What Is Affiliate Marketing: Starting And Getting Paid

Envision a world where you can generate income effortlessly. This is the remarkable potential of affiliate marketing, a realm of possibilities that can open up a new avenue for your financial success. 

Yes, it requires initial effort, but once you’ve built up your traffic, you can sit back and watch the money roll in.

Affiliate marketing fits the bill if you are looking for a reliable source of passive income. 

In 2022, statistics by Statista showed that the industry was worth about $8.2 billion in the US

More statistics by Yahoo Finance show that this industry is predicted to hit over $38,000 billion globally

Understanding affiliate marketing is the first step to enjoying this sweet passive income. 

So, what is affiliate marketing, and how does it work?

Buckle up, and let’s dive right in!

What Is Affiliate Marketing? 

Many may perceive affiliate marketing as a complex endeavor, but the reality is far from it. The concept and its functionality are straightforward, and with the proper guidance, anyone can master it. 

Generally, affiliate marketing is a business model where individuals get paid to advertise products and services for others. However, it goes beyond just advertising.

 The company or brand paying for affiliate marketing services pays commissions once the affiliate company meets a specific goal. 

What Is Affiliate Marketing

For example, affiliates receive commissions when their marketing activities bring forth clicks (pay-per-click), leads, or sales. 

The ultimate goal is to help a company or brand get more traffic to its products page, which translates to sales. 

Affiliate marketing is a simple concept. It can mutually benefit the affiliate and the company or brand they’re promoting when executed correctly. It’s an effective marketing strategy that eliminates guesswork and ensures you only pay when results are achieved. It’s not as complicated as it may seem and is a great way to earn passive income. 

It’s among the most effective marketing strategies for brands, as you only pay when a result is achieved. No guesswork. 

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work

It’s simple! Affiliate marketing allows affiliates, individuals, or businesses to earn commissions for selling or promoting products and services from other companies. The affiliate earns a commission once the agreed results are achieved. 

Typically, an affiliate is given a unique link to advertise the products or services on their websites, blogs, social media pages, or through email marketing. 

Once someone clicks the link, they are redirected to the intended products’ page. If they make a purchase, the affiliate is paid a specific commission, as agreed. 

In most cases, the commission can range from as low as 1% of the sale to 20%. Some products or affiliate programs offer up to 50% commissions on sales.

In other words, to succeed as an affiliate marketer, you need substantial traffic or audience on your pages or website. 

This ensures that when you post something, enough people look at it, and some decide to buy it.

Can You Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?

Absolutely, yes. Affiliate marketing can be a great source of income. However, it is not automatic. 

It would help if you put in effort at first, especially when building your audience base. You must also know how to choose the right products and affiliate programs.

Affiliate marketing can be highly profitable with the right approach and a substantial audience. Successful affiliate marketers have the potential to earn a significant income, reaching up to $80,000 a year or more. This is a testament to the immense possibilities that affiliate marketing holds.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has categories. That’s right! It is divided into three categories as follows:

Unattached Affiliate Marketing 

This is the most basic type of affiliate marketing that anyone can undertake. Unattached affiliate marketing means the affiliate company or individual has no connection with the product or service they are advertising. In other words, they don’t represent authority in the niche or field of the product they advertise. 

In this view, the affiliate marketer cannot recommend the use of the product to customers. They advertise the products, hoping to find traffic and earn money. In most cases, this involves PPC (pay-per-click) marketing campaigns.

Affiliate marketing is attractive, as almost anyone can do it. With unattached affiliate marketing, you don’t need to be a specialist in a specific niche to promote, sell, and earn commissions. Also, while successful affiliate marketing demands trust and loyalty, this is pure business—no attachments. 

The second type of affiliate marketing involves a connection with the customer. Here, an affiliate promotes products they don’t or haven’t used but those related to their niche. In other words, you promote products or services you know well. 

In related affiliate marketing, the affiliate has a substantial audience to whom they promote the products. This can be through their blog, websites, YouTube, Facebook, or other social media platforms. In this case, the affiliate has influence and can easily persuade their audience to try out the products or services. 

Related affiliate marketing, however, comes with a good share of risks. Since you have yet to use the product you are advertising, you may sometimes promote substandard products or services without your knowledge. If this happens, your audience may lose trust in you, negatively affecting your brand.

Involved Affiliate Marketing   

The third type of affiliate marketing is known as involved affiliate marketing. In this type, the affiliate marketer is more engaged with the product or service than any other type.

What does this mean? An affiliate marketer promotes or sells products and services they have used or are using. 

This means that the affiliate has first-hand experience with the product or service.

Involved affiliate marketing, therefore, signifies more trust and authenticity. This is because the affiliate promotes products they trust.  

All you need is a significant audience base, and your marketing efforts can easily bear fruit. Since your followers or audience trusts you, convincing them to use what you use is more accessible. Remember, you are already an influencer.

Best Examples of Affiliate Marketing Programs

Knowing what affiliate marketing is and how it works is insufficient to start making money. You need to identify the best affiliate marketing programs to join or brands to promote. This step significantly affects how much you pocket at the end of the month. Remember, you are not waiting for a guaranteed paycheck.

Generally, you can promote brands, products, and services or join affiliate programs from significant e-commerce marketplaces. Some of the best examples of affiliate marketing programs include: 


Take Amazon, for instance. Statista’s 2023 data shows it’s a household name and the world’s most visited e-commerce marketplace. In that year alone, Amazon received a staggering 4.790 billion visitors. This is a prime example of the immense potential of affiliate marketing.

Amazon’s affiliate marketing program is called Amazon Associates, the world’s largest. It allows publishers, creators, bloggers, and website owners to publish Amazon products on their sites. And through a unique affiliate link, the affiliates earn commissions when people follow those links to buy products or services on Amazon. 

What Is Affiliate Marketing

However, Amazon Associates is also a challenging program to join. The platform has strict entry rules and requirements. 

For instance, affiliates’ content on their websites, blogs, and other sites should not be replicated from another site. This means that your work should be original. 

Also, it doesn’t accept sites displaying offensive or obscene content. Therefore, if you want to join the program and make money online, ensure your content is fresh, original, and safe for the public to watch. 

Lastly, your account should meet a certain sales quota. Currently, this stands at three sales in the last six months. With that, your application is accepted. But if accepted, you stand to earn 1 to 10% commission on eligible sales. 


Another affiliate marketing program that does exceptionally well is Alibaba. The program offers a cost-per-sale (CPS) for affiliates who promote digital and physical products on the site. Usually, Alibaba is a B2B marketplace, selling products in bulk to wholesalers and retailers, but the affiliate offers attractive terms.

What Is Affiliate Marketing

The program uses a single-tier model, and affiliates here can make up to $1000 a sale. It has no minimum payout and accepts audience or traffic from across the globe. Alibaba even offers promotional materials to make your work easier. 

Joining this affiliate program is generally more accessible. You can participate as an individual or a business and make good money. 

The commission here is 6% of the sale, while the cookie duration is usually 15 days. Even better, product categories are plentiful, making it one of the best affiliate programs to join.


Another great affiliate program you can join is the one from Etsy. Etsy is also among the most significant online marketplaces globally.

what is affiliate marketing

However, unlike Amazon or Alibaba, which deal with various product categories, Etsy focuses on vintage and unique items.  

To join Etsy, applicants need the following:

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Apply through the platform’s online affiliate program portal
  • Own an active website with unique content and brand identity
  • Meet other eligibility criteria as outlined in Etsy’s affiliate policy

Once accepted, affiliates earn commissions for sales made through their affiliate links. The rates here vary. Various factors, including the type of website and content, might influence them. As such, different affiliates earn different commissions per sale.  

eBay Affiliate Marketing 

If you prefer eBay, you can join its affiliate marketing program, eBay’s Partner Network. This program pays eBay partners to promote eBay products outside of eBay. The partners get paid through commissions, although they can also earn credit covering the final merchant fees.

Also, affiliates earn when a buyer bids on a product or makes a purchase within 24 hours of clicking an affiliate link. However, for the bids users submit, the affiliate gets paid once a bidder wins a bid. This has to be within ten days after bidding. 

The amount of commissions depends on the product’s category. However, they can reach up to 4% of the total sales.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be a great source of passive income, as e-commerce businesses are willing to pay to make their products visible and increase sales. However, like any other business, it has its pros and cons. Let’s see some of the main ones.

Affiliate Marketing Pros

As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing has several benefits. These include:

Reliable Source of Passive Income 

Affiliate marketing is an excellent option for those searching for ways to make some passive income. Why do we say so?

It’s no secret that starting to make good money with affiliate marketing is challenging. 

However, your income significantly grows when you grasp the concept, join the right affiliate programs, and have a large enough audience base. 

Even better, the process becomes almost automatic after a while. The affiliate links redirect customers to the intended product pages without demanding extra work. So, you can continue making money online indefinitely without much work. 

Easy to Grow or Scale 

With the right strategies, you can quickly scale up your affiliate marketing income without adding extra effort or resources. 

If your pages or website receive enough traffic, you can easily add more products to your list. 

You’ll still be using your current audience; thus, there is no need for extra marketing campaigns.

But be careful when trying to grow your income by adding products. Choose products that you trust or that you’ve used. 

Affiliate marketing is highly dependent on trust. Therefore, if you recommend disappointing products, you may quickly lose your credibility and, ultimately, your audience base. 

It is a Low-Risk Type of Business

Many people fail to start businesses because they fear losing their money or wasting time. However, affiliate marketing is a low-risk business. 

The only time you need to invest is when building an audience. 

The investment is usually time, but you also need money for marketing campaigns or website-building.

After that, only a little investment is needed. 

Once you have your audience, you can earn passive income through affiliate products. 

No Limit on Income

How much do affiliate marketers make? That’s a question that any person considering affiliate marketing will ask. Well, there is no limit to what you can earn with affiliate marketing. It can range from a few dollars to millions of dollars. 

This is the best side of affiliate marketing. Earnings here are unlimited since you earn through commissions on sales or pre-agreed results like leads. 

For instance, the more sales materialize through your affiliate links, the more you get paid. Therefore, the only limit is your marketing campaigns and your audience size. Work on these two and earn as much as you want or more.

Various sources show that the average income for affiliates ranges between $0 to $80,000 a year. Some will even surpass a million dollars. 

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Cons of Affiliate Marketing 

What makes affiliate marketing less attractive? Here are some of the top reasons:

It Takes Time

Making money with affiliate marketing takes time and effort. It takes your time and effort before you can earn your first dollar. Therefore, if you don’t have patience, affiliate marketing might not work for you.

Growing an audience takes work. 

Also, you need to test and identify products and affiliate programs that work for your audience. And if you rush the process, giving up will undoubtedly hit your doorstep.

It Is Commission-based

With affiliate marketing, you earn through commissions. This means no constant or fixed amount is expected at the end of the month. There is no monthly paycheck. 

Your money here depends on the number of products sold and the percentage you earn on each sale. No sales mean no money for you.


Affiliate marketing is profitable and a good source of passive income. Whether you are looking for a part-time or full-time way of making money, affiliate marketing can work if done right. 

The great thing is that you can join numerous affiliate marketing programs, such as Amazon, Alibaba, or Etsy. 

You can try Ecommercebot for free; no credit card is required. You agree to turn your E-commerce business into a success story by clicking the image below. 

Ecommercebot Free trial

These allow you to earn money with affiliate marketing from the countless products listed on the sites. 

Also, there are numerous other single products and brands you can work with to earn affiliate cash. 

For example, the EcommerceBot affiliate program allows you to make money by introducing new clients who buy any of their paid plans. 

The best part is that you can use EcommerceBot to automate your social media postings and streamline your affiliate marketing efforts.

Many other products use this affiliate program to market or bring more customers to their sites. If you get a good product that people want to buy, you can make quite good money. 

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