For people who strive for passive income, which is cash flow received on a regular basis requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it, affiliate marketing can be a viable go-to method.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is promoting other people's services or products earning you a commission when customers make a purchase. The commission is from revenue sharing. For example, if you have a product or service you want to sell more of, you can offer a financial incentive to people to help you promote it.

The affiliate website typically consists of product reviews. An interested visitor clicks on the affiliate link to view the product or service on the website of the advertiser.

An affiliate network coordinates advertisers with affiliate marketers and efficiently tracks referrals through cookies, small files that hold data from a website. Once the buyer makes a purchase on the advertiser's website and while the cookie still exists, usually 30 days, the purchase will be counted towards a commission for the affiliate marketer. Depending on the affiliate program, the commission ranges from less than 10 percent and can be up to 80 percent of the sale.

Affiliate Marketing Companies

There are several affiliate marketing companies to choose from. You must do your research to determine which would be best for you. Make sure to read the fine print to learn the various requirements of advertisers, their commission structure and the cookie timeframe.

ClickBank: On ClickBank's website, you will browse through various categories and find the product you wish to advertise. If you want to view the vendor's page, you can click the listing title and there will be statistics where you can see how much they will pay you for referred sales. Next, all you have to do is click on "promote," wait for your approval from the vendor, then get your link and start collecting sales.

Amazon Associates Program: This is one of the most well-established online affiliate marketing programs. Once you sign up to be an Amazon Associate, you browse categories such as books, electronics and other products you wish to advertise, post your link and the product on your website or blog and social media. When people click your link and ultimately make a purchase, you will earn up to 15 percent of the total sale.

eBay: Look through the eBay listings and choose what you're most passionate about. Share your link with your blog and followers on social media. Each time someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you will receive a commission. All of your commission will be tracked and you will be paid once a month. eBay partners will be paid between 50 percent and 70 percent of the total sale. The percentage varies on the category of the item.

How to Get started With Affiliate Marketing

If affiliate marketing appeals to you, first decide where and how you are going to promote the products and services. You can create a website specifically for your choice of products and services, adding valuable related content to generate traffic or post links to blogs, social media and emails. A combination of these marketing techniques works best. Your goal is to grow your fan base and followers. Targeted traffic is a priority for any successful affiliate business.

If you create your own services and products and wish to have affiliate partners who advertise and promote your offerings, you can use tools such as Digital Product Delivery or Gumroad to set up an affiliate marketing program.