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  Step 1- Understanding affiliate programs and how they work

Okay, this lesson is super important, because understanding how affiliate programs work is the backbone for everything else we'll learn. It's how you make your money, so pay attention, mmkay?

All affiliate programs are a little bit different, but in general here's how the affiliate program systems work:

You send people to company + people perform an action = you get paid for it

Different companies pay for different "actions" - most pay you for a percentage of each sale.

Here are the typical actions companies pay for, along with their technical name so you'll know what it is when you're signing up:

  • Pay per lead - this usually means an email address, but basically it means someone is giving the company their information
  • Pay per click - simple, you get paid when people click on your link. Be careful not to click through your own links, though, most programs don't allow this.
  • Pay per sale - this pays you for every time someone clicks through your link and buys something. This is by far the most common affiliate model you'll come across.

For the purpose Pinterest marketing, I like to use a mix of affiliate program types, but in general the programs that perform best are the pay per click and the pay per sale.

I'm not against pay per lead programs, I like them very much and use them often, but I haven't found that they perform as well as other promotions do on Pinterest.

Other terms to know

Do you feel like you're back in school yet? Only a few more little things so you know

  • Merchant - the people/company paying you to share their product
  • Affiliate - that's you
  • Commission - the money you get paid

A quick note on commissions: sometimes programs have minimums, or a threshold before they can pay you. This is pretty standard and you should not let it scare you off or prevent you from signing up for the program.