How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?


In yesterday’s post, I wrote about what affiliate marketing is, along with an example using Amazon’s affiliate program. Now I want to go over exactly how affiliate marketing works, so that you know exactly what you’re doing once you’re ready to start making money with affiliate marketing.

Here is a list of the steps you’ll have to follow.  I’ll go more into detail below:

  • Find a product you want to promote.
  • Find out where their affiliate program is.
  • Log in to (or sign up for) the Affiliate Network that hosts that affiliate program.
  • Join that company’s affiliate program.
  • Get a link to the product you want to promote.
  • Put the link on your website, in your email, or wherever you want so that others can click on it.
  • Make Money.

Once you know what you’re doing, it really is that simple.  Plus, once you’re a member of a lot of affiliate programs, each time you’ll only have to do the last few steps – get the link, and give it out.  It’s only the first time you want to join an affiliate program that you’ll have the extra steps.  Now, in more detail, is what you’ll want to do the first time you promote a product from a website.

First, you find a product that you want to promote (and that has an affiliate program, of course.) Let’s say that you found a shirt at Macy’s that you really like, or a hockey jersey at the Sports Authority. Both of these products are things that you not only like, but you think are good deals, and you want to share them with others. How do you do it, and make money at the same time? It’s pretty easy from there.

Now that you know what stores you want to promote, you need to know where their affiliate programs are. If a website has an affiliate program, you’ll usually find the “affiliate program” link at the bottom, which will bring you to a page where you can sign up for it. If not, you can usually Google the name of the website plus affiliate program to find out what Affiliate Network they use to host their affiliate program. For both Macy’s and Sports Authority, that company is Linkshare.

This is a good place to let you know that most websites/stores use another company to host their affiliate program. They don’t do it themselves. There are a bunch of big Affiliate Networks that you will deal with to get links to the affiliate programs, which makes it much easier to deal with. So for example, Linkshare is a great Affiliate Network  that you can sign up with, and then join multiple affiliate programs through them. Once you sign up with the Linkshare Affiliate Program, you’ll be able to see all of the companies that have their affiliate programs through them, and can sign up for the ones you wish. This is by far the easiest way to find out what companies have an affiliate program.

So, once you sign up for a free Linkshare account, you’d sign up to be an affiliate of Macy’s, and the Sports Authority. Once you are accepted, you’ll be able to see all of the links and banners that they have available. Sometimes you can get a link to a specific item that you want to promote (such as that hockey jersey from Sports Authority), while other times you might only be able to link to the category (such as women’s clothes for Macy’s.) Now, you  pick the links that you want, and get them out there.  In other words, you can put them on your website, or send them in an email to people you know.  You just want other people to see that link, click on it, and then buy the item.  If they do, you will get a small percentage of the commission.

How will you know that you did?  When you log into Linkshare (or any other Affiliate Network like this) you’ll be able to see many reports, such as how many people clicked on the links, how many people purchased items, how much was spent, and most importantly…how much you earned.

Then, Linkshare (or another Affiliate Network that you signed up for) will send you a check for what you earned from all of the affiliate programs that they manage.

It really is that simple. You share links of products that you like, and when others buy them, you get a small percentage of the commission.

In my next post, I’ll let you know about some of the bigger Affiliate Networks like Linkshare so that you can sign up for them, and start getting into different affiliate marketing programs so you can start making money!

You May Also Like

Comments are closed.