What Is Affiliate Marketing? And How Does It Work? | Beginners Guide - KevinBarham.net
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What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?

What Is Affiliate Marketing? And How Does It Work? | Beginners Guide

You know how it goes… you’re chatting with a friend and you tell them about an amazing new movie that you saw last night. From your description, they think it sounds great and now they really want to see it too.

You see them one week later and ask them, “Well? Did you see it yet?”


In this scenario you have sold them on the idea of ‘buying’ and then you have also ‘followed-up’ with them to see if they took action on your suggestion.

Affiliate Marketing is basically the same.  It is one person telling another.

In the movie example we did that telling in-person – But in the online world we tell others of our experiences, digitally, via articles (blog posts) and videos, as well as other channels.

Product vendors understand that someone is more likely to buy if they have been referred, and warmed-up, by an enthusiastic third-party.

Affiliate Marketing is a way for you to sell other people’s products via your own unique link (given to you by the vendor), for a commission.  The great thing is that the buyer doesn’t pay anymore. Your commission is paid by the vendor.

When you send people to your unique affiliate link, the visitor will end up on the product vendors page and, if they buy, the sale is tracked to you and you earn that commission.

Commissions vary across the available networks and products.  With Amazon, you can earn commissions from 1% to 10%.  The commission rate varies depending on the product category.

If you promoted an item that sold for $30 and it had a commission rate of 4.5%, you would earn something in the region of $1.35

Considering that not every visitor is a buyer, you would need to send a heck of a lot of traffic to your affiliate links and sell a lot of products to replace your main income!

I think Amazon is awesome and it is well worth signing up as an Affiliate.  Whenever you buy something new, you can tell others how great it is and receive a commission if anyone buys, just for mentioning it.

But, because of their relatively low percentage payouts I wouldn’t make the Amazon Affiliates Program my main focus.

There are plenty of Affiliate programs out there - Just go to Google and search for Affiliate Programs or Affiliate Networks.

You will find results like, eBay Partners, ShareASale, Shopify, Rakuten, CJ Affiliates (Commission Junction), to name but a few – but the one that I am going to recommend that you start with is ClickBank.  It is free to sign up and you don’t need to wait for approval to promote any of the products.


Head over to ClickBank.com and click on ‘Affiliate Marketplace’ in the top menu bar.

On the left hand side of the page you will see a full list of the Categories that the available products are filtered by.

When you are starting out, I recommend that you pick a niche that most interests you. It is far easier to promote something that you are actually interested in.  In time, as you develop your skills, you will be able to enter multiple niches – But start with one.

My chosen category for this example is ‘E-business & E-marketing’ – Click to small triangle to expand the section and you will see lots of subcategories so you can drill down to the specific products you are interested in promoting.

ClickBank Categories

When you have selected a category, you can then browse the product info on the right-hand side.

You will see information about the amount paid per sale and a link to resources that are available to assist you in promoting.

As you can see in the image, one of the products here has an average dollar per sale figure of $478.28.  This is what you earn for each sale.  That’s a little better than the Amazon example above!

Also – Try and focus on recurring products.  If you sales upgrade to a monthly billing option, you will receive commission each and every month that they remain a member.

This is the smart way to consider Affiliate Marketing.  Look for high and recurring commissions but, more importantly, promote products that you are proud to put your name to.

I really feel strongly about this final point.  Protect your integrity.  If you wouldn’t sell it to a friend or loved-one, don’t sell it to anyone else.

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DISCLOSURE: This content may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small commission. This helps support our work and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for your support!