Can affiliate marketing work for your business?

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New business strategies are evolving every day. Ever since the big .com boom a little over a decade ago, people have been inventing new digital ways to transform their reach into profits.

One of the most popular ways for increasing your reach and efficiently converting sales over the past couple of years has been affiliate marketing. It allows businesses to receive higher level of sales and reach while giving users an incentive to promote a product/service provided by those companies.

What is affiliate marketing?

At its core affiliate marketing is a simple concept. Much like one would sell products from manufacturers in a physical store at a margin, affiliate marketing allows people to gain a profit from primarily selling or promoting other products and services via their website, email lists or social media.

How it works

An affiliate marketing platform is a system put in place by a business that allows users / members to receive a percentage of the revenue based on any referrals they generate. Usually, the way this is done is via affiliate linking. The user is provided with a unique link they can share with their audience. Once a visitor is registered via that particular link, the business knows that the third-party is the one that brings the visitor and thus shares a percentage of the profits with that third party.

If you are running a WordPress site, the plugin can help you to get your affiliate system up and running. You can create a dashboard for your affiliates where they can track the activity and any revenue they have generated by sharing your products/services. You can also create promotional banners that the affiliates can download and use on their social media accounts or place on their websites that will be tracked back to their account as a referral.

Once you have your affiliate system setup, you can start to promote your willingness to offer affiliate payments on affiliate network sites like –,,

There are tonnes of affiliate networks around – a good google will help you to find these.

How profitable is affiliate marketing?

An affiliate business strategy can be hugely profitable. In fact, it can help to build billion dollar companies. A great example for this is Amazon. The web store has been running an active and extremely successful affiliate strategy that has increased their profits enormously.

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Nevertheless, for a small business that sells a certain product or service, the profitability of the strategy depends highly on the marketing plan itself. For example, if the base cost of the product you create is $50, and you sell it at a profit margin of $50, you can easily run an affiliate strategy with an incentive for affiliates to earn 10% to 25% of the profits, resulting in a profit of $37.5 for you. By doing so, you will be essentially giving $12.5 for a successful sale.

You’re essentially paying people to promote your product or service for you. When done correctly you can scale your business massively.

You should also consider if there are any products or services that you feel will be useful and relevant to your audience. By signing up to these companies affiliate programmes, you can also generate a tidy side income in affiliate revenue.

This can be done by adding a resources page to your website and promoting your recommended resources through email marketing to your subscribers and customer lists.

How to build your affiliate marketing into your business?

Going about and creating your own affiliate marketing business strategy can be a difficult process. You have to analyse your current reach, define a core audience and analyse the probability of success of such a strategy.

Not to mention that the time spent to promote your affiliate marketing strategy to current customers and adding your products and services to affiliate networks is also a time investment you have to take into account. While the process can be overwhelming, here’s a quick summary to help you out in your decision.

  • Define a Core Target Audience
  • Set clear and achievable goals
  • Prepare an affiliate marketing plan based on your profit margin (for the product/service)
  • Take care of the legalities of the agreement and brand guidelines
  • Develop and test the affiliate marketing tracking system
  • Ensure the safety and security of the tracking system
  • Create easy to use digital resources for your affiliates to use
  • Allocate the needed resources for the promotion of your affiliate marketing

Give Tips and Create Incentives for Third-Party Affiliate Members

To increase the chances of success, most affiliate businesses will provide third-party affiliate members with incentives and milestones. For example, if the marketer has managed to sell a certain number of subscriptions or products, their profit percentage rate increases.

This can be implemented in your business strategy for products or services that have a high margin of profitability and would thus not be an issue when sharing a bigger percentage of the revenue.

Ready Content and Advertising Material

Another item that is good for the success of an affiliate marketing strategy for a business is a ready set of content and advertising material prepared for the affiliate marketers. That way, the marketers will have to spend less time in preparation of their own digital content to promote your product.

Avoiding Referral-Based Scams

For an affiliate business strategy to be profitable, you should also do your best to avoid any referral-based scams. This usually includes a clear and transparent affiliate marketing strategy that’s hard to exploit.

Some affiliate businesses are scammed through their “money-back guarantee”. Where Affiliates will sign up for your product or service, once the referral has been paid they revoke your Money back guarantee – Leaving you out of pocket. Of course, you can easily avoid such schemes by simply developing a clear affiliate marketing strategy that provides the marketers with a profit percentage only once the sale is completed (e.g. when the “money-back guarantee” period has expired).

Also, make sure that you have defined rules for brand representation to maintain the integrity and values of your brand.


Affiliate marketing programmes can be a great way to help you to reach a wider audience and generate sales faster for your business. It can take a long time to build up and find the right people to promote your brand, but if you get the balance right between the amounts you are paying your in commissions and your revenue, it’s a very cost effective way to scale and generate new sales for your business.

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