As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping and there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding what to choose. It really comes down to your personal preference and what you want to achieve. With Dropshipping, the product is key and there are a lot of logistical headaches that I outlined. Affiliate Marketing, can run passively and can generate income for years to come. I may be a little biased.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. However, both are distinct forms of marketing and the main difference between them is that affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations to drive sales while referral marketing relies on trust and personal relationships to drive sales
Adgild Hop, Head of Retail Consulting at Cap Gemini commented “2014 has been an important milestone for the online retail sector, with the £100 billion mark being exceeded for the first time. When we consider that almost £1 in every £4 is now spent online, and that a large proportion of the other £3 is influenced by some form of digital interaction, it becomes very clear that retailers need to continue to embrace the opportunity that e-retail poses.”

Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
When comparing dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, dropshipping tends to be a little less risky in various ways. First, like an affiliate marketing business, dropshipping doesn’t carry inventory nor does it ship goods. This makes both models pretty low risk. However, with dropshipping, the risk is even lower as your funds become available each week. With an affiliate marketing business, there may be thresholds you need to reach before you can cash out your first cheque. For example, if you’re an Amazon affiliate outside of the US, you can only be paid by cheque or gift card. However, to receive the cheque you must have made at least $100. Yet, not everyone succeeds at making $100, when the percentages are really low. With dropshipping, you get paid what you made.
The funny part of all this landing page, money making discussion is that the program that currently makes us about 70% of our income is one that I almost passed up promoting because of the low payout. It is a lead generation program that initially paid $8 per lead and we have since had that increased to $10 per lead because of the volume we produce (that is the nice thing about affiliate programs – if you are a proven performer, you will get higher payouts). At first I wondered how much money one could make $8 at a time – boy am I glad I took a chance with this program! So we have one landing page making us around 50-60K per year, $10 at a time. And we have many more landing pages promoting this same offer, they just aren’t performing at the same level – yet.
Having multiple authority sites buffers us against swings in search engine rankings. The idea is to make enough money off each site independently, that if one, or two, would have issues in rankings, we would still make enough money to survive. Chances of all three being hit at the same time are slim at best. And if you play the ‘ranking game’ the way Google and Bing and MSN want you too, the chances of loosing all of your rankings are slim to none.

Finally, your email marketing campaign can only succeed if you have a relevant list of quality consumers to target with your messages. Building a quality email list helps your marketing campaign succeed because it targets consumers already interested in your product. Many people end up on email lists because they sign up voluntarily. With a list of relevant consumers, you are putting ads in front of the eyeballs of consumers with an expressed interest in the products and services you promote.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]
Pat Flynn (www.smartpassiveincome.com) is a great example of someone that does affiliate marketing properly through email, his website and his podcast. He has established himself as an online business experts and recommends tools, products and services to his audience that can help them build their online businesses. He only promotes products that he can personally recommend and is always transparent when he receives an affiliate commission for promoting something. He has built such a large audience and has gotten so effective at affiliate marketing that the commissions he generates through affiliate marketing have become far larger than the actual revenue he makes from his other online businesses. It’s not uncommon for Flynn to generate between $50,000 and $100,000 each month through his affiliate marketing efforts.
Shopify is probably the most popular e-commerce solutions provider out there, but because there are so many products and options, newcomers can easily get confused. If you believe your audience has products to sell and could benefit from Shopify’s products and are able to elucidate the benefits of signing up for Shopify, you can definitely earn some big money with their affiliate program.
The main downside to dropshipping is that as the store owner, you’re responsible for customer support. Fortunately, you can easily outsource the customer support to someone who specializes in it on Upwork.com for an affordable price. All you need to do is provide guidelines and general responses for the customer support representative to follow. By outsourcing this component, you free your time up to focus on marketing and optimization. This allows you to grow your business faster.
That is correct, you either sign up as an affiliate and agree to their payout or you go and find another seller with an affiliate program. You should find lots of affiliate programs that pay 50% or higher without any problem. Just be sure that the cookie is live for at least 60 days, the longer the better. Clickbank has thousands of affiliate programs.
This tip can be achieved simply with an automated tracking solution. By knowing exactly which pages your customers have visited and which links they have clicked on (and how often), you can better target those products and pages in your email marketing campaign to boost revenue by providing consumers with information and links to relevant information.
Hi, I would recommend you to do Affiliate Marketing. I have tried Aliexpress as well but the big disadvantage with that program are the long shipping times, in general 20-40 days and customers want the product now. You will have lot of complaints about the delivery. Some people look down on Affiliate Marketing because they think you make only a few bucks per product. But if you are smart you only promote affiliate stuff with high payouts. I am involved in a program that pays up to $5000 per single sale. PM me if interested. Because you have to promote your products anyway, whether you advertise for a product where you make $1 from or a product you make $5000 from. 

Love your article on drop shipping vs. affiliate marketing. I joined the WA community in summer of last year and while I haven’t made any real money yet besides a little bit from google Adsense I am enjoying the journey. I have been looking into ways to expand and looked at drop shipping. It certainly does seem to be more “hands on” than what I was wanting to do, especially since I keep myself pretty busy and am stretched to post a few blogs a week to continue to try to build my website.

Neither of these business models normally returns very much pure profit (except in a relatively few cases). Affiliate marketing can be hard due to the levels of competition, and the product owner dictates entirely. The dropshipping business model is heavily weighted in favour of the wholesaler and not the dropshipper and most often returns poor margins.
Hi, Jamie! Very good list. I needed something like this for 2018 so that I know what to target in the future blogs I create. As for now, I’m comfortable using SiteGround affiliate network and it’s pretty good actually. Their hosting service is pretty much the best considered its price. I’ve tried others but SiteGround stands out. I’ll also try new affiliate networks, something from the list you have just provided. I think Amazon is too saturated at the moment, and I need a better network. 2018 will be interesting indeed.
Ayelet Weisz is an enthusiastic B2B freelance writer, who helps companies from 5 continents increase ROI and make a difference with content. Among others, she's written for G(irls)20 Summit (a nonprofit with partners like Google and Nike), B2B companies that serve global brands (like Jacada and Pipedrive), and globally leading marketing sites (including Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Unbounce). This article was written on behalf of her client, Yomali, an international conglomerate that has helped businesses sell more online for over 14 years, connecting millions of buyers with products they love, and driving more than $1B in annual sales. Yomali's group of companies deliver holistic solutions, covering payment processing, traffic generation, outsourced support, physical fulfillment, and customer relationship management.
An affiliate markets and promotes a product that a merchant sells. This could be a celebrity promoting a clothing line for a brand, or a fitness instructor marketing a merchant’s line of health foods. Instagram is a great platform to notice affiliate marketing in action. You can see the profiles of normal people posting images with branded products tagged to a store. When you click on the product you will be brought to a store unrelated to the person.

I had a chance of looking at how much some CPA marketers are earning. My jaws hit the floor. How can anyone make 32k in a day? It is not some Photoshop screenshot but the CPA company interface allows earning shouts which is drawn live from the system and displayed on a live chat. That’s where I saw those big figures. Remember I said 32k in a day not in a month. Now that is insane. This gives you some idea how: http://x.co/9RnqK
“Cost of goods changes from time to time, product prices drop, etc. One mistake I made was not re-calculating all commissions to determine they were set correctly. After doing some digging, I realized that commissions on a few of our products were way higher than what they should have been. One way to fix this is to re-adjust commissions each year,” she explained.
For example, Anna is an affiliate marketer who partners with an online clothing store to do affiliate marketing for them. She sets up an ad campaign that promotes the shop’s newest collection and provides the content of the ads. Visitors who click on her ads get redirected to the store’s website. Anna gets paid for every purchase that went through her ad.
Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is hugely important -- according to Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate, compared to a 4% decline in revenue for companies with poor alignment. If you can improve your customer's' journey through the buying cycle by using digital technologies, then it's likely to reflect positively on your business's bottom line.
Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.
StudioPress itself is somewhat of a niche product as it is targeted to existing WordPress users who found setting up and managing a WordPress site too difficult or time-consuming. StudioPress prides itself on being easy to use, but their main claim to fame is that their hosted websites are “faster and more secure” than other WordPress hosting companies as well as using the “Genesis framework” which is supposedly more SEO friendly than other WordPress builds.
So as an affiliate marketer, you have to build a compelling website, attract traffic to that website, and retain a consistent audience in order to sell ads. Then, you join an affiliate network like Amazon or eBay, and they show ads on your site. It’s important to note that affiliates don’t earn money by simply serving ads. They have to direct qualified traffic to a company’s site so that the company can earn more in sales.
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