When it comes to making a living out of promoting and selling products online, most people who don’t sell their own goods fall into one of two categories: Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping. Both require the advertiser to promote the marketing of the products, with the crucial difference that dropshipping allows you to set your own prices. This means that with dropshipping, you get the profits, whereas, with affiliate marketing, you get a commission. This may sound like a huge advantage; however, it’s a little more complicated than that. Let’s first take a look at all the similarities between dropshipping and affiliate marketing.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.
An affiliate marketing business is a great business to have as you can become very successful without incurring much cost. There are many advantages of this business model. But the disadvantages are heavily weighed around money you could lose by relying on other businesses. For this reason, even if you continue with affiliate marketing, having a dropshipping element is a good idea. It can help ensure a steady flow of income for your business. Running an online store makes you more money for the following reasons:
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
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.
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In comparison with Dropshipping, affiliate marketing is a lot easier to start and manage. In a dropshipping website, you will have to actively monitor the store and order products through suppliers. All this requires time. But in an affiliate website, you don’t have to actually do any of this because you get a commission by letting people buy through your link. That’s it.
What if you used an autoresponder instead? That way you could create two, three, even ten email messages all at once. One blog post per email works well. Then schedule each message in the autoresponder to go out every seven days. Viola. You now have what looks like a weekly newsletter, but is actually an autoresponder. And you now have a lot more free time.
For example, say you want to sell tablet cases for the new iPad. You find a distributor willing to sell them to you for $10 each. You take them to your storefront and make a product listing for that product at $20. You go about doing the marketing, the outreach, and the customer engagement necessary to make people aware of your site and your storefront.
“You need to build an internal calculator. You need to know exactly how your offers convert, so you can make a decision on how much to pay out. A lot of times, vendors will go negative during the first sale, but know their backend so well, that they can recover a lot of that revenue post-transaction, or on a continuity basis, based on your stick rate. Knowing and understanding the lifetime value of your customer will be huge in determining the payout,” DeHerrera said.
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates". Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
Create a bonus offer for a product that an affiliate is already marketing. For example, if one of your affiliates is selling a course on driving e-commerce sales from your Facebook fan page, you can write a short and useful step-by-step guide that complements the product, such as the fundamentals of lead generation from Facebook. Ideally, the short bonus that you add to your affiliate’s product should bring extra value to all of your customers.
For DeHerrera, offering a three months lead time — even in other quarters — is something that helps him land the affiliates he wants. “You have to understand that they build out their campaigns and offers just like you do, and schedule things sometimes months in advance. We would host an offer calendar for our affiliates that would show promotions for up to three months out. This increased take rates, for the affiliates, were able to easily access our calendar, and therefore build out their campaign schedule on their own. The easier you make it for them, the more they will love you,” he said.
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!
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005. MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
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.
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
In 1996, Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com, popularized this idea as an Internet marketing strategy. Amazon.com attracts affiliates to post links to individual books for sale on Amazon.com, or for Amazon.com in general, by promising them a percentage of the profits if someone clicks on the link and then purchases books or other items. The affiliate helps make the sale, but Amazon.com does everything else: They take the order, collect the money and ship the book to the customer. With over 500,000 affiliate Web sites now participating, Amazon.com's program is a resounding success.
“One of the biggest mistakes I have experienced during my affiliate management tenure was during a failed launch of a new health product. I recruited all the big names in the health industry, leveraged personal contacts to get introductions to new health partners, and even used a few personal favors to get large A-list affiliate partners to promote our launch,” he said.
“Work with them to get them custom affiliate assets (custom landing page, custom email swipe copy, etc) if they are big affiliates, because they drive the vast majority of your revenue. Give them all of their assets well in advance of the mailing, so they have time to load and test. When you deliver the assets, give them their login information for your affiliate portal again, but also hand delivers their links and needed materials, so they don’t have to dig around for them in your portal. Make sure to test the link before delivery,” Spears said.
There are a lot of ways to place these commission-earning links on your website, so you don't even have to know how to make banners. One of the most popular ways to add links is to simply include them in your content. Here's an example of a product suggestion within an article, with a link to the relevant product where it's most useful in the content:
#3- Different Style for Email– You’ll probably notice my email style is much different from the content on this blog. The paragraphs are short. I use CAPS on some words. The character lines are less than 65 letters. And I definitely use more of salesy type of copy. The reason I do it this way is because this is what’s worked for me with email marketing. Why fix what ain’t broke?
Paid marketing, on the other hand, involves purchasing ads on websites or search engines. If you’ve recently used Google to search for something, you may have noticed the first two or three results are paid for by companies. By paying for ads, you have better control over who gets to see your ads: people who input certain keywords, people who visit specific sites, people who belong to a particular demographic, and so on. Online advertising companies such as Google gives businesses a whole platform to create ad campaigns and monitor their effectiveness.
“Speed of payment is a powerful motivator,” explained Amber Spears, who’s been in online advertising for 11 years and in affiliate management for five. She’s the founder of East 5th Avenue, an affiliate management company that only takes four to six clients a year. In the past five launches she and her team have run, they’ve generated $24.9 million in sales.
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.
You mentioned when you have an email that works, feel free to repeat the email in about a month. I have actually found success in the sending it out much sooner. If you have an email that does great, re-send it in 2 – 5 days. Just change the subject and set your segment to only send to people that did not open the original email. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.
The Market Health Affiliate Program allows you to market and promote the world’s leading health and beauty offers online. We offer the highest paying affiliate program and best tracking software in our industry. If you have a web site and are interested in making money off the explosive sales in the health and beauty industry, then MarketHealth.com is perfect for you. Offers include products in the health, beauty, supplement, weight loss, and skin care industries.
This is the #1 mistake affiliates make with email marketing. While it’s great to have a list to sell to, you don’t want to be selling all the time. Break up the stream of email sales offers with some content. Aim for about an 80/20 split. That would be four straight emails that give great content to your reader and then one email of take, which is the selling part.