So how do affiliate programs work? Well, to understand well how affiliate programs work, we will have to understand first what affiliate programs are.

What are affiliate programs?

These are programs or agreements where an online retailer website hires and pays a commission to an external or affiliate online website for the purpose of directing traffic to their website which results into the purchase of products or access of services. The payment in this agreement is entirely dependent on the number of clients the affiliate website is directing to the retailer’s website and the purchases they make. The affiliate marketer uses the link of the merchant’s website as bait and convinces people to follow the link so that they can access the products or services on the merchant’s website, as a result, it creates traffic to the website.

The agreement that is reached between the merchant site and the affiliate site can vary depending on the guidelines laid down by the merchant site. There are those who will pay a commission just according to the number of clients visiting the website. There are others who will pay out for directed clients who visited the site and made a purchase, which means you can’t be paid if the clients did not make a purchase. Finally, there are those agreements where an affiliate website will only be paid if the customers visited the merchant website through an advertisement posted online. These are very important agreements to consider when you want to get into affiliate programs.

Currently, this sector has been on a rising trend due to the fact that very many people have decided to sell their products and services online. Statistically, one can be able to reach very many people online than they can reach them in person, many people nowadays have a great time to interact online than walking round. This makes online marketing a final destination for any business that wants to excel. As a result of this drift of population to online platforms, this is the reason why it is a wise decision to hire marketers online who will deliver the clients directly to your business.

As you have seen, there are four parties involved in this process of affiliate programs, these are; the merchants, the affiliate marketer, the customer and the network.

How do affiliate programs work with these parties?


These are retailers that are the owners of the product that is on the market. It might be a product or even services. The merchant is a party that wants their goods or services to be marketed. This party is not a must that they should be a company; it can just be one individual who has come up with a product which is selling.


This is a party that is responsible for marketing the products or services which are offered by the merchant. The affiliate is mostly paid by the commission depending on the agreement that has been reached between them and the merchant.


This is the most important party which keeps this whole process in action. These are the people who are the users of the products that have been created by the merchants. The consumer is the target client that the affiliate markets the products to them, this makes them the most important party in the process because without them there will be no affiliate and probably no merchants because there will be no users of the products.


This is also a very important party in affiliate programs. For there to be swift working between a merchant and an affiliate it is better that there be a medium between them that deals with the issues of payment and other issues. The merchant deals with the network and then the network deals with the affiliate. In simple terms, the network helps the merchants to get the affiliate marketers for their products.

How do affiliate programs work?

So how do affiliate programs work?. It can be difficult sometimes to understand how this kind of marketing works, you might be yearning to try it out but you are afraid because you don’t know what you are getting into. Well, am here to give you a brief overview of how basically the whole system works. In this process you will;

  1. Find an affiliate program

The very first thing you will have to do to get into this is to find a good program that can help you take part in the marketing process. There are very many programs that you can join that can give you a chance to become an affiliate marketer. You can always choose the one you believe is better for you.

  1. Choose the products tom to promote

This is the second step that will determine your success in this field. One thing you should do before choosing the product you want to market is to do a market survey. Finding a product that is on-demand will help you have an easy time to convince people to make purchases. If the product you choose is not on-demand, you will have a very hard time convincing people to purchase the product.

  1. Obtain a link for the product.

In affiliate marketing, you will need to convince clients to follow the link so that they can access the product you are promoting from the merchant’s website, for this reason you have to obtain the link that directs the traffic to the site where the product is found.

  1. Share the link on your websites and other platforms.

The next thing you will need to do is to make sure you share the link to your website and all other social media platforms you have. This will make sure that you access as many clients as possible. The clients will use the link to access the product you are marketing. At this stage you must be very creative in marketing the product, talk about the product and make people believe that they cannot survive without the product. This will help you drive a lot of traffic to the merchant’s website; this will lead to more purchases hence more pay.

  1. Get your payment

Depending on the agreement you have with the merchant or the network that is managing your transactions. Most common agreements will let you get paid in commission according to the sales you have made. If the clients use the link to go to the site and make purchases, you will earn the commission from that.

How does one get paid in affiliate programs?

How do affiliate programs work when it comes to payment? Well, payment is the most important motivation for any worker and so if you are intending to dive deep into affiliate programs, you will need to have a clue on how you can be paid. The payment that you get as an affiliate website entirely depends on the agreement that you enter in with the merchant website. There are different agreements that you need to understand because either one of them will be adopted by the merchant when you start working together, but how do affiliate programs work with different agreements?

  • cost-per-lead

The name given to this agreement explains to you all that happens. What happens here is that the company or an individual who is running the merchant website pays the affiliate website that is working for them according to the number of clients that have been directed to the website and have signed up on the website which makes them leads. The clients normally are asked to agree to the terms that their information can be used by the website; this is the reason why the company can use the information to sell it as a lead to another company. The basics of this agreement are that once the directed client has visited and signed in, you will get paid. This means that if the clients you direct to the merchant’s website fail to sign in as a lead you cannot be paid. In whatever you do as an affiliate website, you should make sure that the traffic you are driving towards the website signs in.

  • Cost-per-click

This is another agreement you will find on the table. This is considered the best deal in affiliate programs. In this agreement, as the name suggests, you will be paid just for the clicks made by the clients you have directed to the website. The best thing with this agreement is that once the client clicks on the merchant’s website link you have given, you will get paid without considering if the clients will purchase anything or not. The best thing you will have to do here is just to make sure that you are driving traffic to the website, you don’t need to persuade them to sign up with the website. Here you can get really creative, even if the information on the website might not be too urgent for people but you have to make it look too urgent.

  • Cost-per-sale

This is another agreement that will really need your creativity to make any earning as an affiliate website. In this agreement, an affiliate website only gets paid when the directed client gets in the merchant’s website and makes a purchase. This means that even if you drive a lot of traffic to the website but no one makes a purchase you cannot get paid. The most important thing here is a purchase and so if you have to direct clients to the website, make sure that they are getting there to make a purchase before they leave the website, only that way, you will be able to monetize your efforts. This can be paid in terms of a fixed amount every month or the most common where you get paid in percentage form as per the sales.

These are the most common three agreements that are reached between an affiliate website and a merchant website. However, there are some specific companies that go astray to describe the exact agreement they would want to pay the affiliate with other agreements that will suit them. For instance a residual agreement, this is an agreement in which an affiliate marketer gets paid every time the client they referred keep coming, the more frequent the client comes, the more you get paid, however, very few companies have such agreements. There is also another agreement called pay-per-view, here an affiliate marketer gets paid when the clients just see the advertisement of a company, all you do as an affiliate marketer is to drive the traffic towards the advertisement and once they open and view it, you get paid, however this is only specific to a few companies.

Channels you can use for affiliate programs

How do affiliate programs work using channels?

There are many channels you can use as an affiliate marketer to maximize your potential of getting more clients to visit the website that contains:

  1. Blogs

Blogs are the most common channels that are used widely by affiliate marketers. Blogs can easily be ranked at the top of the search engine if it is well designed. This gives you a chance to meet a lot of clients.

  1. Email lists

Marketing using emails is still one of the best ways to reach a client in person. Emails are sent to specific people with a link embedded in them that will link the client to the product you are marketing, remember to never buy email lists or to ever spam, always build your email the right way and treat your subscribers with great respect and add value in every email.

  1. Websites

This is one of the most common methods used by affiliate marketers to market the products. As people access the website to do other things, they will meet your advertisement and a link below which when they click, it will lead them to the website which contains the product.

  1. Social media platforms

Social media platforms are the most flooded media platforms; this is a great chance to get clients. With a very nice and catchy advertisement that can grab the attention of users on social media, you can drive a lot of traffic to the merchant’s website which will then result in purchases.

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To YOUR Success!

Matthew Trujillo

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