How Does Affiliate Marketing Work as an Online Business?

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work As An Online Business

Affiliate marketing is an effective tactic that marketers use to generate online revenue, but how does affiliate marketing work as an online business?

Affiliate marketing can help you earn extra income from the comfort of your home. If done correctly, you can carry your affiliate marketing business forward as a full-time source of income.

That being said, if you are planning on stepping into the world of affiliate marketing, you need to know everything associated with it. Properly understanding the concept of affiliate marketing will help your online business succeed.

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a marketing technique through which an affiliate earns money by marketing the products of another company. The affiliate looks for products that they like or products that fall into their niche and then run a campaign for those products (and the seller) on their website. In return, they earn a portion of the profit from each sale that the other company makes through the affiliate’s website promotion.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work as an Online Business

Understanding how affiliate marketing works is necessary if you want to pursue affiliate marketing as an online business. Affiliate partnerships are multifaceted. It is a complete structure that is built around a brand, the affiliate, and the consumer. The relationship is based on transparency and is not a one-off transaction.

The parties involved in an affiliate marketing network that make affiliate marketing an online business include:

  • Product Creators/ Sellers
  • Affiliates
  • Consumers


A seller can be a large organization, a solo entrepreneur, or a product creator who has a product that they wish to sell. The product can be physical like clothes or utensils or digital like makeup tutorials. The product can even be a service, like plumbing repair and maintenance.


Affiliates are also known as publishers. An affiliate can be an individual or a company that markets the products that a seller wishes to sell. The affiliate promotes the product on their own platform in a way that appeals to potential customers and convinces them to purchase the product that they’re advertising. Once the visitors on the affiliate’s website click on the product link, they are directed to the seller’s store. If they complete their purchase, the affiliate receives a part of the profit as commission.

Affiliates usually target a specific niche to market to, which means the audience on an affiliate’s website will be very specific. Marketing niche-specific products will automatically capture the audience’s interest. There is a high chance that they will act on the promotion.

One query you may have here is, how do brands know whether a certain sale has been made directly through their website or through an affiliate link?

When a consumer clicks on the brand’s link on the affiliate website, a cookie is stored on the browser of the consumer. This enables the SaaS platform or affiliate network to track the order through the brand’s shopping cart.


Consumers drive the affiliate marketing business. When they purchase an item through the affiliate website, both the seller and the affiliate enjoy the benefits. Sometimes, the consumers are informed beforehand that if they click on the affiliate link and purchase a product through that link, the affiliate will earn a share of the profit. However, sometimes, the consumer is oblivious to this fact. The consumer doesn’t pay more if they buy through an affiliate link. Once a consumer completes the purchase process, the affiliate gets a share of the revenue generated.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Make Money?

Now that you know exactly how affiliate marketing works as an online business, you may be wondering how affiliate marketers get paid and how affiliate marketing makes money as an online business.

There are various ways in which the affiliate marketer gets paid, which have been listed down below:

1. Pay per Sale

Pay per sale is the standard structure through which an affiliate gets paid. As the name suggests, the affiliate is paid per sale that they make through their website or social media. If the consumer purchases a product or a service from the brand’s website as a result of the affiliate marketer’s marketing strategy, the affiliate is paid a pre-decided percentage of the sale price.

The affiliate link is key here. If the customer views the content on the affiliate’s website and goes directly to the brand’s website themselves instead of clicking the link, the affiliate does not get anything out of that purchase.

2. Pay per Lead

In this structure, the affiliate is paid a certain amount based on the conversion of leads. The affiliate has to persuade their website visitors to visit the brand or merchant’s website and complete an action. The action could be anything – signing up for a free trial, subscribing to the brand’s newsletter, filling out a contact form, or downloading a software program. Once the consumer completes the action, the affiliate gets paid the agreed amount.

3. Pay per Click

In this payment structure, the affiliate gets paid based on the amount of traffic they generate for the merchant. This is basically like pay per sale and pay per lead, except that the visitor doesn’t have to perform any action on the merchant’s website. The affiliate only needs to convince their website visitors to visit the seller’s website by click on the affiliate link.

The tricky part here is that there’s nothing to sell. S,o it’s harder to convince people to actually visit the merchant’s website.

To successfully earn money through the pay per click structure, the affiliate’s content needs to be engaging enough to convince the reader or viewer to hop on over to the merchant’s website. The greater the traffic on the merchant’s website, the more the affiliate will be paid.

Making Affiliate Marketing a Successful Online Business

Making your affiliate marketing business successful requires you to put in a lot of time and effort into the content that you produce. The following tips will help you make your affiliate marketing a successful online business.

· Decide on a Niche

Focusing your efforts on one area will help you target your audience more efficiently. Choosing a niche that you’re passionate about and one that you have an expansive knowledge of will help you create engaging and persuading content and increase your conversion rates significantly.

Promoting the right products to the right people will increase the likelihood of your audience completing an action or making a purchase by several folds.

· Make It Personal

If there are some products that you personally like to use, you will be able to promote them wholeheartedly and in all honestly.

If you believe in the products that you are promoting, your promotion campaign will have an entirely different feel to it. This will be strong enough to persuade consumers to purchase said product from the merchant or brand that you’re promoting.

· Review Products

Reviewing products specific to your niche is a great way of telling your audience why they should consider buying the product or service you’re recommending. Once you have established a rapport with your audience, they will look up to your expert opinion. Now, the chances that they will go with your recommendations are fairly high.

The simple and straightforward answer to the question, how does affiliate marketing work as an online business, is that it works by helping different companies bloom by increasing their sales and referring more customers to their websites.

Good content on an affiliate marketing website will improve the chances that a customer will purchase the brand’s product via the affiliate link. When it all comes together, the affiliate marketer is able to generate a lot of money.