Select Page

What is affiliate marketing?

You have probably heard the term, but do you really know what affiliate marketing entails? Affiliate marketing is defined by Investopedia as being “an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services. You can view the Investopedia article here. As the internet has risen to prominence in virtually every area imaginable the practice of affiliate marketing has invariably increased as well.

The online retailing behemoth Amazon popularized the practice of affiliate marketing, in fact Amazon has offered an affiliate marketing program since way back in 1996. Essentially individuals join an affiliate program (in Amazon’s case it is called the Amazon Associate program) and make money by linking (thru blogs, writing, Youtube etc.) Amazon products to those channels listed above. Affiliate marketers receive a portion of profits derived from ad fees, the amount affiliate marketers earn is determined by referral visits, as well as earning a percentage of ad fee on qualifying purchases. For more information on the Amazon Associates program visit this link. Affiliate marketing provides little to no risk to large firms like Amazon, as the Investopedia article states “affiliate marketing is essentially a pay for performance marketing program where the act of selling is outsourced across a vast network”.

How can I get started with Affiliate Marketing?

If affiliate marketing seems like a solid “side hustle” to you or if you have bigger plans and want it to eventually become your full time job, starting out with affiliate marketing can be a difficult task, however with the right preparation you have the opportunity to jump ahead of the competition. Within a few hours you should be able to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground and running, regardless of prior experience. Regardless of which affiliate program you join, what kind of products or services you would like to promote, or even if you are looking at a specific market/niche, the basic formula for affiliate marketing remains the same. As The Balance Small Business points out your main task as an affiliate marketer is “always traffic generation- Ie. driving prospects to the merchants website via your unique affiliate link” ( There are both paid and free options available to drive your affiliate marketing campaigns.

When you are first starting out it can be worthwhile to start garnering free traffic to your website/blog (whatever form you are using to dole out affiliate links). Examples of free traffic garnering include: blog posts and other similarly related content, and social media posts among others. Having a sound, SEO friendly website or blog is a tremendous boost to an affiliate marketer. By producing high quality, linkable content in addition to SEO friendly pages you will find yourself and your affiliate marketing career as a whole rising. For information about best SEO practices visit the MOZ website, which has been an authority on the subject for many years. After building up your website, content, and reputation there are additional paid methods which will generate more prospects and subsequently more sales/conversions out there. Examples of paid advertising methods that will help you boost traffic to your site include: banner ads, a Google Adwords campaign (crucial for SEO), as well as paid advertising on social platforms including Facebook and Instagram.

Hopefully this article covered some of the basic details of affiliate marketing, and how to potentially succeed should you decide that affiliate marketing is right for you.