What is affiliate marketing? – The Ultimate Guide

Have you ever heard about affiliate marketing?

And What is affiliate marketing?

But you do not know where to start, right?

Therefore, I am going to clarify some basic problems in this first part of this series including:

#1: What is affiliate marketing?

#2: Why are many people so into affiliate marketing?

#3: How can we earn money through this type of marketing?

Wait for a second!

This article is designed for PUBLISHERS who want to earn money from affiliate marketing (like me ), but not the ADVERTISERS/MERCHANTS who implement the affiliate programs.

It sounds clear, right?

Below are the particular points that you can achieve from this article:

1. What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a type of online marketing which is quite similar to the collaborator model.

With this model, you can look for the businesses which provide their affiliate programs, then create an account to become an affiliate or publisher and finally, promote their products and get the commission.

In case of Amazon’s affiliate program, you need to register your account via Amazon Associate.affiliate marketing amazon associateAfter being approved, you can promote any products on Amazon through your link (or may be called an affiliate link).

On top of that,

You can get the commission when someone clicks on your affiliate link and make the payment successfully.

The commission can be 4-8% or even up to 10% for some special categories if you make huge sales.

You can create your affiliate link for any products or any categories on Amazon.

And you need to build an effective marketing strategy to drive as many visitors as possible to your website/blog, and then turn them into your customers.

If someone clicks on your affiliate link to buy a product on your site, you will get commisson.

In fact, the number of affiliates working with Amazon is quite big, and they are earning hundreds to thousands of dollars every month.

But, it is not easy to do for everyone, especially newbies.

I want to reveal this news:

Affiliate accounts for 40% of Amazon’s total sales, so you can see how many people are doing the affiliate marketing.

Apart from Amazon, thousands of merchants and networks have been implementing this business model, so you have a lot of the choices to start making money with affiliate marketing.

That is with the physical products and how about the digital products?

The commission can be up to 50-100%.muncheye

For instance, you can go to Muncheye to look for the products that are going to be launched and then, fill in the form to request permission to promote those products.

Affiliate marketing is developing significantly all over the world.

It is being known more and more widely via many classic online models of making money such as Niche site, CPA, product launch,…

Then we next to part 2

2. Great benefits of affiliate marketing

As mentioned in the beginning, this article is only for those who make money online (MMO) like me as a publisher (promote the products), so I just introduce some benefits that a publisher can get from affiliate marketing.  

The first and the most important benefit

is that affiliate marketing helps you earn money without making your own products.

There are a lot of affiliate networks with thousands of products available to you, so you can choose any products with ease and promote them.

For example, Commission Junction is currently the top 1 affiliate network in the world.Cj affiliate

The second benefit

is the ability to earn money with affiliate marketing is extremely high.

In the U.S or English-speaking countries, many people achieve more than $100,000 with affiliates every month, you can follow some famous billionaire affiliate bloggers including Pat Flyn, Harsh Agrawal, Chris Lee,…as well as the other ones.

Other outstanding benefits of affiliate marketing are:

  • You can work anywhere, like the other online money-making models, with only a laptop with an Internet connection.
  • You do not need to take care of your customers (or very little), or do not worry about the product distribution and delivery. These tasks will be handled by the manufacturers.
  • You can start with low investment, even with a few hundred VND, you can invest your time and efforts to research and earn money through affiliate marketing.
  • Diversify your choice: Many third-party networks appear, and they make the affiliate marketing more popular. They introduce this model to the shop owners, the retail agents,… so you can have many products to choose in different industries, for both short term and long term. When doing the affiliate via the networks, every matter related to the payment and efficiency records will always be clear and transparent.
  • Ability to scale up and earn passive income: When you have complete control of this industry, you can make a lot of money. Of course, your skills are on a bigger level and you can scale up what you are doing. Then, you can hire a management team to have a high source of passive income.

As a result, you can see many benefits for affiliate marketing, which helps it become more outstanding than the other money-making methods.

…and you’re ready for part #3

3. Main steps to making money with affiliate marketing

There are many ways to earn money with affiliate marketing, and it depends on each field and each product. However, I will summarize 4 main steps as below:

Determine the products to promote

Currently, there are a variety of popular affiliate networks such as:

  • Physical products: Amazon Associates, CJ, Shareasale, Linkshare, …
  • Digital products: Clickbank, Jvzoo, WarriorPlus, …
  • CPA Network: Peerfly, MaxBounty, CPALead, …

For example, switchbacktravel.com is a blog about travel and camping, so they will sell the products related to camping such as tents, shoes, …


Analyze and make the effective marketing plan

This should be an important step, but many people only make a very sketchy plan.

A notice for you is that although you get the commission from selling for other’s products, you need to see them as your own products and help you earn money.

Thus, you need to analyze these following points clearly:

  • This product has the high or low commission?
  • This product will be sold to whom and how are their needs?
  • Portrait the avatar of customers and the buyer journey.
  • This product is good or bad, and how many people are using it?
  • The affiliate competition is high or low?
  • What is the main way to get the customers?
  • If you make the website and do SEO, what keywords should you choose? If running the advertisements, what types of customers should you target?
  • Which style should you design your website?

From your analytical points, you can build a detailed strategy and implementing your promotion based on your plan.

Example, about the physical products with the low commission, you cannot use any ads campaign with either Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. And SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is your best solution for cost saving.

Do as your plan

If you build an affiliate blog to make the passive income, you should learn everything carefully from scratch.

For example, you need to know how to create a website with WordPress or how to research the seed keywords or how to optimize the content.

If you choose to promote the products by running the ads campaigns, you need to learn about Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Bing Ads or some other popular advertisement networks.

I will get an example of faucetmag, which is a blog about bath and douche.faucet mag


And well, they can earn much money from affiliate marketing for Amazon.

And the final step: Optimizer, measure, scale up, manage.

This step only exists when you are successful with the first 3 steps.

With affiliate marketing, if you know the powerful formula to earn a 5-figure profit, you can spread your business and optimize your results. As a result, you can maximize your profit.  

When having more capital, you can hire people for specific stages to reduce your working time as well as give you the passive income.

4. Promote the Affiliate Products – Which is better: SEO or Ads?

In the third section, you can see that I have talked about SEO or Ads, which are the two main ways to make money with affiliate marketing (of course, there are other methods, but I only mention about these two).

  • With SEO: You will build and optimize your website/blog, then boost it ranking on the top 10 of Google searches.
  • With Ads: You need to choose the networks that allow you to run the Ads campaigns and then implement your advertisements on those networks (for example, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Google Ads, Bing Ads,…).

Therefore, which types of promotional models are more effective when doing affiliate?

There is no general answer to this question since choosing any method depends on many factors, such as the product categories, the product price, and your understanding of the products.

In this series, I will focus on doing affiliate marketing with website and SEO.  

I have some examples as below:

  • If you have a product amounted $100 on Amazon with 5% of commission, you cannot promote it on Google Ads or Facebook Ads. The reason is that you will absolutely make a loss after spending a high amount of money for running Ads. Thus, with the physical products, the best choice is to choose SEO and build the blog niche site or authority site.
  • With the digital products on Clickbank, you can choose either SEO or Ads because the commission is very high. However, SEO is very competitive currently.
  • With the T-shirts affiliate on Sunfrogshirts, you cannot choose Google Ads since the cost is very high and SEO is difficult. But Facebook ads is a suitable option in this case.

As a result, choosing SEO or Ads is based on your understanding, you can gather the information about your competitors, learn what they are doing to promote their products and apply the great tips.

5. Mind and attitude when doing Affiliate Marketing

The affiliate beginners will definitely meet the failure.

And how about me?

I am not an exception.

Not only once, but this terrible thing has happened many times to me.

Everything in your life cannot always be successful, and make sure that you will have some failure for the new challenges.

And of course, you can achieve the success after facing the failure the “n” number of times.

We cannot determine this n number, but it will depend on your mind and your attitude, as well as your luck when doing affiliate marketing.

Doing affiliate marketing means that you are building your serious online business for yourself.

With business, you cannot avoid the risk regardless of online or offline nature, and this risk means that you are losing your money.

Affiliate marketing is not an easy or difficult money-making method.

If you get successful, you will get the great achievements, so please improve your Mind very carefully before getting started.

However, if you have your own thoughts, you may have your own affiliate mind for yourself.

No mind or definition must be applied to everyone.

As a consequence, we will continue with…

6. The trend of “personalization” on Affiliate Marketing

When the customers are researching about the specific products, they will certainly believe the people who have experienced those products, the reviewers, the experts in the fields rather than the advertisements in the official websites.

This feature will give the affiliate to develop the trend of “personalization“.

It means that you can act as an expert in a certain field, having thorough knowledge in that field and promote the product wisely.

You are going to design a blog to review the products, compare the products with each other, buying guide, provide the tutorials, tips, and tricks… all of them have a similar feature: you should write according to your personal style.


I am writing a blog Affiliate Solo , which is designed and written based on my personal style, my feelings, and my knowledge.

And I think that you will love it and trust these blogs more than the websites providing the general information.

However, not many people can have sufficient knowledge in particular fields to develop the website, blog, or social profile in this model.

The reason is that if you want to be an expert, you need to have the comprehensive source of knowledge.

Therefore, can you guess what you should do first?

It is an investment in your knowledge.

You have to understand thoroughly the market that you are carrying on your business, the purposes, the benefits, the pros, and cons, as well as the products that you intend to promote.

By doing this, you can develop in the way of “personalization“.

Although this “personalization” model is difficult and lack of information, its potential is extremely large.

If you are doing well, the customers will come back to your website and buy your products many times again.

This has been a trend since 2015 with the appearance of many “personal” blogs, and that is why they become an expert in a particular field. And of course, these blogs are the destination of many loyal customers.

They spend time researching all things related to their field (consider this period as study time and knowledge increase), then, they will share their knowledge with everyone, and people trust them.

The more knowledge they have, the more trust they will gain.

Jon Loomer is a blogger specializing in advertisements for Facebook Ads and Facebook Marketing.

I usually visit his blog to study and update the new knowledge.

Jon Loomer

And the great thing is that I used to buy some tools related to Facebook Ads that he advertised via his email.

With the other categories such as health, travel, beauty, plants, … there is always an existence of experts, who can earn money with the affiliate.

Personalization” is a trend to earn money with affiliate marketing that will continue to become more popular in the next time.

And you can make your blog and your website in this “personal” style instead of a normal website providing the general information.

7. You will “gradually die” if only advertising

Google is more and more smart…

From 2015 onwards, Google has become much more smartt, and it knows what you are doing with your website/blog.

For example, if your blogs are made with the only purpose of making money instead of providing the useful information for the readers, Google will not appreciate these.

The purpose of Google is: pushing up the position of those websites having the useful knowledge and pushing down the website with “personal benefits.”

Hence, if your blog only contains the product reviews and comparisons, you cannot improve the visibility of your website, even make it involved in the “thin content” and disappear.

Thus, are there any solutions to this problem???

And the solution is that you need to create the high-quality content giving the deep understanding about the niche you are building besides the product review and comparison.

You need to offer some tips, buying guides, how to, …

Some niche sites which have the top ranking always have these categories.

Simultaneously, day by day, the customers are getting more and more smarter, they know what you are doing the affiliate, and they will decide who they can trust to buy the product.

If you only tell the good things, they will know you are just a bragging blogger, and they will choose another blog to read.

Any product has its own advantages and disadvantages, and you need to analyze very carefully and write the most honest review for the customers.

They will make their own choice after reading your recommendations, so you should not confirm that every product is good and the customers can choose whatever.

Always choose a good product to promote and write an honest review will help the customers trust you more and the buying percentage via your link will be higher.

8. Are you willing to face the challenge?

Become an affiliate marketer is not easy or difficult.

Undeniably, a number of people with bright minds are very successful and have the high income with affiliate marketing every day.

And maybe, you are going to achieve such success with this aspect in the future.

With the market of over USD 6.8 billion in 2016, and this figure is increasing rapidly over each year, affiliate marketing is always a positive way if you have a key in your hand.

When doing the affiliate marketing, you need to accept the beginning challenges, and you need to consider many things when being a newbie since there are always tricks and traps in every industry.

And your passion is the most important thing.

If you want to earn money or earn much money from affiliate marketing, you need to overcome these challenges. Many people are giving you the knowledge, but no one can help you earn money.

You need to do it yourself instead of waiting for anything.

You can identify more knowledge about affiliate marketing in my blog, in terms of the marketing models such as SEO or Ads.

However, if you have recently known my blog, do not forget to read the series of affiliate marketing for beginners.

9. Always be creative

When you are researching the models of the affiliate that I mentioned above, you will certainly see some instructions from the experienced people on the Internet, and you can follow these guidances.

However, sometimes, you may read some “strange” advertising ways, and very few people apply it.

  • I can have some examples to help you understand this matter easier: Smartpassiveincome is a website in the form of “Expert Model” where Pay Flyn shares his knowledge, his successful career path, and his monthly income. And the Resource Page of this website has got very high sales of affiliate marketing every month.Pat Flyn
  • Selling the affiliate products via the “free ebook”: There are lots of top experts in some different fields using this method. They write free ebooks to share the useful knowledge for their subscribers. In these ebooks, there are some recommendations for the specific products and of course, there are their affiliate links included there.

There are also some other models that you can meet when getting started, but the unique models will be associated with difficulty.

Do you think that you can build a website like Smasspassiveincome?

Or you are reputable enough for the customers to make the buying decision via your Resource Page?

Or write an ebook?

In general, everything will require you to have knowledge and ability.

And you will always have to start with the basic knowledge, the easiest models, and the available documents on the Internet.

When you get the basics, you can relate them and create the other models on your own.

Your potential is one of the most valuable things that you can develop.

Follow the instructions of the successful people is a good choice to begin.

But do not stop there, you need to become creative as always.


Despite promoting the products of other people, but if you decide to earn money with affiliate marketing, you always have to keep the attitude and thinking of selling your own products.

And for some time, if your marketing methods give you many profits, you can consider creating your own products or services instead of being an affiliate marketer.

The fact is that many people have followed this way.

I hope that all of my sharing in this article will gain your knowledge about affiliate marketing.

If you do not understand anything, please keep patience to read this article again carefully or leave me your questions in the comment section.

About the Author Roger Le

I am a former student of an University about Technology and science based in Vietnam. Working mostly in the environment surrounded by the Internet, I soon realized the world is borderless. I got inspired with affiliate marketing and spend most of my spare time working on it. I am here now to bring you this delicate website that I’ve invested my heart and soul.

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