by Smartico

guide to affiliate marketing

Your Ultimate Guide To Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a process in which a publisher gets a commission by promoting a product or service created by another advertiser or retailer. The affiliate partner then receives a fee/commission for providing a profitable result/sale to the advertiser or retailer.

However, some businesses give rewards for leads, users who have signed up for a free trial, website clicks, or app downloads.

Usually, affiliate programs are free to enter, taking out concerns about painful startup costs. If done correctly, affiliate marketing can be an extremely profitable business venture. 


Understanding Affiliate Marketing

The process of affiliate marketing involves referring to a service or product by advertising it through social media, a blog, podcast, a website, or other media. The affiliate marketer is awarded a commission every time a customer buys something through the provided link associated with their recommendation or just makes a registration/becomes a lead.

The process goes as follows:

  • You present an advertisement or a link for a particular company on your site, blog, social network, or podcast.
  • A potential buyer visits your link by clicking it.
  • The click goes to the Affiliate Platform, where it’s registered and redirected to the advertised site with a unique tracker.
  • The customer buys something from the store you’ve linked to.
  • The store confirms the purchase, and The Affiliate Platform network is notified about the transaction.
  • You receive a commission for the customer you brought.


Depending on the company and its offer, rates can vary. You may earn a minimum of 5% of the sale, and if negotiations are fruitful, you may even get as much as 50%. This typically is the case when you promote an event or a class. Flat rates can also be provided, depending on the flat rate per sale instead of a percentage.


Benefits Of Affiliate Marketing

There are a few great reasons to become an affiliate marketer:

  • Minimal risk: It’s free to join an affiliate program, so no investment is needed to start.
  • Passive income: When you place the affiliate link in your post, you can generate income from the sales without doing much.
  • No need to worry about customer support: When a customer has a question, or an issue needs resolving, the company will be handling their queries — not you.
  • Flexible hours: Instead of being stuck with a 9-5 working schedule, as an affiliate marketer, you can be in control of your time.
  • Small business costs: There’s no need for a regular business infrastructure to become an affiliate marketer; what you need are just a computer and a stable internet connection.

The Three Main Types Of Affiliate Marketing

Many see affiliate marketers as a somewhat mysterious bunch — it’s hard to tell if the marketer has actually used the product or if they’re just advertising it for financial gain. The truth is, that both types exist today.

Thankfully, since 2009 we have a breakdown of the three different group types of affiliate marketers, all thanks to world-famous affiliate marketer Pat Flynn. By familiarizing yourself with these types, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how people make a profit online as affiliate marketers.


Unattached refers to affiliate marketing where you have no authority in the product niche you’re doing the work for, and you and the customer aren’t connected. This might take the form of pay-per-click advertising with your affiliate link, where you’ll earn a commission when people click or buy the product.

There’s an alluring amount of value in unattached affiliate marketing because you don’t need to be as active in your work. Affiliate marketers rely on trust and a solid reputation with their audience on the web.

Not everyone is keen on working to build those relationships, so unattached marketing is an excellent option for them.


Here we have a type of marketing that deals mainly with recommending products and services the affiliate has actually used and can vouch for. Involved affiliate marketing relies heavily on truthfulness and authenticity, as this is key to winning the trust of your audiences.

Involved marketing requires you to have a certain amount of influence to effectively promote products and services that can be useful to your audiences instead of paying for banner ad clicks. But this type of business isn’t for everyone. It takes time and dedication to gain enough credibility and reach high levels of success. However, if you succeed in winning your audience’s respect, your opportunities can skyrocket.


Related affiliate marketing refers to the promotion of products and services that you don’t actually use but that have a close connection to your niche. In this type of marketing, affiliates have an audience they’ve accumulated through social media, blogging, or other web communication channels. They have become influential, which makes them trusted figures for product or service recommendations, even if they’ve never used them.

However, the main issue with this type of marketing is that not many people are eager to promote something they’ve never used before. It could be a disaster of a product or service, and you’d be totally clueless about it. And the worst thing about it is that it won’t take long before you’d start losing your audience because you’ve recommended them to spend their hard-earned cash on something that doesn’t do them any good.

Pros And Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Before you start your journey as an affiliate marketer, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of the business, starting with the positives.

Pros of Affiliate Marketing

  • Ease of execution: Making money as an affiliate marketer is not rocket science. Your work mainly involves finding potential customers and promoting the company’s products or services through your affiliate link.
  • Zero risk for merchants: Merchants don’t risk anything when they sign up for an affiliate program. They only pay a commission if sales are generated, so they can rest assured that they won’t get into financial trouble.
  • No need for product creation: Merchants don’t have to use affiliate marketing when creating their products or services. They can just promote other people’s stuff and earn money from commissions.
  • Scaling is easy: There’s great simplicity involved in affiliate marketing scaling. Merchants can boost or lower their affiliate marketing efforts depending on what their needs are and promote products or services depending on how much they want to sell. And if they need to generate low sales, they can simply bring down their promotion efforts.

Cons Of Affiliate Marketing

  • Can be time-consuming: Affiliate marketing can eat a lot of your time. You need to scout for potential customers, devise a promotion strategy for the merchant’s product or service, and be efficient enough to drive sales. This can quickly turn into even more than a full-time job.
  • It’s a competitive field: There can be lots of competition in affiliate marketing, especially if the products or services you’re promoting belong to a big, popular company or brand. If that’s the case, you’ll need to work twice as hard to stand out from the rest.
  • There are risks involved: Affiliate marketing can carry some risks. Suppose you promote a product or service that is of low or mediocre quality, for example. In that case, you could lose customers and take a hit to your reputation, so avoid promoting anything you have no faith in.
  • Finding good affiliate programs can be challenging: Like pretty much everything else, affiliate programs vary in quality, with some being much better than others. It can be hard to find solid ones, and this could pose a challenge if you’re the new kid on the block.
  • Profits can be difficult to track: Monitoring sales and earnings may not be as easy as it should be when promoting various products from different merchants simultaneously. This is because merchants have a tracking system that isn’t sharing data consistently.

How Affiliate Marketers Get Paid

As a cheap and easy way of making some cash without having to worry about actually selling something, affiliate marketing has an unparalleled allure for people looking to make a profit online. But what are the methods an affiliate marketer gets paid after linking consumers to sellers?

Affiliate marketers are usually paid in one of the following ways.

Pay Per Sale (PPS)

PPS is the most common way affiliate marketers make money. Here, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the service or product after the customer purchases something as a result of the affiliate’s efforts. In short, the affiliate needs to persuade the investor to invest in the affiliate offer before making a profit.

Pay Per Lead (PPL)

PPL is one of the more complicated payment methods. It compensates the affiliate marketer based on lead conversions. The affiliate needs to make a compelling case for the customer to visit the merchant’s web page and complete the desired action — this might be registering for a product trial, filling out a contact form, subscribing to an email newsletter, or downloading something.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Generating website traffic and convincing customers to click and take certain actions is a big part of affiliate marketing. That is why search engine optimization (SEO) is key in this field. But despite being free, organic SEO traffic cannot generate sufficient profits for affiliates in such a competitive market — and that’s why many affiliate marketers turn to PPC.

Pay-per-click strategies aim to incentivize the affiliate to point customers from their marketing platform to the merchant’s web page. Hence, the affiliate needs to convince the customer of the value of the offer so they will move from the affiliate’s page to the merchant’s page. The affiliate then gets a cut based on web traffic increase.

There are two popular concepts in PPC:

  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): In this situation, the affiliate makes a profit each time a lead is gained by the merchant — and that’s when the affiliate link guides the customer to their online store where they can sign up, subscribe to a newsletter, and so on.
  • Earnings-per-click (EPC): In this case, earnings per 100 clicks are measured for all affiliates in the affiliate program chosen by the retailer.

Pay per install (PPI)

PPI is a system in which the affiliate makes a profit each time they guide a customer to the merchant’s web page and installs software or a mobile app. Let’s say a retailer has a $0.50 budget for every app install generated through an affiliate program… If 1000 customers install the software, the affiliate will get $500 ($0.50 x 1000).

5 Tips And Strategies For Affiliate Marketers

When you start making your first steps as an affiliate marketer, keep the following tips and strategies in mind to make the most out of your new career:

1. Aim for sellers with high conversion rates

Before you approach a seller, find out what they’re all about so you won’t be wasting precious time with a poorly performing product or service. A successful brand means high conversion rates and more money for you. Make sure the brand you’re interested in has a good online rating and reviews, and also check if their customers are active online. That’s the best way to find out how popular and in-demand the brand actually is.

2. Promote products you believe in

Make sure that the product you’re promoting works well enough for you to put your reputation on the line. The better the product — the more trust and credibility you’ll build with your audiences

3. Stay up-to-date with trends

No matter the niche you’ve chosen, staying hip with the latest industry trends can do wonders for helping you promote the most desired products with the highest demand among people.

Keep tabs on trending topics by subscribing to the most popular web groups in your niche and make sure you follow industry leaders on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and so on.

4. Don't bet on single-source success

To avoid wasting your strategy on just one specific seller’s site, landing pages, and conversion rate, approach multiple merchants to ensure your financial safety.

5. Test and optimize

Keep refining and adapting your marketing strategies to understand which approaches generate the best results. Should you work on your blogging, landing page designs, or focus on email marketing? Try different promotional strategies to find out which ones bring you the highest profits.

Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels

The following is a list of the most widely used channels by affiliate marketers:


Influencers are currently among the most popular types of affiliate marketers. With many of them having hundreds of thousands to millions of followers, they can promote anything to their audience and earn a solid buck from the sales.

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate networks are popular platforms that connect affiliates with merchants. They have a vast array of resources and tools that affiliates can use for product or service promotion.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are an affiliate marketing channel type that relies on agreements between affiliates and merchants in which the affiliate agrees to promote their contractor’s products or services for a commission generated by the sales they’ve made.


Bloggers write articles about products or services on their blogs or web pages. By promoting the merchant’s products to their followers, affiliates earn sales-based percentage commissions.

Paid Search-Oriented Microsites

This affiliate marketing channel deals with microsites focused on a specific topic. They can be used to promote products or services in exchange for a commission on their sales.

Email Lists

Email lists are databases of email addresses used to promote products or services. Affiliate marketers can generate commission-based earnings by sending emails to their lists of leads and customers.

Social Media Platforms

Social media channels are platforms that can be used to great effect to generate commission-based income from product or service promotion.

Big Media Websites

Big media websites can be described as affiliate marketing channels with a massive audience. Affiliates can use these sites to promote products or services and make good money through commissions generated by sales.

5 Of The Most Profitable Affiliate Marketing Niches

For affiliate marketers, there are endless opportunities in virtually every niche. However, some sectors are much more profitable than others. Here are 5 of them:

1. iGaming

As a result of the coronavirus lockdowns, the iGaming/Casino field has made massive profits from internet user growth. And with the rise of betting sites and online casino platforms, players can now enjoy iGaming and play to win big cash prizes without leaving their homes’ comforts.

Meanwhile, the staggering financial success of iGaming worldwide has created the perfect environment for affiliate marketers.

As an affiliate, aside from casinos, you should also pay attention to secondary sub-niches such as sports betting. Several sports draw in millions of audiences worldwide. They include the Olympics, UEFA football, the Super Bowl, NBA, Cricket championships, and others. The best opportunities for affiliate marketers here arise during the finals of each championship, as that’s where audiences dedicate most of their attention.

2. Finance

The financial sector is so dominant that it’s highly likely that you’ve purchased some of its products or services too. Bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and trading investments fall into this category.

The financial sector covers multiple fintech (a tech branch that creates money-saving solutions) companies that have won the interest and involvement of millions worldwide.

Another thing to remember when choosing the financial sector for promotion is the ever-increasing popularity of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The opportunities in this sector are virtually unlimited.

When it comes to economics, people often heed the advice of friends, trusted acquaintances, and professionals in the field. And that’s why financial companies often turn to affiliate marketing to promote their products and services. Also, affiliate programs in this sector have some of the most alluring commissions ($100 on average).

3. Health And Wellness

As we age, we become more and more interested in being healthier and keeping our good looks for as long as possible. Health is the most important thing in our lives, which is why this sector has always been and will always be massively popular and profitable.

The health and wellness sector encompasses all products and activities that improve health, including supplements, fitness, spa sessions, tourism, and more. In addition, there is plenty of allure when it comes to new products that can help people improve their wellbeing, so they sell themselves if they produce good results. Due to high competition, affiliate marketers who are now entering the game should focus on weight loss, fitness, beauty, and bodybuilding.

4. Beauty And Cosmetics

There’s extreme competition in the beauty and cosmetics niche, but this is great news for affiliate marketers. Like influencers and bloggers, affiliate marketers are a vital advertising source in this field, which is why companies are fighting for their attention. Of course, this means tasty affiliate commissions for beauty products.

The beauty and cosmetics niche opportunities are endless, and you could try your luck in any sub-category, including skincare, nail care, hair care, makeup, beard care (male cosmetics), and others.

5. Gaming

The gaming industry has been growing with lightning speed in the past 20 years and is now twice as profitable as the film industry.

Meanwhile, the video game audience has expanded to include desktop computers, consoles, and mobile devices.

The mobile gaming industry is a cash cow for affiliate businesses. About 200 million North Americans currently play video games in one form or another, but that’s just a tiny portion of the global audience, which is now estimated to house around 2.5 billion people.

Nowadays, many gamers are spending not just lots of money on video games but also on additional in-game items such as customization items, weapons, extra levels, etc.

As a result of the industry’s boom, game streamers who have found a profitable home on Twitch and YouTube are now being treated like beauty model influencers. Also, most gaming products are being sold on the web, which is the best environment for affiliate marketers to thrive.

The Importance Of Affiliate Marketing Software

Having expert knowledge of the product or service you’re advertising, as well as the charms to persuade your audience, are priceless aspects needed to be a successful affiliate marketer.

But suppose you are a business owner that wants to recruit affiliate marketers to bring in customers for your product or service. In that case, you may want to consider Affiliate Management software that can act as your sidekick on your journey to success.

At TheAffiliatePlatform™, we’ve developed a state-of-the-art smart Affiliate Management System that can boost your profits with unparalleled effectiveness.

Our highly customizable White-Label platform is designed with casino, poker, sportsbook, and fintech operators in mind. Easy to use, it allows your team total control over your entire affiliate operation, including overseeing your team of affiliate managers, affiliate management, real-time reporting, payments, and a comprehensive BI interface.

Key features include:

  • Deal Types: CPL, CPA, Rev Share, or Hybrid deals: Set your preferred models – fixed CPA, Rev Share, or Hybrid deals – by country, product, or by player tiers (CPA & RevShare).
  • Realtime Reporting: Commissions are calculated in realtime, giving you complete control over affiliate data.
  • Sub Affiliates Network: Allow your affiliates to offer fixed CPA or % rev-share models for their sub-affiliates
  • Payments & Adjustments: Efficiently manage all payments and financial history with your affiliates with the permission-based Request-Approve-Pay mode.
  • CPL/CPA/RevShare Qualification: Build any type of deal. The hierarchical combination is based on a huge variety of parameters available in the system.
  • Built-on API: Provide a fully-integrated API for your Affiliates to receive financial and operational reports.
  • Unique Domain and Name: Manage your affiliation network on your own domain with a unique UI and brand.
  • Built for Casino, Sports, and FinTech: Turnkey solution integrated with major platforms across all sectors. We’ll help you to migrate from your existing affiliate system.
  • Personalized Communication: Build communication with your affiliates using emails, SMS, pushes, or internal messaging.

Start your journey to dream-like success by booking your free in-depth demo of TheAffiliatePlatform™ today at: