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Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Table of Contents

Before we can help you build your affiliate links — and earn income — it’s important to have a good grasp of just what affiliate marketing is, how it works, and how you can make it work for you. In this blog and video, you’ll learn:

  • What is affiliate marketing?
  • What does an affiliate network look like?
  • The history of affiliate marketing
  • Key players 

And most important: How to get started with affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a marketing model in which you promote another company’s products or services and earn a commission for each sale or action you generate. 

You use a unique link (hosted by a platform like Mavely!) that tracks your referrals and rewards you accordingly. There are many ways to share your links, including:

  • Placing them in your blog or website content
  • Incorporating them on social media like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok
  • Adding them into newsletters or marketing campaigns

All affiliates must use a disclaimer on each post to disclose potential commission. Learn more about Federal Trade Commission guidelines here

Affiliate marketing can be a low-cost, low-risk, and scalable way to make money online, but it does require hard work, research, and SEO skills to really succeed.


The Origin of Affiliate Marketing

The history of affiliate marketing can be traced to the earliest days of the commercial Internet, when the owner of P.C. Flowers and Gifts had the idea to reward “associates” (now what we would call affiliates) who referred online traffic to flowershop.com. 

Soon after, Amazon changed the game forever when it started paying commission to bloggers and other partners who drove traffic to Amazon through its Associates program. From there, affiliate marketing took off as many popular brands started giving commission for driving traffic to their sites. After the dot-com crash at the turn of the century, affiliate marketing became increasingly driven by sales.

Today, more than 80 percent of brands have affiliate marketing programs.


Why Affiliate Marketing Programs Succeed

Affiliate marketing plays a critical role in the buyer’s e-commerce journey. It shapes much of how consumers learn about — and ultimately decide to purchase — a product. As a marketing strategy, it is so successful because it allows companies and advertisers to:

  • Diversify their marketing
  • Supplement existing marketing programs
  • Pay for performance rather than access


How Affiliate Marketing Works

Part of what makes affiliate marketing effective is its simplicity and accessibility to everyday influencers like you. Here’s your step-by-step guide to affiliate marketing. 

Step 1: Join a platform like Mavely that connects you to brands to promote.

Step 2: Create shoppable links for a brand or product.

Step 3: Share your links with your friends and followers so they can shop your recommendations.

Step 4: Earn commission (and bonuses on Mavely) on sales when your followers complete the purchase!


The Four Key Players in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a unique and cooperative collaboration between several stakeholders, all of whom share in the success. Yes, even the consumers are a key player, because they bought a product with a strong endorsement from someone they trust!

  • Affiliates: The people who promote the product (you!)
  • Sellers: The people who created or are selling the product
  • Networks: The platforms that manage the affiliates 
  • Consumers: The buyers of the products you promote

Understanding Affiliate Links

When you join a platform like Mavely, you can create shoppable links that are tied to your unique account, so you can track all of your sales and receive commission. With Mavely’s transparent analytics, you’ll also collect useful insights on each item or brand you share: top performers, your audience’s preferences, trending products, conversions, and clicks.

It’s easy to create an affiliate link on Mavely from our app, on desktop, and through our browser and mobile share extensions — and we have 1,000+ brands to choose from. 


How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

Every time someone makes a purchase or signs up for a service through an affiliate link you provide, you’ll earn a commission. The income you earn as an affiliate marketer is based on the number of sales you drive each month, the price of the products people buy, and the commission rate set by the specific merchant. 

Commission rates are typically a percentage of the sale price and vary tremendously depending on the product or service being promoted — some brands go all the way up to 70% commission. Here’s how to calculate your earnings:

Monthly Earnings = Number of Sales per Month x Average Order Value x Commission Rate

So for example, if an affiliate makes 50 sales per month with an average order value (or sales price) of $50 and a commission rate of 10%, their monthly earnings would total $250. 

At Mavely, your earning potential doesn’t stop there. We’re proud to offer bonus tiers that add up to 25% on top of your commission when you reach your goals. For instance, when you make $125 in a month, you’ll earn an additional $30 bonus, for a total of $155. And it only goes up from there: Our top-earners can earn an additional $200,000 per month. View bonus tiers in the Mavely app.

The more people who purchase your recommendations, or the pricier products you recommend, the more you’ll see your bottom line change. That’s where the real work comes in.


Making Affiliate Marketing Work For You

Affiliate marketing creates passive income, but the work is anything but passive — it takes effort. Savvy affiliate marketers put in the time to understand their audience, establish trust, and build meaningful content calendars. From there, it’s important to identify products that will resonate with your audience and to create social media content that promotes those products in an authentic manner that encourages your audience to make the purchase. 

Affiliate marketing takes time and patience, but it comes with many rewards:

  • An additional revenue stream that can help diversify your income (and can even become your main source of income if you’re a full-time influencer)
  • Flexibility to create content around your personal and professional schedule
  • The opportunity to promote brands you love and care about
  • Conversion and sales data that you can leverage as your audience grows 

The more effort you put into affiliate marketing, the more rewards you’ll see. 


Get Started with Mavely

It’s easy to get started as an everyday influencer with Mavely. Join today to start earning!

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