How to work as an Affiliate


Learn how to work as a Digital Affiliate with our 11 tips

Learn the 3 steps + 11 tips to help you enter the digital market as an affiliate!


01/11/2022 | By Hotmart

What will we see in this post

Is learning how to work as an affiliate one of your goals for this year? Well, did you know that this is a great idea? According to a study conducted by Cisco Visual Networking Index, content and video consumption online will grow 34% by 2022.

By riding this wave, affiliate programs will be doing some great surfing. But enough puns, let’s get down to brass tacks; or better yet, the story.

The business model we have today includes affiliate marketing as one of its pillars. In this new marketing format, producers offer commissions to third parties that bring in new customers.

Of course, without an efficient system, controlling such referrals was a major affiliate marketing challenge. However, companies such as PC Flowers & Gifts in 1989, and Amazon, in 1996, with its Associate Program, found more advantages than problems in this model and invested in the idea.

Since then, other brands and businesses made affiliate marketing history:

  • 1998: Launch of the first affiliates networks: Commission Junction and Clickbank, which in addition to being more accessible to smaller e-commerce companies, also offered payment methods that facilitated commercial transactions between vendors and their affiliates;
  • 2000: The UK Federal Trade Commission established certain market rules and guidelines;
  • 2008: Was the US’s turn to create laws for the sector, such as Nexus Tax and product promotion guidelines;
  • 2010: Hotmart’s Alpha version was born;
  • 2017: Hotmart became the largest digital Affiliates network in Latin America, in addition to solving several pain points and needs of digital producers and their promoters.

This story is still evolving, as improvements focusing on the three principal affiliate marketing players are implemented, who are: buyers, digital producers and affiliates.

In other words, it’s a growing market that is aligned with our society and the corporate world that is becoming increasingly digital, eager for quality information, memorable learning experiences, and digital entrepreneurship opportunities.

Could you imagine that your intention of studying more about affiliate marketing would have so many historical nuances and statistics that validate your choice?

Well believe it, and there’s much more. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to work as a digital affiliate. Check it out!

Affiliate programs

This type of program is based on affiliate marketing that has the goal of using people’s influence and promotional power to promote specific products and services.

Of course, sales conversions result in a commission for those who facilitated them.

Who’s involved in the Affiliate program?

The program combines three important elements: the digital producer, the affiliate, and the consumer.

Digital producers

Digital producers are those who have the knowledge and would like to convey it to others while being paid. However, they don’t always wish to invest in advertising and selling it, but would rather dedicate their time to the production of content, for example.


Those who are self-employed, entrepreneurs or merely interested in developing a source of income, either as their main source or alternative, taking advantage of their connections or marketing and distribution knowledge.

Actually, with the market solutions being offered, these characteristics aren’t required in order to choose this mode, but the skills can be acquired, as you are doing now by reading this article.

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Consumers or customers

Consumers or customers are those who consume the digital products being offered. But first, they need to find the content or tools they need to feel good about making their purchases digitally.

Do you see how this all ties in with affiliate programs?

A platform provides convenience and reliability, where affiliates select the digital products that best attend to their audience, and producers have a sales force in their favor, which is much more powerful than selling their products individually.

How it works from the affiliate’s point of view

The process is quite simple and as we mentioned earlier, it has evolved according to the challenges and failures that have come up in affiliate marketing, as was the case with identifying who helped make the sale.

In the end, with digital affiliate programs, this problem was solved with a simple solution cookies.

These are small link extensions that can track browsing and direct potential customers to a specific page of a producer. It’s as if it were a store’s super-secret address that, in order to access and buy, customers need to be invited first.

Thus, an affiliate program has a series of registered digital products with unique conditions and commissions that are established by its producers.

So, what are the steps of becoming an affiliate?

  1. Affiliates select the items that are most compatible with their marketing strategy and the target audience they wish to work with or that they already have, as is the case of influencers, for example;
  2. From the moment they choose and accept to promote a specific product, they receive a link with their own private cookie, which will indicate when they’ve made a sale;
  3. With this link, customers are able to access the product, select their payment method, and conclude the purchase. When the transaction is processed, will have the commission automatically included for the affiliate.

How it works is uncomplicated, the affiliate experience as a user is very easy, as is the buying environment for the end customer.

So, are you ready to start selecting products? It’s a fun and inspiring step that makes you imagine the success you can have!

But first, you need to know: the most common types of programs in order to know how to work as an affiliate, which programs are more compatible with your profile, and of course, how to develop your own sales strategies.

Let’s get down to planning and organizing, which two key things you need to do to succeed in this market.

The 4 most common types of Affiliates

We need to point out that this is the financial strategy part. By understanding the 4 principal types of affiliation, you’ll understand how each one pays and which one is most compatible with the way you work. Check them out:

Pay per click

Your goal here is to make potential customers click on the provided link.

What matters for digital producers is that customers view the information contained in the next page, but doesn’t necessarily proceed to a sale.

But making this system profitable takes many clicks, i.e., just asking your friends on social media and family members isn’t enough. For good returns, the volume has to be high.

In addition, clearly malicious actions are constantly being discovered, such as cases of click fraud.

A very famous affiliate program that uses the CPC, Cost per click, method is Google AdSense, and as expected, it’s constantly trying to counter and eliminate any fraud.

Many clicks originating from the same IP address, for example, are identified by its security systems. In addition to blocking the source of suspicious clicks, this action also places the affiliate who owns the banner under investigation.

Another illicit form that must be countered are Trojan horses, which are a type of program that uses IP addresses from various computers in order to obtain clicks.

Although they are harder to detect, this fraud is also countered by protection services and those in charge of them, who are often legally liable for the damage caused.

Pay per thousand impressions

Given effort in this case is even less, i.e., visitors don’t even have to click on the link with cookies, just view it. Thus, if you have a blog, just place a banner with the access offer and that’s it.

This model normally pays less than pay per click. And by analyzing the current market, it’s probably going to go extinct soon.

Pay per purchase

As you might guess, it pays its affiliates for each sale made. It’s the most common method and most times, it’s advantageous when you consider the amount of commissions received. It’s also the method used on the Hotmart platform.

This method requires closer attention and organization of the sales steps. The planning of how to capture your customers, which communication channels to use, the frequency of contacts, among other details, are essential things you need to do.

Of course, when you work the digital affiliation pillars into these strategies well, the number of opportunities generated in this system are very attractive. All you have to do is convert.

If you don’t know or have questions about said pillars, we’ll tell you in the next topic below.

Pay per lead

This system is somewhere between pay per click and per purchase and pays affiliates according to the number of leads, or in other words, the potential customers they’ve generated.

So, if an affiliate promotes a link with cookies and this link direct users to a registration page, a lead gets identified and the remuneration is recorded.

However, few programs adopt this method.

The digital affiliation pillars

Entering the affiliate marketing world isn’t complicated. Most platforms only require you to be of legal age.

So, all you have to do to become an affiliate is sign up and start sharing the link? Some people believe this is true, and most of them give up after a few days. Their links are usually ignored, or at best, lead to purchases by family and friends.

It’s not a sustainable scenario. So, in order to get going in the affiliation market you need to put the 4 pillars first with 3 basic steps:

Step 1: Find your audience

If you already work as an influencer, are an expert in a given area or have a hobby, for example, you master knowledge in which some people might be interested in and look to you as an authority on the subject.

Can this knowledge help solve the pain points and needs of this audience? If you’ve mastered cooking and love to teach basic techniques to teenagers and young couples, for example, they will be your audience.

People who don’t know how to cook are usually young, newlyweds, live alone, or don’t know much about food and its properties this is an example of an audience, and you need to find yours.

Considering the areas you’ve mastered makes it easier to convey authority on the subject, understand your audience’s needs that can be met with your digital products, know which type of language is more suitable, and the right channel to communicate with your audience.

Step 2: Products selection and the best affiliate programs

After you’ve defined your audience, now is the time to choose which digital products will be sold.

Choosing which affiliate program to sign up for is also important. After all, it has to be reliable and compatible, with both your needs and the needs of your audience.

Evaluate the payment methods it offers to the end customer, its affiliate sales management, and account withdrawal options. Depending on the country where you live, some of them offer withdrawals in foreign currencies, for example.

With the ideal platform and the selection of the digital products being done according to your audience’s needs, it’s time to start advertising.

Step 3: Create your content strategically

It’s time to build relationships and authority by offering quality content, so let’s get started.

Creating a blog, a social media profile and creating texts that attract, educate and convince customers about the best solution for their problem is a well-known concept in content marketing: the sales funnel.

In the funnel, the sales approach is much less aggressive; it promotes a good learning experience and doesn’t require large investments, only the dedication to share quality content.

For your sales funnel, consider the following steps:

  1. Attraction: You can concentrate 80% of your content in this step, explaining the pain points experienced by your audience, market trends, easy, homemade, professional solutions, etc. This will attract the attention of a larger volume of people who are interested;
  2. Nurturing and relationship: For the next 10% of the content, you can show the advantages and result that your audience would reap if they solved their problem. This step will filter the initial group from the previous step and leave only those interested in solving their problem in your process, i.e., with higher purchasing potential;
  3. Sales conversion: In the last step, the remaining 10% of the content will introduce the product, talk about the unique features that your solutions, and since you’re an authority in the subject, why you’re recommending it. The Affiliate’s direct link can be placed at the end of these materials, which must be rich in details, examples of success, etc.

After the funnel, more direct telephone contacts can also be made if the situation merits it.

There’s also another fundamental point for those who want to know how to work as an affiliate: Don’t forget about after-sales, because in addition to being potential buyers of future products you’ll offer, these customers can also make important referrals about your business.

Content marketing will create organic traffic, but you can also make small investments to promote your content with sponsored ads on Google and social media in order to attract parties that are most interested.

We’ll continue on this subject in the following tips.

11 tips on how to work as an Affiliate

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So far, we’ve learned how the affiliate business works and even talked about a few strategies to boost your pillars, right? Now it’s time to add a little more intelligence into your next moves. Here are the tips!

1. Describe who your ideal customer might be

Also called buyer persona, with all the characteristics of your ideal customer, in other words, the person you image who needs the product you’re offering.

With this representation, you can create all of your content and approaches with them in mind. Thus, you can adopt the correct strategies to reach your audience.

2. Think like your customer

Personalization is the soul of business! This cliché only serves to explain that the more in line with your customers’ needs and behavior you are, the more likely you are to win them over.

Therefore, if your customer frequently uses social media, prefers to pay with their credit card, doesn’t like to receive emails and so forth, personalize your contacts and sales process.

3. Create content regularly

Your blog or any other promotional channel is one of your main tools, and posting frequency is key in order to maintain the relationships you’ve already built and so you can attract new visitors.

In addition to demonstrating that you’re keeping up with the market and are an authority in the subject, the frequency and quality of your posts is also positive for social media and Google ranking.

In a nutshell, creating relevant content and posting frequently ensures that your blog will be ranked among the first places on Google, and will receive more organic hits. And maintaining engagement on social media makes your posts stay on your customers’ feed. Therefore, keep interacting!

4. Review your digital products meticulously

Whenever you post or describe your digital products, try to create an interesting and engaging review. If you suggest a recipe ebook, try to whet the readers’ appetite.

If the topic is an English course, convey the sensations of mastering the language for the job market or for travelling. Personalize the language and avoid being run-of-the-mill. This will create even more interest from the potential buyer.

5. Less is more when choosing your digital products

When choosing the digital products you’ll be promoting, don’t get carried away with the options.

Try to make a basic selection that will allow you to create a quality sales funnel. If you divide your attention with too many items, you might not be able to do any of them well.

A good idea is to periodically think about your actions and campaigns. How about 5 digital products for each cycle, ok?

6. Invest in newsletters and email marketing

Over time, you’ll notice that your customer base is growing and relating closely to each one will become increasingly harder. At this moment, automation becomes a necessity.

Creating newsletters and using email marketing is a smart way of maintaining frequent contact with your buyers.

In addition, with good organization and even the purchase of a few tools, you’ll be able to segment your base and send personalized content according to each profile.

7. Consider investing in paid ads

Content marketing actions generate good organic traffic; however, Google and social media algorithms limit the reach of your posts in order to improve their user experience.

But such platforms also offer solutions for those who wish to stand out: Ads and sponsored links.

You can invest to make your ads stand out in Google search results or on social media feeds that are more compatible with your offer.

However, don’t forget that this amount will cut into your profits; therefore, it needs to be well planned and targeted.

8. Evaluate your competitors’ actions

Every market has its direct or indirect competitors, and you need to know what yours are doing to convince their customers that their offer is the best.

In this sense, you need to understand that in certain cases, your competitors will be selling the exact same digital product and that essentially, your unique strategy will be your service and good relationship.

9. Measure you campaign results

If you’ve selected 5 products to work with, have created a sales funnel for each one, are working with paid ads, have a blog and social media profile, now you need to measure and evaluate their overall performance.

Select a few metrics and separate the results of each of these elements. This will help you understand what is working and what needs to be improved. This creates much more efficiency in your management.

10. Relationships are everything

Don’t think that the sale is the end of the line. You have worked hard to win over your customers, so optimize this relationship to the max.

Keep a personalized newsletter for returning customers, consider creating special promotions for them, always stay in touch with them through social media, ask them about their satisfaction with the product and write down all new information gathered. This will allow you to find new sales opportunities.

11. Choose the best digital affiliate platform

All of this requires the right environment, a trustworthy partner, and a selection of digital products that pleases your customers.

But how can you do this? What should you evaluate? Is product selection enough or should you focus your attention on the size of your commission?

The digital affiliate platform

The answer to all of these questions is a thorough evaluation and a search for the solution that provides the greatest package of benefits for you and your customers.

You need to remember that your authority at risk, okay? So, a good idea is to establish a set of criteria and priorities that will influence your choice. Among them, consider those that:

  • Have digital products that are well-accepted in the market, which indicates that the platform attracts good producers and has the know-how for their promotion;
  • Offer support and a knowledge base for their affiliates, making sure that they can evolve in their strategies and answer questions whenever necessary;
  • Offer flexible payment methods;
  • Present data security policies for its producers, affiliates and customers;
  • Have a user-friendly platform that is easy to manage.

The right time and partner to put it all in practice

Venturing into the digital world has its advantages, of course! Everything is at your fingertips, from content such as this one that explain in detail who are the participants in this market, its success indicators and formulas for the creation of strategies, the necessary tools, such as digital affiliate platforms.

So, if you’re able to carry out your project, plan your business, and choose a reliable affiliate platform, these are probably the key elements to your success, don’t you think?

Do you see how easy it is to learn how to work as an affiliate? We’re sure that at least a few ideas in this article have made you excited since they are completely aligned with your digital project. So, don’t waste any more time! We have an affiliate guide that explains how to make your first sale.