affiliate marketing: How to make money online through affiliate marketing


One of the most popular ways of making money online is through affiliate marketing. As per influencermarketinghub.com affiliate marketing is estimated to be worth $12 billion in 2022, while US alone will account for 8.2 billion of this as per Statista. In the boundaryless digital world you can work not only for Indian affiliate marketing programmes but also of US or any other part of the world. So, if you have been planning to try affiliate marketing then here are the things you must know about making money online through affiliate marketing.

What is an online affiliate marketing programme?

Online affiliate marketing can be loosely defined as an online referral mechanism in which a business selling certain products or services pays you for referring customers when you use your website to highlight or promote their products and services with hyperlinks redirecting customers to the seller’s website and leading to a successful sale. The websites promoting products or services of others are called affiliate partners of the respective sellers. As an affiliate partner, if your website starts getting successful referrals regularly, it can become a steady and significant source of online income for you.

How does affiliate marketing work?

When you want to buy a juicer mixer, a smart phone or avail a spa service at home, how do you find the best product or service that not only meets your requirements but also offers the best value for money? A popular method used by many is to do an online search which leads one to search results with many websites offering relevant information with their unique insights and recommendations. With their shortlisted and recommended products or services, these websites also offer links under affiliate marketing programme to buy these directly from the seller. Most people trust some or the other website that offers the most satisfactory information and often end up clicking on these referral links and buying their recommended products and services. The affiliate partners get renumeration from the seller for each successful referral.

What kind of earning to expect

Typically, most of the affiliate networks pay in the range of 5% – 15% of the successful conversion of lead into sales from a given link. However, a good number of sellers offer lower commission specially in highly competitive product segments. Most of the sales may lead to onetime payment, however, some referrals may earn recurring payment based on the kind of product or services being sold. The recurring payment happens mostly in regular subscription-based products and services.

When the commission amount on each sale is not significant, the seller keeps a minimum threshold like Rs 5,000 or $100 for making any payment. The affiliate partner keeps on referring customers and his commission keeps accumulating till it reaches the minimum threshold amount. The payment is made only after the total earning reaches a minimum threshold decided by the brand.

For instance, if you are working on a fashion or beauty product which costs Rs 500 and the seller pays 10% commission, then you would need at least 100 successful sales to reach Rs 5000 commission and receive payment. However, if you are working on a costly product like an electronic gadget worth Rs 20,000 and get a 5% commission, then only 5 sales would be sufficient for you to reach the threshold payment of Rs 5,000.

There is no restriction on the number of affiliate programmes you can work with and there are many affiliate partners working with multiple sellers and having monthly income in lakhs. However, there are good number of starters who do not even reach the threshold minimum payment.

How much you can earn through online affiliate marketing

Most of the prominent ecommerce players are known to run big affiliate marketing programmes. For instance, Amazon under Amazon Associates programme pays a commission typically in the range of 0.2% – 10%. eBay Affiliate pays a 12% commission on every sale while Flipkart Affiliate pays up to 15%. Web hosting and development players offer the most attractive payments. For instance, Reseller Club pays Rs 5,000 for every conversion while Godaddy Affiliate pays up to 100% commission on a successful sale.

USA being the leader of online affiliate programmes offers very attractive earnings for online affiliate partners. As per Payscale.com the average income which an average affiliate marketer is making is $52,590 as per the date updated on March 2, 2022. US web hosting company Hostinger has one of the highest remunerative affiliate programme where it pays up to 60% commission. Whereas SEMrush, an all-in-one marketing platform, pays $200 for every successful subscription. So, any person working on international brands in USA can target higher earnings though it will also mean higher competition.

Popular vs Niche products

Popular products often also have the highest competition. For instance, mobile and TV are the categories which are mostly widely searched for and therefore the number of affiliate websites competing for this segment is also very high. Therefore, any individual player starting with limited resource will have to work harder and wait longer for any meaningful earning in these categories.

Web hosting is one of the most lucrative affiliate marketing programs. The fashion and wellness industries are the top niches which has very attractive remuneration for the affiliates.

Some niche categories for affiliate marketing

  • Finance – Borrowing, Investing, Debt Settlement, Credit card, Mortgage, Bitcoin, NFT
  • Health and Wellness – Fitness, Yoga, Meditation, Weight Therapy, Fitness, Organic, Nutrition, Vegan, Hair Transplant, Cosmetic Surgery
  • Lifestyle – Luxury, Fashion, Jewelry, Online dating, Matchmaking
  • Tour and Travel – Travel, Hotel, Destinations, Dining, Cruises, Airlines, Trains
  • Hobby and Passion– Photography, Trekking, Sports, Event Tickets, Online Rummy, Online Casino
  • Home & Family – Home security, Coffee, Baby products, Dogs, Gardening
  • Technology – Web designing, Web development, Web hosting, WordPress, VPN, SaaS, Gaming
  • Miscellaneous – Essential oils, Herbal Products, Personal development


Tools and strategy to use in affiliate marketing

Higher is the traffic to your website bigger would be the number of people showing interest in your content and greater will be chances of converting these into sales. To do so, beside building a good website with highly engaging content you would also need to work on many other aspects to enhance the efficacy and reach of your website. There are many marketing and analytical tools which often come in the form plugin and extensions that help you improving the ranking of your website. These may help you in keyword targeting, trend analysis, content planning, social media promotions. There are many plugins available which help you track and analyse your performance on a real-time basis and make improvements wherever required.

Things to keep in mind to succeed

People come searching for a solution for a problem they are facing, and they get convinced only by a website that truly addresses their concerns to their satisfaction. You have to select a right product based on your analysis about the competition, scope of earning, your familiarity, interest and expertise on the subject. Therefore, if you are planning to do affiliate marketing there is no substitute to good content.

The success mantra for online affiliate marketing

  • Have patience as it takes time
  • Choose right product that you are confident about
  • Have more than one attractive product to diversify
  • Do the research to assess the product demand
  • Select a right advertiser that meets your requirement
  • Choose a right web platform and design
  • Provide useful information related to product and service
  • Optimise your content for keywords
  • Use videos for product description and promotion
  • Use social media to promote your content and website
  • Use digital marketing tools
  • Look for new methods and techniques to improvise


Should you try?

While affiliate marketing offers great potential to make money online, however, it is not a cake walk. You should consider this option only after thorough research to understand the challenges and whether you have the necessary skills and passion to excel in this domain. The time lag when you start and when you receive first payment could be long, so you need take this into account while planning your finances.



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