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Affiliate Marketing 101: The Basics

With the dawn of digital marketing, comes new ways to market products and services. We’ve jumped from newspaper to radio to TV and now to your own personal smartphones.

With the addition of cookies into the mix, it’s like our phones are now reading our minds when it comes to online shopping. With so much media and ads shoved in our faces every day, the regular marketing tricks have stopped working.

More and more users are drawn toward authentic customer reviews when it comes to researching and purchasing a product or service. That’s where affiliate marketing comes into play. We hope to shed some light on what affiliate marketing is in today’s digital world and how you can use it to your advantage when it comes to marketing your products/services.

What is affiliate marketing?

To break it down into simple terms, you have three critical parts in an affiliate marketing relationship-

  1. The Seller

  2. The Affiliate

  3. The Consumer

The seller is the company with the product or service being marketed. The great thing about affiliate marketing is that when it comes to the actual marketing of the product, companies are virtually hands-off. The affiliate puts in the hard work of content creation, scheduling, and distribution of the content. The seller provides the product to be sold.

The affiliate is someone (or even a company) that is trying to market the product to consumers. The benefit of being an affiliate is that you receive a commission from every sale that you make.

The consumer would be the person being persuaded to purchase the product or service.

We see a lot of affiliate marketing on TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram. Affiliate marketing happens through Amazon and influencers’ Amazon Storefronts. They urge their viewers to shop their Storefront, which are affiliate links to products that they earn commissions on.

The Benefits

Now that we have learned what affiliate marketing is, we need to review WHY you should use affiliate marketing to your advantage.

Well Established Following

When using an influencer or blogger for affiliate marketing, you get the added bonus of an already established customer base. For the most part, people follow influencers or bloggers because they are interested in their lifestyles or relate to their content. Influencers don’t have to reach very far to reach a large number of people when they have a large following.


Building off the last point, followers often find that they trust influencers they follow more than a commercial advertisement. They get a more authentic feeling when someone they relate to or find interesting reviews a great product. They are more likely to purchase the product because this influencer gave a good review of it. They trust the influencer’s judgment, even though sometimes people can forget that influencers are being paid to market this product.

Low-cost Advertising

Because the actual content is left up to the affiliate, the only cost the company has when hiring an affiliate is the commission or cost of the product that the affiliate will use to make a sale. They don’t have to worry about coming up with content ideas or how to sell to this certain target audience. The affiliate oversees all that and even if they don’t do a great job of marketing the product or service, the company isn’t out any money because it is commission-based.

3 Types of Affiliate Marketing

Lastly, we will review the three types of affiliate marketing that a company can utilize.

Unattached Affiliate Marketing

In this type of affiliate marketing, the affiliate is completely unattached to the product/service they are promoting to viewers. They cannot make claims about how well it performs or recommend it for people to use. You might see these types of affiliate links when online shopping. Maybe you are reading a blog and there’s a banner ad for a sale at a local boutique. The affiliate is making money by giving the ad space.

Related Affiliate Marketing

This is the most common form of affiliate marketing, and you see this a lot with the Amazon Storefront. Affiliates can use their affiliate links to products they like on Amazon and then promote those products on their social media. They are not an expert on the product, but their followers trust their judgment that the product is worth their money.

Involved Affiliate Marketing

This type of affiliate marketing is the most authentic type of marketing you can use to gain traffic. The affiliate has used the product or service before and has had such a positive experience, that they are willing to share their experience with others. They recommend these products. You could see this with people recommending certain skin care products. They are a trusted source of information, but there could be backlash if the product doesn’t work out for everyone. The affiliate takes that risk when they are recommending this product to their followers.

In conclusion, affiliate marketing has come a long way. With advancements in digital marketing and analytics, it has become a billion-dollar industry that is cheap to break into and an easy way to start bringing in more traffic. Have you thought about using affiliate marketing before?

If you would like some guidance on ways to improve traffic to your website, fill out this form, and someone will get in contact with you shortly!


Big Commerce, “Affiliate Marketing 101: What it is and How to Get Started”, Big Commerce,, Accessed November 14 2022

Investopedia, “Affiliate Marketer: Definition, Examples, and How to Get Started”, Jake Frankenfield, October 22, 2022,, Accessed November 14, 2022

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