Beginners Guide to How Affiliate Marketing Works

It’s always humorous to me to see the look on my friend’s and families’ faces when I share with them what I do for a living.

When I tell them I do affiliate marketing I get the proverbial deer in the headlight look. 🙂 But then I go on to explain how affiliate marketing works and you can literally see light bulbs going off in their mind. 

Especially when I tell them how much I make doing something that I love to do. 

Below I’m going to go into a lot of detail about affiliate marketing so you can truly grasp the potential YOU and I both have to make a good living online. 

This is a beginner’s guide, for those of you who have no idea about affiliate marketing and how it all works. By the end of this guide, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable in making a decision to move forward in this online business or not. 

Now before we move on I do want to clarify that when I say affiliate marketing I am speaking to those people who want to sell a product or service they are passionate about. 

Within the Affiliate Marketing realm, there are two distinct entities, the advertiser/merchant, and the publisher/affiliate. 

The Advertiser/Merchant: This is the company, person, or brand that needs YOU the affiliate to generate traffic and sales to their products and services. They supply you with merchandise or services to sell to your readers or followers. 

The Publisher/Affiliate: That is YOU, the website owner, video creator, or influencer that grows an audience and shares with them the products or services they want to share. 

For the sake of this guide, I’m chatting with you beautiful ladies who want to share products and services with your followers and want to make some money from doing so. 

What is Affiliate Marketing? 

According to the online dictionary Affiliate Marketing means a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.

Meaning of Affiliate Marketing

I’m going to give it to you super simple. 

It’s basically being paid for your word of mouth advertising done through links from your site or videos.

So, when you share a link to a product, service, or course that your reader clicks on and they purchase from that link, you will make a commission from that sale. 

For instance, let’s say that you have built a lifestyle blog where you share gluten recipes, craft ideas for kids and DIY projects to do around your house. 

You write up a blog post about this amazing gluten and sugar-free dessert that you’ve finally nailed and want to share with your readers. Within this blog post, you share a link to Amazon of the gluten-free flour, sweetener, and tools used for this recipe. 

Your reader is reading along and wants to purchase the EXACT stuff you did because they want it to turn out just like yours. So they follow the affiliate links you’ve placed on your post and purchase everything they will need in order to have this delicious guilt-free dessert.

BAM! You, my sweet friend, just became an affiliate marketer. 

Okay, well we won’t go that far but…you did just make a commission off of your affiliate link and got paid to HELP those reading your blog. 

Ain’t no shame in that game. 😉 

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

I love this graphic that the community I’m a part of has on their site. It depicts so simply what affiliate marketing is all about and how it works.

How does affiliate marketing work


Want to start an Online Business? Start With Affiliate Marketing

If you are brand new to the world of creating and building a thriving business online, then I’m going to suggest you start with Affiliate Marketing. 

Now, if you have a brick and mortar store or are a local service-based business, you can always incorporate affiliate marketing within your website. 

However, if you’re just starting out and want to make passive income online, then the BEST way to do that is through becoming an affiliate of the things you will be promoting. 

Top 6 Benefits of Starting with Affiliate Marketing

  1. No Inventory – Because you are sending people to a website like Amazon you don’t have to carry any of the inventory. All you do is simply put your affiliate link to that product or service and when it sells you make money.
  2. No Overhead Cost – Since you have no inventory, no employees, no office (well maybe your kitchen or dining room is acting as your office lol) and no supplies that you have to purchase, you literally run your business with virtually no overhead.
  3. No need for a College Degree (or experience for that matter) – Can I be honest with you? I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Internet Marketing, was top of my class and won all sorts of awards in college. I’ve been doing Search Engine Optimization since 1999 and I can tell with 100% certainty that ANYONE can learn and succeed at Affiliate Marketing.

    All you need is passion, perseverance, a heart to help others, a commitment to success, time and LOTS OF PATIENCE!!!

  4. Passive Income – If you’ve done any research at all in the affiliate marketing landscape I am sure you’ve run across those big claims about making money while you’re sleeping or vacationing and such.

    Well, here is the thing, they are not all wrong. My husband and I were out working on our deck and back yard all day one Saturday afternoon and when I check my account the next day I had quite a few really nice sales through my affiliate links.

    I have several affiliate websites that are bringing me passive income every single month.

  5. Never too old – Did you know that the biggest age group doing affiliate marketing are 31.86% aged 35-44, while nearly 12% of all affiliate marketers are aged 55 and above.

    This is so exciting to me because I fall within this age group and I’ve been teaching those in the 55+ age group all about social media and technology for years now. 

  6. Don’t have to worry about returns: Can you imagine what it’s like in the Amazon return department? Or

81% of brands rely on affiliate programs

Does it cost to become an affiliate?

Nope! It cost you absolutely nothing to become an affiliate of Amazon or any of the other top Affiliate Programs that are out there. 

This is of course one of the BEST things about becoming an affiliate and why I love to teach people how. The only up front cost, out of pocket expense you have is for your Domain Name and Hosting. 

All other expenses is entirely up to you. But to get started as an affiliate marketer, it should not cost you anything to join the different affiliate programs. 

Can you really make money with Affiliate Marketing?

Absolutely! How much money can you make? The skies the limit! 

There are so many factors that go into how much money you can actually make from doing affiliate marketing. 

For example, if you have a website that is strictly focused on selling books and those books usually go for $200

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