What is Affiliate Marketing? (and How to Get Started in 2023)

What is Affiliate Marketing_ThirstyAffiliates

There are many ways you can make money online, but most require a significant upfront investment of time and money. This can make it almost impossible for people who want to launch an online business, but can't risk losing their day job or its compensation.

Fortunately, affiliate marketing is an easy way to get into ecommerce with virtually no upfront cost. As an affiliate, your job is to promote a company's products and help drive conversions. You earn commissions for sales without ever handling the product.

This article will dive deeper into how affiliate marketing works. Then we'll cover the 3 basic steps on how to become an affiliate and turn an online side gig into extra cash in your pocket. Let's get started!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a partnership where companies pay affiliates commissions to promote their products or services. Usually, affiliates earn a percentage of each conversion they make.

Affiliate marketing cycle diagram

Affiliate programs come in all shapes and sizes. They can have varying commission rates, entry requirements, and payout periods. However, in most cases, you'll use unique affiliate links to identify your successful sales and get paid for them.

Affiliates can be social media influencers, website owners, marketers, or experts in a particular field. They earn commissions by joining affiliate programs or networks and using their skills to help sell third-party products.

How to Become an Affiliate Marketer (In 3 Easy Steps)

While the business model is simple and affordable, starting and maintaining an affiliate website requires hard work and dedication.

The journey from publishing your first affiliate link to driving thousands of conversions can be long. But here are 3 steps to help you on your way to becoming a successful affiliate marketer.

Step 1: Find an Affiliate Program or Network

First, you'll need to partner with a company whose products and/or services fall within your niche of interest. Many businesses have a portal for their affiliate marketing programs where you can start your application process and/or login to your account:

The ThirstyAffiliates Affiliate Program Page
The ThirstyAffiliates Affiliate Program Page

Simply sign up for a program or network that fits your interests and familiarize yourself with the rules and terms. From there, you're free to operate within the program's guidelines and decide how best to earn your commissions.

Click the button below to view our EXTENSIVE LIST of Affiliate Programs categorized by niche, making it that much EASIER to find the perfect match for you!

Step 2: Advertise Through Your Website or Social Media Accounts

Most successful affiliates have a significant web presence. It can be a high-traffic website (or even several sites). Alternatively, influencers leverage large followings on social media to promote their associated products:

Social media affiliate marketing post

Creating your own website might sound daunting if you haven't done it before. However, platforms such as WordPress make it relatively easy. While you don't need a website to get started as an affiliate, it can increase your earning potential.

Social media is another viable avenue, but building a large and active audience can take a long time. Therefore, you might consider having a dedicated website and a social media presence to benefit from both platforms.

Once established on these platforms, it's time to start networking and creating quality content that attracts visitors. You can then encourage readers to click on your affiliate links and make purchases.

Finding the right balance between content creator, marketer, and online personality is an art. Creating high-quality content and providing value to your audience is the first step. Then you can use your influence and authority to promote affiliate products you believe in.

Step 3: Earn Commissions

Once you have an audience and some business partnerships, it's time to bridge that gap. However, driving traffic and conversions with engaging content and compelling calls to action (CTAs) can be tricky.

Understanding the concept is one thing. Having the talent and experience to succeed is another. 

But don't be discouraged if your first link doesn't get any hits right away. In most cases, it will take a bit of time to drive traffic to your new affiliate website, and establish trust with your readers, and determine the best content strategy to promote products and close sales.

We also recommend using our ThirstyAffiliates plugin to streamline your workflow. Our tool can cloak and protect your affiliate links, insert URLs automatically, and more!


With such a low bar for entry, knowledge is power when it comes to affiliate marketing. Understanding how this advertising strategy works can give you a leg up on the competition.

To become an affiliate marketer, just follow these 3 steps:

  1. Find an affiliate program or network that is a good fit for you.
  2. Set up a funnel to drive traffic from your website or social media platforms.
  3. Generate conversions to earn your commissions.

Do you have any questions about affiliate marketing? Let us know in the comments section!

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Affiliate Link Disclosure

33 thoughts on “What is Affiliate Marketing? (and How to Get Started in 2023)

  1. Thank you sharing a great article. Affiliate marketing can be an attractive option for businesses because it allows them to reach a wider audience without having to invest in traditional forms of advertising, such as print or television ads.

  2. To get started with affiliate marketing in 2023, you could:

    + Research and join affiliate programs that align with your interests or the content of your website or social media channels.

    + Create high-quality content that targets the audience of the products or services you want to promote.

    + Promote affiliate products or services in your content and include your affiliate link or code.

    + Monitor your affiliate earnings and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

    + Be familiar with the legal requirements that come with affiliate marketing, like disclosure and compliance.

    + Keep track of the performance of your affiliate links to see which ones are converting the most and which are not.

    Note that success in affiliate marketing takes time and effort, so it’s essential to be patient and persistent.

  3. Thank you for giving such an interesting post. Affiliate marketing is an alternative that may be appealing to companies because it enables them to reach a larger audience without having to engage in conventional means of advertising, such as print or television commercials. This makes affiliate marketing a potentially lucrative choice for businesses.

  4. Thanks for sharing such great information.. It really helps me..I am always looking for quality content to read and finally found this in you post. keep it up!

  5. Thanks for sharing such great information. This is an excellent article that is simple to understand. Thank you for your time and effort. I will use it for my new website.

  6. And then you have the power of social media and social media influential patterns that helps to make affiliate marketing a win-win. I do believe that somewhere along the line though they’re going to have to think a little bit different or see how they can move away from just the social media depending on that strictly to bring across profit results that they’re seeking they might have to get a little bit creative further down as we know that technologies ever changing so no doubt eventually that’s going to become a father, if it hasn’t already.

  7. Good and informative blog, sooner or later though they’ll have to think outside of the box apart from social media because eventually that will be a fad, but for now exploited to the best of course.

  8. Once a presence has been created on these platforms, it’s important to network and start producing compelling content that draws users in. Then you may entice readers to use your affiliate links and buy things.

  9. Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing model where businesses pay affiliates a commission for promoting their products or services. To get started in 2023, choose a niche, build an audience, and find relevant affiliate programs to join. Promote products through various channels and continuously analyze and optimize your performance.

  10. really its nice information. Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where individuals or businesses (affiliates) earn a commission by promoting another company’s products or services. Affiliates drive traffic to the company’s website through their marketing efforts, and when a sale or desired action occurs, they receive a predetermined commission as a reward for their promotion.

  11. Great article! I’ve been considering getting into affiliate marketing, and these 3 steps provide a clear and actionable roadmap to get started. Looking forward to exploring the extensive list of affiliate programs and finding the perfect match for my niche.

  12. Good and interesting blog, however eventually they’ll have to look outside the box aside from social media because that will eventually become a fad, but for now they’re obviously utilizing it to the fullest.

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