How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular monetization methods.

It’s so popular that it’s even considered as a business model because people often create a whole online business around affiliate marketing.

But what is affiliate marketing, how do you get started, and what awaits you on this journey? If these are some of the questions you’re asking yourself right now, you’re in the right place.

In this article, I’ll show you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, but also the process of getting started (which is simple).

I’ll also try to answer some of the frequently asked questions so keep on reading!

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a monetization process yet it’s also considered a business model.

It is a performance-based marketing that involves at least 3 parties into the equation where all parties benefit in some way.

The three most common parties included in the affiliate marketing are:

  • A company – that creates an affiliate program
  • A marketer – who promotes the company and its products
  • A visitor/audience – who benefits from free information and possibly purchases products through affiliate links

From the marketer’s perspective, affiliate marketing is a way of working with companies you endorse and promoting their products to audiences/visitors who might benefit from it.

In return, you earn a commission for every sale you help the company make.

The company might not make this sale otherwise, so you get paid a commission, and the visitor/audience gets great advice and valuable information for free that helps them (most often to solve problems or select products).

One of the reasons why affiliate marketing is so popular is that it is very easy to get started with, you can easily become a marketer, and if you already have an audience/visitors, it shouldn’t take you long to start making money with affiliate marketing.

Another reason is the simple ability to create a new income stream and most importantly, create a passive income stream. So how do you get started with affiliate marketing? Keep on reading to find out!

How Do You Get Started with Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing has a low entry barrier so anyone can become a marketer. However, there are a couple of things you will need to have or acquire to be a successful marketer.

You will need to find an affiliate program, apply to join it, and get accepted. Officially, this is how you become an affiliate marketer.

However, you will also need to have a platform or a way to share your affiliate links and promote the company’s products.

You might already have this in place. This can be anything from a YouTube channel, Instagram page, dedicated blog, or large social media presence.

If you don’t have this in place yet, there’s nothing to worry about. This is one of the things you will need to work on.

You will need to build an audience base, because if you don’t have an audience, no one will be able to see your content, click on your affiliate links, and purchase products through your affiliate links.

Therefore, the first step to your journey is to join affiliate programs. If you are not sure what affiliate programs are or how to find them – keep on reading as that’s exactly what you’ll learn next!

What are Affiliate Programs?


Affiliate programs are programs created by companies for marketers.

Marketers who join an affiliate program have the chance to promote the company’s products with the unique affiliate link that’s generated for every affiliate marketer in the program.

Affiliate programs often include a dashboard for marketers where they can check the statistics and even promotional material or training that will help them get started.

One of the most known affiliate programs is the Amazon Associates program. Yes, one of the largest companies in the world offers an affiliate program that anyone can join.

With the worldwide recognition and thousands of products in different categories, marketers shouldn’t have a hard time getting clicks and sales.

However, this program is an excellent example of how even the largest companies still benefit from affiliate marketing.

There are thousands of affiliate programs available and the best thing about them is that they’re free to join and the entry requirements are not too hard to meet.

Also, you can join as many affiliate programs as you wish without having to worry about any type of conflict.

The chances are high that some of the companies you like the most provide affiliate programs.

Even Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer offers an affiliate program where you can earn a Tesla car if you refer about 50 sales!

That’s how powerful affiliate marketing is.

How to Find Affiliate Programs?


Finding affiliate programs isn’t hard and with so many of them around, you will even have the chance to choose between them.

The easiest way to find affiliate programs is to do a Google search and type in: “niche + affiliate programs”.

This will give you a list of affiliate programs in a certain niche or an industry. This will also help you find listicle-type posts that include some of the best affiliate programs in a certain niche.

But why is it important to find affiliate programs in a certain niche?

Whether you’re a blogger, YouTube, or a social media influencer with a large following – the key to affiliate marketing is to be of help to your visitors/audience.

Therefore, as you help your audience to solve a problem or find a better solution, you want to ensure that the affiliate programs you work with can be of help to your audience.

Consider yourself as a middle man that connects a company with the person of interest who is most likely going to purchase to solve a problem or make an improvement in their life.

Even though you can join as many affiliate programs as you wish and promote a wide range of products, you want to match the products you promote to your audience’s interests and needs.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?


When you apply and get accepted into the affiliate program, you’re ready to start promoting products.

However, the first thing I highly recommend you to is to check out the terms of the agreement and general rules you should follow.

In case you don’t follow all rules, you can get removed from the program with your earnings at risk.

After that, you can get familiar with the program’s interface and dashboard, but also the tools and material provided as it can be very helpful in your marketing efforts and generating sales.

From there, you can start creating unique affiliate links for products you’d like to promote and start including them in your content.

Whether it’s a blog post, a YouTube video description, or your social media’s bio description – you can place affiliate links almost anywhere.

However, keep in mind that some affiliate programs such as Amazon don’t allow you to promote affiliate products directly on social media platforms.

This is another reason why is it important to read the terms you agree to upon applying to an affiliate program.

After you have everything in place, it’s all about monitoring your performance and see if there are ways to improve your stats.

Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?


Affiliate marketing is worth it if you’re in it for the long run. It might take some time to set up your affiliate marketing strategy.

If you don’t have an audience or followers, you will first have to build an online business where you will be providing free content and information to acquire visitors who will trust you and your knowledge of a certain topic.

Even though some affiliate programs offer below the average commission rates, it might feel like you’d have to make way too many sales to make any decent money.

However, as your online business grows and if you’re affiliated with a very popular company such as Amazon, you shouldn’t have a problem making many sales.

Keep in mind that there are affiliate programs that offer a high commission rate or even a recurring commission rate where you can earn a commission from one referral more than once.

Lastly, affiliate marketing has a low entry barrier, it can be applied in many different ways, and in return, it can help you not only create a new income stream but also generate passive income.

Of course, you should also understand that affiliate marketing has been around even before the existence of the internet.

Therefore, this concept is even stronger with the internet around and it’s not going anywhere.


Affiliate marketing might seem complicated to understand, but it’s very simple when you understand the parties involved and the way affiliate marketing works and benefits everyone involved.

Getting started is super simple and it’s very easy to get started. But just because it’s easy, it doesn’t mean that you might end up making thousands of dollars overnight.

It takes time to create an online business (in case you don’t have one) where you can apply the affiliate marketing monetization method.

However, as a result, you can create a couple of new income streams and even generate passive recurring income which is often the goal.

What do you like the most about affiliate marketing and why? Do you have any questions? Feel free to drop them down below! I will be happy to respond!


All the best,


Founder/Creator:  Living On Lean Means ?

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