What is Affiliate Marketing for Dummies

What is Affiliate Marketing for Dummies

When it comes to how to make money online, Affiliate Marketing is one of the most popular models you would find on the internet. But if you are a complete beginner, it can be hard to grasp the meaning of it. So this is for you: a brief introduction to what is affiliate marketing for dummies.

What Will Be Covered?

As mentioned, this is a brief introduction to Affiliate Marketing. It will show you the framework, ways to generate traffic and the platforms where you can offer value to your audience and build trust.

It is very brief and there are so much more I want to share with you. If this is something you would like to pursue, you need to continue learning about affiliate marketing. Also come back to my site because I will drop more tutorials in the future for you.

The Framework of Affiliate Marketing

I want to show you how it’s done in a nutshell. It is no longer just putting up ads on google or Facebook. People on the internet are always suspicious and they should be. So here’s how to do it right today:

  • Traffic: The purpose here is to attract people to your platform. More importantly, you want to attract the right people, those who are relevant to what you can offer.
  • Value: This is where you offer some value for free to your audience. Slowly put them at ease and start building trust with them. This is the most important pillar of the three because this is where you can differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd.
  • Action: This could be any action you want them to perform, a purchase of your product, subscribe to your emails or your YouTube channel. Try to understand how much trust you have built with your audience. If someone is not ready to make a purchase, offer a subscription to your emails instead. Do not push for a sale.

These are the three pillars of the modern day affiliate marketing system. I want you to remember how simple it is so that you won’t get lost later when you dive in and start learning all the details of each pillar.


The process starts with traffic. This is the beginning stage of the affiliate marketing framework. The purpose of this first step is to attract the right people to your platform, where you can continue engage with them, offer value and build trust. There are free traffic and paid traffic. Each has its own complexity. I’ll briefly go throw them with you today.

  • Free traffic: There are several ways to attract people organically. First is what we call SEO, Search Engine Optimization. You want your website, blog and/or YouTube video to show up high on the result page when someone search the relevant keyword on Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, etc. Second method is through social media. Share your content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. These are the two big ones and there are tons of other methods for getting free traffic. This is where you want to continue educate yourself beyond this guide.
  • Paid traffic: There are many places where you can put up your paid ads. You can do it on Google, Facebook, YouTube etc. I can’t show you all the details here in this brief introduction. It’s a very complicated process. One thing I will share with you is that when you pay for traffic, start small, test to see what works and then scale. Worst thing you can do is throwing some big cash and pray it would work. Chances are it would not.


Remember in the framework section I said that offering value is the most important aspect to any affiliate marketing system? I’m going to show you 4 different ways where you can create value and share them with your audience.

Remember, the key here is to build trust and to achieve that, you need to provide something that’s relevant and needed. It also helps to keep it real and authentic.


Let’s start by looking at the traditional way of content creation – write a blog. This might be old school, but it is still very much relevant. A well written article establishes a sense of authority, which is the best way of building trust. Frequently update your blog means returned audience and that’s also very important for your Search Engine Optimization.  

What you can write about:

  • How to guide
  • Product review
  • Industrial analysis report
  • New trends and technologies
  • Success story of past/existing customer
  • Frequently asked questions in your industry
  • Behind the scene – your work setup, offices, tools, etc.
  • What not to do, biggest mistakes

The first step is always hard. Many who are interested in affiliate marketing do not even start because they think they don’t have the expertise to build a website. Yes, it used to be hard. You need to know coding, FTP, remote control your website where it’s being hosted, etc.

Technology has come a long way on website building. While under the hood it’s mostly the same foundation, there are now many platforms that allow you to build your website much easier. With the help of these platforms, you can now build and design your website in minutes. In most cases, you don’t need to worry about hosting or FTP.

Social Media

You know about social media, you’ve been on some, haven’t you? What you may or may not realize is that social media can be a powerful platform for you to share your content and offer value. There are many benefits you can get from marketing on social media. I’ll list several important ones here:

  • You can target your audience on social media
  • You can interact with your audience
  • You can bring traffic from social media to your website
  • An active social media presence will improve your ranking on search engine
  • People are less skeptical on social media
  • It’s a lot more personal on social media, which helps building trust

And here are the major platforms you should be marketing on:

  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Linkedin

One last thing before we move on, social media can be very additive and if you are not careful, it will consume a large amount of your time. Stay focused and have a goal every time you log in.


Videos are in many ways better to pass a message and to build trust. And yes, I’m talking about YouTube. YouTube is huge, it has been for a while but now people start to realize how effective it is as a marketing platform. I’m sure you’ve seen ads on YouTube from all kinds of business. Even my local supermarket is running ads on YouTube. Here are 4 reasons why you should be on YouTube as well:

  • It’s huge! YouTube has more active users than Facebook and people spend a lot more time on YouTube.
  • Helps with search engine ranking. Google owns YouTube and you will be ranked higher if you have a presence on YouTube
  • A YouTube video is cross-platform. Once you have a video uploaded on YouTube, you can embed it into your blog, social media posts, website pages, emails, etc.
  • People love to share videos. It makes a lot more sense to suggest a video to your friends than an article for them to read. Videos can also be consumed together, with family or friends; while reading is pretty much a loner’s job.

There are many ways to approach YouTube. You don’t have to be good in front of a camera. It’s not required to show your face. Although from a trust building perspective, it does help if your audience can see you as a person in the video.

You also don’t need a super expensive camera. If you have a somewhat new mobile phone, the camera on that is often good enough to make videos for YouTube.

Also remember, try to have fun making your videos. If you see it as a job task, your videos will most likely be boring.

If you want to really succeed in affiliate marketing, YouTube is a place that you can’t afford to neglect.

Email List

If you have been digging around about affiliate marketing, there is one phrase you must have heard somewhere: Money is in the list! It has been true for a decade and it is still valid today.

If you’ve never heard of this, let me explain. ‘List’ means an email list. This is a list of email addresses you collect from your platforms. With such a list, you are able to contact these potential customers over and over again.

An example: If you sign up on my email list on the right side or at the bottom of this page, you will get a 7 days free course about affiliate marketing:

  1. I collected your email address on my website
  2. Now I have a list of emails that I can contact and send you contents that are relevant to your interest

There are 4 major benefit of Email marketing:

  • Low cost of contact: once you have a list, you can contact everyone on that list almost for free. There is a fee for your autoresponder but it’s significantly cheaper compare to other paid traffic method.
  • Targeted and active audience: to be on my list, you had to click some buttons, type in your Email address and then verify it. This tells me that you are really interested in what I can offer and gives me guidance as what kind of content I should create for you.
  • Easy to start: now a days, almost all the autoresponders have very user friendly drag and drop style ways to design your emails and strategies. You don’t need any coding or computer skills to start email marketing.
  • Automation: the sending and scheduling of your email marketing campaign are automated. You set your strategy once and the computers will take care of it automatically.

The Money Part

So you have traffic coming to your valuable content. How exactly do you monetize that? This is actually the easy part. Once you have traffic, some of these visitors will make a purchase to the product/service you recommend. By clicking the link in your content, the merchandiser will know that this sale comes from you. And a commission will be rewarded to you.

Don’t Stop Here

Affiliate marketing is the best way to make a living online. I encourage you to continue learning about it. Take action now and read my complete guide on How to Make REAL Money Online.

4 thoughts on “What is Affiliate Marketing for Dummies”

  1. No only did i just got a value from your post, I am actually motivated to create my second blog. Really I only had a niche blog now I just found where my new visitors are and what they are looking for..

    thank you for this wonderful post, it really is very easy to comprehend, no much technicalities in the post. Cheers looking forward for more.

  2. Hello Wei, great site, very informative and well documented. I don’t see anything more to add to what you are saying, it is quite complete and I am sure you will have many followers. You are touching every aspect of affiliate marketing and your links are well spread in your site.

    1. Hi Claude,

      Welcome! Thanks for your comment and feedback on the site. Could always use that!

      Do come back for more tutorials and guides.

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