I will give you a very simple example. Let’s say you build up an audience of 50,000 readers and out of that 50k you have about 1% that trust you (1% of people that trust you online is actually very huge), so that equates to 500 readers. Out of that 500 readers you will have about 10% that will buy your eBook and other affiliate products, so 50 people total. So, if you are selling your eBook for $10, you will make $500. Of course it doesn’t stop there, those people that buy the eBook and like it will most likely recommend it, and you will have a snowball effect where more people keep buying your book and other affiliate products. This is just a rough example that shows you some realistic numbers. Do not ever think that if you build up a huge number of readers that they will all trust you and buy the products that you promote; if it was that easy everyone would be a millionaire by now.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
This was also done by MyNetworkTV in the 2009-10 season in Des Moines, Iowa and Memphis, Tennessee after it lost their individual affiliates in those markets to other networks as it offered the network's last season of WWE Friday Night Smackdown to the local CW affiliates in both cities without forcing them to carry the remainder of MyNetworkTV's schedule.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.