Both affiliate marketing and dropshipping require similar skill sets. To be successful in either you’ll need to be able to market your products by creating ads and driving traffic to landing pages where customers will buy the product. This might not sound too difficult, but it can take a while to start seeing any significant number of people actually buying products using your site or links.
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
Just as a chain of sales persons market and sell your product for commission, using affiliate marketing services you can get many websites to sell your product in exchange for commission, which ultimately makes it a cost effective yet profitable practice, which any business must make use of. Affiliates provide links to your products on their websites or through email marketing for commission based on cost-per-sale, cost-per-click or cost-per-lead.
Content marketing specialists are the digital content creators. They frequently keep track of the company's blogging calendar, and come up with a content strategy that includes video as well. These professionals often work with people in other departments to ensure the products and campaigns the business launches are supported with promotional content on each digital channel.

By quite a large margin Amazon has the largest affiliate marketing program out there, with products from more than 1.5 million sellers. Amazon has the most easy-to-use technology of all the affiliate programs I will be reviewing today. Beginners to affiliate marketing with even the most limited technical expertise will have no problems in getting up and running with the Amazon associates program, while more experienced marketers can create custom tools and websites with the APIs and advanced implementations available to them. The great thing about Amazon is that anything from kids toys to laptops can generate sales if they are purchased through any Amazon affiliate link.
Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing – An easy to follow online course that teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. It’s written by Michelle Schroder who makes $100K+ a month from her blog. A genuine super affiliate that shares her success stories and affiliate marketing techniques with her community both on her private Facebook group and on her blog. Sign up here.
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.

She does this through: “Second tier commission contests. If I am slowing down in affiliate traffic, I run a contest with my affiliate partners to see who can introduce me to the newest, highest quality affiliates, and pay the winner good money (no less than $2,000) to help me do that. Then I second tier those introductions to them for life, so that they keep making money from their relationship with me,” she said.


In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[18] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[13]

“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.
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.
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
Avoid jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms. Writing copy for emails or landing pages is different than writing the academic research paper. Marketers should cut down on flowery language wherever possible. Use a conversational tone. Check your text with the Hemingway App. Don’t worry; replacing big words with common synonyms won’t make you look uneducated. Most people in the United States read at a 7th-8th-grade level.
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.”
At the end of the day, I have two things to say. First, neither option is better overall than the other. It all comes down to how much effort you put into it, what connections you make, what you’re willing to invest, and the fickle vagaries of luck. Second, absolutely nothing says you’re limited to just one or the other. You can always build a dropshipping storefront and augment that income with affiliate marketing. No one can stop you but your competition and your own lack of ambition.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
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.
For me I would choose a program with Recurring commission. You can build a real passive income. Its the best way to go! One suggestion is contact companies who sell services and ask if you can sell their service for them. Sometimes popular affiliate programs like these have just way too many people trying to sell their service. I personally went to sitecare.ca and asked them if I could sell their service and I couldn’t be happier! So find a service you believe in and go for it!
I suppose it could be a different story for me since I’m more focused on the blogging area of internet marketing. Speaking of, what do you think the benefits/drawbacks are of the blogging approach vs. the email only approach when it comes to internet marketing? A lot of SEO “gurus” out there say blogging is essential because of the extra link-power it can give your site. Obviously you’ve had a lot of success with both approaches – what’s your opinion on the issue?
“At times, affiliates may not be driving traffic or converting as much as they used to, or as much as you know they’re capable. This can be a lack of new offers or promotions, or they may have promoted a certain product too many times, and their list is burnt out on it. This is more common than you may think,” he said, but added that “several things can be done to alleviate this.”
The hard part about dropshipping is setting up the infrastructure. You need product listings, either on a website of your own or on those other marketplaces. You need to make them attractive enough that people will buy them. You need to be more attractive than your competition, too. That sometimes means taking less of a profit per unit in an attempt to beat the competition in volume.
Once again, Steve, you continue to have this negative bias towards dropshipping, without any personal explanation as to why. Have you ever tried it? If you’re wanting people to build an online store for the first time, shouldn’t they be allowed to choose? Isn’t a balanced view between the different types of stores available more fair? If you don’t like drop shipping, then maybe you should state that somewhere out loud on your site “we build online stores (but inventory-only stores)” so anyone interested in drop shipping can stop wasting their time on your site. Transparency prevails, right? It’s only fair to new site visitors after all.
As a marketer, you have to always engage and interact with your audience. Relationships are important in affiliate marketing, especially if you work as an individual. People trust those they like, and if you faithfully answer questions about the merchant or product, they will most likely move further into the sales funnel, increasing your conversions.
“I found some informational articles that walked a beginner affiliate through making their first sale, step-by-step, and emailed them to her. Most likely, this person will not do too well in affiliate marketing, and it is important to recognize the difference between them and the ‘big fish,'” she said, and recommended you ask potential affiliates the following questions:
Think about this. If you are the person that processes that order, again you are making more money the first time you process it. Yes, there is a little bit more work, but you also own that customer data. So if you want to sell a box of 10 pens as an upsell or if you want to sell them new notebooks or if you want to have a huge Black Friday sale, you are the one that’s marketing to that same person.

Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[22][23] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]


Mobile devices become an increasingly integral part of our lives, it’s vital that marketers understand how to effectively communicate on this unique and extremely personal channel. Mobile devices are kept in our pockets, sit next to our beds, and are checked constantly throughout the day. This makes marketing on mobile incredibly important but also very nuanced.

Cost per mille requires only that the publisher make the advertising available on his or her website and display it to the page visitors in order to receive a commission. Pay per click requires one additional step in the conversion process to generate revenue for the publisher: A visitor must not only be made aware of the advertisement but must also click on the advertisement to visit the advertiser's website.

Those engaging with your company online via mobile devices need to have the same positive experience as they would on desktop. This means implementing a mobile-friendly or responsive website design to make browsing user-friendly for those on mobile devices. It might also mean reducing the length of your lead generation forms to create a hassle-free experience for people downloading your content on-the-go. As for your social media images, it's important to always have a mobile user in mind when creating them as image dimensions are smaller on mobile devices, meaning text can be cut-off.


Recent corporate changes and folding 2Checkout into a larger company that is involved in payment processing and e-commerce means that the affiliate program can sometimes feel somewhat neglected. But the ability to generate custom coupon codes and the comprehensive knowledge base make 2Checkout a good option for experienced affiliates with an established user base. But if you’re just entering the affiliate field for the first time, 2Checkout might not be where you want to start.
*Yes: As you may have guessed, the link above is my two-tier affiliate link. There are a few of these links on this site to pay me a small commission and allow me to keep this site free instead of a monthly membership site. Using my two-tier affiliate link will not affect the amount of commission paid to you with this or any other program. My commissions are paid out of the vendor’s cut, not yours.
Unfortunately, the 2Checkout dashboard is a bit limited in scope, making it difficult to get any metrics on conversion rates or even sorting by commission payouts. The workaround is to go to the Avangate store, which does list their best-selling products, and then search for these on the affiliate dashboard. That being said, 2Checkout does offer products from more than 4,000 different vendors, making it the leading affiliate network for software and digital products.
Hi Jamie! Thank you for the great information. I just learned about affiliate marketing last week. The source however, is an older couple who work for World Wide Dreams Builders (WWDB). So, basically Amway. After researching a bit. I have no interest in WWDB and. (It sounds like years of recruiting people with minimal payout) Though, I am highly intrigued by e-commerce and affiliate marketing. Before your post the company I recognized was Amazon. Can you please tell me if that will be the best 1st step. I am currently an unemployed student Veteran. So plan to fully emerge into this business regime and would greatly appreciate your advice on this!!!
It’s free to join the SellHealth affiliate program, though you do have to apply and be accepted before you can start promoting their products.  Once you’re accepted, you’ll have access to a number of tools, graphics, banners and more that you can use to promote SellHealth products.  The sales are actually made at company-owned Websites, which look professional and handle all of the selling. Commissions vary, but the base rate is 30% of all sales and upsells, and SellHealth says you can earn up to $350 per sale.
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