How to learn Affiliate Marketing in 5 minutes – The Smart Guide

affiliate marketing

This will be the fastest affiliate marketing lesson that you have ever have had. The biggest issue within the affiliate marketing world is that there is so much misinformation about the industry. Many companies pretend that they are affiliate marketing businesses when in actual fact, they actually are not. Whilst other companies try to over-complicate things in a bid to sell you their over complicated affiliate marketing product or service.

Here and now, I will set the record straight and fully simplify things for you. I will help you to understand the affiliate marketing space in the most concise and uncomplicated way possible. In fact, if you stick with me for just a few minutes, you not will not only understand affiliate marketing but you will be well versed and ready to use my knowledge as a “starting point” to your affiliate marketing career.

Ready? Ok, let’s get started!

The Affiliate Marketing Process, in a Nutshell

Affiliate marketing has three entities.

You have an affiliate (you), you have an affiliate program (the company/product owner) and you have a customer (the person buying).

As the affiliate, you are able to join an affiliate programme. This gives you the ability to promote a product/service or a variety of products and services. As a member of an affiliate programme, you will be given a special and unique “affiliate link” when you join their program. This gives you the ability to promote the services/products of this programme and for your sales to be tracked on your website/s.

If or should I say when, as an affiliate, you send someone to the product website that you are promoting and they make a purchase, you will then earn a flat rate sale or percentage commission. These commissions typically range from 1% – 75%. This is obviously dependent on the company or product/service.

The chart below shows the process in detail.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work

Let’s look at an example of this cycle. I could become an affiliate for Amazon (known as an Amazon Associates). Just think of all the products you can buy on Amazon as a customer. As an affiliate I or you have the opportunity to promote over 500 million products! It is astounding to consider the possibilities and the opportunity available here and that is with just one affiliate programme.

If I drive somebody from my website or social media account to Amazon through my affiliate link and they purchase something, for example, a vacuum cleaner, I earn 6% commission for that. If the toaster is $100, I get paid $6.

I hear you, that doesn’t sound like much at all. However, people are buying 100,000’s of vacuum cleaners every day, and people are buying 100’s of millions of products from Amazon every month. Consider what people are buying from Amazon every month! What if you sold 30 vacuum cleaners per day? You would be earning $180/day.

amazon affiliate shark vacuum

Imagine that you go on to sell a more expensive item on Amazon that costs $1,000 and get paid $60 in commissions with every sale? If you were to sell 30 of those, you would then be earning $1,800 in commissions every day. That there is the reality of affiliate marketing and this is just one very tiny example of what you could be doing if you are willing to work hard.

Now that you are much more aware of the affiliate marketing process at work, it’s time to talk about YOU – the affiliate.

Who Can Become an Affiliate. At What Cost-or is there a Cost?

In general, most affiliate programmes are free to join. However, there could be a small charge in some cases just to make sure that you are actually a real person – this is extremely rare though. In my opinion, they should all be free as you will be the one promoting their services so if they are not entirely free them please proceed with extreme caution! They might not actually be an affiliate scheme or it could be someone out to scam you.

So basically the most amazing part about affiliate programs is that they are absolutely free to join and as an affiliate, you can promote pretty much every brand/product/service you can imagine and earn a commission for doing so. There are over MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS of products and services that you can promote as an affiliate. Take your pick and find a niche that you truly love.

How does an Affiliate Program Work?

An affiliate program is essentially a piece of tracking software that allows affiliates (you) to promote merchants (the company) and earn a commission. The affiliate program is a robust system which tracks all clicks and all sales transactions. It will then calculate all commissions due to you the affiliate. The affiliate programme will also allow you to manage all of your personal details and payment details.

Affiliate programme statistics are automated and accurate. Affiliate tracking technology has advanced massively and consequently tracks in order to get more sophisticated and granular with your affiliate tracking campaigns. Affiliates are now very much in control of their own marketing campaigns and are able to track conversions and the source of conversions with reasonable ease.

affiliate charts and campaigns

Affiliate programs will offer promotional banners, widgets, or even plugins that you can utilise on your website or social platforms. The more comprehensive the affiliate program is, the better supported affiliates will be to promote that given product/service. It is therefore extremely beneficial to a company to offer a high quality experience for their affiliates as they will receive good quality revenue in return.

What is an Affiliate Network – Should I join one?

An affiliate network is when a group of affiliate programs come together under one company name. An example of this is an affiliate network like (the largest in the world). If you choose to join then you can promote 6,000 different companies and their respective products from one company umbrella.

There are many reasons to join an Affiliate Network but the main one would be convenience. There are 100’s of affiliate networks with 100,000’s of companies and brands within their networks. Choosing to join an affiliate network will most definitely save you a lot of hassle and time as an affiliate. Instead of managing many logins and passwords you will only have to manage a few. This can save you a lot of unnecessary stress.

It is entirely your choice – you can join 1,000’s of programs independently or you can join one affiliate network like Awin and promote 1,000’s of products under umbrella company and get paid through a single affiliate system for all of them.

Below are a list of the most popular affiliate networks:

    • Amazon Associates
    • Ebay Partners
    • CJ by Conversant
    • Rakuten

The affiliate opportunity and how to get paid

There are different ways in which affiliate programmes and networks can pay affiliates and they also have different time frames for payments. Usually they will offer multiple methods of payment.

It is very common for payment to be centralised in US Dollars. This is fast becoming a standard worldwide payment method for affiliates. However, certain companies will pay you in your own currency and it may also be possible to do the conversion for you from USD to your country currency (like PayPal).

These may include:

      • The Affiliate Opportunity & How to Get Paid
      • Cheque Payment
      • PayPal
      • Bank Wire
      • Payoneer
      • Cryptocurrency


In general, affiliate programmes make receiving payment hassle free. If it was difficult to obtain payment then no affiliate would want to promote the given program.

Where Do You Go to Run an Affiliate Business?

So you’ve decided that you want to get started within the affiliate marketing industry but you’re still a little unsure about what to do. It can be difficult these day with so many information or misinformation all over the web claiming to be the newest or the best platform in the affiliate marketing industry. However, so many of these claims are false or they aren’t even “affiliate marketing”.

So where do you start your research? What do you trust?

Well, hopefully you have understood what I have said so far and have liked what I have had to say! I am going to save you a considerable amount of time and effort on research. There is an elite platform in the affiliate marketing space, which I am involved with (and that I can coach you within) called Wealthy Affiliate. It is where the “who’s who” of the affiliate space not only hang out, but where they manage their respective businesses.

This is the one platform that you must have if you plan on learning affiliate marketing, but also if you want environment where you can get all the tools, websites, hosting, training, coaching and interact support to create and grow a business within the affiliate marketing world.

There are two membership options, a completely free Starter membership (free to try) and a cost-efficient, more advanced Premium option (as low as $29 per month). I recommend that you get rolling on the Starter membership, as I recommend that you always “try” a service before you consider every purchasing anything.

Within the first few lessons you are going to have your own affiliate coach, chosen a direction for your business, your own affiliate website (with hosting), and access to training that will truly take you from a beginner to an affiliate marketing expert.

I would also invite you to think about your financial goals and what you personally would like to achieve from Affiliate marketing.

If you have any questions about ANY aspect affiliate marketing, I am more than happy to share my knowledge and help with you. Feel free to leave any questions below and I will be sure to get back to you right away.



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13 thoughts on “How to learn Affiliate Marketing in 5 minutes – The Smart Guide”

  1. Thanks for this article How to learn Affiliate Marketing in 5 minutes – The Smart Guide. An excellent overview of what affiliate marketing is, what the process is, and how the system works.
    I joined the Wealthy Affiliate a few months ago as a complete beginner, with no prior knowledge or experience, and I am very pleased with all the support and community of this platform. I learned a lot and took the first steps. I highly recommend it!
    Friendly greeting,

    • Thanks for your post Nina. I’m glad you liked the post and I’m glad you joined up to Wealthy Affiliate. It really is a fantastic platform and community to be a part of.

      • Yes, as you said and wrote yourself, you have all the tools and hosting at your disposal in the WA for website, training, coaching, and interact support to create and grow a business. For a beginner, such a starting point is very valuable.
        Friendly greeting,

  2. This was one of the easiest explanations of Affiliate Marketing that I’ve ever read.  The internet has a proliferation of sites claiming to be Affiliate Marketing platforms and without proper knowledge you can get confused to the point where you never make a decision on how to go forward.

    I particularly liked your suggestions about popular affiliate networks as this is also a source of confusion for newbies when deciding which programs they should try to join.  Again, you really covered the key components that anyone who is interested in this area needs to know.

    One last thing, I do have experience with Wealthy Affiliate and I must agree I have found it to be an excellent choice for pursuing Affiliate Marketing.  The training and support provided is truly second to none.

    • Thank you for your response. I’m glad it was useful and I’m glad that you have had a great experience with the Wealthy Affiliate Platform.

  3. That cycle is exactly it. When I joined affiliate marketing just a couple weeks ago I had no clue what I was doing. It was way more simple than I thought it would be. WA is amazing and has a ton of precise training that is so easy to understand. The community is amazing and I am loving my decision. 

    Thank you for sharing this fantastic article.

    • You are more than welcome and I am so glad that you are enjoying the affiliate marketing journey, especially within the Wealthy Affiliate community as it offers fantastic support. I wish you continued success and please feel free to get in touch if you ever have any questions or issues that I can help you with.

  4. Haha thanks for the article my guy! This comes at a super convenient time for me, as I’m still learning the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. I myself have had my own site for about two and a half months, but I feel like there’s always room to improve and learn more about my field of work. 

    • I’m glad this was useful to you. You are absolutely correct. There is always something new to learn with affiliate marketing and the industry is always changing which is exciting. This also brings plenty of new opportunities for us.

  5. I enjoyed reading about the 5 minutes review of affiliate marketing as I am enjoying building my website and joining these affiliate programs. It’s always better to be clear in your mind about the cycle and where you fit in this picture.

    I’m already with Awin and ClickBank and I will look into the other platforms that you suggested. Thanks for a great review.

  6. A great explanation for the basics of Affiliate Marketing. I’m just a beginner who is eager to learn affiliate marketing after seeing my friend be successful in his affiliate business, even during this pandemic period. I think I understand how to do it from your explanation. However, I’m intrigued about how many working hours do you need to invest in learning and doing it. Any benchmark for how long typically I will start to earn some money? Thanks


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