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Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing: What Is It? and How to Get Started

Affiliate Marketing: What Is It? and How to Get Started

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Chances are you’ve heard of affiliate marketing, especially if you’ve searched the web, like so many others, for ways to make money on the internet. It’s a popular business model that you can build as a side-hustle, or even primary income source. 

But what exactly IS affiliate marketing? and how are people building a passive income stream with this online? We’ll get into the ‘how’ in this article.

As you can imagine, affiliate marketing is alluring for many reasons. In this article, I will go over why it’s so appealing to so many online marketers, as well as what it is, how it works, its benefits, and exactly how to start.

By the end of this article, you’ll know whether or not you want to jump on the opportunity to make passive income with affiliate marketing.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the largest online industries. Thousands of people jump into affiliate marketing who want to make money online or work from home, but who don’t have their own products or services.

Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s products and services and getting a commission for each sale you make. Businesses are willing to pay their affiliates a cut (as much as 50% or more) for leads or sales generated for their company.

So, if you sell a $100 product for a company that pays out a 50% affiliate commission, you make $50. You'll earn that $50 commission every time someone purchases that product via your link. 

It’s a great way to get started not only making money online, but to also create passive income.

How Does It Work?

There is a simple process to promoting other people’s products and services. Though to learn all the ins and outs takes some effort, the overall concept is simple. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process of affiliate marketing to give you an overall picture…

  1. You sign up to be an affiliate for someone and get your affiliate links.
  2. Through running ads, posting on your website or social media, or other ways, you share a link to a bridge page.  The purpose of this bridge page is to capture email addresses in exchange for something of value, like a free eBook, webclass, or training.
  3. After customers give their email addresses, they are directed to the sales page for the product or service you are promoting. This sales page is your affiliate link.
  4. Someone buys the product or service.
  5. You are connected to that purchase.
  6. The company pays you the commissions for that sale.
  7. You can then follow-up with those customers through email marketing and make even more money on the backend.

In order to help affiliates promote their products, companies will usually (not always) give you access to assets that can help you get the word out. For example, many companies provide ad images, banners, email swipe files, etc. They're willing to provide these assets, as it benefits their sales.

For example, here are some of the different promotional images ClickFunnels has made available for affiliates promoting the Traffic Secrets book...

back office affiliate swipe and banner ads

To get paid your commissions, you need to have filled out a tax form and chosen the payment gateway you prefer, for example, PayPal. When you make a sale, and after the trial and refund period, the company will deposit your commissions into your account. Voila!

Each company pays their affiliates on a predetermined schedule. Companies usually pay commissions either once a month, twice a month or weekly. You’ll know when payday will be when you sign up to be an affiliate for the company.

How Do I know What Products to Promote?

There are innumerable affiliate marketing programs out there to promote. Because of that, it may be difficult to narrow the field down and choose what’s best to promote. There are a few things I look at when deciding to promote a product or service.

  1. Is it something I believe in?
  2. Is it something that can help my audience?
  3. What commissions do they pay?
  4. Is it evergreen?

These questions will help you decide what products and services to promote and whether or not they’re a good fit for your affiliate marketing business.

To help you get started with a few trusted products and services, here is a few that I recommend promoting and why:


ClickFunnels is a great company you can feel good about promoting. They have a robust marketing software, and a passionate community of both paying customers and active affiliates.

They pay up to 40% commissions on all product sales. Their flagship product, the sales funnel software pays up to 40% monthly recurring commissions on all sales. 

Review of the Clickfunnels Platform

This means that you make the sale ONCE, and the company pays you every month that your referral continues to use the software.

The ClickFunnels software is the leading funnel building software on the market. It can help any business grow and generate more leads and revenue. I use it to build bridge pages and other funnels to promote the products and services in my affiliate marketing business.

For example, I recently launched a sales funnel promoting a "Drink Ketones Challenge" for a product I promote in the Keto niche. This was built using ClickFunnels.

So yes, I use the software. I drink my own Kool Aid.

It's always best to promote products that you yourself use. As a paying customer yourself, you can better review, explain, and help others get started.

To check out ClickFunnels, sign up for a free 14 day trial here.

In addition to their lucrative affiliate program, the team at ClickFunnels has put together a 100% free affiliate marketing training via the “Affiliate BootCamp Summit.”

The four day interview series is designed to teach new affiliates how to successfully promote their ClickFunnels products online.  The program has recently been updated for 2019. Find our in depth review of Affiliate BootCamp here.

Authority Hacker Pro 

Mark Webster and Gael Breton have been building and running profitable authority sites for some time now. They've created Authority Hacker Pro. This is what I believe to be the most in-depth program with 420+ over the shoulder video courses, 150+ video templates, and more.

This program includes everything you would need to know in order to build a long-term income with authority sites.

The downside?

The full AH Pro course is only available for sale once a year! 

They keep the doors open for about a week and then shut it down. Over the year, they update and add material to the course content, then relaunch it again next year (for a higher price).

Once you're a "member," you'll have life-time access to all updates and added courses.

If you're itching for the Authority Hacker training, their free content on their blog and podcast is excellent. 

The Authority Site System

They also sell "The Authority Site System." This is just one of the courses inside Authority Hacker Pro, but they sell it year-round  as a stand alone offer. The Authority Site System is the blueprint to building and running authority sites. 

This is something you can promote all year long. It pays a good commission, and you can be confident recommending it to others.

paypal affiliate payout

Example of an Affiliate commission for selling "The Authority Site System."

Affiliate Secrets

ClickFunnels has a Dream Car Contest for its affiliates. To win the contest, the affiliates need to have at least 100 active ClickFunnels users signed up under their affiliate link.

Spencer Mecham created the Affiliate Secrets course, and walks you through exactly how he won the Dream Car. The course gives you a blueprint of how you can implement the same strategies Spencer did and win your own Dream Car.

Click here to watch the Affilate Secrets 2.0 webinar and learn more about the course.

These are all high quality courses and software that can help you in your journey as an affiliate marketer. They are products that I would trust to recommend to my own family.

It's icing on the cake that I can also get paid for recommending them to others.

Are There Benefits to Affiliate Marketing?

Now, if so many people do affiliate marketing and claim to be making a comfortable income with it, there has to be some pretty great benefits to it, right?

There are many benefits to affiliate marketing. Here are a few of those benefits:

First, you don’t have to have your own product, as stated before. There’s nothing stopping you from being able to sell other people's products starting today.

Second, your internet marketing efforts can pay off long-term, making affiliate marketing a passive income stream.

Third, it’s something you can do on your own time from wherever you want to work. If you have access to wifi, you can work online. The autonomy of being your own boss is a major benefit.

And fourth, there is a great, tight knit affiliate marketing community on social media, especially Facebook. It’s easy to connect with successful affiliate marketers and join private Facebook groups to get help along your own journey.

Affiliate Marketing - What is it? How do you get started?

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How Can I Get Started with Affiliate Marketing?

There is no right or wrong way to start affiliate marketing. The most important thing is to take action. Imperfect action will beat perfect inaction every time. Just start and learn along the way.

Here are a few tips to help you get started…

  1. Choose a topic or niche that you know well (and ideally are passionate about). Even if you think you're not an "expert," I'm positive that you're more knowledgeable than SOME people out there. This is your audience. Help as many of these people as you can. If and when it comes to recommending products or services, they'll turn to you for advice, and buy through your affiliate links.
  2. Make sure your niche is profitable. Find the top companies or products in your chosen industry. Google "company name affiliate program." Are there high ticket (expensive) products or services with affiliate programs? Everyone from Amazon to Target has an affiliate program these days. You'll be surprised how many products you have the ability to promote!
  3. Choose one platform to start on (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, a blog, etc.). Once you master that one platform, add another and then another until you are everywhere. But take your time with each to really build it. If you don’t, you will be spread too thin and won’t be able to master any of the platforms.
  4. The fortune is in the follow up. Be sure to build an email list of subscribers to sell products and services to. That is the purpose of creating a great bridge page to connect to your affiliate links so that you build that asset.
  5. Connect with other affiliate marketers. Networking online is invaluable.
  6. Outsource business basics. Your focus is on affiliate marketing, so that's where you need to focus your time. Outsource bookkeeping, social media marketing, link building, and other support services so you can maximize your focus.

Whether you're all-in, or starting this on the side, I believe that affiliate marketing is the best way to start making money online. It’s an option best suited to entrepreneurs and action takers. If you choose the right niche with lucrative affiliate programs and products that you love, it's a great vehicle for passive income.


Disclosure: I am an independent ClickFunnels Affiliate, not an employee.  I receive referral payments from ClickFunnels. The opinions expressed here are my own and are not official statements of ClickFunnels or its parent company, Etison LLC. View full Disclosure here.

Ilir Salihi

Hey! I'm a blogger, affiliate marketer, and #freedomfighter. I love digital marketing. My goal with is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners leverage the internet to build a passive side-hustle or full-time income.