How Long Will It Take For Your Marketing Program To Pay Out?

If you could make money at any time, from anywhere, you could make money while you sleep.

This is the concept behind affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a way for an affiliate to earn a commission by promoting another person’s or company’s product. The affiliate finds a product they enjoy, promotes it, and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.

Affiliate marketing is a great way for brands to generate revenue and for affiliate marketers to make money. The new focus on less traditional marketing methods has been beneficial for both groups.

US spending on affiliate marketing will go up from $5.4 billion in 2017 to $8.2 billion in 2022, so there’s lots of opportunity for people who want to get involved.

This guide will explain how to launch an affiliating marketing business and what advantages it offers.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Because affiliate marketing works by spreading the responsibilities of product marketing and creation across parties, it leverages the abilities of a variety of individuals for a more effective marketing strategy while providing contributors with a share of the profit. To make this work, three different parties must be involved:

  1. Seller and product creators.
  2. The affiliate or advertiser.
  3. The consumer.

Seller and Product Creators

The seller is an individual or company that has a product to sell. This product can be a physical item or a service.

The brand, or seller, does not need to be actively involved in the marketing of their product, but may profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.

The seller could either be an eCommerce merchant that started a dropshipping business and wants to reach a new audience by paying affiliate sites to promote their products. Or the seller could be a SaaS company that leverages affiliates to help sell their marketing software.

The Affiliate or Publisher

The affiliate is responsible for promoting the seller’s product to potential consumers. If the consumer buys the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue.

Affiliates will often market to a very specific audience that is likely to be interested in what they are promoting. This creates a defined niche or personal brand that helps the affiliate to attract consumers who are more likely to take action on the promotion.

The Consumer

There need to be sales for the affiliate system to work and the consumer or customer is the one who makes them happen.

If the affiliate markets the product/service to consumers and they find it valuable or beneficial, they can follow the affiliate link to the merchant’s website and purchase it. If the customer does purchase the item, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.

Keep in mind that the customer must be aware that you will be receiving a commission off the product.

An affiliate marketer is someone who promotes a product or service on behalf of a company. In order for an affiliate marketer to be in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission, they must disclose their relationship to the retailer to the consumer. This disclosure allows the consumer to decide how much weight to give the affiliate marketer’s endorsement.

A disclaimer that the products used in a video were given by a company indicates to viewers that they should do their own research before purchasing any products.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

It is often not clear if an affiliate marketer has actually tried the product they are promoting, or if they are only in it for the money. This may not matter to the customer either way.

The customer may not trust an affiliate unless the affiliate has tested and approved the product themselves.

In 2009, affiliate marketer Pat Flynn categorized affiliate marketing into three types — unattached, related, and involved — to help differentiate between affiliate marketers who are closely tied to a product versus those who are not.

We will go over each category one by one to help you make a decision about which route to take.


The affiliate marketer does not have any connection to the product or service they are promoting and cannot make any claims about its usefulness.

An affiliate who is not attached to a company will typically run PPC marketing campaigns. They will use an affiliate link in the hope that shoppers will click on it and make a purchase.

Although affiliate marketing has the potential to be profitable without a commitment, it is generally not as successful as when the affiliate is invested in the product or customer relationship.


Related affiliate marketing is a happy medium between unattached and involved affiliate marketing. It is for those affiliates who don’t necessarily use the product or service, but who are somehow related to the niche audience. These affiliates often have some sort of influence in the niche and an established following, and can therefore offer some authority.

For example, if you are promoting a clothing brand that you have never used before, but you have an audience through a fashion blog or YouTube channel, you would be considered a related affiliate marketer.

The benefit to this style of affiliate marketing is that the affiliate has the experience to draw in an audience. On the other hand, they may chance endorsing a service or product that is subpar if they have not tried it before. This could end up costing them the respect of their audience.


Involved affiliate marketing is when the affiliate has tried the product themselves, trusts that it will provide a good experience, and has the authority to make claims about its use.

It is more effective for affiliate marketers to use their personal experiences with the product in their marketing efforts, rather than relying on pay-per-click. Customers can trust these affiliate marketers as reliable sources of information.

This type of affiliate marketing requires more work and time to build trust, but will likely lead to greater rewards in the future.

How Important Is Digital Marketing Today?

In order to measure the importance of digital marketing, one can look at how much money is being funneled into digital media. The latest IAB research on Advertising Spend and Revenue indicates that in the United States, over three-quarters of media budgets will be placed into digital media. This is a similar trend to what is happening in the UK and European market, so it can be said that this is a global phenomena.

The IAB’s budget breakdown into digital channels suggests a mix of marketing activities that we should invest in.

The IAB data comes from the largest publishers and platforms, which means it doesn’t reflect the importance of organic search, Digital PR, and influencer marketing for smaller businesses.

According to the data, social media marketing and search marketing are both important digital marketing investments. Additionally, digital display and digital video are also significant.

This means that smaller businesses may not be seeing the same level of ROI from these platforms While larger businesses may be seeing a return on investment from using social media and other digital platforms to advertise, smaller businesses may not be seeing the same level. This is likely because larger businesses are investing more in these channels to replace their investment in television and print advertising.

How Will Digital Channels grow?

Some say that we are living in a post-digital age, where digital marketing is just marketing, and should not be viewed as separate from a strategic standpoint.

The figures mentioned suggest that digital marketing is, in fact, marketing. However, it would be unwise to think that digital marketing isn’t continuing to grow and become even more significant.

IAB’s forecast predicts digital marketing will have increased importance in the next few years.

It is even more important to have a dedicated digital marketing strategy that is integrated with your marketing and business strategy to develop your digital maturity.

You can find out more about how to plan and integrate your digital marketing channels across the RACE Framework with our free digital marketing plan template. The RACE Framework is a strategic framework that can help you better plan and execute your digital marketing campaigns. With our free digital marketing plan template, you can quickly and easily create a digital marketing plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

Digital Strategy Advice for Businesses

There are a lot of small details that are important to the success of each technique. Therefore, they need to be evaluated and prioritized. For example, dynamic content for email automation, website personalization, retargeting, and skyscraper content for organic search.

If you’re not sure where to start with your marketing strategy, we have dedicated solutions for Business Members that cover 10 of the most popular channels and strategies. With these tools, you can optimize your marketing strategy to get the most out of your marketing efforts.

If you’re looking to improve your digital marketing skills or performance, Smart Insights has the tools and resources you need. They offer training and templates to help you in a landscape that can be challenging for marketers.

The Challenges of Digital Marketing

The most common challenge I’ve experienced is figuring out where to start when creating a digital marketing plan. I know that a lot of people feel like they need to create a huge, complicated report, but I really think that a leaner plan is better. All of our Learning Paths are designed to work together using the RACE Framework, so you can create one comprehensive strategy.

A successful digital strategy can be summarized on two or three pages, using a table to link the strategy to specific objectives within our OSA Framework. As a Business Member, we can help you develop a successful strategy from the start.

Reasons Why You May Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

If you have not yet devised a strategy, or if you want to evaluate which business matters to include in a strategic review, the following ten problems are commonly experienced in the absence of a strategy, according to our experience.

You’re Directionless

Companies that do not have a digital strategy or a clear goal for what they want to achieve online are at a disadvantage. They may miss out on opportunities to gain new customers or build deeper relationships with existing ones.

If you don’t have specific, measurable, attainable, relevance and time-bound goals for your digital marketing, you probably aren’t allocating enough resources to reach them, and you’re not using analytics to see if you’re hitting those targets.

You Won’t Know Your Online Audience or Market Share

If you haven’t researched customer demand for online services, you may be underestimating it. Perhaps more importantly, you won’t understand your online marketplace. The dynamics will be different from traditional channels, with different customer profiles and behavior, different competitors, different propositions, and different options for marketing communications.

Competitors Will Gain Market Share Through Optimization

If your competitor is devoting more resources to their digital marketing than you are, or if they have a clear digital marketing strategy while you do not, then they will be more successful than you in the digital sphere.

Marketing that is always on is a term used to describe the investments in paid, owned, and earned media needed throughout the customer lifecycle. These are needed to maintain visibility and support conversion and retention continuously as people search for and select products online.

You Don’t Have a Powerful Online Value Proposition

Additionally, this may also include creating a social media presence and engaging customers through loyalty programs. By doing this, not only will you be able to improve your brand’s digital marketing strategy, but also create a more positive customer experience. A strategic digital marketing approach requires you to consider how you can use digital experiences to make your brand more appealing. This includes making your online services and tools more interactive and user-friendly, as well as increasing your engagement with customers through social media and loyalty programs. Doing so will not only improve your brand’s digital marketing strategy, but also create a more positive customer experience.

You Don’t Know Your Online Customers Well Enough

It is often said that digital is the most measurable medium ever, but this only tells you about the volume of visits, not the sentiment of visitors. You need to use other forms of research and website user feedback tools to identify your weak points and address them.


Your sales have stagnated or decreased, and you can’t figure out why. Discover what’s holding you back from achieving predictable sales growth in your business.

If you want to grow your business, you need a proven plan and framework. That’s what you get with the 2X Your Sales Discovery Session.

Want to learn about a formula for Predictable Growth that will put your business on a 90-day path to 2X Your Sales?

Join our 90-minute one-on-one virtual workshop.