial freedom that we have been longing for.

Be your own boss

Tired of your 9-to-5 day job? Want to quit or avoid a toxic working environment?

Well, you can do that and become the boss that you’ve been dreaming of.

With affiliate marketing, you no longer need someone to dictate you on what to do. You don’t need to wake up early in the morning and be stuck in the traffic just to get to work on time.

You can now have the complete freedom to manage your time, make decisions for yourself, and be the boss that you have always wanted.

Work from home

Online teaching, freelance writing, and web development. What do they have in common? Well, all of them are now being conducted at home!

Working from home is becoming a trend nowadays.

We all know that the world’s economy has been paralyzed by this coronavirus outbreak. And since COVID-19 has affected millions of people around the world, a lot of us are also shifting to work full time at home. Thanks to affiliate marketing.

This time of pandemic is a great way to learn and start affiliate marketing at home. Aside from being safe, you are also helping and preventing the spread of this contagious disease.

Luckily, affiliate marketing can be done in the comfort of one’s home.

Travel anywhere you want

Out of the country? On a honeymoon? Or, having a vacation in one of the best beaches in the world? With affiliate marketing, that’s not a big problem.

The good thing about affiliate marketing is that it is portable. We can take it anywhere we want. As long as we have a laptop or a smartphone to work with and a stable internet connection, then we are good to go.

Unlike before, the great thing about these days is that almost any part of the world has already access to the internet. With the use of our fingertips, we can now log in easily into our account anytime and anywhere we want!

Some Things To Consider Before Joining Affiliate Marketing

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Image credited to Skitterphoto, Pexels

You don’t need to be a guru or an expert to start your journey as an affiliate. Anyone can join anytime from almost any part of the world.

Whether you are young (or young at heart), old, single or married, employed or not, it does not matter. As long as you are determined, willing to learn, and take some risk, then affiliate marketing is probably for you.

However, venturing in affiliate marketing does not happen as a result of overnight success. It is not a rich-quick scheme. It takes a lot of time, patience, perseverance, and money before you see its great rewards.


Veteran affiliate marketers may see good results typically within the day. Probably because these types of marketers have already tons of experience and have used advanced tools to market their products easily.

Plus, they have been in the industry for many years, so they already know thousands of strategies that they can use as well as the ins and outs of affiliate marketing.

On the other hand, novice affiliates may see good results within a month or so. Well, that also depends on how much time and effort they put it into.

Patience and Perseverance

Every time I venture into something, I always remember this old saying that goes, “What you sow, so shall you reap.”

Patience and perseverance are other key factors that an affiliate marketer needs to have. Since doing affiliate marketing is highly competitive, a bit tedious, and takes so much time, your patience and perseverance will also be put into test.

Without them, you may lose in the track right away and will not last long in this kind of business.


You can start affiliate marketing without spending a dime. Yes, that’s true.

As in zero capital?

I have read various testimonies and heard a lot of newbie affiliates who have been earning hundreds or even thousands of dollars just by using some free tools. These tools are always available online and within the reach of our bare hands.

Tools such as YouTube (for tutorials), Google Sites (for creating free websites and landing pages), ConvertKit (an automated email responder), Wordtracker (for keyword analysis), Pinterest (for driving free traffic), and many, many more!

At the end of the day, as some affiliates would say, it’s just a matter of planning and strategy though.

But, if you are serious about growing your business and maximizing your profit, then it is time to invest in some advanced tools like ClickFunnels (an all-in-one affiliate marketing tool), Hostinger (a web hosting), and Ahrefs (for backlinks and SEO analysis), etc.

However, most of these advanced tools are a bit pricey and will cost you a lot of money. But, they are all worth the price once you see the results.







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