The Mechanics of Affiliate Marketing

What happens when someone clicks on one of your affiliate links?

The answer is ‘cookies’.

When a buyer clicks on your link, they get sent to the checkout page for a specific product.

At the same time though, a cookie will be stored on their computer which will identify them as having been referred by you.

This then means that when they make a purchase, the profits can be allocated to you.

Understanding this is important because it introduces a potential risk – that people will see what you’re selling and navigate there of their own accord.

This is called ‘link bypassing’ and it’s worth your while to prevent this using link cloaking.

That means using a redirect that sends people to your affiliate link while hiding the URL from them.

There are a number of solutions for this, such as the free WordPress plugin Pretty Link Lite or the script I use – LinkSupercharger which is easy to install.

NOTE: Buying through an affiliate link still costs the same, only the affiliate gets part of the sale amount. Some people will bypass an affiliate like because they just plain don’t want you to get a commission, for whatever reason – weird, I know.

It’s also worth doing a little research into the affiliate network that you’re going to be working with.

That’s because the creator of a cookie also gets to set the lifespan.

A cookie can last a few months, or it can last until the user actively chooses to delete their cookies/changes computer.

Of course it’s much better for you to have an affiliate network with cookies that don’t expire at all.

Amazon has a cookie system that only lasts 24 hours.

That’s actually not too bad though, considering that people already know about Amazon and you can make money from other things people buy from the site that day.

What’s also key to note is whether a subsequent affiliate can ‘override’ your cookie.

This becomes relevant if someone should click your affiliate link, not make a purchase, then click someone else’s affiliate link and buy.

Who gets the money?

This depends on whether the affiliate program honors the first click or last click.

With those technical details out the way, it’s time to start choosing affiliate networks and programs.

The first step here is going to be in deciding which type of affiliate network you want to join up to.

Do you want to sell a digital product?

A physical product?

Or a service?

The best answer for most beginners will be a digital product.

This means something like an eBook, a free report or a digital course.

There’s no cost associated with production, storage or delivery here and as such the product creator has more profit to share with you and that means you can earn up to 50-75% from each sale.

To find these products, you should look at an affiliate network such as JVZoo, ClickBank  or WarriorPlus.

To use one of these sites, all you need to do is sign up, browse through the available products and then apply to work as an affiliate for a few.

You can see data and information about each one, such as the number of sales, the cost etc.

From there, you want to choose a digital product that is making a lot of sales but also offers you a good amount of cash per sale.

Think too about how you’re going to market each of those products and what ‘angle’ you’ll go with to make it desirable for your audience.

Buying the product is a very good idea, as is finding one that offers free marketing materials that the product creator designed.

Some will come with free landing pages, blog posts, email autoresponder sequences and more that you can utilize.

More on that later.

Some people though will feel more comfortable selling physical products which they can do by signing up to Amazon Associates or Shareasale.

Ultimately, it makes more sense to start with digital products because you can make a bigger earning from fewer sales.

When you’re not yet getting the sheer volume of visitors you need to make hundreds of sales, selling digital products is still the quicker route to making more money.