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Affiliate Marketing Explained: Make Passive Income

Make passive income with affiliate marketing

There are many ways to make money online, and affiliate marketing is one of the most popular and effective methods. But what is affiliate marketing? In this affiliate marketing explained post we’ll show you how to make passive income by promoting products and services from other companies, completely for free. It’s a great way to make passive income, and it doesn’t require a lot of time or effort.

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What Is Passive Income?

Passive income is a great way to earn money. It is a source of income that once set up will require little ongoing active involvement. Creating profitable passive income streams does require a good deal of time and effort to begin. Once created they can continue to provide an income over a long period of time without doing any additional work. And it is possible to make passive income with affiliate marketing.

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What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.

View this post for the reasons to start affiliate marketing explained.

Affiliate Marketing Explained: How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing can be an effective way for businesses to market their products as the affiliate does the promotional work on behalf of the company. By partnering with affiliates, businesses can reach new audiences quickly and generate targeted traffic to their sales pages.


For generating these leads, businesses will pay the affiliate a commission payment. Payment will be received when a customer you referred takes a positive action with the business. Most commonly this is when they complete a purchase. You could also be paid just for providing a lead such as when they sign up for a free trial.

Make an income with affiliate marketing
Make an income with affiliate marketing


When you sign up to an affiliate program you will be provided with a unique referral link. (More on that below). It is this tracking link that is unique to you. It ensures you are paid commission for the customers that used your referral link.

Commission structures will vary with every affiliate programme. Some vendors use a percentage fee, where you will receive a set percentage of the total sale value. Whereas others will have a flat rate fee per transaction.

Some commission structures allow you to earn ongoing lifetime income whereas others are for one time purchases only. For instance a software company that has a monthly subscription model may pay commissions for each month your referral subscribes.

In addition to your referral tracking link, companies often provide more marketing materials for affiliates to utilize. This may include banners, blog posts, email marketing templates, videos, eBooks and anything else.

Types Of Affiliate Commissions

There are several different types of affiliate commissions that can be earned. We’ll explain the main ones below.

CPL – Cost Per Lead

With a cost per lead or CPL model, an advertiser will pay for leads. As this model pays for leads and not sales, you can earn commission even without a successful sale. However payouts will usually be much lower. So you would likely have to drive a lot of high quality traffic to increase earnings.

CPA – Cost Per Action

A CPA or cost per action model pays publishers when the visitor completes a specific action. Specific qualifying actions are set by the advertiser and so will vary from each affiliate program. Actions may include a sale or completing a registration.

CPA can cover CPL and CPS as with both of these models, an action is being taken to generate commission.

CPS – Cost Per Sale

The cost per sale (CPS) model is quite self-explanatory. Advertisers will pay commission when a sale is made.

CPI – Cost Per Install

Cost per install (CPI) is a very popular model with app and software providers. For example many app developers will pay commission on each app installed.

What is affiliate marketing
What is affiliate marketing

How To Start Affiliate Marketing

So now let’s take a look at how to start affiliate marketing. There are lots of products available to promote as an affiliate and lots of different outlets for promoting them. What you choose can depend on; your experience, available capital, what you are promoting and how much time and effort you are willing to put in.

There are some important things to consider. You’ll need to think about; what products you want to promote, the target audience, the channels you will use to reach them and your budget.

Before you begin affiliate marketing we suggest you read this post first covering 10 affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid.

Affiliate Marketing Programs

In order to promote something you’ll first need to join an affiliate marketing program.

Many businesses offer their own affiliate marketing program. You register directly with the company and are provided with the links and materials to promote their products and services.

A good example of a popular affiliate program people often join is Amazon Associates. This is Amazon’s own affiliate program where you will earn commission from promoting anything sold on Amazon. There’s also an Amazon Influencer program for social media influencers.

Income with affiliate marketing
Income with affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing Networks

There are also lots of free affiliate networks to join. These are platforms combining many different affiliate programs across multiple businesses in one central location. In addition to joining the network you may also have to apply for each separate program.

Each network has it’s own rules and criteria which must be followed and there are certain types of sites that are restricted from applying. For instance some networks require you to have a website in order to join but not all do.

When choosing a product look for something that you understand – you will need to communicate the benefits to buyers.

Read our guides to some of the popular affiliate networks such as ShareASale, FlexOffers, CJ Affiliate and Fiverr and find more here; Affiliate marketing programs.

There are lots of channels to use for marketing your affiliate links including both free and paid methods. Some of the channels you can use include;

  • Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Reddit etc
  • Facebook Groups
  • Quora
  • Forums
  • Email
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Paid Ads
  • Classified Ads
  • Native Ads

Blogging To Make Income With Affiliate Marketing

Any of the above methods can be used. But one of the most effective ways to make passive income with affiliate marketing is through blogging. Blogs allow you to write quality content that your product can be tied into. Your affiliate links can be used in your blog posts.

If you utilise good SEO practices then you can rank higher in search engines and gain organic traffic. These blog posts can also be shared through other means such as email and social media. It’s also a good way of building an email list that can be used to promote affiliate offers in future.

Affiliate marketing explained
Affiliate marketing explained

Firstly, you should never promote your links by spamming people. Simply posting affiliate links on lots of pages without any content first of all is going to look spammy. Most people will avoid it and you will also likely have them deleted by moderators and removed from groups. Would you click one of these dodgy looking links in a comment section? Probably not.

You need to ensure you are offering people something of value that will make them want to click your link. So take time to write a post with genuine helpful content and incorporate links into this. You also can’t copy and paste somebody else’s posts you should create your own.

For blogging, an easy, convenient and low cost way to create engaging posts is to hire a copywriter on Fiverr. A small investment in quality, professional content could reap big rewards for you in the future.

There are lots of tools available to manage all of your tracking links. When posting links on social media, it is advisable to shorten links using a link shortening tool. Tracking links tend to be long strings of letters and numbers which would look very unsightly if posted like that. Link shorteners simply make your links shorter, neater and more inviting.

Anybody that runs serious affiliate marketing campaigns should invest in a professional link management tool. These allow you to keep track of, edit and analyze all of your links in one convenient location.

You will be able to see; what is performing well and not so well, your best traffic sources and visitor demographics etc. Analysing this information allows you to make adjustments and optimize your campaigns, helping to generate more leads and sales.

One of the top affiliate management tools is ClickMeter. This allows you to easily track, monitor and optimize all your affiliate marketing links to help increase your conversion rates.

Affiliate Marketing Explained Conclusion

Hopefully this post will help you in your journey to make passive income with affiliate marketing.

To recap, affiliate marketing is receiving a commission from promoting another company’s products and services. There are lots of affiliate programs and networks to join covering lots of different product categories. Some of the most popular affiliate programs are Amazon Associates and Fiverr.

There are lots of ways to promote products with some of the most effective being via email marketing and blogging. Blogging is a good option as once you’ve posted content you don’t need to do anything else.

As stated any type of passive income takes time and effort to set up, including affiliate marketing. But by taking time to produce high quality content now you will gain the rewards later.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make passive income online. It is a very simple and straightforward model to understand. You don’t need to be the most tech-savvy person or have to invest money upfront to begin. So literally anybody with a computer or mobile phone and Internet access could get started earning income with affiliate marketing

Check out these 50 ideas for building online income streams.

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