Before jumping into starting an affiliate marketing business, learn all that's involved in making it a success. More importantly, if you decide to pursue an affiliate marketing business, or want to add affiliate marketing to an existing business, understand that it's not fast, automatic, nor without effort. Like all home businesses, ​you need a plan and daily involvement to make money with an online affiliate marketing.
The terms of an affiliate marketing program are set by the company wanting to advertise. Early on, companies were largely paying cost per click (traffic) or cost per mile (impressions) on banner advertisements. As the technology evolved, the focus turned to commissions on actual sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by software, as could impressions.
Jump up ^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). "Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing". Feed Money.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.
Watch them. How are other content creators in your niche utilizing advertising? What types of ads do they use? What are they promoting? What do they talk about repeatedly (if you keep seeing the same affiliate product show up again and again, there’s a good chance they’re making good money from it)? If you see a product or service they talk about that jogs your memory and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the methods described above.
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 
Epic post! I've been hunting around various sites like Pat Flynn's and others, but they never put everything together as you have. Now it starting to make sense for once. So, I'm a newbie and don't even know the different between internet marketer and digital marketer or what this type of business is even called. I just want to learn this business and create a small passive income online in any niche. Because I know very little, I was actually planning to use this very same Sales Funnel in your diagram and all the tools mentioned to make my first couple of bucks online.
My situation is I'm a Professor and Program Director for a Community College teaching massage therapy, a very in-demand field yet my college does little marketing. It's my job to recruit students. I have a Facebook page and Twitter, and about 100+ followers on each. Can you see this type of system with funnels etc. working to help recruit potential students? If so, how? I feel like building content and creating opt ins should help, as we too are offering a "product". Thanks for your time!

Its amazing of the many affiliate programs that are out there where people are making a good living from them. For example the few that you mention that has such a great training model, wealthy affiliate tops them all because of the way this business is structure and I believe that wealthy affiliate has the best training program in the world when it comes to affiliate marketing. Thanks for sharing.
Use your personal words & experience with the product. Your own content, or photos & videos of yourself using the product are always the most effective. For example, many affiliate programs provide swipe copy to their affiliates which is pre-written emails, post material or social media posts. These can be helpful as a guide, but they often scream swipe copy, aren’t written in your voice (the one your readers know!) and if a lot of affiliates are using it, are overdone.
people who visited the site but did not opt in > you can use negative audiences for your ads with facebook ads, you just take visitors to the site and substract the people that visited the thank you page. For people who did not purchase, you simply can't with affiliate marketing unless the vendor adds a conversion pixel of yours on their thank you page.
In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[17]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[17] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[17]:149–150
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