Basics of Affiliate Marketing – How to Get Started?

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I want to tell you frankly that Affiliate marketing is not as easy as it is represented all over the place. But, yeah, if you crack the code, have the right contacts and able to speak/write with your contacts and building a small but good network of people who tend to help you or maybe give you hints as well – You are going to go places with Affiliate marketing and make a killing with it.

Never give up!

Here, I show you what are the basics of Affiliate Marketing are and then delve into what is the right approach to get involved in Affiliate Marketing without burning and churning yourself up and losing the confidence.

Basics of Affiliate Marketing

We need to first understand what Affiliate means.

affiliate etymology
So, you can see the etymology – how it evolved. So Affiliate means a person or a company who is associated with a bigger company. And to do what? We go into Marketing below.


In its very basic essence Marketing means researching, designing, data analysis and optimizing your efforts to promote a product or service (Offer) for the audience.

Affiliate Marketing = Promoting products of others to people and earning a commission in doing so.

Components of Affiliate Marketing

There are mainly three basic components of Affiliate marketing, namely –

  1. Advertiser or Buyer
  2. Publisher or Seller or Affiliate
  3. Affiliate Network

Let’s dive into what is everyone’s role in this eco-system.

  1. Advertiser or Buyer: This is a company or a person who has a product – for example a website with say beauty products. The advertiser wants people to visit its website and buy those beauty products or give their details so advertiser can follow up with the consumer directly. Another example, A company who provides website development service and wants targeted clients who are looking for website development. We will go into details later, but in layman terms Advertiser is this.
  2. Publisher or Seller or Affiliate: This is a company or a person who has the targeted set of people or has the capability and the ability to build a targeted set of people who want to purchase or give details about themselves – like name, email address, phone number etc., and sending it to the advertiser.
  3. Affiliate Network: There is a very thin line of difference between an Affiliate network and an Ad Network. But, you don’t have to worry about it. They are basically mediators/brokers between the Advertiser and Publisher and take a percentage of commission from either Advertiser or Publisher or both. They play an important role in the eco-system as Advertiser doesn’t have to deal with agreements, payment terms, etc., with each and every individual publisher. The advertiser directly approaches the Affiliate Network or Ad Network and says here is my product or service and I need it promoted and does the agreement with this individual Affiliate network and then Affiliate network tells the Publishers it has that it has this new product/service (Offer) and publishers start sending streams of audience (traffic) to it. The best part of an Affiliate network for an affiliate is that (s)he doesn’t have to go to different places to search for offers that (s)he wants to promote.

You can focus on becoming any of these three, but for beginners I would suggest out of these three is to become an Affiliate.

For Today’s post I will focus on being an Affiliate.

First and foremost you should not follow what others are doing, but know your inner strengths and passion and you can build upon it your castle. If you follow others and just copy them as they are making money you will do the same – you are wrong – you might fail as the fire inside you might not be there for getting success in that area. So, If you can get clarity about your thoughts who you are, what you really like. For example, in an earlier post by me – My Journey Till Now! I gave you a brief idea about my passion and my father’s passion as well. If you are unsure about your passion and how to know about where your true passion lies you should definitely read few articles about Finding your passion – Just google it.

Here is a very good article about Finding passion as well – Eight ways to find the true passion in life that has eluded you

We will go into Traffic Sources now – It is the term used for – from where you will be bringing the traffic (audience). We will categorize them into two – Free and Paid.

  1. Free Traffic Sources: If your passion is writing blogs, writing articles, making videos, taking cool pictures, making small videos etc., You can be successful in affiliate marketing with these free traffic sources as well.

Like making videos, check few Youtube channels – for example

NikkieTutorials: You can see she has a huge following and viewership. So, if you have passion of making videos – not just beauty, but any other passion of yours – why not start it now? It may be a small niche, research about it – check how much traction is there for it with maybe tools like

Google Trends or AliExpress Popular Products or just googling and finding out if your niche is of good size and has traction on YouTube.

Unbox Therapy: You can see how big his fan base is and he hasn’t become famous in a day, but it is persistence and passion for unboxing, checking out new products. And he gets direct deals from big brands to promote/review their products. If you have that kind of fire in you – you are not far away – you could do that as well. And not only that he diverts his YouTube traffic to amazon products through descriptions – Amazon has an Affiliate program of its own too – Check Amazon Affiliate Program. Also, you should check his website too – where he takes business inquiries.

Check how he made video about Sony Xperia 1 and got 3M Views in 5 days
See the Video and how he places the Amazon affiliate links under description, which gives commission to him whoever buys that product.
See how the Video description link takes you to this Amazon URL with his referral URL and you purchase it and Bam, he gets the 10 or 20% commission out of that (I don’t do amazon affiliate marketing but it should be 10-20% only as once I did Flipkart affiliate marketing with cookie stuffing as an experiment.
Here’s how different advertisers go to his simple website and get business deals done.

Like writing blogs, articles about a niche or wide range of products that interests you? Check out for example

AudioPhileStyle: They write blogs related to audio products and have a forum too, and you can see a lot of display ads with direct companies and Google ads etc., on their website and that’s how they make money.

Love clicking extraordinary pics of yours? Check this out

Michelle Levin: She is an Instagram sensation and a fitness guru. She has been building her Instagram followers and then most people follow her own apps which I haven’t checked, but giving you an idea that if you are starting out you can throw some display ads in the app – if you have one. Or if you have website like she also has one. You can direct good volume of visitors to your website where you can give reviews and your thoughts about food supplements, nutrition, gym equipments, etc., and direct them to ClickBank or Amazon or any other Affiliate program offer. Also creating an email list through this which can be monetized as well. There is so much to do, if you are all hearts doing it.

See how her bio has her website address and her different apps.
259k Likes and 1,406 comments on a single pic!

Paid Traffic Sources

Paid traffic is amazing as you can get started generally instantly by making some banners, text ads, email creatives, etc., and putting it up at relevant traffic source websites or portals and start getting the flow of traffic to your own product offer or an affiliate offer that you have picked up from an affiliate network. Let’s dive into some different sort of paid traffic sources.

  1. Search Traffic: This is categorized into two parts as well – Organic traffic and PPC (Pay Per Click) Ads. Organic traffic is actually free where your website content is so amazing for a particular keyword (eg. Someone searching for – Top ten sports websites) for search engine like Google and you have your website properly giving information about that keyword and Google’s algorithms decides to put you in 1st or 2nd or whatever position in their search results. There are numerous angles to get your website stand out and placed on top from so many websites and we will talk about that in some other blog in details. Now comes the PPC traffic – where you target particular keyword or set of keywords, set demographics, etc., and pay a CPC (Cost Per Click) or CPM (Cost Per Mile) and tell the Ad Network (the biggest one being Google Ads – earlier called Google Adwords) where to send the traffic to, maybe it is to a website, or if you are promoting Pay Per Call campaign – where people require calls – you can do that too. There are many other competitors as well like Bing Ads, Yahoo Gemini Ads, etc.,
  2. Social Traffic: Recently there has been a surge in Social media content and platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc., have come up where people actively interact and have likes and dislikes, demographics, etc., which you can target and give your custom ads targeting those users. Facebook being the heavyweight in this (They minted $55 Billion in 2018 alone with the Ads alone) and owns Instagram too. You can check out their cool Audience Insight tool as well and read more about Facebook Ads here and it is almost similar other Social Network traffic placement platform.
  3. Push Traffic: Push Notification Ads/Traffic is a relevantly new traffic source. The purpose of push notification in its earlier days was different to keep away from your phone and keep working on what you are working on just by looking at the phone and either dismissing it or keeping it like that – it is similar to a notification you have for a call that you have missed or a new message has come. There are many players in the market now for this
    1. PropellerAds
    2. ZeroPark
    3. Ad-Maven
    4. Mega Push

  4. Native Ads: As Outbrain describes it – “Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear. Native ads are often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads don’t really look like ads. They look like part of the editorial flow of the page. The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive – it exposes the reader to advertising content without sticking out like a sore thumb.
    You should really read about it in detail to understand properly what they are. Check this page out as well where shows how exactly it works – Demo Page
    You can read more at Outbrain too
    They are non-intrusive and the conversion rate is very good as well, but requires a high budget to actually scale your campaigns up.

  5. PPV Traffic: This is the traffic where you Pay Per View (Impression). The main players in this area:
    1. Propel Media (earlier TrafficVance)
    2. RTX Platform
    3. Zero Park
    The thing is, most of these guys are hybrid traffic sources – they provide different traffic sources in one place.
  6. Email Traffic: You can either build your email list and send emails to your customers and promote your offers or you can buy email traffic from places like
    1. Opt-Intelligence
    2. Udimi (Called Solo Ads)
    3. Vrume
  7. SMS Traffic: SMS Traffic is done via few methods – like through Short Code, Long Code, Toll-Free Numbers or few guys do it with Sim-Farms.
    It is simple, but lots of regulations are in place for sending out SMS traffic. The main thing you should have is to have good phone number data set where the user has opted in. Here, the cheaper the SMS sending cost, the better your ROI (return on investment). Will talk about it in detail in another blog. Few SMS providers are
    1. Twilio
    2. Plivo
    3. EzTexting

So, There you go! These are the basics that you need to understand first. And as you understand and finalize what you are comfortable in, you should focus on that traffic source. Putting your leg in two boats initially will make you fall in the water. So, Focus on one thing.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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