Affiliate Marketing: What is it and how to generate passive income with it?

Affiliate Marketing

Imagine this scenario: you, beach, sunset and money entering your account. A surreal painting? No! It can be your future. Earning money without working, or at least working with little effort, is what many aspire to. One way to generate passive income online is affiliate marketing. However, in order for you to get great benefits at the beginning, you will have to dedicate time, work, effort and want to do it.

If you want to be a digital entrepreneur and become an expert in affiliate marketing, you must know what it is, how to do it and many more tips to generate extra income or to get a monthly salary. Well you’re in the right place. Join us on this journey into the world of affiliate marketing.

What’s affiliates marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a branch of digital marketing focused on getting results or actions. It is a collaboration between a company that seeks to advertise through advertisements and an affiliate who inserts said advertising in their media and earns a commission per referred customer.

Therefore, affiliate marketing works in two directions: for the affiliate, it is a way of generating income by promoting products or services of third parties and for companies, it is an online advertising strategy to sell more.

Look at the following example to understand it better:

You have a blog about travel tips. You have achieved a high number of readers on your site. There is a travel agency interested in advertising their services or their tour packages on your blog. The travel agency and you reach an agreement. Then, you will earn a commission for each referred client who buys a tourist package or requests a service from the agency thanks to the advertising inserted on your page. You will be the affiliate and the company the advertiser.

Although its beginning is commonly marked in 1996 with the Amazon Affiliate Program since the late 1980s there were already marketing initiatives based on this concept. Thus, affiliate marketing has years of history. If you want to become a successful affiliate and earn more than a little extra money, you will have to work hard upfront.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Some definitions include three actors involved in the affiliate marketing process, others mention four parties. Next, we are going to look at the main three and then the fourth part of the equation:

1. Affiliates

The affiliatesadvertisers or sponsors are responsible for promoting products or services. Usually, these are bloggers, Instagram, or any content creator. However, companies can also be affiliates. Affiliates generate income for every transaction made through their advertising. The figures can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to thousands.

2. Advertisers

Also known as brandmerchantseller. They are the ones who sell products or provide services. They can be small and large companies, entrepreneurs, etc. They do not pay for visibility but instead give commissions to affiliates who get customers.

3. Clients

They are the end-users and those in charge of the closing of the business: if there are no purchases, there are no commissions.

4. Affiliate networks

The fourth part is affiliate networks. It is not always necessary, which is why it is not included in the basic diagram of the process.

What are affiliate networks? It is an intermediary between advertisers and affiliates. Imagine a kind of affiliate bank. Companies that do not have time to track affiliates who can serve as advertisers rely on these networks. In this way, they will be able to work with several of them.

At the same time, they constitute a product database in which the affiliate can choose which one to promote. In addition, these platforms also ensure payment, which translates into security for affiliates.

The affiliate marketing works as follows:

1. The affiliate signs up for an affiliate program.

2. The advertiser launches a product or service.

3. The affiliate advertises it on his blog, social network or any other channel using the unique affiliate link.

4. The client clicks on the link and performs the action proposed by the advertiser: purchase of products, registration on a site, etc.

5. The advertiser receives the money for the action taken.

6. The affiliate gets his share commission.

Do you see it? With just 6 simple steps everyone wins: the customer makes an action or purchase that he wanted, the seller makes a profit on the sales and the affiliate takes a commission from them.

How to do affiliate marketing: step by step from scratch

Well, how do you start making money with affiliate marketing? Take a look at these simple 4 steps:

1. Create a channel to promote the products

How are you going to advertise if you don’t have a means for it? The first step is to create a medium. If you already have a channel, skip this step and go straight to the second one. The most popular channels are:

  • Website or blog: If you are good at creating content, you can create a blog or website. First you must define what you want to write about and from there start generating interesting content that attracts readers. The more traffic your blog or site has, the greater possibility of potential customers you will have.
  • Social networks: They are currently the most used channels for advertising. This is to be expected since 52% of the world’s population uses them, according to the report The Global State of Digital in 2019 »by Hootsuite and We Are Social. In Latin America, for example, Facebook’s advertising audience is 86 million and Instagram’s 22 million, according to the same research.
  • E-mail marketing: In this case you must build an email list. There are several ways to collect addresses, for example by offering afree ebook , some guide, etc. After you have a mailing list, it must have at least 500 contacts, you can start sending emails with reviewed products and services.

2. Choose an affiliate program or join an affiliate network

These are the most important affiliate programs. The advertiser is the one who decides which program is the most convenient for their advertising:

  • Cost per click (CPC): The affiliate earns a commission for all the clicks that were generated by their affiliate link. In this case, the sale is not necessary. That is, you will generate money for each click made, even if the customer does not make the purchase of the product.
  • Cost per action (CPA): The affiliate receives money for each person who performs an action. It can be filling out a form, making a registration, etc.
  • Cost per sales (CPS): The affiliate earns an income for each customer who makes a purchase. It is the most used.

There are many companies that offer affiliate programs. The important thing in this step is to know how to choose well the one with the best commissions and that the products are adapted to the market niche that you exploit.

When you sign up for an affiliate program, you receive your own ID that serves to identify you. This link should be used in your promotional posts. The way it works is as follows: each customer who reaches the product or service through your link and performs an action will receive a commission for it. Remember that not only actions are sales, that depends on the forms of marketing that we saw above (pay per click, per action or per sale). Also, there are no costs to join an affiliate program.

The other option, especially if you are just starting out, is to join an affiliate network. The most popular are ClickBankShareASale, Amazon Affiliate Program, JVzoo, Hotmart, and Clickbooth.

3. Select the products or services to promote

Anyone who believes that affiliate marketing is “simple and easy” is wrong. To generate the income you must follow the basic rules of marketing. For example, the appropriate selection of products or services to advertise. How to do it?

First of all, know your audience. It is extremely important that the products or services you advertise correspond to the tastes of your audience and your niche. For example, if you have a blog about personal care, there is no point in advertising a company that offers car wash services. It would be a total disaster. Instead, a good strategy may be to associate yourself with brands that market beauty or diet products, etc.

Another step is to evaluate the product or service. Are they products or services that you would buy or request? Would you recommend them to your friends? It is not about promoting any product, but the one that you think is really worth it. Remember that your readers or followers consider your opinion valuable. Do not fool them, because you will lose credibility! A good option is to test what you are going to promote and thus recommend only those that you consider being of good quality.

Finally, analyze the commissions you will get for the products. If these are very low, it may not be business for you. Try to choose products that are consistent with your brand and content, but that offer you good benefits.

4. Show the quality of what you promote

Right now it’s about educating your audience and the best way to do it is through webinars. For example, if it is a product that needs a specific way of installation, you can demonstrate how it is done. On the other hand, Facebook or Instagram stories, and even short videos on these networks, can also work to demonstrate the virtues of the product.

Advantages of affiliate marketing

  • Generate income with no or very low investment: As affiliate marketing is about advertising the products or services of third parties, you will not have to invest in creating products, or in distribution or storage, etc. It is one of the most profitable ways to monetize your blog, social networks, websites, etc.
  • Flexibility of schedules and space: What we love about working online is the flexibility of schedules in most cases. And dedicating yourself to affiliate marketing is no exception. In addition, you can advertise from the comfort of your home, cafeteria, coworkings, etc.
  • Global access: Being an online business, you can cover international markets.
  • Passive income: It does not matter if you are sleeping or on vacation, when someone takes an action through your affiliate link, the money will be deposited into your account without you having to do anything.
  • It is a scalable business.
  • Payment security: If you work with an affiliate program, the chances of you losing your commission are almost nil.
  • Promotion of products from different companies: As an affiliate you do not belong to any specific company. Therefore, you can promote products from different companies and earn various commissions for all of them.


The main advantage of affiliate marketing is that it will allow you to generate money automatically. Every time a customer makes a purchase, pre-purchase or click, you will receive a commission for it.

We advise you to use SEO strategies to achieve more visualization on your blog or website. In addition, use copywriting techniques so that you are able to persuade and encourage them to make purchases. And finally, do not sell: advises. Be clear: you are not a seller and this intention cannot be noticed. Your channels are not marketplaces, but information sites. Therefore, your duty is to advise as a plus service about a product that can benefit your followers. Recommendations should be natural and not forced. It is imperative that you be invasive to us.

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