Affiliate Marketing VS Network Marketing – Is Affiliate Or Network Marketing Better?

affiliate marketing versus network marketing

Affiliate Marketing vs Network Marketing: What’s The Difference?

Almost everyone at some point in their life is looking to earn more money, and most people crave that even more today because of the new digital age.

This is where you might turn to affiliate marketing, or network marketing to do so.

Over the years, both of theses industries have created many, many millionaires, catapulting some of the largest companies in the world into the spotlight.

Because we have spent the last couple years going through a major epidemic, more than ever, people are turning to the internet for solutions to their money problems.

We have many years of experience, working within the affiliate marketing and network marketing niche.

Therefore, we are happy to explain the difference between affiliate marketing VS network marketing.

Our advice should help you decide which area will work best for you!

network marketing vs affiliate marketing

Similarities Between Affiliate Marketing And Network Marketing

Although there are a variety of differences between both the affiliate marketing and network marketing industries.

There is however, one main commonality between these two forms of marketing, that they both rely on.

Both affiliate marketing and network marketing rely upon what’s called ‘referral marketing’.

Similarities Between Affiliate Marketing And Network Marketing

What is referral marketing?

Referral marketing definition: is the process of referring customers to a company in order to receive a portion of the total sales earned by the company per customer referred.

Meaning – you are referring sales to a company in one way or another in order to make commissions.

Companies use this form of marketing in order to generate leads and customers without having to pay extensive advertising costs.

The affiliate marketer or network marketer is doing the advertising.

However, affiliate marketing and network marketing differ in the way you go about referring leads and customers to a company.

referral marketing

Affiliate Programs Relies On Digital Advertising Methods For Referrals

You’ll find that affiliate marketing uses the normal forms of digital advertising that are commonly practiced by all online businesses.

Because of this, you are in competition with other affiliate marketers and other businesses that do their own advertising.

There are marketing resources such as courses, software and tools that will aide you greatly in the sales process to help you stand out from the crowd.

In fact affiliates who use these resources always come out on top, compared to those who do not.

Some Common Resources Used In Affiliate Marketing are:

  1. ActiveCampaign is a complete CRM – This software allows you to automate much of the marketing and advertising process, including email marketing.
  2. YT Marketer is a YouTube course – Your going to need a way to generate traffic to the offers you are promoting, so you can generate leads and make sales.
  3. You could also buy quality traffic from a source like we use – Traffic Authority, or you could start a blog and go after organic search engine traffic.
  4. And of course you need products or services to sell to earn money from. You will need to find and join affiliate programs like the ones listed here.
  5. Learn and get access to 200+ hours of marketing courses through Marketing Mastery Elite.

There are proven ways to generate leads and make sales online, you can choose to do it your own way or do what works, it really is up to you.


Affiliate Marketing Relies On Using Advertising & Organic Traffic


Once you have some resources put together, you can start building an affiliate marketing business and generating income for yourself..

Regardless of industry or niche, the affiliate marketing resources we listed above will be exceedingly valuable to you.


Network Marketing Relies Heavily On Your Personal Network For Referrals

You’ll find that with most network marketers, their business is grown differently than with affiliate marketing.

With network marketing, you’ll be depending on your personal network to refer people to invest in different products and services you’re offering.

Depending on how comfortable you are with selling your offer to people you personally know or are connected to – this could be something you may or may not be comfortable with. 

This inconvenience is one of the main reasons why many entrepreneurs switch from network marketing to affiliate marketing.

Often network marketers run out of any valuable network referrals (Warm Leads -People you know) who have interest in what they’re offering.

These network marketers then realize they need to use other digital marketing methods in order to attract more customers and refer more clients to the company they are associated with.

Network Marketing Relies On Your Personal Network

However, many large sized extremely profitable companies have been formed and grown through network marketing.

Companies like Herbalife, Amway, Avon, and others – depended entirely on network marketing for their growth and expansion into their marketplaces.

Many have grown into multi-billion dollar enterprises because of network marketing and are still thriving today.


Difference Between Affiliate Marketing And Network Marketing

Although affiliate marketing and network marketing are both based on referring sales to other businesses, there are core differences between affiliate marketing vs network marketing.

Many people get confused between network marketing and affiliate marketing.

Like people who are promoting business opportunities online, think they are doing affiliate marketing, but in reality they are doing network marketing, because they are recruiting people to join a biz opp.

So it is important for you to weigh the pros and cons of each industry, so you can make an informed decision on which model would be best for you.

We’re going to review these differences throughout the rest of this article so you can see the ways both of these marketing endeavors can make you money.

digital affiliate marketing

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the ability to refer other companies customers, in return for a portion of the total sales generated, which is called a commission.

Affiliate marketing is based solely off of sales you generate for a company, not on recruiting people.

Affiliate marketing has been in existence and mainstream for well over 2 decades online.

Walmart, Amazon, Shopify, and thousands of smaller companies have even adopted the affiliate marketing model in order to expand their customer base of loyal buyers.

Almost every business online now has an affiliate program of some kind.

As the digital age keeps unfolding, more companies are turning to affiliate marketing, as having an army of affiliates promoting their products and services reduces their total advertising cost.

Companies using the affiliate marketing model, only pay once a sale has been referred to them, this has proven to be much more cost effective.

What Is Affiliate Marketing

What Attracts People To Affiliate Marketing?

Entrepreneurs, businesses, and more – like affiliate marketing for a few important reasons.

Here’s what sets affiliate marketing apart from other forms of marketing and business building:

  • You don’t have to manage customer support as an affiliate
  • You don’t to have handle shipping as an affiliate
  • You don’t have to manage merchandise as an affiliate
  • You don’t have to manage brand credibility as an affiliate
  • You don’t have to manage the website as an affiliate
  • Most affiliate programs are free to join

Because as an affiliate, your sole responsibility is learning to sell and market online, so you can generates affiliate sales on a daily basis. And that’s it!

Once you have a sales process in place, ads running traffic to that sales process, and you follow up with your leads that are generated…

That’s all there is to the affiliate marketing game! It’s a simple process that anyone can follow and learn.


How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

The process of doing affiliate marketing and how it works is very simple.

  • You find and locate affiliate programs you would like to join. (Here is an affiliate program list to help you)
  • Once you join a few you are interested in, log into the back office you will be provided.
  • Then locate your marketing material and specialized links.
  • Affiliate programs will provide you with some marketing material such as banners, text ads, social media post, etc. You also will be provided specialized links that will be tracked and coded to you.
  • You will then devise a marketing strategy and use these links in the process. When you attract visitors to these links and they click on them and make a purchase through your links, you will make commissions.

You have affiliate offers that you simply drive people to in order to generate commissions.

You’ll find that affiliate marketing has many pros that running a traditional business doesn’t have.

Such as: you do not have to deal with the managing of employees, shipping, merchandise, customer service, you name it.

You now are just an affiliate, and you simply need to drive people to your links.

Some affiliate marketers do build out advertising, follow up, and sales process campaigns – but others simply drive organic traffic through Social media or YouTube to their affiliate links.

Affiliate marketing in essence, is the “lazy mans” marketing method.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work


What Are The Best Affiliate Marketing Courses?

If you want to learn even more about affiliate marketing and how it works, you should consider investing in an affiliate marketing course or program.

These courses and programs have been formed by already successful affiliate marketers who have ran multi-million dollar affiliate marketing campaigns.

We’ve found a selection of the 3 best affiliate marketing courses or programs you should follow to learn more about affiliate marketing.

  1. Here at EMoneyPeeps we have our own affiliate marketing course that you can get started with today.
  2. Fast Tracks Web Class by Merlin Holmes that can help you generate multiple streams of affiliate income.
  3. Online Work Shop by John Crestani which you’re building affiliate incomes with multiple 7-8 figure companies.

These affiliate program courses will aide you greatly in making money online much faster than you could do on your own. They are taught by 7 & 8 figure affiliate marketers.

affiliate marketing courses

Can You Get Rich From Affiliate Marketing?

Yes, although it takes a lot of resources being used correctly to become rich with affiliate marketing.

Just like any other kind of business, affiliate marketing is going to take the following in order for you to be able to generate a reliable growing income…

  1. Money
  2. Time
  3. Effort
  4. Energy
  5. Work Ethic
  6. Learning

These are the 6 main keys to learning how to get rich and make money from affiliate marketing. Anyone who tells you it’s going to be “easy” or “super simple”, is lying to you.

It is a simple process, but takes learning proper and effective marketing.

Many people never earn anything from affiliate marketing, because they are unwilling to learn new skills and invest in the proper marketing tools.

affiliate marketing tools

Can You Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

The short answer, no. Not really. Sure, you can signup for free to an affiliate program, and then start promoting your URL for free on TikTok.

It’s much more profitable and efficient to spend some money on your affiliate marketing business, in order to automate your business and drive immediate traffic and sales to your links.

Here’s a full video explaining why you can’t start affiliate marketing without money.

Often people attempt to do affiliate marketing, or run a business, without any money. This is difficult and in some circumstances nearly impossible.

It’s much better to save up money overtime and use any extra money you have, to be invested into your affiliate marketing business.


What Is Network Marketing?

Network marketing is the promotion of products or services through reaching out to your personal network in order to recruit others, the building of a team under you. It also is referred to as multi-level marketing.

Network marketing allows you to get paid on multiple levels of your teams sales. Each network marketing company has their own unique multi-tiered compensation plan.

Originally network marketing was done offline. The structure for recruiting people to invest in a product or service happened in person, and often in groups.

By having larger networked groups, your ability to influence grows immensely.

Network marketing has been extremely successful for building large organizations and expanding customers bases quickly.

The biggest issues that come from network marketing, is the ability to keep recruiting others to continue your team’s growth.

Once you’ve gone through your own personal network (Warm Contacts), it’s difficult to expand and reach into others since they’re aren’t familiar with you.

The most successful network marketers are great at building rapport with complete strangers.

What Is Network Marketing

How Does Network Marketing Work?

  • Getting started with Network marketing usually involves buying a membership, distributorship or starter kit of some kind. In this kit included is usually the product.
  • Just like in joining a business opportunity online, usually there is an upfront fee to getting started, and in what you are buying to get started is the product.
  • Then you simply start networking – reaching out to others to join you.

Network marketing works by having people reach out to their personal network to recruit and sell.

Network marketing groups and organizations, grow as people in a compounding way, that continue reaching into the networks of others.

There is potential for exponential growth within a network marketing atmosphere, but it can be stagnated by people in the networks that don’t have much influence or contacts.

Lets imagine you have a personal network of 20 potential people who would be interested in your product line. Once you go through that network, where do you go next?

Who do you contact next? In this situation, you’ll need to be creative and start reaching out to each of those 20 people’s own networks, to continue expanding your team.

Often, people attempt to get their personal customers to become a distributor or seller of the product.

business networking

How Did Network Marketing Get Started?

It all started with direct sales that eventually morphed into network marketing.

The direct sales industry has been around over 100 years, and truly got its start with the California Perfume Company that later on became Avon. They had 10,000 sales women in 1906.

In 1945, the California Vitamin Corporation known as Nutrilite created the first documented compensation plan that paid on more than one level.

The two top sellers for Nutrilite eventually decided to create their own network marketing company in 1959, called Amway.

This is the largest network marketing company still running today.


What Attracts People To Network Marketing?

There are some main factors that attract people to Network marketing:

  • Leverage
  • Residual income from a team
  • Growth not dependent on you, because you built a team
  • Multiple ways to earn commissions
  • Lower entry cost than starting a traditional business

These highlights are really enticing for anyone wanting to have their own business and grow their income.

Network marketing can be very lucrative especially if you have a high influence, as this can grow your business very fast.

become a network affiliate

Can You Get Rich From Multi Level Marketing?

Absolutely, but not without hard work, dedication and personal growth.

You need to learn how to heavily influence and lead people, if you do not already possess these skills.

For some people this may take years just to develop right mindset and personality.

This is the main differences between those who are super successful with network marketing and those who barely earn anything.

You have to become a people person, and really enjoy working with and helping others.

Both affiliate marketing and network marketing have created many millionaires and continue to do so..


Can You Start Network Marketing With No Money?

No, you are starting a business.

Most network marketing companies you will have to pay to join, they usually all have a starter package of some kind.

And most have a monthly product purchase requirement or a monthly admin fee.

The start up cost will vary from company to company.


What Are The Best Network Marketing Courses?

There is a plethora of network marketing “gurus”, courses, and platforms in the online marketplace today.

The question is, who do you trust? With any business education and information, what is an actual reliable source for learning business that you can count on?

What Are The Best Network Marketing Courses


And times have changed, especially with the epidemic of the last couple years, we are now full steam a head into the digital era, where almost all marketers and businesses are moving online.

The days of face to face marketing have really gone by the way side, and network marketers are now having to turn to the same online lead generation techniques that affiliate marketers use.

Here’s a selection of the best network marketing courses you can find today…

  1. Our EMoneyPeeps course can walk you through the main methods we use for both network marketing and affiliate marketing.
  2. This article course here doesn’t necessarily target just network marketing. But it will show you how to start an email marketing business to generate leads, that you can use for growing your network marketing business.
  3. As always, if you want to learn how to master marketing, advertising, and sales in general… Marketing Mastery Elite has some of the best business education and strategies on the planet.

Reach out to us by joining our FREE course, where we can advise you everything you need to know about network marketing and affiliate marketing.

Most Popular Affiliate Marketing Companies

When looking for products or services to sell, there are literally tens of thousands of companies to choose from.

As we mentioned earlier in this article, almost every business online has an affiliate program or a refer a friend feature.

However, many entrepreneurs and businesses do not run their own affiliate marketing programs, they use third party platforms that specialize in this area.

This makes it convenient for a business to allow other people to promote their products or services, because they do not have to create or mange their own affiliate program.

The third party platform does it for them.

This is also a huge benefit for you as an affiliate marketer because you can join one platform, and find thousands of different product and services to sell, without the hassle of joining numerous affiliate programs separately.

These platforms handle everything for these companies including paying you.

There are many excellent affiliate marketing platforms to choose from and they will provide you with the following:

  • Affiliate marketing links
  • Affiliate marketing promo content
  • Good affiliate commission rates
  • A solid foundation for selling products and services using their platform
  • Multiple ways to get paid your commissions

Some affiliate platforms, may even assign you a special contact person who may guide you further in getting started.

Not all of them do, but they will always have a support system for you to reach when having any issues or when you have questions.

affiliate marketing companies

Here are some of the most popular affiliate marketing platforms.

These are some of the best in the industry. Learn more about them by clicking on the links below.

1. ClickBank

2. Fiverr

3. SharASale

4. Amazon

5. JvZoo

6. WarriorPlus

7. Impact

For additional popular affiliate commission rate programs <<Click here

All of these companies above have been in the affiliate marketing industry a very long time and over the years have paid out billions of dollars to affiliate marketers..

They are consistently making changes to improve their platforms, and are always striving to be the dominant go to affiliate market places.


affiliate marketing success


Most Popular Network Marketing Companies

There are many a selection of profitable and quality network marketing companies that can help you grow a network marketing business successfully.

Some of them have even been around for many several decades.

Unlike affiliate marketing where you can choose to sell pretty much anything, in joining a network marketing company you will usually be choosing a very unique brand of products or services to sell.

Some have a broader product line than others, so you will need to first do your research and thoroughly check out each company before deciding which one to run with.

In choosing a network marketing company to work with, you need to take careful consideration of many important factors that dictate what makes a good network marketing company.

  • Is the network marketing company in question, in a large amount of debt?
  • Does the network marketing company have ethical and essential practices? (downline integrity, rewards for levels of accomplishment, etc)
  • How often is their management and affiliate managers supportive and reaching out to their network marketers?
  • Do they allow building your team both online and offline?
  • What kind of policies and requirements do they have?
  • Are they growing or currently stagnant?

Once and only once you’ve researched a company thoroughly – should you ever consider working with them.

Most of this information you should be able to find out by visiting these companies online websites, and by searching for specifics using Google.

Most Popular Network Marketing Companies


Here are some of the most popular Network marketing companies

In this list you will find the tried and true MLM companies, as well as business opportunities that exist totally online and have an exclusively digitally delivered product line.

Learn more about them by clicking on the links below.

1. Amway

2. Herbalife

3. Melaleuca

4. Jeunesse

5. Le-vel

6. Forever Living

7. Nu-Skin

8. Legal Shield

9. Now LifeStyle – Read our full Now LifeStyle Review 

10. Multiple Income Funnel – Read our full Multiple Income Funnel Review

Always do research and use your own discretion when deciding to promote any company, product, or service. Only you can decide what choice you make!


Which Form Of Marketing Is Better?

After we’ve done both affiliate marketing and network marketing successfully for over 2 decades, we’ve made a decision on which form of marketing is more profitable for us.

Affiliate marketing seems to be the better business model to follow and use.

Affiliate marketing is more profitable, has a larger range of open opportunities, and it teaches you more of the business fundamentals that are necessary for scaling any business of any kind. 

Why Choose Affiliate Marketing Over Network Marketing

As well, affiliate marketing has less stigma around it.

Because often network marketing is associated with Multi-Level-Marketing, and the general public still doesn’t really understand what MLM is or how it actually works.

Because many people got burnt by the MLM industry and some companies that held bad practices – MLM and Network Marketing gets a bad reputation on some occasions. (Not that those forms of marketing deserve that bad reputation, because they don’t)

And hey, we are not bashing network marketing, because we still do it as well, and get paid every month from doing it.

We are just more focused now on affiliate marketing, and makes better sense for us.

Maybe you really are drawn to network marketing, either way you can be a success with either, as long as you do what it takes.


Final Verdict On Affiliate Marketing VS Network Marketing

It’s been a hard decision to make, but we find that affiliate marketing is often an easier, more profitable, and much more manageable business to thrive in. Network marketing does have its own benefits, but it just can’t compete with the usability and more popular affiliate marketing industry.

Affiliate marketing has become a mainstream and a necessary building block that many businesses rely on to be mastered.

We recommend that before you start actively doing affiliate marketing (or even network marketing), that you learn more about how affiliate marketing works and discover if affiliate marketing is right for you.

Affiliate Marketing Versus Network Marketing

Here’s a recap.

  • Network marketing also referred to as multi-level marketing partially is based on recruiting others to build teams of distributors who are underneath you. You then can earn additional income (bonuses) based off of what your team sells as a whole.
  • Many of your customers will also be your team members you have recruited to join the company underneath of you. Network marketing usually involves buying a membership, distributorship or starter kit of some kind, and in that kit you are also buying your first products as part of it.
  • So network marketing can pay you from many levels of an organization you build, because it is based off of your team sales volume.
  • Even some insurance companies work this way, where you can earn commission overrides from the sales agents you recruit and manage.
  • Network marketers are usually focused with one company, and many of these companies even forbid you from joining other ones, and if you do and get caught, you can end up losing your organization if you have built one.
  • Some Network marketing companies have very strict policies for qualifying for volume commissions.
  • Affiliate marketing is based solely off of sales you generate for a company, not on recruiting people.
  • Affiliate marketing commission percentages on each sale are usually higher than network marketing, because the company paying you is not dividing up the profit between a sales team.
  • As an affiliate marketer you are free to promote as many companies products and services with no repercussions.
  • Affiliate marketing opens the door to way more products and services available to sell, your not limited to specific product lines.
  • Affiliate marketing can be done totally online, no having to lead and mange a downline.


We really hoped this article gave you some insights, and explained the difference between affiliate marketing and network marketing.

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post them in the comments section below or just say hello 🙂


Your Friends And Partners

Richard And John Weberg



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Disclosure: Some of the links on our website and in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase we will earn a commission at no cost to you.

This is the way affiliate marketing works, if you are interested in learning more about affiliate marketing please read this.

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