Whenever I mention the words “Affiliate Marketing” most people don’t have a clue what I’m talking about and it’s not exactly something easy to explain either unless I had a whiteboard handy. Unfortunately this online marketing strategy is overlooked by most companies today. Setting up an affiliate program can not only be inexpensive to setup but it CAN yield a greater ROI compared to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising since you’re only paying based on conversions/sales.

learn-affiliate-marketing-basicsHow does affiliate marketing work ?

Simply put, companies only pay affiliate marketers based on sales that are generated as a result of their marketing or promotional efforts.

In order to setup an affiliate program with your website you can either go with a self hosted solution or purchase software that can run on your server. Either choice has its advantages and disadvantages. I’ve tried both hosted and self hosted solutions that range from $30/month to $1500/month or software’s that start at roughly $500.

If you’re running a WordPress website we recommend using the plugin AffiliateWP.

Once you’ve setup your affiliate program you can add creative or display banners that can be made available to affiliates. Affiliates join your program for free and have access to those banners which they then add to their website. The banners have unique tracking setup so link any sales generated. Affiliates can login to their dashboard and track the commission generated by their efforts.

A scenario:

Joe’s Shoe Store decides to setup an affiliate program with their website. They decide to pay 10% commission for web publisher who can refer a sale. Jill’s Fashion Blog decides to signup to Joe’s Shoe Store affiliate program which is free to join. She now has access to a dashboard that provides statistics/earnings as well as different creatives/banners she can now add to her website.

When someone visits Jills blog and clicks on a Joe’s Shoes banner and makes a purchase, Jill earns a commission. At the end of the month Joe’s Shoes sends a check with all the cumulative commissions Jill has earned.

My opinion:

I’m a little biased towards this type of marketing because not only have I implemented affiliate programs that have worked for my clients but I’ve also made a nice income as an affiliate marketer for years.

My Experience:

I setup an affiliate program years ago for a web store that paid a 10% commission for web publishers that referred sales. Some affiliates were getting paid as much as $3-$4K every month just for promoting their business/products on their website.

As an affiliate marketer, I once made $4K in a single day. This was my personal best as an affiliate marketer. I now make a small income as things have changed since Google’s Penguin and Hummingbird updates. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t still be extremely successful as an affiliate marketer.


Getting an affiliate program setup for your website is not extremely difficult or expensive. The real challenge lies in getting affiliates to know about your program. One way it to seek out affiliate marketers is to contact site owners who would be a fit to market your business/products or reach out to affiliate marketers through social media. This can be a very time consuming task. Alternatively you can also setup an affiliate program through an affiliate network which not only offers you the software but also has established publishers. As a company, setting up an affiliate program through a network can be very costly but rewarding.

I typically only recommend affiliate marketing only to companies I see it will make an impact or usually people who sell a product online. In my opinion it’s one of the best marketing methods because you pay based on results once you’re program is up and running.

If you would like to know more about affiliate marketing or would like to setup an affiliate program with your business email us at info@nextoronto.com or call us at 416.893.3231.