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Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways people make money online. It is a strategy where an individual partners with a business in order to make a commission by referring readers or visitors to a business’s particular product or service. But that really is quite a simple explanation. To be really successful at making money with affiliate marketing there is a little more to it.

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.
The kind of content you create depends on your audience's needs at different stages in the buyer's journey. You should start by creating buyer personas (use these free templates, or try makemypersona.com) to identify what your audience's goals and challenges are in relation to your business. On a basic level, your online content should aim to help them meet these goals, and overcome their challenges.

The only reason more people are moving to dropshipping is that with affiliate marketing they only get a fixed commission on the number of products they sell. In comparison, with intelligent advertising platforms, they can precisely target each buyer who wants to buy their products and pay only when they receive an order. Even after taking out the costs of advertisements, hosting, and customer service, they still get a commission that’s higher than what they would have earned with affiliate marketing. Moreover, users can also install plugins such as AliDropship, Dropified, and various others that are associated with dropship affiliate programs including AliExpress and WorldWideBrands.
When you dropship goods, you’re building an asset – your brand. With dropshipping, you’ll have your own professional website. You’ll make enough money to invest in advertising, content and other traffic and money generating techniques. In a year from now, if you decide you want to move onto another niche, you can sell your business to someone else. However, not all affiliates have their own assets. Some affiliates make their money by creating YouTube videos. Yet, you’re not allowed to sell your YouTube channel. Between dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, you’re better off with dropshipping.

William Harris is leading content at Sellbrite and is also the Founder & Growth Marketer of Elumynt, LLC., VP of Marketing and Growth for a top 700 online retailer and former head of Marketing for When I Work, a VC backed SaaS company. William is also a contributor to leading publications like The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Sellbrite and a speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding. Follow William on Twitter (@WmHarris101), LinkedIn, and Google+.
Thank you! This is excellent content in so many ways! This was actually very inspirational for me as I have been stuck fighting with what I truly want to do. Reading this seriously brought tears to my eyes and made me come to the realization that it is okay to be REAL because people need to hear true life experiences as they will relate. You also helped me clarify that my purpose is to help people lose weight and get in fabulous shape because I’ve been fat a few times in my life and I’m 20#s overweight now and I’m done with that! It’s full force ahead – I’m ready! Thanks for the inspiration!

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.


Targeting – Digital marketing enables marketers to dial in a targeted audience like never before. Online marketing takes full advantage of the information age using specific consumer analytics (age, location, likes, dislikes, political leanings, religious beliefs – just name a few) that allow marketers to find the prospects most likely to buy from them. 

Encouraging people to purchase proudcts from you as an affiliate you is a valuable skill that is not only financially rewarding but also personally fulfilling. Even if you sell your own products or services, affiliate marketing is a great income stream you can add to your business to add value to your customers and make extra money while doing it. In almost any profit-driven company today, the best-compensated people are those who deliver sales, whether they work the front lines (e.g. real estate agents, car salespeople) or the boardrooms and negotiating tables of Fortune 500 companies.
Thank you for your comments. My wife and I are interested in going the affiliate marketing route as well. What we need now are the specifics on how to set up and structure the affiliate marketing business relationships with vendors / sellers / manufacturers. What agreement(s) govern these relationships? What are the steps to going from where we are now, at square one and no current relationships with sellers, to having binding contractual relationships and receiving checks in the mail? Can anyone give us the play by play on this process?
Aim for quality over quantity. Having a vast network of affiliates will not necessarily help you earn more money. According to some experts, the key to successful affiliate marketing is to find the right affiliates that will drive the most results for your platform. Those affiliates may be big sites, small sites, or a combination of the two, but the most important thing is to build and maintain strong relationships with your chosen affiliates.[40]
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.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
Leadpages claims that its affiliate program is not exclusively for affiliate marketers, which is true, but the narrow focus of this niche means that only professionals affiliate marketers will ever be able to earn significant income from the program. Leadpages’s affiliate program does offer quite a lot of different options (webinars, videos, blog posts, free marketing courses, etc.) to send referrals to, which can lead to higher conversion rates if done correctly.
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.

Really helpful content jeff. I love your blog. I was actually thinking of doing a weightloss blog as I have struggled with losing for a long time, and now eventually have diabetics. So I will add things. I might let you look at it and perhaps you would give me your opinion. Another thing, I was promoting an offer over facebook, unfortunatly I never got sales. but this has fired me up. I must use an opt page next time. Then at least I will collect emails.
For example, if you’re an Amazon affiliate promoting fashion you can add integrated dropshipped goods to your store. Since you already have an audience, adding a store is an easy way to make money. In addition, the amount of work required for a store is mostly upfront work. This includes adding products to the store and writing product descriptions. Afterward, all you need to manage are your orders, marketing, and customer service. You can even outsource some of the work to make the workload even lighter.

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.
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.
“Affiliate marketing is a relationship business, period. Whether you are a product owner doing the affiliate management or an affiliate manager, make sure you spend your energy building relationships and true friendships. It’s always easier and more profitable to do business with people you know, rather than just some person with which you have only exchanged emails,” Alarid said.
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.
An elegantly straightforward process, affiliate marketing via reviews, blogs, social media, and other platforms is a new frontier in marketing that’s just waiting to be utilized. Follow the tips included in this article, and you’ll be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumers, and enhance your paycheck one click at a time.
#5- Introduce Curiosity in Subject Lines– The third thing you’ll notice is my subject lines are designed to tease the reader.   We all get a ton of email in our inboxes.  As a result, I write my headlines either to show the benefit the subscriber will receive OR to create enough curiosity to make them open the message.  To be honest, I’m always tweaking my headlines to maximize open rates.  You should do the same!
Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.
Dropshipping is where you curate and list products on your site. So in this example, you create a store of products but you are the middleman. You take orders, handle payment processing and customer service issues but the manufacturer ships the product for you. So instead of having a warehouse and holding product and all the costs associated with that, you partner with a drop shipper who stocks and ships the inventory. You get to set your own product price. So you basically buy wholesale and mark up the prices. Suppliers will suggest a retail price and you need to see what similar products are selling for so that you don’t price yourself out of the market. But, you get to decide what you want to charge!

Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.


William Harris is leading content at Sellbrite and is also the Founder & Growth Marketer of Elumynt, LLC., VP of Marketing and Growth for a top 700 online retailer and former head of Marketing for When I Work, a VC backed SaaS company. William is also a contributor to leading publications like The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Sellbrite and a speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding. Follow William on Twitter (@WmHarris101), LinkedIn, and Google+.
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.

If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.

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.
One of the main reasons why most newbie affiliate marketers give up after 3 months is the fact that they can’t build up traffic to their affiliate website. It’s a thorn in most marketers’ sides, but one that can be easily resolved if you put the effort in. Below I have covered a few areas that will get you good targeted traffic to your affiliate deals.
Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC has been a huge game-changer in the world of advertising. It enables marketers to generate immediate traffic that fuels leads, social shares, and sales for a website. Instead of paying for ad displays, advertisers pay only when a user clicks on their ad. Traffic sources are tracked as well which identifies which ads are achieving the best result in a campaign and allow for fast and simple tweaks to test improvements.
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.
When you do a PPC campaign for the merchant, keep in mind that you’re not the only marketer they have. If the merchant is a big business, for example, they will have their own marketing team who might also be doing PPC ads. It’s important, then, that you collaborate with them and make sure that you’re not spending your dollars on keywords that the merchant has already allocated money for.
Open rate shows a percentage of total recipients that viewed your email. You can track it in HTML emails that include a transparent image (a tracking pixel). When it’s loaded, an email is tracked as open. This metric isn’t 100% accurate. As mentioned earlier, some email providers block images, and a user needs to enable them to see the visual elements.
Because 2Checkout exclusively sells software and digital products, it is best suited for established influencers whose target audience is interested in buying products in this niche. But while you won’t find any physical products for sale, 2Checkout is probably the market leader in selling software of every type, including very specific use case items (like software that can convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF, for instance).
The primary advantage of affiliate marketing over dropshipping is that you don’t really have anything to do with the product fulfillment process. You don’t have to connect with suppliers, you don’t need to handle transactions, you don’t need to collect money, issue refunds, or otherwise act like a store. All of that is handled by the actual store. All you do is, essentially, hand people your card, point them at the door, and say “tell ‘em I sent you.”
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