What are affiliates?

One of the questions I get asked a lot is this: what are affiliates? People often wonder what affiliates are, who needs them, how do they become an affiliate, and why would anyone consider affiliates?

If you’ve ever asked yourself “what are affiliates” – and more importantly, should I be one… then keep reading.

What are affiliates?

What are affiliates? The term affiliate refers to someone who uses a specially coded link (an affiliate link) to send people to an offering. This can be a product, a service, and so on.

The idea is that this affiliate is sending new customers to take a look at a product. If this person buys, the affiliate then makes a percentage of the sale.

In the information marketing world, the affiliate payout percentage can range from 25% to 75% of the sale value. If you look at a business that sells physical products like Amazon, their affiliate program ranges in the 5-8% percent payout range.

Why you might want to take on affiliates for your products.

First off, let us consider why you would want to take on affiliates if you are a product creator. One of the things that might seem like a turnoff for you, is the idea of giving away a percentage of each sale to someone who helps promote your product for you.

The correct affiliate mindset is to look at affiliate sales as though you wouldn’t have made these sales otherwise. Similarly, it’s important to look at your affiliates as peers and not competitors, even if they’re in the same market as you.

One of the main reasons to look to starting an affiliate program, is to get yourself in front of new audiences.

By connecting with peers in your industry, you are able to get your message in front of new people. Even if you don’t end up making a lot of sales through your affiliates, you are still getting the word out about you and your brands.

Cross promotions build both your lists.

When you do a joint venture through a webinar or tele-seminar, you are going to help both people increase the size of their e-mail lists and tribe.

Again, this is a win-win situation because everyone gains new people. Your readers are also gaining new resources and being exposed to new teachers and mentors.

Everyone resonates with people differently, and sometimes someone needs to learn something from a different teacher, and that’s why doing cross promotions and having affiliates can be so effective.

Are you starting to get a feel for what are affiliates and how they can help your business?

Here are key things to keep in mind when you want to approach potential affiliates.

Get to know them first. Do not approach someone asking them to be doing it on your very first contact. This might work sometimes, that you really want to look towards building relationships before you actually want to start building your affiliate program.

Offer to do a webinar or create content for your affiliates. Don’t add any more stuff onto your affiliates to do lists, instead, create content and have things that are ready for them to use right out of the box.

Make it easy for them to sell it for you. If you are an E. Released this program or product before, you know what the conversion rates are and you’ll be able to share that data with your affiliate. Affiliates are more likely to sell your program with the note that you’ve been able to successfully sell it in the past.

Understand that they might already have promotions lined up. Some people have them promotions and their own launches scheduled out months in advance. Keep that in mind when you approach potential affiliates.

Keep communication lines open for future collaborations. Even if an affiliate says no today, it doesn’t mean that they would never consider becoming your affiliate or doing a joint promotion together down the line.

Keep in mind that if you are an affiliate, you need to disclose that relationship to your readers. It keeps everyone at the FTC happy, and it’s just good manners too.

For Bloggers: What Are Affiliates & Why You Should Become One

Here are a few reasons why you might want to become an affiliate of your favorite products online.

If you’re just getting started out as a blogger, becoming an affiliate of other products is the quick and easy way to start making money with your blog.

When you’re looking to monetize your blog, it’s important to consider affiliate marketing because it is faster and more efficient than trying to create your first product straight out of the gate.

Being an affiliate allows you to share resources with your readers. If you are getting a lot of benefits out of a certain product or service, sharing it with your audience is a great way to help them and get a little something in return for sharing your experience.

If you can demonstrate your ability to sell products, you will show your leadership and be able to connect with product creators who can turn into friends, and maybe even affiliates of your own down the line.

How to become a great affiliate:

Only promote what you believe in. Ideally, you’d only promote products that you have used personally. If the product has yet to be created and is currently being launched, use your relationship to the product creator to gauge quality and trust of the product.

Don’t over promote. It’s easy to think of extracting all of the money that you can out of your audience. That’s not what you’re here for, or at least that’s not what I’m here for. Keep your relationship with your audience as the top priority.

Offer something extra of your own if they buy with you. Sometimes people need a little extra nudge to give a product or service a try. Offer your own consulting, coaching, or other products or services to entice people to buy through your link.

Write a thorough review of the affiliate product. Share both the good and the bad of the product, and write an in-depth review from your personal experience.

Decide whether you want to share the product with your newsletter or your blog. If the program is being launched, you might want to share it on your newsletter because it is not going to be available forever. On the other hand, if the program is always available (evergreen) then a blog post on your site is probably the best way to go.

How’s that for an in-depth answer to “What are affiliates” huh?

I hope you got a lot out of this post and these videos. I’ve got a lot more information where this came from, and I want to make sure you don’t miss any of it.

Sign up for my program called Launch It Yourself to get more information about setting things up in your business for affiliates.

Thanks and talk to you soon!
Nathalie Lussier


  1. MayiCarles on January 18, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Super comprehensive + inspiring + so so very timely! Thanks Nathalie!

    As someone who’s just launching a new product, I owe a BIG chunk of my success to my affiliate partners. At first, I was hesitant to give so much money away or to partner with what could be perceived as “competitors”, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Strategic affiliate partners literally bring in a whole new wave of targeted traffic, which means new subscribers + new clients that wouldn’t have come otherwise. Plus, they’re success is directly linked to mine, so the more I help them too the more our businesses grow together. It’s a karmatic bonanza :)

    • NathLussier on January 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      @MayiCarles Yay Mayi! It totally is a karmic bonanza, what a way to describe it. :) Love it! And thank you for sharing your experiences with affiliates too. :)

  2. liztimetravels on January 19, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Nath this was such a good compressive blog and exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately. Question, any tips for how to find good affiliates programs to join that match well with your own business? Do you just start with your contacts and go from there? Thanks Nath!

    • NathLussier on January 23, 2012 at 9:34 am

      @liztimetravels Such a good question Liz! Definitely start with the blogs you enjoy, and see if they offer affiliate programs for their products/offerings. You might also check out the blogs of your contacts / peers / friends / readers, because you never know what amazing stuff they’re up to unless you check them out. ;)

  3. laurasimms on January 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Great post. I’m planning my first launch now, and after this I’m going to think more outrageously. Thanks!

    • NathLussier on January 23, 2012 at 9:34 am

      @laurasimms Yes! To Thinking more outrageously, baby! :)

  4. Kelly Edmonds on February 24, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Nathalie, thanks for sharing this!! I am thinking of putting an affiliate program together to sell my products re: designing e-courses as I am too busy creating them for my clients!

    Great, great advice. Thank you again.

    Hugs, Kelly