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Affiliate Marketing: Start, Setup, Choosing Network, Tracking & Analysis

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19th Mar, 2023
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Affiliate Marketing: Start, Setup, Choosing Network, Tracking & Analysis

The cliché phrase “Make money while you sleep” never ceases to excite us. Over the years, it has grown to represent the world of affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you can make money not only when you sleep but also when you have your breakfast or lunch!

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing promotes other companies’ products through an affiliate link and earns a commission when someone buys the product through the link. Simply put, in affiliate marketing, you act as a virtual salesperson for a company and earn a reward when a product gets sold through your referral. If you own a website or a blog, you already have a platform to share affiliate links. Even if you don’t, there are various available options like forum posts, classifieds websites, and social media posts where you can earn your money through affiliate marketing.  If you are a beginner in digital marketing marketing, and want to gain expertise, check out our digital marketing certifications from top universities. 

How to Start Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing can be started in four simple steps:

1. Search for a suitable product for promotion.

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2. Look out for affiliate programs for that particular product and signup for them. If the product is on Amazon, then Amazon Associates is what you are looking for.


3. The merchant provides a special affiliate link, and sales generated through clicking of the affiliate link can be tracked. The most common method of tracking is through the use of cookies. When a buyer clicks on the affiliate link, a cookie gets generated and saved on the buyer’s computer, through which merchants can track the affiliate.

4. You get a pre-agreed commission on every individual sale.

How to Setup Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing works best when the links for buying the product are accompanied by suitable product information, which will motivate readers to go for an instant purchase online. Blogs are best suited for this purpose, and here’s how you start affiliate marketing blogs in simple steps:

1. Create your free website or blog to start with. A little bit of online research will leave you spoilt for options.

2. Zero in on the industry segment you want to focus on.

3. Research a niche category of products you can review. The small group of products will draw a selective group of visitors online who are the most likely to convert. The broader the bucket, the higher the chances of visitors who are unsure about what they are looking for and the lesser the chance of link clicks. The choice of products can be influenced by a higher rate of returns or a higher sales volume.

4. Look for affiliate programs for your preferred products and sign up as an affiliate marketer.

5. Focus on creating quality content, simple tutorials, or informative review posts about your chosen products.


6. Work on increasing traffic to your site through some basic SEO techniques. Quality DIY tutorials available online are of great help for beginners.

7. Sit back and relax; the hard work is done. While the paycheck might look bleak initially, a sustained focus on fresh content and traffic management will surely bring in the rewards.

And as you grow further, you will realise that practising is the best answer to the question of how to learn affiliate marketing.

How to choose Affiliate Networks and Products?

Doing prior research on affiliate networks and products most suitable for your marketing, promotion, and content creation is highly recommended. Amazon, Google, and Apple are big brands in affiliate networking. Almost any physical product sold can be listed on Amazon. Promoting a product listed on Amazon assures high sales volumes as the brand shares a strong trust rapport with its worldwide clientele.

You can also opt to work as an affiliate for a company or individual directly rather than being a part of a sales network. Reaching out to entrepreneurs and companies may work well to get you on board as an affiliate marketer.

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Physical products usually offer commissions under 5%, which can be offset by higher sales volumes. You can also opt for digital information products that generally offer commissions in the 10-70% range if you are good at pitching in ideas for skill training and up-gradation. Digital products like e-books, online courses, webinars, software, and phone applications are currently bestsellers. Before finalising your products, you can always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you buy this product if required?
  • Will it provide value for money for your readers?
  • Is there a good demand for the product in current market conditions?
  • Is the commission rate attractive? (negotiable in cases of high sales volume)

If the answers to most of the questions are a big Yes, you can go ahead and create a crisp ad copy or blog for online promotion. It is always advisable to try out a product before opting for promotion, as personal experiences matter strongly in building up a trust quotient. Your blog should be the best place for your audience to get valuable insights into new products. Once you build a steady list of visitors, subscribers, and buyers, merchants offer free sample copies for you to review, or else, you can always ask for one.

Read: 17 Fun Social Media Project Ideas & Topics For Beginners

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Traffic Management and Tracking

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube are great places to generate word-of-mouth traffic. Search engine optimization is a long-term solution that can ensure your site’s high visibility whenever any users search for your products through different keywords.

If you have a good budget to start with, you can opt for paid ads that can generate instant traffic to your site. Once traffic starts trickling in, care should be taken to analyze which posts and product genres are attracting the most attention. Depending upon the response generated, the marketing pitch and product choices have to be moderated and improved upon.

How to start affiliate marketing?

The basics of starting affiliate marketing are, 

  1.  Choose your niche 
  2. Find the affiliate networks or niche to work with 
  3. Choose the products to promote
  4. Strategy planning for the promotion

Top reasons why affiliate marketing is important?

Low- startup cost

Affiliate marketing does not require any cost for marketing, ads, the team who manages to advertise or purchase ad space. Etc.

Instead, the affiliates do the work for their marketing content. Most effort goes into finding the right companions for the product; other than that, there is little to market the products. There is various free course on affiliate marketing which one can get into and understand the domain.

Low costs for continuation

Most of the marketing is carried forward by the affiliates for the brand. Since it is commission-based work, the company needs to pay only the sales brought by the affiliates. 

This model helps overspend costs, unlike other marketing models such as PPC (Pay-per-click), which requires paying for every click leading to the website. 

Less risk involved

Having low cost involved implies low risk. The risk of loss is less because there is less cost involved as the payment is made only when there is a conversion which is the best scenario for a small business.

Exact tracking of the traffic

The business owners handpick their affiliates, which means the organisation can ensure that their brand reaches only those willing to buy. The reason is that affiliates who have interest in the products are likely to have a circle that will resonate with the brand. This is how to do affiliate marketing most productively. 

Higher Return on Investment 

The marketing type offers a higher return on investment. The target audience will know directly about most of the products or services the affiliates discuss. The affiliates have direct access to the target audience and can create a more substantial impact than the other strategies. This is how to start affiliate marketing for experienced and begin with beginner affiliate marketing as well. 

Top skills required for affiliate marketing

Although there is various affiliate marketing course that teaches one how to start affiliate marketing with no money and how to make money with affiliate marketing. But, it is the skills that help one to achieve their desired goals.

  1. Problem-solving and decision-making
  2. Technical 
  3. Creativity 
  4. Data Analytics
  5. Communication
  6. Marketing
  7. Sales 
  8. Leadership
  9. Flexibility
  10. Self-starting 

Top Digital Marketing Skills

Get Ready to Launch

Whether you are looking at a supplementary source of income or a full-time income prospect, affiliate marketing is a dependable source for money generation. The best part is that once your site starts attracting a steady source of visitors who find your posts and product reviews compelling enough to make an instant purchase, there is no looking back.

The site will keep on generating income with minimum effort and zero investment. If you have the patience to weather through the initial testing phase and a good understanding of the market forces and demand trends, affiliate marketing is just for you.

If you are curious to get into the world of digital marketing, check out MICA & upGrad’s Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing & Communication. Become an expert in email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, branding, marketing analysis, and PR.

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Dilip Guru

Blog Author
He is a Growth Hacker, Digital Marketer & Blogger. He loves solving problems of scale and long term digital strategy.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is Affiliate Marketing?

If you are starting a business or have one, you do not have a ton of money to spend on marketing. What should you do? Affiliate Marketing is how you can pull it off. A significant part of Affiliate Marketing is that it is a performance-based marketing. If someone acquires you a lead or a sale, you pay them for it. You pay them on a cost per acquisition, and the payment can be what you determine it to be. For example, if your product sells for ₹500 and your margin is ₹250, in essence, you are operating at a 50% margin. You may be willing to pay ₹100 to someone for every sale that they acquire for you.

2How to Start Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing can help you generate over $10,000 per month in affiliate income, and the steps to start the process is simple as well.

You need to select a platform. While you can do Affiliate Marketing on any platform, building an audience and growing your affiliate sales on a single platform is more convenient.

It would be best if you decided on your preferred genre. With blogging becoming commonplace nowadays, you need to choose your niche. Focusing on a specific category will help you attract a more focused audience and boost your SEO rankings.

You need to try and join affiliate programs. There are several affiliate programs available for niche products and services that offer high pay.

The most crucial factor to consider while starting Affiliate Marketing is to create attractive, engaging, and high-quality content.

3How to Start an Affiliate Program?

Here are few steps that you need to consider when starting an Affiliate Program:

1. Determine goals for your program: Marketing strategies work best when they are goal-oriented; starting an Affiliate Program is no different. It is essential to set goals for your program, including establishing the target audience, determining top measurable goals, etc.

2. Select the correct affiliate commission: When starting an Affiliate Program, it is imperative to create a commission structure, which means paying your affiliates.

4What are the three types of affiliate marketing?

The three main types of affiliate marketing are unattached affiliate marketing, Involved affiliate marketing, and Related affiliate marketing.

5Can you join multiple affiliate networks?

Yes, one can join multiple affiliate network programs on the website. Even on a single affiliate website, one can promote multiple offers.

6What are the key elements s of affiliate marketing?

The key elements of affiliate marketing are Merchant, Affiliate, Consumer, and Network.

7Which domain is best for affiliate marketing?

The top domains best for affiliate marketing are Hover, NameSilo, Network Solutions, Namecheap, and GoDaddy.

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