Affiliate Marketing Vs Lead Generation: Here’s The Difference

Affiliate marketing and lead generation are two great strategies that can help you build your online business, but how are they different?

Let’s talk about everything that you need to know when it comes to this topic.

Affiliate Marketing And Lead Generation Explained

affiliate marketing vs lead generation

Affiliate marketing allows you to get paid for referring customers to a company. Lead generation is the process of capturing prospects that are interested in what you offer.

It’s pretty straightforward when you get another quick snippet of the differences below:

  • Affiliate marketing is about making sales for someone else.
  • Lead generation captures interested prospects (for you or someone else).

Another key distinction that was mentioned above is the fact that you’re usually utilizing the process of affiliate marketing for other companies.

The only time when that differs can be when you have your own affiliate marketing program, and you are paying others to get sales for you (which is referred to as commissions).

Where it gets tricky comes down to the overlap of leveraging both affiliate marketing and lead generation together.

So Is Lead Generation The Same As Affiliate Marketing?

Overall, lead generation isn’t going to be the same as affiliate marketing, unless a company pays you by getting them leads (and not making a purchase).

This is where you’re going to start to see some of the overlaps when it comes to lead generation and affiliate marketing.

Given the fact that both of these strategies work very well, you can actually combine them together:

  • Lead generation to capture visitors who are interested in your niche.
  • Sell your affiliate offers to the leads that you captured originally.

Right now you might be wondering how you can generate leads and utilize affiliate marketing, so let’s move on to that next.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Generate Leads?

Generating leads is going to be the first part of the process, and you can do this thanks to the help of a few different pages/tools.

Here are the bare essentials when it comes to generating leads with affiliate marketing. You are going to need (at the very least):

  • A squeeze page (this is where someone enters their email).
  • A thank you page (they get directed to this page after opting-in).
  • Lastly, you are going to need autoresponder software for sending emails.

The good news is that there are plenty of tools that actually come with all three of the mentioned requirements above. Even better, they are relatively inexpensive. Here is one of my favorite tools that comes with a free trial.

After someone signs up on your squeeze page, they automatically get added to your email marketing list. From there, you can have them get put on an autoresponder series (and that’s where all of the fun happens).

An autoresponder series is a bunch of emails that you pre-set and your leads get them on specific days. The only thing that you need to do is write your emails and then set them to be sent out to your leads on specific days.

In other words, you can have an autoresponder series that is 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or even 2 years long.

This is how you automate the process of email marketing, and it certainly can be as good as it sounds if you know how to properly convert your leads.

Another great aspect of affiliate marketing is that companies will usually give you swipe files for your email marketing efforts. So if you don’t want to write out every single word of your emails, you actually don’t have to.

I imagine that you still have a few more questions when it comes to these two strategies, so let’s keep moving on.

Is Lead Generation Still Profitable?

Yes, lead generation is still a profitable activity, but like many other marketing techniques, it’s going to depend on quite a few tactics.

First and foremost, you have to keep in mind how you are going to get paid when it comes to lead generation:

  1. You can get paid for generating leads.
  2. You can also get paid for selling offers to the leads that you generate.

Regardless of the method that you choose, it’s much easier to be profitable when you’re utilizing free and organic traffic-generating strategies.

For example, you can always generate leads from sources such as:

  • TikTok.
  • Twitter.
  • YouTube.
  • Facebook.
  • Instagram.
  • Websites and blogs.

Don’t forget about pretty much every other social media platform on the internet. As long as you can use it for free, then your chances of profitability skyrocket since you aren’t paying for ads.

On the other hand, it can be a bit more challenging to be profitable if you’re going to be running paid advertising. There are plenty of places that you can do this nowadays, which include:

  • Solo ads.
  • Google Ads
  • YouTube Ads.
  • Facebook Ads.
  • And anywhere else that makes you pay to play.

Something else to keep in mind when running paid ads is that it will also usually take much longer to recoup your ad spend. Some factors that might affect this include:

  • The advertising platform that you are using.
  • The amount of competition on that ad platform.
  • The price that you pay for traffic on that ad platform.
  • And don’t forget about your ability to sell to your leads.

What I’m talking about here is pretty much the fundamentals of running any type of paid advertising. All in all, yes, it is still profitable to be doing lead generation.

Is Affiliate Marketing Still Profitable?

Yes, affiliate marketing is still profitable. However, it’s not going to be for most of the people who give it a shot.

I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for many years now and still make a living from it. Despite the ups and downs and occasional headaches that come along with it, I absolutely love it.

However, I know that affiliate marketing certainly isn’t going to be profitable for everyone. Heck, affiliate marketing isn’t for everyone in the first place.

Affiliate marketing has changed a TON over the years. Some things for the worse, and some things for the better.

Here are a few examples for you (both good and bad):

  • Higher payouts.
  • An increase in affiliate offers to promote.
  • More people dabbling (competition, if you want to count that).
  • Increased advertising costs across all of the social media platforms.

What I have also seen through those years is countless numbers of people be interested in affiliate marketing, only to take a little action and give up almost immediately.

It’s unfortunate to see, but the reality is that there is only a small percentage of people who will be successful with affiliate marketing in the long term. The same goes for any business model too.

While a lot of people see affiliate marketing as some short-term gig that makes you some money, it just never works that way. It takes time, it takes effort, and eventually, it’s going to take some money to get the ball rolling and continue the momentum.

Related: What’s the average affiliate marketing income?

So is affiliate marketing still profitable? Absolutely, but it’s going to depend on quite a few factors, including the person who is leveraging the power of affiliate marketing in the first place.

Lead Generation Vs Affiliate Marketing: Closing Words

Both lead generation and affiliate marketing are two great strategies that online businesses can use to build and grow their online business.

I hope that you got a lot out of this article, or more importantly, it answered any questions that you may have when it comes to these two great strategies.

Here are the quick cliff notes for you once again:

  • You get paid commissions when you refer customers with affiliate marketing.
  • Lead generation allows you to capture leads who are interested in your niche.

Lastly, don’t forget that you can combine both of these strategies to really help you build and grow your online business:

  • Capture leads who are interested in an affiliate offer that you are promoting.
  • Use email marketing to promote those affiliate offers with broadcasts or autoresponders.

What I described above is a pretty inexpensive business model, where you’ll only need at least an email marketing tool and landing pages that come with it.

If you’d like to try out a software that comes along with those resources and a free trial, be sure to click here for a great recommendation.

Thanks again for stopping by to learn more about this topic, and have a great day.

James Canzanella

A former personal trainer who went from unemployment to online business success. He's been marketing since 2012 and (still) enjoys lifting weights, listening to rock music, and relentlessly quoting movie lines.

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