Understanding How Affiliate Links Work: A Case Study of Great Lakes Disc

by | Jun 18, 2024

Affiliate marketing has become a lucrative strategy for online businesses looking to expand their reach and boost sales. This approach involves partnerships between businesses and individuals, where both parties benefit financially. Here’s a detailed look at how affiliate links work, using a real-world example from Great Lakes Disc, a disc golf store based in Grand Rapids, MI.


How Affiliate Links Work

An affiliate link is a unique URL provided by a company to an affiliate partner. When customers click on this link and make a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission on the sale. This system incentivizes affiliates to promote the company’s products, driving traffic and sales to the business.

Example Affiliate Link: https://greatlakesdisc.com/?ref=SamRodgers

In this example, the affiliate link is assigned to Sam Rodgers, a disc golf player sponsored by Great Lakes Disc. When users click on this link and purchase products from Great Lakes Disc, Sam Rodgers earns a commission.


Directing Affiliate Links to Specific Pages

Affiliate links can be customized to direct customers to specific pages on the company’s website. This can be particularly useful for promoting certain products, sales, or categories.

For example, if Sam Rodgers wants to direct his followers to the page featuring the latest disc golf discs, he can modify the affiliate link as follows: https://greatlakesdisc.com/discs/?ref=SamRodgers

This modified link will take users directly to the “Discs” collection page, still tracking any resulting purchases back to Sam Rodgers for commission purposes.


Earning Commission

When customers make purchases through an affiliate link, the affiliated individual earns a percentage of the sale. This commission can vary but typically ranges from 5% to 30% of the sale amount. The specifics are often outlined in the affiliate agreement.


Benefits for the Affiliate

Affiliates like Sam Rodgers benefit in several ways:

  1. Financial Incentives: Each sale made through their link earns them a commission.
  2. Increased Exposure: Promoting the company’s products can enhance the affiliate’s reach and credibility in their niche.
  3. Support and Sponsorship: Affiliates often receive additional support from the company, such as free or discounted products, in exchange for their promotional efforts.


Benefits for the Company

For Great Lakes Disc, using affiliate marketing offers numerous advantages:

  1. Expanded Reach: Affiliates bring new customers to the company, expanding its market reach.
  2. Cost-Effective Marketing: Paying commissions only on actual sales makes affiliate marketing a cost-effective strategy.
  3. Enhanced Brand Awareness: Affiliates, especially those with a strong following, help increase brand visibility and credibility.


Coupon Codes and Affiliate Marketing

Often, affiliate links are paired with exclusive coupon codes to entice customers further. These codes offer discounts to customers and track sales for affiliate commissions.

Example Coupon Code: SOUTHPAW

In this scenario, the coupon code “SOUTHPAW” provides customers with a 10% discount on their orders. Additionally, sales made using this code will earn a commission for Sam Rodgers, even without the affiliate link. 


How Coupon Codes Work

When customers use the coupon code SOUTHPAW at checkout, they receive a 10% discount on their total purchase. Simultaneously, the system recognizes that Sam Rodgers referred the sale, ensuring he earns the associated commission. This dual benefit makes coupon codes an effective tool in affiliate marketing.



Affiliate marketing is a powerful strategy that benefits both companies and their affiliates. Through unique links and exclusive coupon codes, affiliates like Sam Rodgers can drive sales for Great Lakes Disc while earning commissions and build their own brand in the disc golf community. By leveraging these tools, Great Lakes Disc can expand its reach and increase sales in a cost-effective manner.


Sam Rodgers is a good friend and colleague of mine, and they approve this article. 

What is an affiliate link and how does it work?
Can affiliate links be customized to direct to specific pages on the website?
How do affiliates like Sam Rodgers earn commission from affiliate links?

Affiliates earn a commission on sales made through their unique affiliate links. When a customer clicks on the link and completes a purchase, the system records the sale under the affiliate's account. The commission rate varies but is usually a percentage of the sale amount.

How do coupon codes work with affiliate links?

Coupon codes offer customers discounts on their purchases and also help track sales for affiliate commissions. For example, the coupon code "SOUTHPAW" gives customers a 10% discount at checkout. Sales made using this code are credited to Sam Rodgers, allowing him to earn a commission on those sales.

What are the benefits of using affiliate links for both the affiliate and the company?

Affiliates benefit financially through commissions on sales, gain increased exposure, and may receive additional support or sponsorship from the company. For the company, affiliate marketing expands their reach, is cost-effective since commissions are paid only on actual sales, and enhances brand awareness through the affiliate's promotion efforts. This mutually beneficial relationship helps both parties achieve their goals.

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