Internet Affiliate Marketing Programs – the basics

You can make serious money, with internet affiliate marketing programs – I’m talking about job replacing, life-changing income. If that interests you (and why wouldn’t it), then please read on.

So, what is this affiliate marketing thing all about anyway? It’s not complicated, all it involves is selling someone else’s product or service for a commission. That’s it.

You don’t have to create a product, which is a good thing. Creating products takes a lot of work, like hours and hours of work. With that said, there is work involved with internet affiliate marketing programs as well. Ultimately, your results will reflect the amount of effort you put in.

In this post, we’ll discuss product creation versus internet affiliate marketing programs, the benefits of affiliate marketing (especially if you’re just starting out) and some of the concepts behind a basic sales funnel.

What’s involved in creating a product?

To give you an idea of the work involved in creating your own product to sell online, here’s a useful breakdown of what it could look like:

Internet Affiliate Marketing Programs - product creation

Note: in our example, we’re costing your time in at only $10 per hour! In my case, I can make up to $125 /hr working with clients, so even if you cost in my “fall back” rate of $95 /hr am I really prepared to spend a whopping $17,670 to create a product that may or may not sell?

I’ve created products in the past and I’ll probably do so again, but if you’re just getting started, I wouldn’t recommend it as your first step. It makes much more sense to sell someone else’s product until you find your feet and learn the ropes.

So, that brings us to internet affiliate marketing programs or selling someone else’s products to get started.

10 benefits of internet affiliate marketing programs

Internet affiliate marketing programs have quite a few benefits associated with them, here are just 10:

  • You quickly maximize your earning potential and can start making money right away.
  • You don’t need any product expertise or specialist knowledge, all the collateral you need is usually provided, including things like email swipes to send to potential customers.
  • You don’t have to worry about processing orders, stock control, invoicing and payment processing.
  • You don’t have to deal with customer complaints (thank goodness!).
  • Joining an affiliate program is normally quick and painless, just a two-minute online signup and you’re good to go.
  • You’re your own boss and can set your own schedule and income goals.
  • Affiliate marketing takes place online, so it’s the perfect work from home opportunity.
  • Most affiliate programs have a good support mechanism in place to help you.
  • Affiliate marketing is normally zero to low risk.
  • It’s usually free to join an affiliate program.

So, as you can see, there are real benefits in going down the affiliate marketing route rather than creating your own product.

That said, there are some real challenges any newcomer to affiliate marketing will face. Probably the most difficult of these is finding the right product to avoid getting off on the wrong foot with outdated information that no longer works.

If you go at it blindly, you’ll likely waste hundreds if not thousands of dollars chasing down dead ends. Personally, I’ve spent $25,000+ getting my online “education”, so let me help you avoid spending that kind of money!

Of course, that’s why I set up FYF in the first place with the intention of helping you out by only providing solid, actionable information to get you off on the right foot.

What else do you need apart from a product to sell?

The basic building blocks of affiliate marketing are not that complicated. You need a product to sell, a way of attracting interested prospects (traffic) and a way to convert your traffic into buyers of what you have to offer. It doesn’t have to be any more complex than that.

A Basic Sales Funnel

You’ll likely hear a lot of talk about “sales funnels” in relation to internet affiliate marketing programs and, at the start, a basic sales funnel is definitely the way to go.

The diagram below gives you an overview of what a basic sales funnel looks like.

Internet Affiliate Marketing Programs - Basic Sales Funnel

Let’s break down the steps involved one by one.


So, assuming you’ve selected an affiliate product to promote, you need to attract potential buyers. Some of the common ways to do this are through Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube etc. You can also consider buying traffic from Google, Bing and other sources. This is known as paid traffic or PPC (Pay Per Click).

Another method to attract potential customers is to create a blog (like this one) and offer helpful information to your audience. If they’re interested in what you have to say and YOU’RE GENUINELY HELPING THEM they’ll naturally move to the next stage where you engage them.


In order to engage with your audience, you’ll want to capture their email address. This is a very important step because you want to be in a position to “keep the conversation going” and a great way to do this is through regular emails.

Visitors may come to your website if you build one, but they may also only stay there for a minute or two. So, it’s essential you capture their email. You can also use a landing page with a free offer, such as a valuable eBook to capture emails.


Once you’re building your email list, you’ll want to nurture your relationship with that list. This can be done via a series of automated emails using an autoresponder. An autoresponder is simply an online service that allows you to stack up a series of emails in advance to be sent at the times you choose.


Being as you’re an affiliate marketer, you’ll next want to invite your audience to buy something from you that you get paid an affiliate commission on. Your subscribers may well not buy on the first invitation. But, if you’re offering them a product that is genuinely useful to them, solves a problem or makes their life easier/ better in some way there’s a reasonable chance they will.


In the final stage, you’ve converted a subscriber to a paying customer, but it doesn’t stop there. Your job now is to continue Step 3 and nurture your customer by being genuinely helpful and providing information they’ll want to consume. This will earn you the right to invite your customer to purchase again as you uncover more products and/ or services in which they’ll be interested.

Final words

So, to sum up the key points…

There’s nothing wrong with creating a product to sell online, in fact, it can be extremely lucrative. However, it’s not the best route for someone new to marketing online.

Internet affiliate marketing programs, (selling a product that has already been created for a commission) is the best and quickest way to get started.

The objective is to build your audience by offering genuine help and value and earn the right to offer a product or service that you know your audience will benefit from.

This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click on one of these links I’ll receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and, in many cases, I’ll get you exclusive discounts. Your support helps me to make more content like this to help you – thanks.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Emmanuel Buysse

    Great post and good info.

    I’m in the affiliate marketing for a while now and the beginning isn’t easy, but if you keep doing it with effort, you will see your income raising.

    And it has the benefits what you told, work at home, no boss, no pressure.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Emmanel, anything worthwhile takes some effort and affiliate marketing is no different.

      Anyone who tells you any different, or tries to sell you a “push button” program is only interested in the contents of your wallet 🙂

      The pay off is worth the time invested…

      Thanks for chipping in!

  2. mark kabakov

    Dear Les Blythe! You created and presented the reader with clear pillar stones in his path of an affiliate marketer. These five steps are the steps of a consistent program. Which every marketer must master. 

    I approach this task seriously and responsibly. That is, I will make a plan for each stage and will mark its passage.Thank you for giving us specific recommendations. 

    It is evident that you have done a lot of preparatory work. Mark

    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Mark, glad you found the post helpful.

      Good luck in your journey…

  3. dreamgirl93

    Hello Les, 

    I have been working with affiliate marketing since two years now and during the last year I started to make money online, not very much as to replace my job but I hope to be there one day. 

    What I have found out from my experience is that your chosen niche is very important in order to see results. Now I’m not saying to overthink your niche, but if one of your articles is more successful than others in terms of traffic and income, write more about that topic on other articles and re-define your niche. 

    Affiliate marketing is the best way to go in my opinion. I have tried a lot of ways to make money online like taking surveys, selling information products on Fiverr, selling Amazon books and I have concluded that affiliate marketing is best for passive income. And yes, it’s totally possible for it to substitute your job.

    1. Les Blythe

      Hi there,

      Yes, looks as though you’ve gone through quite a learning curve and come back to affiliate marketing. Totally agree you have to tweak as you go along – stick with what works, change what doesn’t…

  4. Stephen

    Thanks a lot for the great post! I couldn’t agree more with everything you say and definitely think that Affiliate Marketing is the best place to get started making money online.

    I’m still getting into the swing of things and, while I’ve had my website for over a year now, still feel very much like a beginner. The snowball has started to roll though and sales are picking up. How often would you recommend posting per week and how many of these do you think should be review posts?

    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Stephen, glad to hear things are moving in the right direction for you.

      I think you posting schedule depends on how much time you have to dedicate to your affiliate marketing business. If you’re full time, you can spend more time writing posts.

      The main thing is to make sure anything you post contains valuable information for your audience – that applies to product review posts as well. My test is to put myself in my readers’ shoes and ask the question “Is the post content something I would find valuable, informative and useful?”.

  5. julienne murekatete

    Thank you for sharing with us this important post .I am a beginner in affiliate marketing and I am a good learner too.I like when I find a useful website like this which provides helpful information for beginners. Succeeding in this business is not easy but it is not impossible if the training is genuine .

    This website is helpful and will help a new affiliate to grow their business.

    1. Les Blythe

      Thanks so much Julienne. glad I could help…

  6. Ceddy

    Hello Les this is a very good break down for people who are looking to make extra money or even some day totally change their lives. I recommend that people put their foot in the water of affiliate marketing and decide to dive in whenever they really want to. But at least give it a try! 

    I think they will find it very rewarding as well. Not just monetarily but also spiritually. 

    Not having to be on the product side is very freeing. Let the big business guys and girls do the heavy lifting while we profit off of our creativity and diligent smart work. That is how I would describe Affiliate marketing. Would you agree? 

    1. Les Blythe

      Definitely agree with you Ceddy. Not having to produce your own product is a big plus point for affiliate marketing.

      Love your phrase about letting the big guys and girls do the heavy lifting, that sums it up very nicely…

  7. Dwilli

    Hello Les,

    I am a newbie to the Affiliate Marketing industry and I’m always looking for advice and always taking notes. Your article on Affiliate Marketing Basics left me hungry for more. Your site provided me with some straight forward “listen up” beginners information. Informative, as a beginner from what I don’t have to do, to what I must do. You provided  information on why Affiliate Marketing is the way to go, which validated everything that I want to pursue in the industry. The most important information I received from your site and I will value it as if it was solid gold, it is your 5 step rendition of the Basic Sales Funnel.

    I book marked your site, I feel it is a road map. Please share more of your knowledge on Affiliate Marketing in the near future.

    As a beginner to Affiliate Marketing your site gave me confidence in knowing I am going in the right direction.

    Thank you for the education!


    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Dwilli, thanks so much for your feedback and I’m so glad you find my content useful.

      My intention is to give solid advice that helps anyone determined to work towards real financial freedom by earning their income online (as I do).

      Come back regularly and sign up to my email list for updates.

  8. thechristianinternetmarketer

    Thank you for your very informative blog post Les on affiliate marketing.Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money online, I started my first moneymaking website in 2007 and to my mind this is the best and easiest way to start making money online. I remember when my website first went live and within the first 24 hours we had made a sale, very exciting at the time!I think one of the best things about affiliate marketing is that we don’t have to physically send out a product, take money for it and issue refunds etc, which can be very time consuming procedure. We are just driving someone else’s product to our website and making sales, this can be done from anywhere in the world, I do find the power of the Internet absolutely amazing!Having a sales funnel is a great way to promote your affiliate products and to be fair it’s something I need to be doing and I’m not at the moment! I believe we have to think of our website as a shop window and show people the benefits of our products.Roy

    1. Les Blythe

      Thanks for your comment Roy.

      Yes, it’s very exciting when you get your first sale, and even more exciting when the sales start to add up to a substantial income.

      I would say a basic sales funnel is definitely the way to go. They key (particularly at the start) is not to overcomplicate it. Keep it simple, capture emails and worry about more complicated sales funnels when you have the experience.

      I know of a marketer who made over $1m just using just the basics, I may write more on that later…

  9. Shane Black

    Hi Les, 

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write this very informative article on affiliate marketing. 

    I’ve been involved in affiliate marketing, as well as running offline businesses, and I believe that affiliate marketing can actually teach some very valuable lessons for not only the online space, but offline as well. Your 10 benefits hits the nail on the head. There are many benefits that affiliate marketing offers. 

    Quick question – how do you decide which products to promote? It’d be great to know since you are earning a full time income from affiliate marketing!



    1. Les Blythe

      Hi Shane, thanks for weighing in.

      I try to choose products that offer genuine value and actually help people in their online journey. There are a lot of products that I won’t promote, despite the fact they pay well. I also lean towards products I use myself or have been recommended by other FYF readers.

      All the best.

  10. Tim Bennett

    Hi Les,

    I thought you have provided a very great introduction to affiliate marketing.

    You pretty much cover all the basics and your text and website is very easy to understand.

    One thing that I struggle with, even though I use social media is generating targeted traffic.

    Do you have any tips for that at all?


    1. Les Blythe

      HI Tim, and thanks for joining the discussion.

      Targeted traffic – where do I start? There are so many options for generating traffic I can’t get into them all here, but if we look at social media, here’s a couple of ideas for you:

      1) Decide on one social media channel to start with and try to dominate it for your niche. Don’t be all over the place doing a bit here and a bit there, you’ll spread yourself too this and not get a result anywhere.

      2) Make sure you’re in the right place for your particular niche. Remember, people go to Facebook to socialize and watch cat videos whereas LinkedIn is business oriented.

      3) Don’t dive straight into promotion of you product or service without adding value first. If you do, you’ll turn off your potential audience before you get started.

      Overall, make sure you’re connecting with the right audience, on the right platform in the right way.

      Take the time to study the platform you choose to zero in on in depth. Get a course if necessary, there’s someone who’s learned all the in’s and out’s of mastering any social media channel you choose – don’t waste your time trying to wing it or re-inventing the wheel…

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