What Is An Affiliate Marketing Business?

birdseyecoffee-smallHave you currently been researching “How do I make money online?” or “How do I monetize my website other than using Adsense.”

The most popular reasons people get into affiliate marketing are:

  • Low-cost start-up
  • Another way to market their products
  • They want to become their own boss

Whatever the reason may be that landed you here just know that I am going to give you the run down on Affiliate Marketing Business so you can understand the following:


I put this article together because when I started out in marketing, I felt lost. I didn’t know what affiliate marketing was, how it worked, or where to start.

Without this knowledge, it was a challenge fishing through all the garbage MLM deals and the same old fluffy re-spun content that wasn’t helping me TAKE ACTION.

All About Affiliate Marketing Business

wordcloudThere аrе mаnу things thаt саn bе ѕаid аbоut affiliate marketing аѕ a home business. It iѕ difficult fоr ѕоmеоnе whо dоеѕn’t knоw аnуthing аbоut thе subject tо start ѕuсh a business.

What most find out is launching the business iѕ easy, but аftеr уоu dо it, failure iѕ a certainty if уоu dоn’t knоw hоw tо manage it.

What exactly is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing iѕ selling a product оr service fоr a merchant аnd уоu gеt paid a commission fоr thаt sale whiсh саn range from 3-100% оf thе cost оf thе product.

Thiѕ iѕ уоur reward fоr nоt оnlу selling thе product but аlѕо bringing a visitor оr customer tо thе merchant.

Thе merchant iѕ thе person whо hаѕ thе product оr services fоr sale аnd wishes tо sell thiѕ product/services thrоugh affiliate marketing.

Next, thе merchant partners up with many affiliate marketers tо promote the product or service.

If уоu lооk back аѕ fаr аѕ 2006 internet affiliate marketing hаd grown tо £2.16billion in thе UK thiѕ wаѕ аn increase оf аlmоѕt 30% оn thе previous year, thiѕ iѕ huge business аnd growing rapidly еасh year.

Bеing аn Affiliate Marketer уоu wаnt tо аvаil оf thе bеѕt affiliate programs in thе affiliate marketing business. Affiliate marketing iѕ оnе оf thе easiest wауѕ tо work frоm home аnd make money online.

<< Learn How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing >>

What is The Process of Affiliate Marketing? 

Whеn уоu decide tо run аn affiliate marketing business, the first part you need to understand is the process in which it works.

You place banners аnd post content on your website that link out to niche related affiliate offers; visitors then click & buy, you get paid.


An example of a website using an affiliate link. When a visitor clicks this link and makes a purchase the website owner gets that $$$$$

Basically.. but it is a bit more intricate than that.

Here is the process laid out in a simple step-by-step process.

  • Step 1: A merchant signs up with an affiliate network to manage affiliates or manages their accounts
  • Step 2: A publisher/marketer signs up with affiliate offers via networks or direct programs
  • Step 3: The affiliate refers its audience to the merchant’s product
  • Step 4: The merchant capitalizes on borrowed traffic, and the affiliate collects commission on sales
Infographic by WP Diver, Illustrates the players in the affiliate marketing game. I don’t talk much about agencies or networks in this post but look forward to more info in the future.

Let’s define an “Affiliate Marketing Business” as such:

A business in which makes a profit by use of the affiliate marketing model; This would include any business that utilizes a part of this model such as the merchant, the network or the affiliate (aka publisher).

You see a lot of people describe an affiliate marketing business only from the perspective of the merchant within the affiliate marketing model; On the other hand, I would like to explain this business model from both sides of the coin.

The two main sides of the business: Affiliate and Merchant

While an affiliate network is important, I don’t suggest you go starting one, at least not at this level. The two areas to focus here are the affiliate and the merchant. Let’s talk a little about how to do each.

How To Be A Merchant

To be a merchant you, of course, need to have a product or service that you are trying to sell. Your product/service can be physical or digital.

Selling Digital Products

Digital products and services are my favorite as they do not require shipping logistics and there are easy ways to outsource product creation if you do not have the time to produce the product.

Digital products are quick and easy to deliver via download, and a lot of networks are set up to sell these type of goods.

Some digital products examples:

  • Ebooks
  • Audio Files
  • Videos
  • Graphic Services
  • Freelance Writing

A fast way to develop digital products would be using PLR products that you can use a starting point on a subject and then rebrand.

Maybe you want to be completely original and create a product from scratch. Mozie: the harder way of doing things and will require a lot of time and money to create this product. Just like physical products.

My favorite route would be to take quality PLR and upgrade it or outsource a quality writer with my particular brief. This way it allows me to have the freedoms that I desire.

After you have the products in place, you need to find an affiliate network that works for your products. We will talk more details about networks further along the article.

Selling Physical Products

Do note that anytime you deal with a physical product; you will be facing a higher cost of doing business versus selling digital products.

In my opinion, the amount of time and money invested into handling the logistics of physical products is just not the kind of FREEDOM that I am looking for, but it is possible and works for people who are interested in that.

The exception to this for me is when you sell physical products using drop shipments and services such as Amazon FBA.  FREEDOM AND IT’S HANDS OFF! 

fbaAfter you have your product, you link up with an affiliate network and sell your products. Also, note that by using Amazon FBA you are tapping into also joining the merchant side of the amazon affiliate network.

BOOOOM!!! Big Money.

Amazon is the world’s top e-commerce site, so the items already have the upper advantage versus only selling on your website because it has a household name that consumers trust and already frequently shop at.

So if you’re selling physical products, I recommended taking that route, if not you will need to research the best ways to find affiliates for your physical products.

<< Get Started With Affiliate Marketing Today! >>

How To Be An Affiliate

1 – Obtain Your Audience:

Being an affiliate is rather easy in most cases, for most the hard part is gathering an audience (traffic). Although there are many ways of doing this, these are my favorite avenues of traffic:

  • Free Traffic
    • Organic Social Traffic
    • Guest Posting
    • Skyscraper Backlinking
    • SEO Content
    • E-mail list
  • Paid Traffic
    • Google Adwords
    • Bing/Yahoo Ads
    • Facebook and other social ads

2 – Provide Them With Quality Content

After gaining traffic, you must provide it with solid, engaging content the leads to trust and conversions. A few ways to accomplish this are:

  • Email training course
  • Exclusive blog articles
  • Offer free content the presells but helps

3 – Solve Their Problems With Solutions To Buy

Once the traffic has arrived and read through the free helpful content, you can begin to offer them paid solutions to their problems.

By helping your audience and always providing them with quality content gains their trust in you and before long they will be more than happy to take your advice and purchase your recommendations.

How To Find An Affiliate Network?

Ok so now you have your product or have your audience, and you are ready to start turning what you have into profits.

But where do I find affiliates or merchants?
An affiliate network is an easy solution. But now, you may be wondering what an affiliate network is.

Well, these networks are a third party that connects the affiliates and the merchants. They allow the merchants to list their products or services so affiliates can sign up for their program.

My favorite aspect is these networks usually handle the processing of the payments between the merchant and the affiliate. A few of the well-known affiliate networks that I use are:affiliatenetworks

The Master Combination: Playing Both Sides of The Coin

Some of the most successful affiliate marketers utilize both sides of the business to increase income streams.

I have seen it multiple times from the all the top earners. They produce their content that helps satisfy their traffic’s needs while also promoting other offers that are withing their niche market.

Using both sides is an excellent way to show your audience that you aren’t just there to sell them your stuff, but you also share other products that can solve some of their other problems.

When you make these relationships with other marketers, you can even ask them to share your products on their list.

Now you are helping each other make more profits than before. That is how people are making 5-6 figures a month!

One of the best affiliate networks for this model is JvZoo.

<<Learn How To Make Real Money With Your Interest>>

How Hard is Affiliate Marketing and Who Can Do it?

Let’s just keep it straight the point yeah? Affiliate Marketing is as easy as being self-disciplined and dedicating yourself to putting the time in required to create results.

Affiliate Marketing is not a GET – RICH – QUICK  business model. In fact, are those even real business models?

Affiliate marketing is a REAL way to make money online because REAL people do it all over the world.

The real challenge is taking ACTION. The only thing that holds you back is yourself.

Who Makes Money With Affiliate Marketing?

All kinds of people work in the affiliate marketing industry. Think about all the niches in the world and reflect on how many different types of individuals there are in the world.

The possibilities are endless! 

The type of people who make money with affiliate marketing are:lots-of-people

  • Inventors and product owners
  • Mommy bloggers
  • Internet Marketers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Former Military Personnel
  • Sports fan bloggers
  • Again this list goes on for days

Anyone can do this as long as they commit to doing it!

How Long Does It Take To Earn With Affiliate Marketing?

pexels-photoBeing that there are several strategies and thousands of niches, I cannot say how long it will take for you to make money with affiliate marketing. Both sides of the business require some time to plan out and take action .

Most people report that when relying on free traffic and SEO, it can take about six months to start seeing some of your first commissions as an affiliate.

Whereas when people execute great ad campaigns they can start making profits in a couple of days.  But this only happens after carefully planning and taking the time to implement all the plans accordingly.

The fact of the matter is that it is a real thing and it is still a challenge for anyone who is taking the right steps.

Why doesn’t everyone make money with affiliate marketing?

Well despite how simple it is regarding physical labor, it is truly a job that requires an enormous amount of self-discipline and boy I am talking patience.

A lot of people who get involved in affiliate marketing or this online income stuff aren’t looking for something that requires a whole lot of work.

What a lot of people want is not a whole lot of effort rewarded with millionaire paychecks. Because they feed into this fast money, dream that another IM “guru” is painting into their head.

Don’t fall into the same trap that Gollum did! Shiny Object Syndrome is REAL!

Here are a lot of mistakes people make:

  • They get stuck in a shiny object syndrome
  • They get overwhelmed with information overload
  • They don’t follow a proven to work system
  • They lack support/mentorship
  • They fail to commit to their projects

How technical is affiliate marketing?

A lot of people are intimidated by affiliate marketing because they think that it is going to require a lot of technical skill because of the business taking place on the internet.

People hear that creating a website is involved, and then there is that complicated SEO stuff, not to mention email marketing….Ok, that is it I give up!

Let me reassure you that it is much easier than you think.

You will survive the technical aspects of affiliate marketing as long as you can do the following:

  1. Use Facebook
  2. Check your email
  3. Use a word processor (Like MS Word)

For the most technical stuff, you can commit to learning or just outsource it.

<< Build A Niche Website Today With FREE Action Based Lessons >>

How To Become Successful With Affiliate Marketing?

steps-to-success-628x353Finding success is the struggle that we face at the beginning of any entrepreneur journey and a lot of people don’t make it through that fight.

Trying to find success alone and all by yourself can be challenging when you are sifting through so many scams.

This is why I suggest:

  1. Get a mentor or join a community
  2. Get into a legit training program and learn the skills needed to find success
  3. Try to get both in one solution.

Who Are Some Mentors and Leaders To Follow?

Some of my favorite blogs and online earning tips come from these industry leaders:

  1. Mark & Gael: Authority Hacker
  2. Alex: Extra-Paycheck Podcast
  3. Nathaniell: One More Cup Of Coffee
  4. Mozie : IM Mozie

Where to Obtain An Affiliate Marketing Education?

There are many places in which you can obtain an education about affiliate marketing.


This market is full of scams, one of the reasons I created this site, to help you avoid internet marketing scams.

Unfortunately, they are real but thankfully you won’t have to take those risk.

I learned most of what I know at Wealthy Affiliate.  They have 100’s of lessons that cover these topics and more:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • PPC and Ad Management
  • Niche and Keyword Research
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Website and Content Creation

They are the best source for people starting out and they have a HUGE community that is online 24/7 from all over the globe. The community was the biggest helping hand whenever I was stuck.

If you are interested in learning more about Wealthy Affiliate, read my in-depth review, where I break down my story and how I found what I spent years looking for.

Or skip the article and take action today with the free affiliate marketing courses here.

If you have further questions, concerns, or input on this topic, please join in on the discussion below.

Thanks for reading!


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Hi! Todd here, I love making money online and decided to make this blog so I can help show others how making money online, becoming your own boss, and becoming financial freedom can be a reality.

16 thoughts on “What Is An Affiliate Marketing Business?

  • October 12, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Thank you for breaking down what affiliate marketing is all about. When I first started, I only knew about Amazon Associates, but due to my location, I wasn’t accepted into the program.

    I still couldn’t get into any other affiliate programs and I feel like I am writing for nothing, hence not making any money. What advice would you have for me? It’s very frustrating sometimes.

    • October 13, 2016 at 2:09 am

      Thanks for your question.

      Let me just say, the struggle is real.

      I’ve been making websites for 15 years. It all started as a hobby.

      But then I wanted to make money with it so I could continue to do what I love and not answer to some boss. It wasn’t easy and it has taken years to figure out how to actually make money. Here are two major tips off rip:

      1. Don’t Ever Give Up.

      When the going gets tough, and it will, you have to battle it, the hard work will pay off. The more you work at it and learn the better you get. Networking is key.. which is onto the next tip.

      2. Reach out to a learning community of people doing the same thing.

      This support group of friends via online communities has been a major catalyst in my journey and without the support I know that the struggle would be harder.

      Finding the answers to my questions all on my own. I am a member of a couple exclusive groups with paid memberships. Wealthy Affiliate and Authority Hacker Pro are two major ones for me.

      3. Write competitive quality content & use great long tail keywords.

      Use competitor research tools and SEM research tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.

      When you look at what your competitors are doing to gain traffic and you reproduce the content but make it longer and better, that is when you can outrank or get on that first page of google.

      I hope this helped with the questions you have. If not please let me know. 😀

  • October 14, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I never actually realized how easy affiliate marketing was – I mean, I didn’t know something as simple as using a banner was considered marketing!!!
    I have noticed a huge amount of sites out there that offer referral links – I suppose each of these referral links is then considered an affiliate action?

    • October 14, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Usually it its. One of my favorite aspects of this is there is no extra fee for the consumer. The Merchant pays out the money to the affiliate out of their profits. So the consumer can get the same price that they would pay anywhere else.

  • October 26, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    As opposed to selling on ebay – I think this is a much more attractive proposition…don’t you?
    I mean in most cases here you don’t even have to handle the product at all right? You just sell vendors products and take a cut of the profits – easy!
    How long have you been working this way?

    • October 26, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      I think this is a much more realistic way to make money if you

      1. Don’t have your own product

      2. Don’t want to deal with customer service and support on products

      3. Don’t want to deal with logistics.

      I’ve been doing on a serious level this for about a year now.

  • November 4, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    I’ve always wondered about the amount of money that could be made by this type of marketing – I suppose if you find a product or a solution that’s in demand…the sky’s the limit!
    How long did you have to study affiliate marketing before you went out and started trading yourself?

    • November 4, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Well the best approach would be to learn and take action and keep learning. I am always learning and implememnting new strategies. I jumped in right away and won’t look back.

  • November 19, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Hi there! I just read your article on affiliate marketing and just had to drop you a quick comment to share my experiences with you. I think you have done an excellent job with this article, it really is very informative.

    I have been into affiliate marketing for several years and a member of Wealthy Affiliate for just over one year. I think affiliate marketing is great, but its not for everyone. As you said here, there is an impression that people get of affiliate marketing where they think they are going to be mega rich within a matter of days! There is a ton of hype and complete lies within the make money online niche and its something that newcomers really have to be very careful of.

    I 100% agree with your recommendation of Wealthy Affiliate. People new to affiliate marketing need the right training and WA provides that. Go anywhere else and you are taking pot luck as to what you get!

  • November 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    You’ve got a pretty nice website here. And this is a really well-written article on affiliate marketing. To me, the benefit of becoming an affiliate marketer is the fact that I don’t have to create my own products. That saves a lot of time and I can sell right away. It’s a simple process but not easy to make big money. It takes a lot of patience and consistent effort to build your website.

    • November 24, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Yes just because it is “EASY” doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a shit ton of work to produce results. I love it though!

  • December 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Hi, I am also an affiliate marketer and I can resonate with everything that you said.
    Affiliate marketing is far from a quick solution to our financial problems. It’s a serious long-term strategy that only works for those who have patience and discipline to sit down, research and write content.
    It’s difficult when I am still stuck in the rat race as an employee. I get home tired and often times I can’t find the energy to work for myself on my business. However, I usually get back on track as soon as I remember that my freedom depends on today’s hard work. It pays off if you stick to it… so, my advice is work hard for yourself and never give up. The internet is huge and there is plenty of space for anyone.

    All the best

    • December 6, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Heers to tour ventures mate

  • June 19, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Thanks for a very informative article. I like what you wrote about affiliate marketing not being a get quick rich job. Whilst it is an ‘easy’ way to earn a living it requires a lot of perseverance and dedication to make it into a proper full income business. However, it is the best way to make money from your own home without many of the risks that most businesses have.

  • June 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for the article, affiliate marketing is hard, that’s just my honest opinion. Yes, you can be really successful at it provided that you have some guidance at the start and not get trapped by the get rich quick folks that seem to be everywhere on the web.
    As long as you enjoy it, be consistent and not give up too easily you should see success.

  • September 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Great, in-depth article about affiliate marketing. I really like the section on why people fail and the shiny ball. A lot of people just want to sign up somewhere online and make money NOW. When it comes to a business transaction, there is not much difference between brick and mortar and online. Both need traffic to come in. Both need products to sell. Really liked this. Thanks.


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