Here is an excellent visual overview of the sales cycle in affiliate marketing:

Sales cycle in affiliate marketing

Sales cycle in affiliate marketing

With affiliate marketing accounting for up to 16% of all ecommerce sales , this cycle represents the primary process from an affiliate’s perspective.

First, the affiliate finds a product and connects with the seller behind it. Then, the affiliate and the merchant agree the commission amount (fixed or percentage) when the affiliate makes sales on behalf of the seller.

Affiliates then promote the product to their audience, often using a special link to track their sales and referrals . Once the transaction is complete, the merchant pays the commission.

Wash, rinse and repeat for the franchisee’s life cycle.

If you prefer visual learning, here is another view of the process:

Example of how affiliate marketing works

Example of how affiliate marketing works

The commission rate for affiliates varies between individuals, industries and businesses. No rate was considered to be the best, although 30% is the ceiling at all levels.

But that’s not a rule at all.

In this specific case, 3dcart offers a much higher commission: about 100 times higher:

Affiliate commissions 3dcart

Affiliate commissions 3dcart

But this type of tariff will not work for everyone. Paul Jarvis had to quit his affiliate program when the 50% commission rate became unsustainable for his profits.

So as a warning: be aware of the business behind an affiliate program because if they can’t afford it, they will shut it down.

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Through the Kinsta affiliate program , you can earn up to $ 500 per referral + 10% monthly recurring commissions for life, with payments sent on a monthly basis.

However, offering high-end rates is a good practice for building relationships, which are the core of what makes affiliate marketing work.

Focusing on building relationships has helped an affiliate program move from $ 2,000,000,000 to $ 14,000,000,000 in two years.

It also helps the fact that their affiliate page converts at a rate 4.4 times higher than the average visitor to their site.

Conversion rate of the affiliate

Conversion rate of the affiliate

Here’s how important relationships are for affiliate marketing.

So, be fair, transparent and remember that affiliates are not your employees or employers. They are your partners. And you can do great things together.

Provided that you are able to meet; and this is where the next question comes in.

What are Affiliate Networks?

We went around this problem for a reason.

Indeed, for two:

Affiliate networks (or affiliate networks), in our humble opinion, are not the best option available.

They are not necessarily feasible for small businesses.

Affiliate networks sit between the affiliate and the seller, adding a third party to the sales mix.

Affiliate networks

Affiliate networks

In many ways, they make life easier in affiliate marketing. The networks connect affiliates with products they may not find on their own and provide vendors with a large database of potential partners to work with.

But, as you can guess, this has a price .

The terms of your affiliate program comply with the policies of the network, and a significant portion of the money can be expected to go to their monthly maintenance.

Most of the big brands are part of an affiliate network. Rakuten Marketing and ShareASale are two particularly well-known examples.

For example, Walmart uses Rakuten Marketing for its affiliate program.

Walmart uses Rakuten Marketing

Walmart uses Rakuten Marketing

Brit + Co, an online course and very popular site among millennials, uses ShareASale .

Brit + Co uses ShareASale

Brit + Co uses ShareASale

Other more accessible affiliate networks also include Amazon and Skimlinks . Ease of access is probably the reason why, although not used by larger companies, both are at the top of the market share ranking .

Associate Amazon and their main competitors

Amazon associates and their main competitors

Amazon in particular has become a strong competitor for bloggers and review sites interested in affiliate marketing.

The WireCutter, an electronic review site that was acquired for $ 30,000,000,000 in 2016, uses Amazon’s program to get most of its income.

Additionally, a blog with no more than one birthday behind it has managed to attract nearly $ 3,000 a month with Amazon’s affiliate program. Although this was already happening in 2016, it is conclusive proof that an affiliate does not have to be years behind to get a decent monthly income.