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What is affiliate marketing? (Definition and examples)

Learn what affiliate marketing is, how affiliate marketing works, and an example of a real creator’s affiliate marketing program.

Learn what affiliate marketing is, how affiliate marketing works, and an example of a real creator's affiliate marketing program.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a marketing model in which companies (or creators) pay affiliates (also called partners or publishers) to promote the company's products. Companies use affiliate marketing to get their products or services in front of a larger audience..

Affiliates receive payouts on every sale they make on behalf of the company. Affiliate commissions can be a flat rate or a percentage of every sale. 

Affiliates can be bloggers, influencers, and content creators, but they can also be anyone who likes your products and has an audience to promote them to. Common affiliate marketing channels include:

  • Social media posts

  • Podcasts and YouTube channels

  • SEO content

  • Email marketing

  • Direct referrals

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate sales are usually tracked through cookies or dedicated links. When someone makes a purchase through that link, the affiliate earns a commission on the sale.

  1. The affiliate promotes the product and shares their affiliate link

  2. A customer clicks on the affiliate link and buys the product from the landing page

  3. The company pays the affiliate

Affiliate marketing programs are performance-based, so companies only pay affiliates when a customer makes a purchase using their link.

This makes affiliate marketing an ideal low-cost marketing strategy for busy creators on a budget — you can outsource some of your marketing efforts, and it only costs money when you make a sale.

How to find affiliates

Partnering with the right affiliates is the key to successful affiliate marketing. Here are a few tips for finding affiliates:

  1. Start with your existing customers. For example, if your affiliate product is an online course, reach out to former course students. Their recommendations are more credible because they've seen the benefits of your course firsthand.

  2. Let your email list know that you're starting an affiliate program and invite them to join.

  3. Find affiliates who are creating quality content in a related niche — without being your direct competitors.

  4. Look for affiliate partners whose target audience overlaps with yours.

Affiliate program example

Confident Blogger Academy

Margaret Bourne runs The Confident Blogger Academy and Resource Collection , an educational hub for bloggers who want to learn how to grow and monetize their blogs. She sells digital products and runs her affiliate program on Podia. 

People can sign up for The Confident Blogger Affiliate Program to promote Margaret's courses, ebooks, and templates in exchange for a 30% commission rate on each sale. This helps Margaret get her digital products in front of more bloggers.

Learn more about affiliate marketing

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