What is Affiliate Marketing? | How it Works (even if you’re NOT a marketer)

In the world of internet marketing, there are lots of different ways to benefit. Whether you are a marketer yourself, a business owner looking to sell your own products, or if you are the end consumer. In this article, I’ll answer what is affiliate marketing and explain the specific benefits to all those involved in the online purchase experience.

Make sure to keep reading to the end so you can see how you can benefit from affiliate marketing even if you don’t consider yourself a marketer, have any desire to become one, or have any of your own products or services to offer.

I’ll explain how you can start earning monthly, recurring commissions just by doing something that you already are anyways.


What is Affiliate Marketing

In short, affiliate marketing is a form of internet marketing in which an online retailer pays a commission to a third party who assists in the selling of their products. If you’ve bought anything online, you’ve most likely done so through an affiliate program, without even knowing it.

Many of the products sold on Amazon are done so on an affiliate basis. You may have also seen affiliate products being sold through Clickbank, which is a very popular and successful affiliate marketplace.


How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

The beauty of affiliate marketing, is it’s simplicity, thanks to the simple yet powerful automation the internet makes possible.

In most cases, a product or service owner simply provides an “affiliate link” to a third party. That unique link tracks any sales that occur through that link so that the party promoting that link get’s paid.

So it’s a simple process, but a powerful one. Thanks to “sticky cookies” affiliate marketers can be compensated days, weeks, or even months after someone actually clicks on their affiliate link.

And with the Amazon Affiliate Program, the affiliate gets credit and receives commission for everything bought during the buying session. Not just the specific product link that they clicked on. In my personal example with the amazon affiliate program, my largest commission came from a Dyson vacuum. A product I have NEVER promoted one bit.

Affiliate marketing can be a great example of rewarding those who provide value for others. And the product owners are happy to do so.


Who Benefits from Affiliate Marketing?

The Product Owner

The first party that benefits is the product or service owner. They are able to, in effect, create their own sales force by offering affiliate commissions to anyone willing to promote their offer. With the rise of more and more digital products, the owner can often offer quite generous commissions, thereby attracting the best marketers.

One of the main benefits of internet marketing in general is the ability to tap into marketing automation. To leverage the internet to ramp up sales.

But if you are a product creator and that’s what your good at, why distract yourself with the marketing side of the business? Affiliate marketing lets this business owner focus on what they are good at and create more awesome products. Leaving the marketing of their products to others who are better at it.

The Affiliate Marketer

The main benefit to the actual marketer in affiliate marketing is the low cost of entry. You don’t have to worry about product creation at all. And many products owners will let you join their affiliate program for free.

Many products owners will also provide the marketer with a ton of tools to help them promote their products. Such as advertising images and even sales and email copy.

With the wide variety of affiliate programs now available, an individual marketer can pick something they are passionate about. That they are knowledgeable about and therefore can be most effective at marketing. That’s how you succeed in affiliate marketing.

Even if you are selling your own products, you can still use affiliate marketing to compliment your own offers. This is a great way to increase your average lead value. Provide more value to your audience through affiliate marketing than you could trying to create every single product they need on your own.

The Consumer / The NON-Marketer

If you’ve found this article as a consumer or non-marketer, asking what is affiliate marketing, than these next few paragraphs are for you. The more you know how affiliate marketing works, the more you can benefit from it too.

So how can the non-marketer benefit? First off, you need to realize just how prevalent affiliate marketing is. As I already mentioned, Amazon has their own affiliate program. We all know how many products amazon has. Seems like they have everything.

Clickbank has a ton more offers and other top affiliate programs cover a wide variety of industries as well.

So, the first step as a consumer or non-marketer is to do a quick search and see if the product you are looking to buy has an affiliate program. If it does, reach out to an affiliate.

They may have a coupon code for you or maybe even a bonus offer if you buy through them. At the very least, you will have made someone’s day and most likely created an ally for yourself that will now definitely be predisposed to wanting to help you in the future.

Benefit Yourself – DIRECTLY

I’ve been discussing some of the benefits of internet marketing throughout this article. But let’s not ignore the negatives. One being, specifically in online sales, just not getting what we expected or being disappointed in a purchase.

As a result, personal recommendations and referrals have become an everyday part of life. So why not make commissions yourself off of your recommendations? Recommendations that you are already making anyways and that are authentic and honestly based off of your own personal experiences. If you’ve benefited from a product, others will no doubt as well. Help them and help yourself.

And we’re not talking about you having to become a full time affiliate marketer here. We’re talking about free to join affiliate programs that you can promote for free.

Ask yourself what products you use regularly that benefit you the most. See if they have an affiliate program. Or if you need ideas, check out these Top 8 Affiliate Programs. Or think of things you use that you know many in your own social circle may not be aware of.

And it certainly doesn’t have to always be physical products. There’s a ton of useful digital products out there designed to help us all increase productivity. So we can have more time to do what we really want in life.

Products like Kartra and the Kartra Affiliate Program, that can help any small business owner or anyone trying to make any sort of income online.


Is Affiliate Marketing Legit – The Bottom Line

I’m a firm believer that the best transactions are the ones where both the buyer and seller receive value. Especially online, this means the product must stand on it’s own.

So definitely be wary of anyone reviewing products and offering an affiliate link who hasn’t used the product themselves. Personally, I only review products that I’m actively using. And I make a point to update my reviews to reflect any change in my use status. Any professional affiliate marketer will also have affiliate disclaimers, as I do at the bottom of this article.

I also personally stick with offers where the product itself provides value, not just the act of selling it or getting others to sell it. Affiliate marketing is NOT network marketing or multi-level marketing.

That’s not to say all network marketing opportunities are bad, as there are definitely some great ones. But when the average person refers to a pyramid scheme or the like, it’s usually a network or multi-level marketing opportunity and not affiliate marketing.

That is not what affiliate marketing is about at all. Sure there are those over-promoting and over-hyping products that won’t live up to expectations.

So we as consumers and we as marketers must just simply choose not to be involved with those. Stick with products that have provided you value, that you can sell with integrity because you know they will help others as well.

That’s my answer to What is Affiliate Marketing. It’s really the difference between real marketing and just promoting. Marketing at it’s best is helping others solve their problems and proving you can do so before you even try to sell them on anything.

With affiliate marketing we can focus on our ideal customer (or friend or family member or random acquaintance if you are not a marketer) and help them by offering them products that we don’t have to create ourselves.

In the process we earn generous commissions and build a ton of goodwill and appreciation with all those we help.


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what is affiliate marketing

AFFILIATE DISCLAIMER: This article may contain affiliate links. That means if you click on one of those links and make a purchase, I may be compensated for it. If you do happen do click, thanks! Any compensation we may receive helps us produce content like this.


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