Profit Without Product: Introduction to Affiliate Marketing!

Hello readers! It’s Makki again with another hot topic. This time we’re gonna be looking at an introduction to affiliate marketing, which is my area of expertise. To be able to post about affiliate marketing in the future, I’m gonna introduce it here.

I currently write about ‘profitable platforms,’ where I detail online websites that can make you money. Affiliate marketing is in a different league than moneymakers like Amazon or eBay. I’ll show you why in a bit.

Affiliate marketing is defined as:

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.

OK, that Wikipedia (yes, it’s a legit source) quote is pretty wordy. It does the job though.

In simpler terms, affiliate marketing is when you (the affiliate) promotes a product, or anything really, and then get paid a ‘commission.’ Commissions are payments sent to your account, after a sale. These commissions are what affiliate marketers live for!

How it Works

When a marketer wants to advertise with a seller, they register with the sellers’ affiliate program, which gives them a link with a tracking ID. That’s how sellers know who made the sale. The link is posted on a forum, or a website, or social media to get it out there.

In it’s simplest form, affiliate marketing is when a reader clicks on an affiliate link and buys a product. Now, you may be thinking you’ve got it made with that summary. Sadly, the truth is disheartening.

Although it’s true that sales are guaranteed money in the bank, conversion rates (or the rate that a visitor actually buys something) are not always 100%.

It’s not anywhere near 50% either.

Nope, 25% is really stretching it.

The average conversion is around 1%!! Hahaha!

OK, I was kidding with the 1%. The truth is, there isn’t an actual average rate. There’s too many industries, programs and other variables. But if you want a number to lean towards, it’s around 10%, even if not everyone makes it that high.

But enough about conversion. Affiliates usually make their sales by using their own website, or email broadcasts (to email addresses collected from users on their site). This is the reason why affiliate marketing is rarely mentioned in the mainstream. It takes a a lot of work to build a website and a following (more on that here)!

 Why It Works

You gotta admit, this whole deal sounds pretty one-sided. The affiliate works hard for sure, but is he working as hard as the seller?

Of course not! No, that’s not a knock against affiliates. Sellers have to go through product manufacture, launching it, legal issues, and marketing it. It’s complex stuff. I’ve been involved in product launches before, and they’re quite the quantum conundrum!

Let’s focus on the marketing side for now. When a company hires a marketing company to advertise, they’re paying no matter how bad the sales are. It’s a fact of life. But with affiliate marketing, a payment is only made when a product sells! There’s no (financial) risk involved! This is why affiliate links are usually provided for free.

(Incidentally, if you ever see that you have to pay to be an affiliate, back away slowly, because that’s a sure sign of a scam.)

Too Good to be True?!! Reality Hits!

Are you excited? I hope so. But I’m gonna try and dissuade you with some discouraging facts. If you don’t mind these, you have the right mindset and perseverance. The reason being that I thought it was a rosy industry when I first started, but then reality set in, and it hurt. So you have to take the good with the bad, and know what you’re getting into.

-The first thing you should know is affiliate marketing takes time, and spit and grit, and some other metaphor. You could have your first sale in your first week, or your first few days (although that’s nearly unheard of) but then you could have that first sale after a few months, or more! Patience is key.

-Another thing you should know is that you need a website. No joke. Websites are like a ‘home base’ for affiliate marketers. Well, I should say everyone online. This is where you build a readership that will click on your links that you post around your site. Without a site, you’re pretty limited.

I know there’s quite a lot of people who’ve never had websites before, and I understand that. If you go over to ‘Build a Website’, I’ll show you a free, fast and easy way to set one up.

-Anyway, one more thing you should know is that as a beginner, you are understandably optimistic. That’s a good sign. But at the same time, some of us are desperate to get a lot of money fast. And unfortunately, many established affiliate marketers use desperation to scam and cheat people of their money.

make money fast scam
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Scams start for free on the surface, but eventually lead to increasingly expensive (but no more reliable) purchases.

I know this because I was cheated before, and my naivety nearly cost me dearly. You can read more about that here. Anyway, you’re bound to see stuff like this:

  • Instant Commissions!
  • Make Money Doing Nothing!
  • Guaranteed to Make $10,000 in 2 Months!
  • A Business Made for You!

You get the idea. Don’t believe any of this. Even if there’s a ‘money-back’ guarantee, even if it’s incredibly cheap. I’ll detail scams in future posts, but for now just know not spend money on seemingly amazing products.

Full of Energy! How to Start

Are you still rarin’ to go? If so, great! With that mindset you should be able to weather the storm, so to speak.

To start affiliate marketing, you technically just need a link. You can get a link (or a set of links) by joining an affiliate program, with any company that does it. Powerhouses like Amazon and Apple offer affiliate programs, as well as dedicated marketplaces like Clickbank.

itunes affiliate program
Apple’s affiliate program. iTunes is full of media you can promote! Many companies offer affiliate programs, but they’re not always out in the open.

While having a link is fine, there’s no where to really post it without a website. Forums are a decent place, but it’s hard traffic there. You can try social media, and there are individuals who do, but you would need a huge (sizable would do as well) following.

This is why websites are the key to success here. I could never understand that until I was cheated already, and I would hate to have someone repeat my mistake.

So we’re clear that websites are needed. If you’re not really a technical or internet-savvy kind of person, it’s OK. People as green as you (me) have gone on to make a killing in the internet sphere.

The program that convinced me so is called Wealthy Affiliate. It’s taught me more than I could have dreamed, and helped me easily launch a website. I’m not gonna go in detail here, but you can check out my review of it at this link.

A New World! Welcome to Affiliate Marketing!

I hope you enjoyed this look at affiliate marketing. It’s an overlooked business, and I’m happy to try and spread the word about it.

What you should keep in mind is that you have to keep going. Through lulls in activity, through writer’s block, all that. Like any other business, affiliate marketing requires you to wait till you get big.

Every inspirational paragraph needs an inspirational picture! Remember, you wanna be the guy on top!

Before I close out, I wanna reach out to those who decided affiliate marketing wasn’t for them. I respect your decision, and if you want to make money in other areas of the internet, I have an ongoing series where I present and explain other ways to make money online. It’s a good place to look. You’ll find lots of ideas! Just click here!

And if you’d like to start with affiliate marketing, I strongly recommend visiting my review of my #1 program.

Got any questions about affiliate marketing? Better yet, are you an affiliate yourself and have some thoughts to share? Leave them in the comments below! And if you liked the post,  please share it with others!

Your pal,







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8 thoughts on “Profit Without Product: Introduction to Affiliate Marketing!

  1. Hi Makki.

    I love your honest opinion. Affiliate marketing is really for someone that’s willing to work. I know this because I have started my own affiliate business. The time and energy are no jokes.

    1. Yeah, having experienced the unappealing side of it first hand, I wanted to get it out there right away.

      If you go into affiliate marketing, you’re naturally gonna work very hard to get that passive income everyone dreams about.

      Thanks for commenting Arief! It mean a lot!

  2. Such an informative article Makki.

    It seems that if done right, affiliate marketing is a great way for anyone to make a few extra dollars, or a full time income. My eldest daughter is studying full time at the moment, but do you think something like this would suit her as well as me?

    Thank you. Great post

    1. Thanks for your compliment Andrew.

      You’re. Affiliate merketing is a great source of passive income. The catch is that to get to that point, you (or your daughter) must put in a lot of time. But if your daughter is studying full time, she might not be able to. Well, she could, depending on how she handles multiple things going on.

      I’ve seen your site, and it would suit you very well. You have a great niche.

      Thanks again for your support!

  3. Some real good, down to earth tips on Affiliate Marketing Makki and pleased that you didn’t give readers illusions that their work to earn an internet income would be easy.

    The path to success with an internet business is certainly not an easy one with lots of blood, sweat and tears involved in promoting it but hard work and perseverance will usually pay off and produce the dividends.


    1. Thanks Jim. Your opinion is highly valued.

      A lot of scams are focused on appealing to the desperate, ‘get-rich-quick’ folk. Unfortunately it works, but as a victim I need to spread awareness.

      Thanks so much for your input!

  4. Wow, this is a really good run down on what affiliate marketing is. I like how it’s honest, and how it doesn’t blow up your expectations just to have you let down in the future.
    Affiliate marketing is something that takes work to be successful with, and isn’t something you can hope to get successful with in a week.
    Good overview of what affiliate marketing even is, and I hope to see more high-quality content like this in the future.

    1. I appreciate the feedback! After I got burned so many times with the scams and all that, I wanted to make sure no one else gets sucked into the false promises. Success only comes with hard work and patience.

      I’m glad you were so impressed. I’ll try to maintain this standard in the future. Thanks again Carson!

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