Affiliate Marketing Vs Lead Generation (Explained)

affiliate markeitng vs lead generation? what's the difference

Ever wondered how “affiliate marketing is different from lead generation”? Well, in this article I’m going to share with you the difference between affiliate marketing vs lead generation and their similarities and many more.

The main difference between affiliate marketing and lead generation is that, with affiliate marketing, you get paid a commission based on sales you generate through your affiliate link. Whereas in lead generation, you get paid a commission for every lead (email address) a visitor submitted on the advertiser product’s link.

How Is Affiliate Marketing Different From Lead Generation?

To put it simply – Affiliate marketing and lead generation are not the same things. They both are totally different and have two different kinds of methods of making money online.

With affiliate marketing, you get paid for every successful sale you generate for the advertiser.

While, in lead generation, an advertiser or a company pays you every time a customer submits their email addresses to join their mailing list.

Here Is A Quick Difference Between Both Strategies:

  • Affiliate marketing pays you whenever someone clicks on your affiliate link and purchases a product or service. So, you get paid basically for selling a product or service.
  • Lead gen’ pays you based on the number of leads generated through your unique link. So, in lead generation, you make money specifically by selling email addresses you generated from people.
  • In affiliate marketing, you share the commission with the merchant
  • Lead generation, you get paid a fixed amount, and you don’t have to share in the sale.
  • In affiliate marketing, you get sales before you can earn a commission. While in lead gen’ you get paid when someone signs with the program without having to buy anything.

Recommended Reading: 

Affiliate Marketing Explained In-Detail

what is affiliate marketing

Here is a great definition I found online of what affiliate marketing is.

Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement in which affiliates receive a commission for each visit, signup or sale they generate for a merchant. This arrangement allows businesses to outsource part of the sales process. It is a form of performance-based marketing where the commission acts as an incentive for the affiliate; this commission is usually a percentage of the price of the product being sold, but can also be a flat rate per referral. Source

My Definition:

Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy where a company or an individual (which are also known as merchants or advertisers) pays you (the affiliate) a commission for promoting or selling their product or services via an affiliate link.

Here’s How Affiliate Marketing Works In A Nutshell:

  • A merchant creates an affiliate program.
  • Then the merchant forms an agreement with an affiliate to promote his product for a commission.
  • If the affiliate promotes the product and it results in a sale.
  • The merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale of the product.

P.S. You can read more here on what affiliate marketing is and how it works. Check it out!

Who Are The Affiliate?

Affiliates which are also known as partners or publisher are simply an individual or a company (most of the time, these affiliates are bloggers, YouTubers, or anybody that create content on a given topic)…

Who promotes a product or service created by another individual for a commission.

What Is The Main Role Of An Affiliate?

The main job of an affiliate marketer is to define what problem, pain, or challenges his audiences are facing and simply find products that will help solve the audience’s pain.

And when some of his audience decide to purchase the product or service through the affiliate.

Or take action based on the affiliate’s recommendation, he or she gets paid a commission.

How Do Affiliates Promote Product Or Services?

There are many ways affiliate market their product or service. 

One of the most lucrative, proven, and popular ways is through writing content (blog posts), making videos, and email marketing.

The affiliate simply writes content and then inserts an affiliate link or banner within the content.

And whenever someone clicks on the text link or the banner he or she gets compensated.

How Does The Affiliate Get Paid?

The affiliate gets paid based on the affiliate program payment terms.

How To Become An Affiliate?

Becoming an affiliate marketer is not that hard and you don’t need to pay anything.

To become an affiliate you simply need to follow the step below:

Step #1:

  • Research and sign up for an affiliate program or network. Some popular affiliate programs include ClickBank, Shareasale, Clickfunnels, etc.

Step #2:

  • Once you’ve found an affiliate program of your choice, it’s time to decide where you’re going to be marketing that product. There are many marketing platforms available online, I recommend you start a blog. With a blog, you own it and you can do anything with it without any third-party restrictions.

Step #3:

  • As your blog is up and running, you want to figure out what questions people are asking related to your niche and affiliate program and start writing content to answer those questions. Then insert your affiliate link within your content.

Step #4:

  • As your blog starts to generate some decent traffic, you can sit back and watch the money coming in.

P.S. You can read more here on who’s an affiliate marketer and how to become an affiliate marketer. Check it out.

What Is Lead Generation?

what is lead generation

Lead generation is a marketing strategy that businesses or companies use to generate leads (capture email addresses of customers) or build email subscribers of individuals who are interested in their products or services with the aim of converting them into potential buyers.

In order words, “lead generation is a process of capturing email addresses and generating interest in ideal customers who are not in a position of making a buying decision”.

What Is A Lead?

Anybody that shows some sort of interest in your product or service in some way and has the potential to become a paying customer in the future can be considered a lead.

How Does Lead Generation Work?

Lead generation is where the sales process begins.

In lead generation, you get paid simply by getting a user to fill out their personal information (email addresses) to join another company’s mailing list.

  • You simply find a brand or company that offers lead-generation services.
  • Then you sign up with them as an affiliate.
  • Then you’ll then have to send traffic over to their website.
  • Once the traffic you send converts into a lead, you’d be paid for the lead.

What Is The Purpose Of Lead Generation For Businesses?

There are so many benefits companies can derive from generating leads, including: 

  1. They have the opportunity to collect valuable marketing information from prospects (personal email addresses).
  2. It helps increase brand awareness and reputation.
  3. It helps them increase traffic to their website.
  4. Help improve their conversion rates and income.
  5. They’re able to build a list of targeted audiences who they can follow up with through email marketing and build solid trust and relationships with and increase sales.
  6. Bringing in more new leads helps grow the business and keeps product sales up. 
  7. Lead generation is a fundamental point where an individual becomes a happy, paying customer.
  8. It helps attract an audience that can be converted into sales.

How To Generate Leads?

There are varieties of means you can generate leads: You can generate leads through online search engine platforms, social media channels, or word-of-mouth marketing.

Or if you have the fund you can even purchase leads from lead generation companies.

But if you’re going to take this path, I recommend you take time to do thorough research about the company.

Why? There are a ton of companies out there that are selling leads but not all of them have high-quality and targeted leads that’ll convert into paying customers.

You’ll want to make sure you’re getting quality leads that are targeted to what you’re selling.

That said…

If you’re going to generate the lead by yourself, well, there are a few steps you can take.

  1. Create a landing page.
  2. Then create a lead magnet (freebies).
  3. Linked the freebie to your landing page
  4. Give out this freebie for free in exchange for prospects’ contact information.
  5. If they optin’ their contact information for the free item, their email addresses will get stored on your list.
  6. As they’re on your list, you want to follow up with them with a series of emails to build some sort of trust and relationship with them.

IMPORTANT: If you follow up with your leads, you’ll be much more likely to convert them into paying customers.

Step by step quide on how to generates leads for affiliate marketing

What Is The Best Lead Generation Software For Businesses?

When to it comes to tools for generating leads, there are tons of great options out there which can be used to capture potential customers’ email addresses.

But you need to understand this, not all lead gen software are of the same quality.

You need to take time to do your research to find one that’s right for you and your business model.

That said…

There are some general features that every lead generation tool needs to have. 

Let’s take a look at some of them.

  1. First, a good lead generation tool or software should be able to help you track where your leads are coming from.
  2. It should be able to help you contact your leads.
  3. The email software should be able to provide you with valuable insight about your leads, such as how they’re engaging with your product or service, etc.

With that being said, there are some really great email software out there. 

But if you ask for my recommendation…

I recommend GetResponse. GetRespose comes with some really great features that can help you capture visitors’ email addresses and run successful email marketing.

I use GetResponse myself and my experience with them was amazing.

 GetResponse comes with a free plan.

Also, here is a list of some of my best lead-generation software:

  • Aweber – Aweber comes with an easy drag and drops editor that helps you create a professional email campaign without having to deal with any technical stuff or coding.
  • LeadFoxy –Leadfoxy allows you to keep track of your prospect engagement. The software comes with a 7-day free trial
  • SalesHookup – Saleshookup helps you track the quality of your leads when pitching them.
  • BuzzStream – BuzzStream helps you track the activities of your prospects and also see your prospect activity.
  • MailChimp – It comes with a ton of automation features and helps you track the effectiveness of your campaign.
  • Contactzilla – It helps you with email outreach and sales management

What Are The Best Lead Generation Affiliate Programs?

There are so many networks and programs out there that will pay you per qualified lead.

You can find some of the popular lead-generation affiliate programs on networks such as: 

  1. ShareASale
  2. MaxBounty
  3. Algo-Affiliates
  4. CJ Affiliate
  5. Fiverr

NB: Most pay-per-lead affiliate programs are usually not easy to get approved for. 

Before applying for any of them, make sure you have good traffic on your website. 

And also you want to give them a tangible reason why you want to promote their program as an affiliate.

What Affiliate Marketing And Lead Gen Have In Common? 

Wondering what are the similarities between affiliate marketing and lead generation?

Affiliate marketing and lead gen’ have a lot of commonalities. In both types of marketing strategy, you’re rewarded (you get paid a commission) for sending traffic or a customer to a business. 

If the traffic results in either a sale or lead you to get paid a commission.

Affiliate marketing pays you for every sale you make. While, with lead gen’, you get paid every time you help a company generate leads (get the email addresses of customers).

Here Are A Few Similarities Between Affiliate Marketing and Lead Gen’:

  • Both affiliate marketing and lead generation are forms of performance-based marketing, which means you get paid based on a certain action proposed by an advertiser.
  • In both strategy, you get paid a commission for every action that results in a sale or lead.
  • In both affiliate marketing and lead gen’, you (the affiliates) are responsible for promoting the merchant’s product or service and driving targeted traffic to the merchant’s website or landing page.
  • Both types of marketing involve a direct relationship between a merchant (advertiser) and a publisher (an affiliate).
  • Both types of marketing can be used to generate leads and sales.
  • Both affiliate marketing and lead gen’ are audience base business models – meaning,  both rely heavily on the audience to succeed.

Pros And Cons Of Affiliate Marketing

There are a few pros and cons associated with affiliate marketing. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Pros Of Affiliate Marketing

  • One advantage of affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to go through the headache of creating your own product. You simply find someone else product and promote it as your own and still make a decent income.
  • Affiliate when done right can get you into a state where you’re financially independent.
  • You can work on your affiliate marketing business anytime – you can set your own working time.
  • No Geographical restrictions. You can start your own affiliate business no matter which part of the world you live in.
  • You don’t need a ton of money and technical skill to start affiliate marketing.

P.S. I wrote another article where I go into more in detail on the benefit of starting affiliate marketing. Check it out. 

Con Of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is not a quick way of making money online. It takes time and a lot of hard work and sacrifices to make money off affiliate marketing and sometimes, success is not guaranteed.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Lead Generation

There are many pros and cons of lead generation, below I share with you some of them:

Pros Of Lead Generation:

  • Lead generation helps increase brand awareness and brand reputation.
  • It helps you to get to know your audience and their problem and pain and to fill their needs or solve their problems.
  • You get to build a community of loyal customers who you can sell to over and over again. 
  • It helps increase sales and revenue. By building an email list, the chances of converting those leads into paying customers are very high.
  • It’s cost-effective. Lead generation when compared to other marketing mediums is very cheap.

Cons Of Lead Gen’

  • Though lead generation is one of the most effective ways to attract ideal customers to your business, it can be time-consuming and it takes a lot of work to get leads.

Which Is Best For A Beginner? Affiliate Marketing Or Leads Gen’?

Which is better, affiliate marketing or lead generation? Both affiliate marketing and lead generation are beginners friendly and both pay well. However, if I’m just starting out online I’d pick lead generation over affiliate marketing (that’s just my opinion).


Well, with lead generation, you don’t have to sell anything – you just help another company collect the email addresses of people and you get paid.

This is a good and faster way to start earning some cash for yourself. 

I personally know marketers who are doing lead generation and are making decent incomes.

But one thing about lead gen’ is that it’s not a lifetime earning method, you just paid for generating leads for another company.

Unlike affiliate marketing where you can promote a recurring commission program and get paid monthly recurring income for selling that product once.

Which One Is Profitable – Affiliate Marketing Or Lead Generation

which is more profitable? affiliate marketing or lead generation

Both affiliate marketing and lead gen’ business can be very lucrative if you know what you’re doing and you’re willing to put in the time and the work.

If you’re willing to put in the time, hard work, consistency, and patience, you can make significant money with both strategies.

However, it’s important you understand that both marketing methods are not super get-rich-quick kind of thing.

As I said, it takes a good amount of time, real work, and dedication to succeed in either of them.

If you possess those qualities, well, success is bound to happen for you.

With that said…

Between both types of marketing which makes more money, I’d recommend you start with affiliate marketing.


Well, with affiliate marketing, you can reach out to a more targeted audience quickly and increase your income over time.


With affiliate marketing, you’re promoting real products that help solve real problems that people are struggling with.

People are often looking for solutions to their problems and are definitely going to buy that product from you.

Also, affiliate marketing allows you to generate leads that you can later sell to other businesses and earn additional income.

But whichever way, you want to pick one that you’re okay and familiar with and go all in. 

Don’t pick anything just because you see other marketers making a ton of money from it.

How To Make Money Off Affiliate Marketing 

To make money with affiliate marketing, there are a few steps you need to take:

  • Pick A Niche – a niche is simply a topic you’re interested in or an area or industry you want to focus on.
  • Select An Affiliate Program – Once you’ve decided on a niche, the next step is to pick an affiliate program you believe in and that’s related to your niche.
  • Build A Website – The next move is to set up a website for your niche and start producing quality content related to your niche and affiliate product.
  • Sell To Your Audience – As your content starts to generate traffic, you can start to add affiliate links within part of your content where it makes sense. And anybody that click on your link and purchase the product, you gets paid a commission.

P.S. I have another post where I go more into detail on how to make money with affiliate marketing the right way. Check it out!

How To Make Money With Lead Generation

step by step how to make money with lead generation business

To make money with lead generation, you’ll first need to generate leads.

You can generate leads by giving away free items in exchange for people’s email addresses.

Now, as you’ve built a list of targeted audiences, you can partner with other lead generation companies and sell that lead to them.

You can also find a lead generation affiliate program and sign up with them as an affiliate.

Then promote their service and if someone signs up for their service, they paid you a commission.

How To Become Successful With Affiliate Marketing And Lead Generation

The key component to being successful with either affiliate marketing or lead generation is to focus on producing, excellent, valuable free content that helps solve problems or pains that exist in your marketplace.

  • Give solutions to problems that people in your niche or marketplace are having problems with on a daily basis.
  • Give useful value, don’t try to sell to them.

So, to succeed with affiliate marketing or lead generation, you want to make sure you’re giving a ton of value for free without asking for anything in return.

Taking this approach, people will start to see you as an expert in your field and a got-to-person for help or advice. 

And over time, they’ll start to trust you and your recommendations and eventually buy whatever you recommend to them.


Can You Make Money With Lead Generation?

Yes, you make money with lead generation. Lead generation is a powerful strategy that most successful internet marketers utilize to make money online. Building a lead of a targeted audience, that knows, like,s and trusts you. Over time, it allows affiliates to promote or sell multiple affiliate offer over and over again to the list they built.

Why Is Lead Generation Important For The Success Of Affiliate Marketing?

Building an email list is one of the key elements for successful affiliate marketing.

  • Generating leads for affiliate marketing helps build trust and relationships with a customer and increase sales. A lot of people, the first time they see your offer are not going to buy it instantly -But when you capture their email addresses and follow up with them through useful content, over time, they’d begin to trust you and would want to buy from you.
  • With active lead generation, you can grow your customer base without having to rely on your previous customers or paid advertising to generate sales.
  • It helps grow your customer base and as a result, your conversion and affiliate revenue go up.
  • It helps attract new potential customers to your website.

Is Affiliate Marketing The Same As Lead Generation?

The short answer is no. Affiliate marketing and lead generation are different online business models. Affiliate marketing is simply driving traffic to a product sales page and for every purchase, you’ll get paid a commission. While with lead generation, you’re basically generating leads for businesses who are looking for new customers and they pay you a commission per lead.

Can We use Affiliate Marketing For Lead Generation?

Yes, you can. Affiliate marketing can be a great way to generate leads for your business. But there are some key features such as a landing/capture page, email list, and email autoresponder that need to be in place in order to do that successfully.

Create a landing page then link your affiliate offer to the landing, then, you want to drive traffic to the landing page URL.

And before the customer can get access to the affiliate offer sales page, they need to opt-in their email addresses. 

And as they optin their email addresses, their email contact gets stored on your email list. That’s how you use affiliate marketing to generate leads.

PRO TIPS: As they’re on your list, you can follow up with them through email autoresponder to sell different affiliate offers to them.

What Is Affiliate Lead Generation?

Affiliate lead generation is a strategy that affiliate marketers use to attract potential customers to a company’s product or service in order to nature them to become paying customers.

How Do I Get Lead For Affiliate Marketing?

There few ways to get quality leads for affiliate marketing.

One major and proven way to get leads for affiliate marketing is to offer freebies or bonuses to customers. Offering bonuses or free gifts to customers will encourage them to take any action you propose to them.

Another way is to produce compelling content that helps solve problems and pains people that are having challenges with.

Producing the best possible content that helps your ideal customer will encourage them to want to join your mailing list to learn more from you and your business.

That’s It Folks!

Wrapping it up on the “difference between affiliate marketing and lead generation” In affiliate marketing, you make money off of selling products or services created by another individual.

While in lead generation, you make money selling leads or you generate leads for another company.

affiliate markeitng vs lead generation? what's the difference
Affiliate lead generation