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All You Need To Know To Become a Very Successful Affiliate Marketer

Knowledge is power. This article aims to acquaint you with or make you understand 135 facts, actions, ideas, etc. about affiliate marketing to enable you act the right way to succeed in it.

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N.B.: No time to read all this now? Then please bookmark it and click on the following link to read 135 things you need to know about affiliate marketing to be very successful.


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As with every activity, there are some things that “sound sweet” in the newbie’s ears but do not help them work well in affiliate marketing. And that’s primarily the reason why so many fail before they even get started.

Many would have achieved their desired results if they had had to spend less time fretting about what to know about affiliate marketing and instead just did the few things they knew worked well for others.

You can force a horse to the riverside but you cannot force it to drink. In the same way, this article does not hope to and will not make you a successful affiliate marketer overnight, but it will surely arm you with the necessary tools to do the work well. Then the dividends will follow.

According to Statista, business spending on affiliate marketing will hit $8.2 billion in the U.S by 2022.

If you are keen on grabbing your share of this billion-dollar industry, this guide will help you get started today, and you’ll soon be in a prime position to take advantage of that.

In this comprehensive piece indicated for both newbies and seasoned affiliate marketers, you’ll learn how to get started and continue with affiliate marketing under fourteen main headings:

  1. Definition of Affiliate Marketing and its Basic Terms
  2. Is Affiliate Marketing for You?
  3. Understanding Affiliate Marketing
  4. Find Affiliate Marketing Niches and Offers
  5. Your Affiliate Marketing Website
  6. Key Success Factors in Affiliate Marketing
  7. Affiliate Marketing Strategies to Use in 2020 to Get Traffic to Your Website
  8. Making Money with Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels
  9. Scaling Your Affiliate Marketing Business
  10. How do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid
  11. Extra Tips to Help You Become a Successful Affiliate Marketer
  12. Benefits of Affiliate Programs for Affiliate Marketers
  13. Conclusion
  14. Resources for More and Permanent Learning

That said, let’s dive in and see the definition of affiliate marketing as well as cover some of its basic terms.

Definitions of Affiliate Marketing and its Basic Terms

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The following are the initial terms you will come into contact with when you start working in affiliate marketing.

#01: What is affiliate marketing?

To start, and for the sake of people who are new to it, just what is affiliate marketing?

In modern digital marketing landscape, the term refers to the promotion by an individual of another person’s products or services, often through an affiliate network using an affiliate link, to earn a cut of the sales price.

The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.

Now, let’s look at what Neil Patel thinks is the best definition of affiliate marketing given by Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income:

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

That means that affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing system. What you get from it is proportional to what you put into it. Therefore honing your reviewing skills and writing engaging campaigns will translate to direct improvements in your revenue.

#02: Parties involved in affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is a perfect illustration of the division of labour. It basically involves four distinct elements who play different roles.

They are 1) the merchant, 2) the affiliate marketer, 3) the consumer, and 4) the affiliate network.

Wikipedia also talks about 4 parties that are involved in affiliate marketing: the merchant, the network, the publisher, and the customer.

Other definitions however mention only 3 parties: the merchant, the publisher, and the customer as shown in the image below:

Three partners of affiliate maketing: advertiser, publisher and consumer
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(Image source: CJ)

Now, let’s look at them.

The merchant

The merchant, also known as the seller, the product creator, the business, the vendor, the brand, the advertiser or the retailer, is an individual or a business that creates a product or a service and offers them to be promoted by an affiliate.

The product can be a physical one, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials.

The merchant can be a big company, like AWeber, an email services provider or an individual solo entrepreneur like to individuals and companies.

This means that solo entrepreneurs, startups, and massive Fortune 500 companies could be the merchant in an affiliate marketing program.

In addition to the marketable products or services, the merchant also provides the strategies to promote their offers.

The affiliate

The affiliate, also known as the publisher, is also an individual or a company that implements strategies to promote products and services offered by the merchant for a commission on each sale. The affiliate does this by creating marketing campaigns with ads, links and banners, and other marketing tools to find the consumer.

The affiliate plays a crucial role in affiliate marketing.

81% of brands and 84% of publishers leverage the power of affiliate marketing. This statistic is expected to continue to increase as affiliate marketing spending expands every year in the United States.

There is a 10.1% increase in affiliate marketing spending in the United States each year. This means that by 2020, that number will reach $6.8 billion.

It is at the affiliate’s side that the marketing happens. They sell one or several affiliate products and services by attracting and convincing potential customers of the benefit or value of the merchant’s product that they may end up buying.

Affiliates often market to a very specific audience, generally adhering to that audience’s interests. That is, the promotion is done within a defined niche or personal brand that enables the affiliate to attract consumers most likely to act on the offer.

Some affiliate networks will pay the affiliate simply for getting people to click on your links. This is called lead generation. Your links take the person to the company’s website where they enter into a sales funnel. Should a sale be made, you may also get a slice of the sale.

The consumer

The consumer, also known as the buyer or the purchaser, is the entity that patronizes the merchant’s goods or services marketed by the affiliate and thus makes the affiliate system go ’round. For without these drivers of the affiliate system, there wouldn’t be sales to keep the merchant and the network in business and no commissions to make the affiliate keep working.

The affiliate will try to market to the consumer on channels such as social networks, digital billboards or content marketing on a blog.

Consumer do not generally realize that they are part of an affiliate marketing system. But for the sake of transparency, the affiliate is now obliged to disclose that they are receiving commission for the sales they make.

The consumer will not typically pay a higher price because of the intervention of the affiliate marketer, as the commission is already included in the affiliate network’s retail price.

The network

The network, also called the program or the platform, is an intermediary that puts the goods or services of several merchants at the disposal of affiliates. In other words, the network is a digital platform that the merchant and the affiliate use to handle referral link clicks, purchases, and payouts.

As an intermediary body, the network is automated to track the affiliate’s customers’ clicks, the affiliate’s sales, and calculates payments due from the merchant.

While some networks, like Commission Junction, do not consider the network as part of the affiliate marketing equation, I believe it is because of its usual role as an intermediary between the affiliate and the merchant.

The network side of the equation is where the promotion happens. An affiliate network promotes one or multiple merchant products and attracts and convinces potential affiliates of the value of the merchant’s product so that they may decide to market it for a commission.

While you could actually promote an online affiliate marketing course someone has created and get a direct revenue share from them, getting a network such as ClickBank or Commission Junction handle the payment and product delivery makes the affiliate marketing business look more serious.

In the second case, the affiliates have to go through an affiliate network to promote the product. This is because the merchant only manages their affiliate program on that network.

For the affiliate also, using the network is interesting as it serves as a database of lots of products, out of which they can choose which to promote.

ClickBank is a notable example of an affiliate network. You can use it to promote digital products, like eBooks, software, etc. Their ClickBank affiliate program lets you promote any of the over 10,000 items available on their platform.

Clickbank featured products
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(Image source: Clickbank)

As for consumer products, like tools, books, toys and household items, the biggest affiliate network is Amazon. Their Amazon Associates affiliate program lets you promote items on their platform.

Amazon associates showing featured products
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You can sign up to both networks and generate a custom affiliate link to the products. If someone purchases through your link, you earn a commission.

#03: Best affiliate marketing networks or programs to join

There are multitudes of affiliate networks and programs out there. Consider these factors before choosing to join any of them.


Not all the good programs or networks are popular. If you want to join one that you don’t know very well, consult reviews and ratings to see how legitimate it is.

The niche

Choose programs or categories whose products or services have a high demand and that you are passionate about promoting.

The commission rate

If you want to make more money, you could promote products with low commission but high demand or high commission items for which you can generate sales. In the latter, even a few sales will make you nice commissions.

Payment methods

Not all affiliate programs use the same methods to pay out. Therefore before joining any, check to be sure that the payment methods used are available in your country. I have had to miss out on promoting some interesting programs because they pay out only by Paypal.

While people in all Africans countries (I think) can send money through this processor, only a couple can receive money through it.

I have asked Paypal about this twice, and each time they cited local regulations and the like, which I find strange. Local regulations generally prevent money from going out (because of foreign exchange restrictions) and not coming in (which is good for the economy)!


Some programs are limited to specific countries. For example, for sometime, free Starter Membership was NOT available at Wealthy Affiliate in Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam. I think the ban is now only applicable to Nigeria. So you may want to check this as well for any program before you try to join.

Below are some very popular global affiliate programs and networks that you can join today and start earning…

(Click on each image for more information)

Ads 4 Dough


Affiliate Window




AWeber email services provider


Clickbooth (now performcb)


Commission Junction (CJ)




ebay partner network










The Hoth


Wealthy Affiliate

#04: The commission

The commission is a part of the sales price of a good or service that the network pays to the affiliate for sending them a consumer who takes a desired action, such as a purchase. Commissions can be as low as 1% with physical products and go as high as 75% with digital products.

How you get paid

Depending on the affiliate network/program, you get paid affiliate commissions in various ways.

When you make a sale, there’s a waiting period before your money arrives:

  • New account (first payment delay, typically 30 days)
  • Money back guarantee period (to avoid returns and chargebacks)
  • Affiliate network (merchant delay with topping-up accounts)

You will get paid your commission via PayPal, cheque, or direct deposit. Other options are Egopay, LeuPay, Okpay, Neteller, Payoneer, Payeer, Skrill, Payza, Solid Trust Pay, Paxum, Perfect Money, and Bitcoin — currently some of the most popular payment methods.

Now, with affiliate marketing and the basic terms clarified, let’s see if you and affiliate marketing are a good fit for each other.

You may want to read the following related articles:

Affiliate Marketing What It’s All About

What is affiliate marketing?

Why affiliate marketing can be your best route to success

Make money selling other people’s products

Is Affiliate Marketing For You?

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