Affiliate Marketing & What It’s All About

by Shahin Miah


At INeedSocial, we work on affiliate marketing on an everyday basis, which makes it easy for us to forget that in general people have no clue what affiliate marketing is. For many, affiliate marketing is associated with selling teeth whitening, weight loss pills and other controversial products. Although this dark side to performance-based marketing is still prevalent, affiliate programs have moved to the mainstream with high street retailers and major publishing houses using them. It has become a popular tactic for driving sales to generate online revenue.

For most of the people, their life is restricted to the 9-5 routine, where you wake up at ungodly hour to make your way through half-asleep commuters and work on report after report until 5 pm when you can finally leave. As horrible as it sounds, it is pretty much how our lives are spent. Most of us are so engrossed in the rat race that we don’t even try to raise our heads and look around for other opportunities.

What if I tell you that instead of dealing with the monotonous 9-5 rut, you can make money sitting at home even while you sleep? Sounds too good to be true, but that’s the concept behind affiliate marketing without being involved in any web SEO agency London. Let us break down the basics for you

What is Affiliate Marketing?

It is a marketing tactic which allows a person to earn a commission for promoting somebody else’s product or service. The idea is based on revenue sharing, and it works both ways. For example, if you have a product and want to increase its sales, you can offer promoters financial incentives by asking them to join your affiliate program. On the other hand, if you have no product but want to earn money passively, then you can promote a product that holds value to you by becoming an affiliate marketer.

Affiliate programs can be implemented across different social media channels. Bloggers add affiliate links to products reviews that they have posted on their blog. Similarly, YouTubers include affiliate links in their videos of the clothes they are wearing or products they are reviewing. The rise of affiliate marketing strategies has been phenomenal as consumers demonstrate a preference for online shopping and brands look for new ways to generate revenue.

How is it done?

The process of affiliate marketing involves four parties, including the advertiser, affiliate, buyer and affiliate network.

The advertiser is anyone who sells a product or service like Amazon, Waitrose, John Lewis, an estate agent or your local hairdresser if it has an online store.

The buyer is your end customer who purchases by clicking on the link the affiliate has provided on his social media accounts.

An affiliate is a person who promotes the advertiser’s products; he may use a dedicated website or his social media accounts for this purpose.

The affiliate network forms the crucial link between the affiliate, buyer and advertiser. It drops a tracking cookie into the buyer’s browser when he purchases on the advertiser’s website as a result of clicking on an affiliate link. The affiliate network is the binding force that makes affiliate marketing possible.

Advantages for Advertisers

Many advertisers are unaware of the benefits of affiliate marketing program; in fact, most of the small business owners in the UK have never heard of it. If you are a business owner, then imagine marketing your product for no upfront fee and paying only when you get results. It is a risk-free method of advertising your products or services which requires no financial commitment to get started with. This is an ideal marketing strategy for any new business that does not have funding or budget for advertising their new brand.

And what could be better than having tons of websites promoting your brand or services? It is the quickest way to get people talking about your product and creating hype to get people’s attention.

Advantages for Affiliates

The advantages for affiliates are many, especially when working with a high paying network; the profit potential is enormous. As an affiliate, you can sell products without bearing any costs of manufacturing, distributing or storing them. If done the right way, affiliate marketing can become a consistent source of passive income.

While it’s recommended that you keep an eye on the ball; if you start bringing in a substantial income, you can delegate routine tasks to freelancers and enjoy other things. However, a word of caution, being successful in affiliate marketing requires many hours of learning, commitment and willingness to go the extra mile.

The obvious perks of running your own business are having the freedom to work from anywhere at any time and choosing your own working hours. Aside from these, affiliates with a considerable number of followers (aka influencers) often receive freebies in the form of PR packages from advertisers. These may be worth hundreds of pounds, and you get to keep them!

If you are a blogger with a generic website such as on health and beauty, the possibilities are endless; from high-end makeup products to hair straighteners, companies will be requesting you to trial their products for free.

How Much Can You Earn?

As a beginner affiliate, your income will depend on a number of factors;

  1. How exclusive is the niche of the products you are promoting?
  2. How efficient is the affiliate network you work with?
  3. How dedicated are you to promote the products?
  4. What is your level of knowledge about your niche and products?

Affiliate networks vary widely in terms of the percentage of commission they give the affiliates on each sale. New affiliates sometimes take more than a year to make their first sale, but with proper training and persistence, you can earn between £5 to £500 per sale. It’s simple to understand how this can add up to pretty impressive earnings if done correctly.

Instagram influencer Jason Stone earned $7 million in sales in one year by using affiliate marketing in 2017. Let’s have a look at some interesting statistics to understand how big the potential for earnings is in affiliate marketing.

Statistics for Affiliate Marketing

Retailers in the US spent $4.7billion on affiliate marketing in 2016. This is expected to rise at a rate of 10.1% annually meaning that by 2020, it will reach $6.8 billion.

Affiliate marketing is becoming increasingly popular among advertisers, and 81% of brands were reported to have used this marketing strategy to generate incomes. While 84% of all publishers also leveraged the power of affiliate marketing to compensate for falling print sales.

A study conducted by AM Navigator analysed 550 affiliate marketing programs and found that fashion (18.7%) is the most popular category followed by sports/outdoor products (14.6%) and beauty products (11.1%).

Last year, content marketing costs were found to form 62% of marketing schemes that brought in three times more leads than traditional methods. In fact, it was reported that 16% of all online orders were attributed to affiliate marketing strategies. In comparison, paid search drives 20% while organic search accounts for 21% of all orders placed online.

Influencers on Amazon can receive up to 10% in commission sales after the company changes its affiliate rates. Previously they could only earn a maximum of 5% by selling a product through affiliate marketing. From 2017, affiliates can earn up to 10% commission for promoting luxury items on Amazon.

4 Steps to Becoming an Affiliate Marketer

There are 4 steps that can help you start your journey as an affiliate marketer. We will briefly discuss these below:

Step One: Review Products

You can start by thinking about all the products that you like and reviewing them on your blog or YouTube channel or by live streaming. You may choose any products that you already use and start talking about them publically. If you like reading books, you can review books or talk about video games, whatever you fancy works!

Comparison reviews usually get a lot of attention from audiences on social media. If you do your research well, your review will rank higher in search engines and people will start noticing you as a credible source of information.

If your reviews aren’t well researched, people will figure out that you are trying to make a quick buck. Be genuine and cover as much information as you can. Remember to add your affiliate link and ask people to check it out if they like.

Step Two: Create an Email List

Collecting email addresses is essential to online marketing, and this can be done rather quickly. Whenever someone visits your website, you can offer them a review book or information about your next review video in exchange for their email address.

Since you will be making an email list of people interested in a specific niche of products, you don’t need a lot of email addresses to make it worth your time. You can make considerable sales even with lists of 500 email addresses or less.

Step Three: Educate your Audience

Once you have your email lists, the next step is to keep your audiences engaged via live webinars. If your audience wants to buy a product in your niche, it will make them want to buy it more if they see a live webinar about it rather than just reading about it.

You can use simple tools like Leadpages to create a page where people can sign up for your webinar. Then you may choose to live stream your webinar on Instagram, Google Hangouts or Skype.

Talk about the product’s benefits and drawbacks with your audience. Remember to keep your review as honest and impartial as you can and don’t forget to share your affiliate link at the end of the webinar.

Step Four: Grow your Business with PPC Advertising

The last step is to start thinking about using paid advertising once your affiliate marketing business starts to pick up. You should only do this if you have reached a substantial number of followers and know a way of making back your money.

The margin you may have to spend on ads won’t be very big as you only make a few pounds or pennies per sale; depending on the product price. So, it is best to promote sign-ups on your email lists so you can contact them at any time.


Affiliate marketing is not a fad; it is a highly successful marketing strategy that is adopted by 81% of the brands. Companies are spending billions of dollars and allocating a considerable amount of their advertising budget to affiliate marketing. It has become a popular method to earn passive income even while you are sleeping.

It is cost effective as you do not have to worry about any affiliate marketing fees and its ideal for new start-ups because it does not require any budget; you pay when sales are generated.

Affiliate marketing is purely performance-based, so unlike your regular job where you earn the same salary every week; it gives you the opportunity to earn more when you put in more effort. Finally, it can prove to be an effective way to increase your monthly income by becoming a profitable second job; until you make enough to hand in your notice, that is!


  1. Analysis of 550 best affiliate programs reveals the top 20 niches:
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  1. The affiliate marketing report: How mainstream publishers are turning ‘performance based’ marketing into a ‘fine art’:
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  1. Can you really make money with affiliate marketing?
  1. Affiliate marketing for beginners: Go from $0 to $1000 in passive income :

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