What is Affiliate Marketing? A Simple Guide for Beginners

By Martin Hurley
Updated June 2023
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Affiliate marketing is a popular way to make money online by promoting products or services and earning a commission for each sale (or signup) made through your unique affiliate link.

In this guide, we'll break down the basics of affiliate marketing and provide tips for using it effectively to generate income.

And just so you're clear:

Affiliate marketers are people who earn affiliate income from referring helpful products and services to others!

what is affiliate marketing
What is affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing where an affiliate promotes a product or service and earns a commission for each sale made through their unique affiliate link.

Simple example: If you want to become an affiliate marketer then I suggest you read Think and Grow Rich. It'll help with your marketing efforts!

The above link is my unique Amazon affiliate link. Many new marketers start affiliate marketing using the Amazon affiliate program (or Associates program) as it's so well known.

An affiliate marketer typically promotes a product or service through their website, blog, social media platforms (Facebook, Youtube etc), or other online channels.

The commission rate can vary depending on the product or service being promoted and the affiliate program being used.

Affiliate marketing is a great way for individuals or businesses to earn passive income by promoting products or services they believe in.

does affiliate marketing work
Does affiliate marketing work? If you commit to it, then yes!

Choose a niche and find an affiliate marketing program

The first step in affiliate marketing is to choose a niche that you are passionate about and find affiliate programs that align with your niche.

A niche could be almost anything... From video games, cooking and real estate to business, personal development and photography... there are niches in almost any field and hobby!

Generally, the more you enjoy the niche, the easier it will be for you to continue your affiliate marketing business when things get challenging!

It will also be easier for you to promote products or services that you are knowledgeable about and genuinely interested in.

You can find affiliate programs by searching online for companies that offer them, or by joining affiliate networks such as Amazon Associates, ShareASale, or Commission Junction.

Once you have found an affiliate network that fits your niche, you can sign up and start promoting their products or services using your unique affiliate link.

amazon affiliate program
The Amazon affiliate program is a popular affiliate network.

Create a website or blog

To be successful in affiliate marketing, you need a platform to promote products or services.

Creating a website or blog is a great way to do this.

(You can also use social media platforms like Twitter and/or a Youtube channel as well).

Your website or blog should be focused on your niche and provide valuable content to your audience.

This will help you build trust with your audience and make it easier to promote products or services.

You can include affiliate links in your content, such as product reviews or recommendations, and earn a commission when someone makes a purchase through your link.

There are many website builders and blogging platforms available, such as WordPress and Squarespace, that make it easy to create a professional-looking website or blog without any coding experience.

affiliate marketing partners
Use a blog or social to promote your content (and affiliate marketing partners!)

Create quality content and promote your affiliate links

One of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing is creating quality content that provides value to your audience.

This can include product reviews, tutorials, and helpful tips related to your niche.

By providing valuable content, you can build trust with your audience and increase the likelihood that they will click on your affiliate links.

It's also important to promote your affiliate links through various channels, such as social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.

However, be sure to disclose that you are using affiliate links in your content to comply with FTC guidelines.

affiliate marketing industry
The affiliate marketing industry holds huge potential so jump in!

Track your results and adjust your strategy

As with any marketing strategy, it's important to track your results and adjust your approach accordingly.

This means monitoring your affiliate sales, click-through rates, and conversion rates to see what's working and what's not.

You can use tools like Google Analytics to track your website traffic and see which pages are driving the most clicks and conversions.

Based on this data, you can make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts and how to optimise your content for better results.

Remember, affiliate marketing is a long-term game, so be patient and persistent in your efforts.


Obviously this is just a quick 1000-foot view on affiliate marketing... there's a lot of moving parts that go into it!

To further your learning take a peek at the Buildapreneur blog for related affiliate marketing tools, tips and good actionable advice.