how to start affiliate marketing

How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Everyone makes it seem like every single influencer is making stacks on stacks with affiliate marketing. But if you are trying to start affiliate marketing for yourself, then this guide will help.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when influencers or creators use commissionable links to make money off of the sales made using that link. Commission will vary across different brands. Using a creator’s affiliate link does not affect the customer’s end price that they pay.

Absolutely not. Yes, the majority of people using affiliate marketing and affiliate links are creators with large followings posting on social media. However, bloggers and smaller creators can use affiliate marketing too. The whole purpose is having a group of people who trust your recommendations and would make an educated purchase because of that trust. As long as your engagement rate is high, that’s really the only key factor in being successful with affiliate marketing.

how does affiliate marketing work

The simple answer is with a platform that connects users to trackable, commissionable links.

The most popular sites to use to start with affiliate marketing are:

All of these platforms require you to apply in some way. Reward Style and Shop Style require you to apply to access the site as a whole. They will do a deep dive of your social accounts or websites to ensure that they are only accepting people who take their pages seriously and will be actively using their links. They don’t necessarily have a follower requirement, but as you can imagine, they won’t accept someone who only has 30 followers. Your acceptance chances are high as long as you are showing good, consistent content on your pages. Once accepted on these sites, you can start using commissionable links for thousands of stores instantly. and CJ Affiliate work a little differently. For one, it’s easier to be accepted on these sites. But once accepted on the site, you can not link to any brand sites automatically. You will then have to apply to brands specifically to use affiliate links with them. Not every brand you apply to will accept your application.

In addition to these options, some brands will work directly with a person without using one of these sites. When that happens, the brand will give out your own personal tracking link to use when posting or talking about the brand or product.

How do I get paid?

When someone purchases something using your trackable link, the sale will ping to the system that that sale was made because of your recommendation. Based on the brand’s commission rate, you will get X% of the sale you made. It is imperative to use your links when posting as that will be the only way to get paid.

If you recommend something using your link, and someone purchases in-store, you will not get any commission from that sale. If someone clicks the link on their phone but completes the purchase on their desktop computer, you will not get any commission from that sale. To get paid with affiliate marketing, the click and purchase must happen on the same device.


Consistency is key with affiliate marketing. The more high quality links published means more opportunity for payment. The links do not stay live forever. Most affiliate links will only leave a 30-day cookie trail. That means that if a purchase is made on the 31st day, you won’t be paid. Encourage quick purchases by linking products during sales or high shopping seasons.

Read more content on being a better influencer on Donna Gail Blog.