Digital Marketing VS Affiliate Marketing (Simple Guide)

Digital Marketing VS Affiliate Marketing

Digital Marketing VS Affiliate Marketing: What’s the difference?

I never knew there was a difference between the two, until I attended a Google Digital Garage course.


Today, you’ll discover at least 3 differences of digital marketing and affiliate marketing.

I recently took a certification through Google Digital Garage so that I could understand more in depth what the difference is between having digital marketing skills and affiliate marketing skills were.

Fundamentals of digital marketing certificate Lakisha Akbar 1

As the internet and electronic devices become increasingly important in our daily lives, the need for digital marketing strategies will also increase.

Therefore, businesses are using digital channels more than ever. Additionally, the opportunities in this sector are excellent as well.

Today nearly, all online retailers from the TOP 500 list, have an affiliate program.

Digital Marketing

In simple terms digital marketing does include selling. Basically, it’s the method that will be used to reach your audience.

It’s the way you decide to advertise, promote, and reach a group of people.

It covers every internet marketing method possible.

The difference between digital advertising and traditional advertising is a digital marketer uses digital technology and platforms, which allows them to analyze their marketing efforts.

In addition to that, it gives them the ability to understand what is working – and what isn’t.

This all typically happens in real time.

As a digital marketer your goal is to reach the right people at the right time. And all this all happens online.

Digital marketing activities allows online business to drive traffic and generate more leads from the internet.

To help you better understand, when you see the word digital marketing, think of electronic devices and the internet.

In other words, digital marketing refers to promoting your online business products through several different digital channels. It involves

  • Sales Funnel
  • YouTube Ads or YouTube Channels
  • Email Marketing
  • Press releases
  • Online newspapers
  • SEO also known as Search Engine Optimization
  • Google Ads or Pay Per Click
  • Microsoft Ads
  • Social Media Marketing with paid ads or free organic marketing
  • Quora Ads
  • Online communities of Forums
  • SMS Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Click Tracking

The main point is, it’s advertising in any internet based method.

Pretty cool, huh!

Either way, if you’d like to learn more about the fundamentals of digital marketing, check out Google’s course, it’s free.

Traditional Methods

As a traditional business, internet advertising may not be needed to drive and generate new leads. Instead, they are capable of attacking the local audience within their area.

Traditional marketing works well because, the local audience is familiar with the business. However, depending on the business, and what is offered, traditional marketing can limit certain capabilities.

Such as more sales, more traffic, and income.

Local business can advertise through billboards, Newspapers or word of mouth.

Moreover the local audience will notice the advertisements however, people a few hours away may never come into contact with that billboard, flyer, or brochure

This is where digital marketing would benefit, if the local business wanted to expand their audience, they would need to come up with a digital marketing strategy.

Affiliate Marketing Difference

As an affiliate, you join affiliate programs. Once you have an affiliate partner, you’ll grab an affiliate link, and promote other peoples products.

The question is, how do you do that?

We use digital marketing techniques!

Typically, the affiliate is not advertising traditionally, instead they are promoting digitally.

As a matter of fact affiliate marketers become digital marketers when they decide to do direct response copywriting, SEO, content creation, video marketing, and so on.

The point is using digital gives you a broad range of marketing activates.

Decide on a method or two, maybe even three . The goal is to ultimately drive traffic and brand awareness.

Furthermore, as an affiliate, you don’t own a product.

In fact, you haven’t even thought about creating a product.

So, instead of being paid by the sales that your own product generates.

It a performance based marketing, where you earn a commission percentage, promoting other businesses products.

It All Stated With This Company

In 1994 a company named CDNOW, started its BuyWeb program – which also happens to be the first well-known companies to offer online business goods.

Following Amazon, who continued the model in 1996. Today, you have the ability to either get a job with Amazon or become one of their Amazon Associates.

As an Amazon Associate, which is also an affiliate.

You would promote Amazons different products or services digitally, in exchange for a commission.

This Is What Affiliate Marketing Is

Pro’s of Digital Marketing

Outreach Is Maximized

As you recently learned, the beauty this mehtod is reaching a higher level of exposure by advertising on any online platform.

The idea is to reach as many people as you can within your target audience.

By the way, businesses online and local, can drive traffic to their website or domains digitally, and not only would it increase traffic, but, it could also increase sales.

More Affordable Than Traditional Marketing

Compared to traditional marketing methods, digital marketing can be more cost efficient.

For example, advertising via a blog would cost you nearly nothing compared to advertising within a newspaper.

In fact the YouTube video below, is a form of digital marketing. It’s called video marketing.

You don’t have to market on YouTube, you could use any form of digital marketing you prefer.

Attracts Your Idea Client

The audience reach is amazing, not only will you attract a larger audience.

You’ll also be attracting the audience that is most likely to buy from you. Consequently improving your conversion rates.

Your whole goal as a marketer is take the customer on a journey.

From introduction, awareness of your business, to conversion.

Many marketers use a sales funnel to increase their efforts.

So, in short, you’ll want to learn how to build a sales funnel, so that you can eventually automate your sales.

Instant Communication

Isn’t it amazing how we went from sending smoke signals to sending instant communications?

Indeed, our communication methods have come a long way.

Can you imagine how long it took back in the days just, to communicate something important?

With digital marketing, you won’t have to worry about how long it takes to get your message across because, you’ll have access to reach your audience instantly.

For example, some use an autoresponder, which allows you to send out instant emails to an entire group of people.

Pro’s of Affiliate Marketing

Unattached Affiliate Marketing

Literally, there’s no attachment. As an affiliate, you aren’t attached to the product, or service.

Say you have a primary business such as a Shopify store or an Esty store.

You could drive traffic to your blog that promotes other peoples products – then send those same people to your current e-commerce store that promotes your own products.

The difference here is affiliate marketing is promoting someone else’s products and getting paid for it when you make a sale.

No Limit To Your Income

You’re earning potential, is up to you, and whatever that is to you, do know that it’s passive income.

You can make as little as you’d like, or as much as you can.

As they say, “The sky’s the limit.”

There’s no cap to how much you can make.

In most cases there’s also no disciplinary actions or quotas to meet.

So, if you don’t meet a certain level of selling products.

No worries because there are no requirements of what you can and can’t make.

Compared To A Traditional Business Rules Are Different

In some cases, with affiliate marketing, you can get started for free while with traditional businesses it takes a bit more startup effort.

Getting started online, especially as an affiliate doesn’t require a loan, credit check, or background check.

On the other hand, with a brick and mortar business, you would have to go through all three methods before you can start your business.

With this in mind, affiliate marketing still has rules and it does comes with expenses because, its considered a business.

The only difference here is that affiliate marketing is not an expensive business to start as a traditional business would be. Therefore, it’s more affordable.

What Is Your Business Plan 1

Affiliate vs Digital

To Create Or Not To Create

Product creation?

With affiliate marketing you’re not the product owner or creator.

Therefore, you don’t need skills to create a product, own it, or store it.

In fact, you don’t even need a plan – at least not right away.

All you need to do is have the courage to start.

Okay, so this is where it gets confusing.

Remember an affiliate owns no products at all. Not even an online course.

But, that affiliate still needs to bring brand awareness to their business.

So, technically a digital marketer can fall on both sides.

They either promote other peoples products using online methods which means they would remain an affiliate.

Or they can promote their own products with means they are no longer considered just an affilaite.

And as a digital marketer creating your own products, you will need a plan. Digital marketers are involved with their own product maintains, sells handling, complaints and so on.

An affiliate is just the middle man, or woman driving traffic to other peoples brands, products, and services.

You’ll make a sale once a customer buys through your affiliate link, and the company that you’re affiliated with gives you a percentage of that sale and pays you in commissions.

On the other hand, with digital marketing you’ll still drive traffic to your product that you created. Make a sale and you get paid based on your own personal sales revenue.


Time And Location Freedom

You must decide what is more important to you. While both can allow you more time and location freedom than a traditional employer, I still believe there’s a difference that you should be aware of.

It’ll also depend on what matters the most to you.

In my opinion, affiliate marketers advertise digitally, so there is an advantage.

Instead of being permanently stuck to one location, a desk, or building, you can work when you want and where you want.

This is an advantage to a busy mom because, it’ll allow you to attend to your children and earn an income in your spare time.

So, that you can work towards your family’s financial goals.

As an affilaite there’s no certain schedule to follow besides the one that you set for yourself.

In addition to this, not being a product creator gives you a bit more freedom because the company that you’re partnered with has to do all the worrying about things that you don’t have too.

To explain in further details, as a product creator, you have to keep in mind that you are the one that is responsible for the maintenance on whatever product you create.

And it has to always be up to date.

You must provide customer service by answering any questions, and disputes.

You’ll have to deal with refunds.

Plus, many other active activities that’ll require more work than being an affiliate.

I’ve seen product creators put in a ton of work into their course creations. It’s almost like they work 24/7.

Of course, things can change if you leverage other people’s time and skills by outsourcing.

With that in mind, it brings me to the last difference.

Affiliate Marketing Does Not Require Staff

Bering an affiliate, you can choose to run the entire show by yourself and still make a full time income. Or you can hire additional help to scale your efforts even more.

Furthermore, digital marketers have a full time responsibility, while affiliate marketing can be done part time.

Digital Marketing VS Affiliate Marketing 1 1

Also See:

Affiliate Marketing vs Digital Marketing Conclusion

By now, I hope you have a better understanding of the differences between digital marketing vs affiliate marketing.

If not, be sure to leave your questions or comments below.

The bottom line is, digital marketing is a broad aspect of marketing online while affiliate marketing focuses on certain channels of marketing while promoting other peoples products.

It’s also important that you learn the disadvantages of affiliate marketing. So, it’s up to you to decide which side of the fence you prefer to be on.

Lakisha Akbar

Lakisha Akbar

2 thoughts on “Digital Marketing VS Affiliate Marketing (Simple Guide)”

  1. Hi Lakisha, I guess they do come across as quite similar to people that don’t really know but there are differences like you’ve mentioned. I think affiliate marketing is a good place to start but digital marketing is the next level. Instead of doing the donkey work for others you can essentially either sell your digital products for best part of 100% profit or you can create your own affiliate program. I been toying with this myself. Sold 2 ebooks in the past couple years £5 each nothing major but I would love to do this more. Think running a website is a good opportunity for it. Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Alex, you’re welcome and thank you for clearing the airway. You’re exactly right affiliate marketing is where a beginner should start especially, if they are new to the idea. Then after that, digital marketing would be the next level.

      As you mentioned creating your own affiliate program, that is a digital marketing method I didn’t think of – Thanks for helping us add this to the list. eBooks is another method that I never thought of either. And you’re right it fits perfectly with Digital marketing. As we can see digital marketing can take all forms.

      By the way, congratulations on starting an eBook and making some sales with it. The amount doesn’t matter as much as getting started. That in itself is a grand stepping stone. I agree, see other marketers running websites for these types of opportunities. I say go for it. Wishing you the best and continued success.


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