Affiliate Marketing – An Introduction

When I used to hear the term “affiliate marketing” I pictured a confident American telling me how I “too could make $20k in your first month!” A stereotypical get rich quick scheme!


Little did I know that this was one dark corner of the affiliate marketing world. The reality is much more credible and is actually happening without you even realising it.

Affiliate marketing is basically promoting someone else’s products or services to your audience and making a commission on every product / service sold.

It is absolutely possible to generate some serious income from affiliate marketing but this will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears – believe me I’ve been there!

So for all you newbie or wannabe affiliate marketers – here are the basics you will need to know…


Before you can even begin to think about becoming an affiliate marketer you will need an audience. Without an audience you will have no one to market to and no means of generating any traffic or sales.

The easiest way to grow an audience is to choose something you are passionate about, something you enjoy reading about, researching and something you won’t get bored of.

You will also need to think about where you are going to grow your audience. This could be via a personal blog, a social media page, an email database or all of the above.

There are lots of different ways to grow an audience which I will discuss in more detail in a later blog post but for now let’s pretend that your audience is ready and waiting for you to market to them.

Affiliate Networks

So you have your audience and now you want to promote some products and hopefully start to generate some revenue!

The first thing you need to do is join some affiliate networks – these are the middle men who track the consumer journey and ensure that you are paid for any sales you generate (I’ve listed a few below)

Once you have joined an affiliate network, you can then start to apply to join specific retailer programmes. So for example, if you are a fashion blogger you might want to promote products from the likes of Topshop, Missguided, Boohoo etc.

You will need to apply to each of these programmes individually and the account managers will decide whether or not they want your brand promoting their’s.

Not all retailers will accept you straight away so be prepared to have your application rejected, especially if you audience is small.

A follow up email to the account manager asking why your application was rejected can help you to understand what you need to work on in order to be accepted next time.

Now there are lots of affiliate networks out there – far too many to mention here so I am going to show you the main affiliate networks in the UK which we use here at The Office Rocks…

  1. Affiliate Window


By far my favourite of the UK networks. Home to some of the UK’s top online retailers including Tesco DirectAsda GeorgeJohn Lewis, Marks and Spencer, ASOS, TK Maxx, and more!

Although it isn’t perfect the insights available within the AWin interface are by far the best in the industry for publishers. VISIT Affiliate Window to sign up now.

2. Webgains

Another great network to sign up to. The interface is simple, clean and with excellent reporting. Although it doesn’t have as many big names as Affiliate Window, it does have some fantastic programmes including Mothercare, Ann Summers, Jojo Maman Bebe, The Works, Mobile Phones Direct, The Book People and more. VISIT Webgains to sign up now.



3. Skimlinks

Skimlinks is a sub affiliate network which means that rather than having to join individual programmes you can promote any retailers within the Skimlinks network. This is great for when your application to join an affiliate programme has been rejected. As long as that retailer is part of the Skimlinks portfolio, you can promote them. Skimlinks will take a 25% cut of all of your revenue but it’s a small price to pay to be able to promote retailers relevant to your audience. VISIT Skimlinks to sign up now.

4. Amazon

Now I don’t know anyone who doesn’t shop on Amazon which is what makes the Amazon Associates Affiliate Network worth signing up to. It’s easy peasy to create links and payments are made every month which is great news for your cash flow. CREATE your Amazon Associates account now.

5. Ebay Partner Network (EPN)

This is quickly becoming one of my favourite networks! Links are easy to create and the products are limitless. VISIT Ebay Partner Network to find out more.


Other networks to consider include…

Linkshare – home to Monsoon, Accessorize, River Island, Smyths Toys and more.

Commission Junction – home to Argos, Gap, Homebase, Toys r us and more.

Affilinet – home to Debenhams, Matalan, Lacoste, Hotel Chocolat and more.

Affiliate Future – home to Jet2 holidays, Warren James, Mecca Bingo and more.


Need help getting yourself set up? We offer affiliate marketing training sessions covering everything from how to grow an valuable audience to how to get your brand accepted onto a specific retailer programme.

Get in touch now and #grabafreehour



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The Office Rocks Ltd
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Hope Street Exchange
Sunderland, SR1 3QD