Affiliate marketing is a partnership between a website owner (affiliate) and a retailer (affiliate merchant) whereby the website owner advertises the retailer on their site and receives a fee for every lead or sale generated. A partnership site that links to another site, usually for a fee or reciprocal link, is called an affiliate. An affiliate site should have a similar customer base or readership, a complementary product or service.
Affiliate marketing can form part of your digital sales strategy and often works on a “nominal retainer plus commission” basis. At its most basic, Affiliate marketing extends your reach by putting by placing an advert in front a targeted audience but more advanced forms of affiliate marketing include the use of branded content (as part of a content marketing strategy) and embedding custom sales software.
Some companies like Amazon and eBay, for example, take affiliate marketing one step further by providing specific tools for affiliate sales which enable affiliates to host their own Amzon or ebay store on their website.