The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing

So you have heard about Affiliate Marketing before and wondered how (and how much probably) can you earn from it, all from the comforts of your home? It looks shiny from the outside but trust me, it is as easy as slicing a cake neatly.

affiliate marketing in india like a pro

In this article, I am going to tell you what is Affiliate Marketing and how it works, what are the existing programs that you can benefit from and how to go about it like a pro. I will also take you through my personal affiliate accounts and show you my real earnings in order to give you some inspiration to get you started (not boasting here).

Let’s begin by understanding What is Affiliate Marketing all about and how it actually works.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a commission based revenue system where a third party (an affiliate) brings leads/sales to a product owner/company website.

It is a process of earning commission by promoting other people’s / company’s products.

In simpler terms –

  • You find a product you like,
  • You promote it to your audience and,
  • For every sale that is made because of you within your audience, you earn a profit commission from the product owner.

According to Wikipedia,

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer.

Lets understand these four core players better:


The one who owns the product / the creator of the product. The product can be anything ranging from SaaS applications to physical products (like shoes), it can also be a digital product (like ebooks). So basically, a merchant is someone who is selling a product online. In order to increase his sales online, a merchant is most likely open to get affiliates on his website.


The one who takes up the product links from the merchant and promotes it within his own audience to send traffic to the merchant’s property (website). He uses different Digital Marketing campaigns and tactics to sell more of the merchant’s product and earns commission for doing the same.


A platform or a place where both Merchants and Affiliates co exist, Merchants sign up to list their products in the affiliate program, and Affiliates sign up to find the products they like and enroll in the affiliate program. This network (platform) also settles the payments between merchants and the affiliates in a structured manner.


The one who makes the purchase on the merchant’s property (website) and completes a sale. This is the end customer who doesn’t know the relationship between an affiliate and merchant in most of the cases (though it is recommended for affiliates to disclose that they are promoting).

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Let’s say you have a website. You are driving traffic from various sources like Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Organic Traffic because of branding, and there could be many other sources like social media marketing, community engagement, etc.

affiliate marketing in India - how it works

Now there will be a time when you will exhaust the sources to gain more traffic or sales on your websites. More often than not, a digital marketer alone cannot drive all the possible sources of traffic to the website.

This could be due to:

  • Running out of marketing campaign ideas.
  • Exhausting different traffic sources to source from.

In this case, what should you do? This is when companies/websites rely on Affiliates to outsource more traffic. You could do revenue sharing with others who have traffic with them and benefit out of that. Now how will you do that?

affiliate marketing in india - how it works

Usually the format for affiliate links looks like this: (for say Affiliate #1) and (for Affiliate #2).

The part after “?” in the URL is called tagging the URL so that the website owner can understand which Affiliate sends him the traffic/sale. Based on this knowledge, the website owner will give commission to the respective affiliate.

Now lets see an example:

Affiliate Marketing in India - how it works with website

Affiliate 1 and Affiliate 2 both sends traffic to the website but the sale was made through Affiliate 1.

The website owner comes to know about this through the link with tag

So, the affiliate commission is sent to Affiliate 1 because his traffic converted into a sale. It’s that simple.

Affiliate marketing in india - how it works with commission

Note that in most cases, Affiliate programs are not based on earnings per click. It is based on earnings per Lead or a Sale.

You will get a clearer idea when I show you the affiliate programs.

How to become an Affiliate? (Affiliate Networks and Programs)

There are four different ways to become an affiliate and start earning from them on a regular basis.

1. Look for Affiliate Links in Homepages

In many SaaS company websites or Product company websites, within the homepage (mostly in footer or Top Navigation Bar in some cases), find the link saying affiliate and click on it to learn more about their internal affiliate program. When you know the products you want to promote, this method makes more sense.

2. Join Affiliate Networks (Commission Junction, Impact Radius, etc)

Affiliate Networks are those platforms who have a lot of merchants and affiliates both registered with them. I have personally had better success with Affiliate Networks because their process is better than individual programs. Within Network, it is easy to manage the affiliate program than have individual affiliate accounts because in affiliate networks, all your payments are consolidated according to different commissions from different merchants.

3. Apply to become an affiliate with companies (some have hidden programs)

Some companies have a hidden affiliate program which they do not reveal on their website. But are open to new and qualified affiliates – because who does not want an increased revenue in the end? In this case, just send them an email inquiring about the affiliate program and if not in place, would they be interested to have one in place with you. Opportunities are endless here.

4. Have a well known blog and let people reach out to you (my personal method)

Since DigitalDeepak has become a well known brand among Digital Marketers, a lot of affiliate program owners reach out to me to ask if I can promote their product on my website. This helps me select the right products to promote as an affiliate and saves me time from reaching out to various other websites. Again, this is also what I am planning to use for my SaaS product company OptinChat. I am going to reach out to popular blogs and give them an affiliate link to grow my revenues and share it with them.

TOP Affiliate Networks where you can earn from

top 5 affiliate marketing networks

There are a lot of networks available online these days but I suggest these networks to be the best 5:

  1. Commission junction (CJ)
  2. Amazon Associates
  3. Impact Radius
  4. ClickBank
  5. ShareAsale

If you want an India-specific affiliate network, vCommision is a good affiliate network.

There are a lot of affiliate networks that you can search on google and find. When you have narrowed down your list of affiliate networks, go ahead and sign up and complete the process of on-boarding with them including payment info and basic details. Once you get started, you will start seeing your affiliate commissions grow as your audience starts making sales.

The first time I ever got an affiliate commission was through Commission Junction in 2008 – and it was the first time I ever made money using the internet. It was a cheque worth $25. Now a days, these companies send you money directly to your bank account if it is in India. There are a few technical documentations required to get paid in your bank account.

You have to submit a form called W8 BEN Form (so that you can receive money from US to your Indian bank account and comply with tax regulations. All this you will be able to figure out once you sign up for these affiliate programs.

Some Inspiration

Passive income is the best. Every morning when you wake up, you want to see how much you are making passively with just a little effort online.

I am not boasting but I am going to share my real screenshots with you to actually show you the commissions I made using Affiliate in different affiliate programs so that it inspires you to start earning your own commissions.

How I made $2,128 USD (1.37 Lakhs INR) in April 2017 from Commission Junction (CJ)

I have been advertising a few products on CJ and the results have been really decent. Just to add here, I really love CJ’s dashboard. I can just click on Advertisers in the top navigation and get a list of products I am promoting.

Clicking on Links gives me a list of links I created and I can create more links there. Anyway, this should be a part of another blog post where I tell you how CJ functions for affiliate marketing.

For this post, let me just click on Reports and show you the numbers:

Affiliate marketing in India - examples

As you can see, the payments issued to me for the last month was $2,128 which has come to my bank account. Also, there is $3058.70 more as balance amount which I will get in next settlement.

Here is the screenshot of amount I received from CJ:

Affiliate marketing in India - cash flow

You can see how CJ pays directly to Indian Bank account. This is about it for CJ.

How I made more commissions from Impact Radius and Amazon Associates

Let me show you my Impact Radius Account now:

affiliate marketing in india - impact radius example

I am relatively new to Impact Radius and yet to get my affiliate balances, but you can see I have made Rs. 211,174 from Impact Radius alone by promoting advertisers there.

Let me now take you inside my Amazon associates account:

affiliate marketing in india - amazon associates

I am not really active on Amazon associates but I have definitely put some links in a few blog posts here and there to earn a little amount from Amazon associates (Amazon’s affiliate program).

As you can see in the screenshot, I have earned Rs. 899 last month from Amazon associates India. This is not really good but better than nothing at least. Back in 2010-2011, I was earning close to $12K-13K from Amazon Associates Global as you can see in the screenshot below:

affiliate marketing in india - amazon associates

So, you can see how there lies a huge potential in earning commissions from affiliate programs – not just in India but globally.

Internal Affiliate Program: How a review of Drip led to $400+ in affiliate commissions.

Do one thing: go to and search for “ review”.

You will see that my article (review of is ranking on top for this keyword. And when you click on this post and read the article, you will notice that I have placed affiliate link of all over the blog article.

So, whenever people search for review and land on my article, they click on Sign Up link on my blog (which is an affiliate link) and I earn commission for every sign up that goes from my blog to Note that I get 30% commission whenever someone becomes a Paid Customer of from my blog post.

Affiliate marketing in india - internal affiliate program of Drip

As you can see in the screenshot, Drip uses an affiliate program management software called Get Ambassador which is helpful to manage internal affiliate programs for the product owners. I am planning to use this for OptinChat as well.

Moving ahead, you can see I have earned $429.60 last month and $110 is yet to be processed.

Last month, I was paid out $319.80 from in their internal affiliate program. To do this yourself, you have to reach out to websites as inquire about their internal affiliate programs and then get approved for the same.

Next Action Steps for you:

1. Look for the top affiliate programs and networks and join them

This requires a process of Signing up and adhering to some technical policies by uploading some forms. The approval process might be tricky and will be based on how good your online record is. If you are a well known blogger, this will be a piece of cake. Make sure you are being compliant to all the steps required in the signing up process by the network.

2. Start a niche website to get approvals in place (email a request for approval)

Most of the times affiliate networks do not give approval because of a lot of fraudulent activities happening these days. People try to sign up using their own affiliate links and sometimes send fraudulent orders as well. So, to get approval, you need to have a good reputation and following.

Otherwise you can email them explaining:

  • How are you going to promote their products, and
  • What are the channels you are going to use to promote, etc.

This will make them gain trust in you and your approval will be easy.

It is better to have a niche website (like I have and show them the funnel for your website to get approval easily.

3. Make your first sale!

After you are approved for a few affiliate programs, go ahead and use all the Digital Marketing efforts to promote your links.

You can learn about Digital Marketing Basics in my free course. 🙂

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Affiliate Marketing

  1. Over Selling: Too much promotion is a bummer, it distracts and irritates your audience. You should rather help people with useful products that is relevant to them and let them buy as per their need.
  2. Sugar Coating: Don’t sugar coat around the product too much – be genuine about the products you are promoting. If your customer do not find the product useful as described by you, you can lose your own audience. So, be aware of the words you use.
  3. Too many Products: Avoid selling too many products – choose only those products that will be relevant to your target audience. It takes time to set up a regularly paying affiliate system for yourself but it is fruitful when started small.
  4. No Product Comparisons and Reviews: Make use of your promotion space by including comparison between 2-3 other similar products also in your reviews/promotions. Coming out with product reviews and comparisons and updating them with time will make sense for your audience and will make them buy more of those products from your affiliate link.
  5. No Testing and Tracking of Links: Not testing the flow of your promotions is a bad idea. You don’t want a broken flow. Also, never miss out on tracking your affiliate links. It is easy to get separate affiliate links for different pages (or different channels), this will help you in knowing which channel is working the best for you.

Now that you know all about Affiliate Marketing, why wait? Go ahead and try it. Let me know how it works out for you. In case you shall need any help, leave a comment below. And if you liked reading this article, do not forget to share it with those you think it will be helpful for. We can all use some passive income.

146 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing”

  1. I have tried Amazon affiliate marketing with 5 product and only 8 to 9 click I got and 0 incone, I thought I am making some mistake so I stopped. But now I will start again by seeing your article this really inspired me.
    Only the problem is don’t know how to popular my link, i hope you can help me out in this.

  2. Thank you very much for this worthable information which is really clean n understable
    I will try this and need your help if I struck any where

    Thanks and regards

  3. Dear deepak,

    This is ilesh from
    We are menswear brand.
    We want affiliates to promote our products and we are ready to pay 30% commission.
    But when i have contacted vcommission, optimize amd lot more.
    They call us back and they are ready to work on CPC basis only not CPS basis. They give clicks for 6 to 10 Rupee and conversion is just 0.5%, which is very costly.
    They are not willing to work on commissions basis.

    Let me know, how i can get those advertisers, who can work on commission basis and we can pay them 30% commission on every sale.

    If any advertisers ibterested
    Contact me at

    • It will be difficult to get people to promote your products for 30%. For such a brand, affiliate marketing will not work on the merchant level.

  4. This is very nice article on affiliate marketing. You have explained everything in lucid manner. I have already joined in your 100 days course program. This will help me to set up affiliate marketing in my web site which will be created during the course.

  5. Deepak sir, I had attended a webinar conducted by Shaw Academy recently and in the Q & A session, one of the students inquired if they could start doing Affiliate Marketing while learning Digital Marketing as a fresher. The suggestion given was that it is not advisable till one is min 6 months tenure on the job, is it true ??? pls throw some light on the same. Thanks, regards, Shibu.

  6. It’s really great..!!
    I am using cuelink but was not able to sell product how can I do to popularise.
    My blog is
    Kindly send the better features that should be added to it

  7. Dear Deepak it’s a very first time I have started to have dip into this online affiliate marketing and all credit goes to you .Thank You

  8. Affiliate earnings are great but problem affiliate websites like click bank and others are not accepting Indians due to local RBI restrictions.

    Can you guide me how to overcome this problem.

  9. Hello,
    Thank you for your in-depth exposition on Affiliate Marketing. You are indeed a blessing to many online marketers that are interested in growing up their skill. Welldone.

    My challenge is that I have been trying to promote a Network Marketing ebook as an affiliate through Clickbank and yet to make a sale. I later bought the ebook myself and learned more what it teaches on recruiting without chasing family and friends around. It was awesome. I then realised that I needed to really build my own website properly and build a list for myself instead of just sending the traffic from me to merchant website who catches their details and follow them up for other back-end products. I also observed that my little $30 commission from clickbank was eventually swallowed up by monthly charges of Clickbank within few months!

    Your lessons have been very helpful and am keen in following the steps.

    Thank you,
    Julius (Nigeria)

  10. Sir, your article on affiliate marketing is impressive. I have been looking for such an opportunity to start up this but did not know how to go about it. Sir I need to chat with you privately to explain certain things to you. Thank you for this wonderful article. Please how to I write you directly (privately). Thanks.

  11. I really commend you for the simplicity of your write up sir, thank u. I want to ask if there is a way of knowing the networks that is good for each country. Am Nigerian, I could remember there was a time I tried one of this networks but I was told, its never meant for my country. Sir, can you give me example of networks that I can register with.


  12. This article was so inspiring and educating.I really appreciate the knowledge you shared on affiliate marketing.can’t wait to have my blog and try it out

  13. Hi, thanks for sharing this resource.
    I was wondering how I can track my affiliate links.
    I heard that google analystics can be useful, but not sure how to do it.
    Please suggest how to track links in details.

  14. Impressive. Useful information about affiliate marketing. I was looking for an article on affiliate to understand its mechanism. I am very excited.
    But one thing formerly I had knew that if I am promoting a merchant’s product on my website then I would get commission from Google as well. As when a merchant start promoting their products via any method such as adwords or anything then they dont directly pay to publisher/affiliate rather they directly pay to Google and when any affiliate promotes their product then they directly get paid from Google as commission.
    Is this true?

  15. dear Deepak, I have started posting ads on my blog and my site, I have approval from Sharesale, CJ, Amazon Associates and Google Adsense too for my both sites, I have put some ads on both of my sites, people clicking on ads but not earned any revenue till now, I have started it 30-40 days. Can you guide in this regard? thanks for your beautiful articles.

  16. trying to promote Amazon product but unable to get google ranking
    with my other site the similar content got good ranking without amazon product ,can you advise me

  17. Awesome Deepak!

    I am a huge fan of yours. This info is quite interesting. And full of proofs that your teaching actually works.

    On to our all things I would really love knowing about the plugins you suggest for your fellow bloggers. As I am my self an aspiring blogger and always wonder how you harness the power of the system.

    Thank you.


  18. The information shared about Affiliate Marketing is superlative. And I see you as a great digital marketing leader and a mentor to follow.
    Unfortunately for me have not registered for the 100days course, where I will the technical knowledge .
    I want to appeal to you to still accommodate mentees, who did not meet up with registration deadline to come in.
    Many thanks.

    Yours sincerely,

    Peter Olayiwola

  19. I Think it is really good writing about affiliate marketing. No more story.. and no more promises… I will do that for you extra extra… I can understand it’s a solid real materials.
    Thanks a lot Mr dipak

  20. I am an affiliate marketer since 2015. Blogging is my passion. But I can’t make money on it because of traffic problems. can you solve this problem?

  21. Thanks sirji for your usefull guidance. I am also looking for a product for marketing purpose,is it possible for you to help me in doing it .I had come across a product by forever living product (flp) and was thinking of going with guide me .

  22. Deepak Sir, i m already working as a marketing executive from last 5 years. I want to try my marketing skills in online marketing but do not have much knowledge about digital marketing will guide how can enter in to it and suggest me to join some professional digital marketing course to join, if required.

  23. sir,
    Thank you very much for your affiliated marketing techniques. it is very much useful. My primary doubt is can we do affiliate marketing without a website/blog.? kindly advise? if not then which is best. website/blog? for blog / website the topic which topic we have to maintain and get more visitors hope you will understand my problem and advise? once again thanks in advance sir,

  24. Hi Deepak,

    thanks for sharing such information. I have heard this term many times but couldn’t search about it earlier.

    it now pushed me more to finish your 100 days program and start affiliate marketing.


  25. Many thanks for this Superlative information. I crave your indulgence to join the 100days course on blogging.
    Do I still stand the chance of joining the class.
    One of your mentee from Nigeria.

  26. Affiliate marketing changing the people lifestyle making individual to earn and stand on self respect without any worry and hurry yes, it is true that Affiliate marketing take time to discover the residual income, but It is amazing concept every one should learn it.

  27. It’s really interesting info and the best part is 5 mistakes to avoid. am a newbie to affiliate marketing was waiting for such article. Clean and in-depth one.I will note those 5 mistakes to avoid. Thanks, Deepak.

  28. Its lovely piece of information.Better
    than the rest,i loved your way of
    practical approach.Simply i loved your
    article its really helpful for new comers
    and motivational too.

  29. I haven’t done Affiliate marketing.Great..!
    Thanks for the article.
    Anyone looking to submit an article with anchor text can use my website (

  30. Dear Deepak,

    This is to tell you that the articles you write up are really help for the digital marketers like us who are in their learning phases.
    Keep posting the stuff and how can we connect personally if it is possible.

    Thanks 🙂

  31. Hi am Mary, I have a question, if one wants to become an affiliate marketer, is it a must one must have a blog, what of promoting the product via, personal Facebook page/ account.

  32. Hi sir,
    i am running a travel portal in coorg with a website . i bought website builder from godaddy and updating the website on my own. is creating an website through website builder drives less traffic? what is the difference between adwords and adwords express? which is better for leads and conversion? please reply.

  33. It’s very easy to read and understand, but very tough to replicate similar affiliate models. I found affiliate Network to be an uncertain mode of earning unless you have a full fledged system in place.

    Every one introduces affiate Marketing but very few shares the actual facts, trick n tips to get success in affiliate.

  34. Respected Sir
    i am following you from last 30 days
    i want to know that after get subscribed your course how you auto metrically send them your lessons daily???

  35. Thanks a million for your wonderful exposition. I appreciate and will continue to follow your beautiful advice. All the best.

  36. Hello Deepak Ji,
    I like your way of presenting the facts. After reading this article I am surprised to see such huge income from affiliate marketing. Is it true ?
    I can’t believe it.

  37. Hi deepak,

    very interactive and informative post on affiliate marketing. i have started my own website and have done seo and some ppc campaigns on it, now I am looking for some affiliate marketing stuff, so the tips you provided are of good use to me to understand it better,

    Thanks again!!

  38. Well, this is one of the best post on affiliate Marketing I have seen. To the point and well explained points. Thanks Deepak Sir for this informative post

  39. This is a great piece. Having read this, i feel like I made a mistake with the political analysis focus I gave my website of one year old. I feel now like changing it to a niche that can easily attract sellable products to market.

    Any advise on how best to do this?

    Thank you.

  40. Thanks for Sharing Valuable information on Affiliate Marketing . We Blueaspire also is one of the best training Institute in hyderabad. We hired Experienced Faculty, google employees as guest lectures .We are offering Complete Digital Marketing Course with Placement for our students.
    Once again Thanks for your Information. check our site at

  41. It’s good but it’s incomplete there are lots of points are not cover here like how we know which is top performing products and campaigns. Point no 2 how we Promote that like u didn’t mention any traffic sources, and the exact Targeting. And lot more things like what kind of landing pages u used. I will b very thank full if u share more info.

  42. This is very useful information for those who are new to this digital marketing field.I am one of them , thanks for your guidance.

  43. Excellent article ever read on affiliate marketing.
    Sir I have open CJ and clicbank and Amazon affiliate account. But out of that I only using Amazon. Please can u make video or blog post on how to use each such successful affiliate tool. I can’t understand the dashboard

  44. Sir I see your mail,I don’t knowledge about affiliate marketing. Can I join your course which starts 10th sep. Also what is the cost of the course.
    I waiting your valuable answer sir.

  45. Sir thanks
    I would like to know more and what amount of time it requires because i am graduating in technical field, so time is issue ,can i take it as optional,may be just 1-2 hours a day….if any suggestion it would be helpful.

  46. Hey Deepak
    I have a doubt regarding Affiliate marketing. What will happen if someone clicks on an affiliate link from my blog but decides to buy the product later and directly buys the product from the site instead of going through my site. Will I be oaid the commission in such a case?

  47. Hi Deepak garu,

    Its very Glad to read ur Articles about Affiliated blog Thanks for sharing Keep Doing same
    I want to become Digital marketing expert please can we have some discussion

  48. thanks for giving valuable information about affiliate marketing because i am ready to start affiliate marketing, it can help me alot, i know about you from tedx video i am regular follower of tedx.

  49. Is it possible.
    To open a website, put 10 gadget reviews and informations with amazon affiliate link.

    and then instead of promoting the website everywhere on social media and other circles. I buy traffic from websites which charge you about 300-500$ and in return you have a traffic/sales from your website around 1000$

    I had a friend do this before. But he never told me the source from where he bought his traffic. He used to make every month 3-4 website with 10 gadget reviews. and then buy traffic from website and generate income… after several months, amazon affiliate ban their account knowing its cheating and cancel the last check. But you have already made your money… and then he makes different website and starts again.

  50. Hey Deepak Sir,
    Amazing content and very helpful for all. Thank you for sharing informative knowledge.Sir your tips are very helpful for me. I got a good result in affiliate marketing.

  51. This is a very nice article on affiliate marketing. I am a newbie to affiliate marketing was waiting for such article. hope this information should be turned valuable guidance to a newbie like me.

  52. Hey Deepak Sir,
    Big fan sir amazing content and very helpful for all. Thank you for sharing informative knowledge. Sir your tips are very helpful to me. I got a good result in affiliate marketing.

  53. Thanks for the great article Deepak, I loved the part where you discuss the mistakes which are to be avoided. Seems, I’m making couple of them. I’ll start rectifying them now.

  54. This is the right place what I was trying to find out about affiliate marketing. Thanks for this Guide. Thanks. Hope one Day i will earn through Affiliation Marketing.

  55. Hiii Deepak

    This is the right place what I was trying to find out about affiliate marketing. Thanks for this Guide. Thanks. Hope one Day i will earn through Affiliation Marketing.Thanks for the great article Deepak, I loved the part where you discuss the mistakes which are to be avoided.

    It happens many times that what we search on Google, we don’t get the exact solution to our problems. But looking at your posts, It seems you are a problem-solving guy. Appreciate it. Thank you for the guide.
    Mangesh Kumar Bhardwaj


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