Affiliate Marketing 101: Introduction


Affiliate marketing is the process of bringing the buyers to the seller and getting paid a commission per sale or customer you bring in (lead). This is the simplest definition for the term affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing in the online world is to bring Internet traffic to your affiliate link to a product, service, or lead capture form and getting paid commission per action (sale, opt in, or just a click through).

Affiliate marketing is not a new invention or an Internet specific trend in business. It has been around for as long as I am aware of life (I am 40 at the time of writing this). When you buy a car from a dealership, you could get free services or even a discount on your next car purchase if you bring in customers to the dealership. The same for real estate agents, they broker a house sale without buying or selling. They sell the house for you and get a commission for facilitating the sale, and they get commission from the buyers for finding them the house. Even large stores like Sam’s club rewards you with coupons when you bring in new members.

I even did it one time when I owned a small publishing business, I had an affiliate program in place for those who bring in new customers. And that was my only method of advertising. It was working so well that I at one point I had to stop it in order to be able to fulfill my current customers ever growing orders.

So … affiliate marketing has been around for a long time, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Elements of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves a lot of factors and elements, but the basic 3 elements are:

1. The market (people who need to buy something)

2. A product/service that fulfills what the market needs and has an affiliate program

3. The affiliate (you), the person who will bring the product to the market and get paid a commission per each successful task.

Note that I mentioned the market first, before the product. Most of the time, especially for beginners, affiliates start with the product then they try to sell it. And most of the time that ends up with failure and new affiliates dropping the towel too early because they picked the wrong product and/or promoted it to the wrong people.

The right way to do affiliate marketing is to find a market first, then find a product that the market needs, sign up for its affiliate program, and bring the product to the market.

In the coming posts I’ll discuss how to do the market research, how to find a product with an affiliate program, and how to do the marketing itself: how to funnel traffic to buy from your affiliate link.