How To Perform Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

Ed Pronley


February 20, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

People sitting around a table discussing important documents

As companies grow and develop, it’s important to find new strategies to attract more customers to their products and services. To accomplish this, companies often turn to the latest marketing trends. Today, one of them is affiliate marketing. According to Google Trends, since 2017, affiliate marketing has continued to increase in popularity, having its ranking jump from 25 in 2017 to 100 in 2021. If you’re looking for more information about affiliate marketing for beginners, this guide is here to help. In this article, we discuss:


What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Image via Unsplash by @kaleidico

Affiliate marketing is a type of advertising where a marketer earns a commission for promoting another company’s or business’s products and services. Companies often use affiliate marketing by partnering with other websites and brands to post advertisements on their domain in order to attract customers to make a purchase. This provides a win-win situation for both the business and the marketer. The business generally increases its sales numbers while the marketers make money from directing customers to the business.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Both businesses and marketers often conduct affiliate marketing exclusively online because it’s easier to track and maintain through digital analytics. Through browser cookies and tracking data, companies can tell when someone clicks on a link and uses it to make a purchase. When a business hires an affiliate marketer, it provides that person or company with a special link that’s associated with the marketer’s domain. Whenever a customer clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the business knows that it was that marketer who led them to the website.

An affiliate marketer promotes a company’s products and services in a few different ways. Those ways include running advertisements on their website, sending out email newsletters, and creating social media posts. When a consumer clicks on the ad, email, or social media post, they’re redirected to the business’ e-commerce site. From there, if they purchase a product or service, the marketer gets part of the sale. Companies often pay marketers in one of three ways:

  • Pay-Per-Sale (PPS): This is the most common form of payment that affiliate marketers receive. Every time a customer uses the marketer’s link to make a purchase, the company gives the marketer a percentage of the profits.
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Every time a customer clicks on the link, the company gives the marketer a small compensation. Though this form of payment is less popular, a company may offer it if it feels the return on investment (ROI) is strong enough.
  • Pay-Per-Lead (PPL): This means the company pays the marketer whenever a customer performs a certain action, including signing up for an email newsletter or navigating elsewhere on the company’s website.


Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

There are a few benefits to affiliate marketing for both the business and the marketer. Those benefits include:

Business Benefits

Here are some of the major benefits that businesses receive from affiliate marketing:

  • Greater outreach: Affiliate marketers show the company’s advertisements to all of their website’s visitors. If a business partners with multiple marketers, it gains access to a wide audience who might have an interest in the brand and its products.
  • Less marketing effort: Because affiliate marketers have an incentive to generate clicks and sales, most of the advertising work falls on their shoulders. The business doesn’t have to put a lot of additional resources into affiliate marketing campaigns.
  • Low-cost advertising: Affiliate marketers receive compensation only when the business makes a sale. Because of that, companies don’t have to pay continuously for the marketer’s time or ad space, and when they have to pay, they’re often still generating revenue.


Marketer Benefits

Here are some of the major benefits of affiliate marketing for the marketer:

  • Work from home: Because marketers can perform affiliate advertising online, they have the option of working from home, or from anywhere. If they want to take the time to create ads or social media posts from the comfort of their couch, or a beach in Miami, they have the option.
  • Passive income: Once affiliate marketers create the advertisements, newsletters, or other content, their work is pretty much done. This allows them to focus on other things, like building up their own website and brand, while receiving passive income whenever a customer uses their ads to make a purchase.
  • No customer support: Unlike normal sales positions that work on commission, once a customer makes a purchase through the marketer’s ads, the marketer isn’t obligated or required to keep helping them. Questions a customer has about the product go straight to the company, allowing the marketer to direct their attention elsewhere.


Three Types of Affiliate Marketing

There are three major types of affiliate marketing that companies and marketers use to attract customers to a brand. Those types include:

Unattached Affiliate Marketing

Unattached affiliate marketing occurs when the marketer has no connection to the product or service they promote. This often occurs when the marketer has no relation to the company’s industry or field and has no skills or expertise that relates to the product or service they’re advertising. Companies might use this type of marketer when they’re trying to reach a wider audience and increase their brand awareness.

Related Affiliate Marketing

Related affiliate marketing is the opposite of unattached affiliate marketing. Instead of having no relation to the product or service, the marketer actually has a skill or expertise that relates to the company’s industry or field. This allows the marketer to show an understanding of the company and the product they promote. It also allows the company to focus on its target audience and hopefully attract more sales.

The other defining characteristic of related affiliate marketing is that the marketer doesn’t make any claims about using or benefiting from the product or service. This allows them to market it as a potential benefit to consumers without directly opening themselves up to any liability. That way, if the customer has an issue with the product or company, they can’t blame the marketer.

Involved Affiliate Marketing

Involved affiliate marketing takes the related affiliate marketing one step further. In this type of advertising, the marketer recommends the product or service based on their experience using it. If something goes wrong, or the product doesn’t work properly, the marketer is risking their reputation and ability to sell. However, this type of marketing often increases sales because customers are most trusting of the marketer’s personal recommendation. So, it’s a trade.

Most often, influencers use this style of affiliate marketing because they can easily share their experience with their followers using social media posts and live streams. That’s because the influencer already has a rapport with their followers and audience to make the advertising and product recommendation more successful.

Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels

Here are the most common types of channels that affiliate marketers might use to promote a company’s products and services:


Bloggers are a substantial source of affiliate marketing because they often already have a website and audience. They can use this audience to promote a company’s products and services effectively while developing and establishing their own brand and content. Bloggers can perform affiliate marketing in several ways, but two of the most popular include clickable advertisements and product or service reviews.

If a blogger creates advertisements, they can place them on their website around their blogs and content to entice people to click. If a blogger writes a review on a product or service, or an article that highlights its functions and benefits, they can link to the e-commerce store from there while providing information about the business.

Related: Blogging 101

Media Websites

Media websites are like bloggers because their primary focus is to deliver a lot of content to their audiences. The major difference between them is that media websites develop content through many channels, creating as large of an audience as possible. Because they attract so many people, companies often use them to conduct effective affiliate marketing. These websites often focus on advertising through banners and clickable ads, but they can also include links to the products or services within their content.

Email Lists

Some websites and brands have large email lists that people subscribe to for news on the brand or industry. These brands might use their email list to send out marketing materials in their newsletters. This can include a review or promotion for a product or service that entices people to click on the link and make a purchase. Some email newsletters might just link to the business from the newsletter’s content without drawing too much attention to it. As long as the email’s content relates to the product or service, customers might still purchase it.


As mentioned in the “Involved Affiliate Marketing” section, influencers often have a large social media following that’s useful for advertising products and services. A brand might use an influencer to talk about its products and it might even encourage the influencer to use the product themselves, so they can talk about their own experience. This helps make the product recommendation more effective because it feels more personalized and directed toward the audience.

How To Become an Affiliate Marketer for Beginners

Here is a list of steps to help you become an affiliate marketer:

1. Find a Market

The first step to becoming an affiliate marketer is to decide on the market where your services might be helpful. A specific market can help you narrow down a target audience, so you can tailor your content to their needs. This can help you attract more companies and businesses to your website and develop more effective marketing materials. If you’re worried about competition, it’s also helpful to look at niche markets. Niche markets are those that currently don’t have a lot of competition. They often represent smaller subsections of a larger industry.

For example, in the automotive repair industry, a business might focus on the smaller market of repairing monster trucks. Though the market may be smaller, it more than likely has much less competition compared to general car repair. Finding a niche market can increase your chances of finding a business that needs help with affiliate marketing. That’s because they might not have many options of websites or brands that create content for their chosen industry or field.

2. Build an Audience and Email List

Building an audience and email list is one of the quickest ways to show businesses that you have an audience with which to market their products and services. The best way to do that is to practice inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the act of attracting people to your website and brand through informative and helpful content that applies to your chosen market. When people read content they find useful, they’re more likely to return to your website to read or view more in the future. That can include things such as research articles, blogs, videos, and eBooks.

Developing content can help you generate a loyal group of followers and also an email list, where you can send out even more content through newsletters. Looking for ways to generate content that helps you stand out from competing websites and brands? CopyPress has a content analysis tool that compares your domain’s content with your top three competitors. Request your content analysis today to boost your inbound marketing and find gaps in your advertising strategies.

“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”

Kevin Doory

Director of SEO at Auto Revo

3. Develop Product or Service Reviews

As you create content for your brand and website, consider adding product or service reviews. These can show businesses that your website can talk about different products and that your audience finds interest in what you have to say. It can also help you develop experience that can directly translate to affiliate marketing. Start by writing reviews for products you actually enjoy using. This can show businesses you know how to discuss the highlights and benefits of using a certain product to better persuade your target audience.

4. Reach Out To Businesses

Once you have the experience and a following, it’s time to reach out to businesses and see if they need help marketing their products and services. Start by contacting companies for products you’ve already reviewed. When a company sees that your review is directing traffic to their site, they might create an affiliate marketing link for you to collect commission from. Then contact other businesses in your target market and industry. Be sure to highlight your current audience level and present them with ideas on how you’d effectively market their products and services.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing for Businesses

Here is a list of steps to help you start affiliate marketing for your own business:

1. Understand Your Target Audience

The first step is to conduct thorough research on your target audience so you know which marketers may be most effective. Though you have the option of asking any website and brand with a lot of visitors to work as your affiliate marketers, it’s more helpful to target your business’s intended market. That’s because it can improve your chances of increasing sales numbers and providing a better ROI for your marketing campaign.

For example, let’s say you know your audience listens to a lot of social media influencers. From here, you can see which influencers attract your target audience and which ones best represent your products and brand. This can help you reach your customers more efficiently and create more sales for your company.

Related: How To Find and Build a Relationship With Your Target Audience

2. Determine Payment

Before reaching out to marketers, it’s important to determine how you’re going to compensate them. Work with your company’s financial and sales departments to figure out how much of the sale you can give to marketers in order to still see company growth and development. For example, after doing some research, you might understand that you can’t give marketers more than 5% of the profits before severely affecting your company’s revenue. Figuring out this number ahead of time can help you avoid potential risks and challenges with your business’s finances in the future.

3. Find Affiliate Marketing Partners

When looking for affiliate marketing partners, consider searching for content that relates to your industry and see which companies or businesses consistently appear on the search engine results page (SERP). These high-ranking pages are often what your audience or customers will see when they search for similar things. Reach out to these websites to see if they might have any interest in hosting advertisements for your products or services. If they have a popular blog, consider asking them if they want to write a review for a product or service you offer.

There are also special networks and programs that allow you to search for potential affiliate marketing partners. These apps let you search through potential marketers and find the ones that best relate to your company and industry. Some of these programs even let you reach out to marketers directly and see if they’re available or interested in promoting your brand.

As brands develop, it’s important for them to find new ways to attract audiences to their products and services. Whether you’re looking for new ways to market your company or new opportunities for your website and blog, affiliate marketing can offer significant benefits to your brand’s growth and development.

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

More from the author:

Read More About Marketing Channels